When will Europe wake up?
Council of Europe ‘condemns creationism’ (but it ought to reconsider where the ‘threat to human and civic rights’ is really coming from)
In June last year, when the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly called off a scheduled vote on a resolution1 ‘banning creationism’ from school science classes,2 many creationists rejoiced.
However, it turned out that the vote was only postponed,3 not cancelled, and the Parliament later (October) passed the resolution by 48 votes to 25, declaring: ‘If we are not careful, creationism could become a threat to human rights.’4
What an incredibly naïve statement, given that the only ‘rights’ that humans can ever genuinely claim are those bestowed by the Creator. But for those who deny a creator, any perceived ‘rights’ can only be those resulting from ‘a temporary consensus in the midst of an ever-shifting base of human opinion’ (see Of lettuces and cow-humans). Note that our argument is not that atheists cannot live ‘good’ lives, but that there is no objective basis for their goodness if we are just rearranged pond scum—see further explanation in Bomb-building vs. the biblical foundation.
The European parliamentarians’ statement also displays a shocking ignorance of the indebtedness of Europe (and the West in general) to Christianity. The security, peace, order and civil law enjoyed by residents in the West directly flows from society having a biblical (not Creator-denying) worldview. According to that worldview, man was created in the image of a loving God, One who commanded all people to ‘love their neighbour’ as themselves—what stronger argument could there be for upholding the protection and importance of every individual in society? Hardly surprising then that Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University, Paul Maier, has written that no other ‘philosophy’ or ‘movement’ has so changed the world for the better as Christianity has done.5
And one should not forget that the basis for the West’s staggering advancements in science and technology derive from a biblical worldview—i.e. God is a God of order, not disorder, and this is reflected in His Creation. So, the West’s progress was made not in spite of Christianity, but because of it. (See Christianity as progress, cf. what the so-called ‘progressives’ would like to have people erroneously believe; namely that Christianity is an impediment to progress.)
However, perhaps this latest railing against creationists about the supposed ‘threat to human rights’ is less about Christianity, than it is about Islam. One news report spelled out clearly what had prompted the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly to initiate the drafting of such a resolution against ‘creationism’:
‘An Assembly committee took up the issue because a shadowy Turkish Muslim publishing group has been sending an Islamic creationist book to schools in several countries.’3
One can well understand why the secularists view Islam with alarm. Recent events in their own streets and suburbs have increasingly confronted Europeans with the sorts of ‘fruit’ that Islam brings to societies. For example: the Danish cartoon controversy, the street killing of Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh, the riots throughout France (the police apparently now consider a night where ‘only’ 100 cars are burned as being ‘normal’), the need for ambulance and other service vehicles entering ‘Muslim’ suburbs in European cities to have security (police) escorts, the disproportionate drain on governmental welfare budgets by Muslims, and the disproportionate number of convicted rapists who are Muslims.6,7,8,9,10,11,12 Of course, such ‘fruit’ had been glaringly evident to others for some time, but secularists have been in denial (and mostly still are). Augusto Zimmerman wrote:
Every year, Freedom House, a secular organization, conducts a survey to analyze the situation of democracy and human rights across the globe. Year after year, it concludes that the most rights-based and democratic nations are the majority-Protestant ones. On the other hand, Islam and Marxism, the latter a secular religion, seem to offer the most serious obstacles for the realization of democracy and human rights. In fact, the denial of the broadest range of basic human rights comes precisely from Marxist and majority-Muslim countries. The worst violators of human rights are Libya, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, and the one-party Marxist regimes of Cuba and North Korea.
If the secularists sincerely believe that simply banning the teaching of creation from science classes will curb Islam, then, again, they are naïve in the extreme. They would do well to heed the advice of Charles Colson, who has written that ‘Christianity has always provided not only a vigorous defence of human rights but also the sturdiest bulwark against tyranny.’13
Among other errors, the European secularists have lumped Islamic ‘creationists’ in with the Christians. This is an understandable mistake given the secularists’ evolutionary presuppositions that (a) religion is something that has evolved as man has evolved (i.e. it’s a ‘trick of the mind’) and therefore (b) ‘all religions are equally valid’, which means in practice (c) all religions are equally wrong since if one is wrong then the others must also be wrong if all have equal validity. But the reality is that Islam and Christianity are not the same; the God of the Bible and the god of the Koran are very different deities; and the Koran’s descriptions of creation differ substantively and irreconcilably with the biblical account (see The Koran vs Genesis).
But as long as the European secularists blindly parrot their commitment to evolutionary theory—from which the many fallacies in their resolution against ‘creationism’ derive—they’re unlikely to ‘wake up’ to where the real ‘threat to human rights and civic rights’ is coming from.14
Rebutting the resolution
Our comments rebutting various ‘arguments’ mooted by the Council of Europe’s resolution are interspersed throughout:
The dangers of creationism in education
Committee on Culture, Science and Education
Rapporteur: Mr Guy LENGAGNE, France, Socialist Group
8 June 2007
It’s hardly surprising that a socialist group would hate biblical Christianity. But the record-breaking millions of deaths-by-government in atheistic communist regimes would indicate that there is much more to fear from socialism in Europe than from creation. See also The blood-stained century of evolution .
From a scientific view point there is absolutely no doubt that evolution is a central theory for our understanding of the Universe and of life on Earth.
No doubt? We thought that the great strength of science is that it is tentative, or at least so sceptics tell us.
Evolution might be ‘a central [i.e., popular] theory’, but some prominent academics have recently queried its usefulness. A.S. Wilkins, editor of the journal BioEssays, commented: ‘Evolution would appear to be the indispensable unifying idea and, at the same time, a highly superfluous one.’15 The leading chemist Philip Skell, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, echoed similar thoughts in a column he wrote for The Scientist, Why Do We Invoke Darwin? No, evolutionary theory contributes little if anything to useful experimental biology. See also Is evolution really essential for biology?
Creationism in any of its forms, such as “intelligent design”, is not based on facts, does not use any scientific reasoning and its contents are pathetically inadequate for science classes.
This is an incredible dogmatic assertion, given without any justification or evidence. How about:
Evolutionism in any of its forms, such as ‘punctuated equilibrium’, is not based on facts, does not use any scientific reasoning, relies on frequent logical fallacies such as equivocation (bait-and-switch) and its contents are pathetically inadequate for science classes. Conversely, most of the branches of modern science were founded by creationists, based on their belief in a Creator who upholds His creation in an orderly way, as admitted even by secular scholars. So we should include the creation model in science classrooms because of its evidently fruitful effect on scientific discovery.
In actual fact the methods employed by creationists are of three types: purely dogmatic assertions;
Anyone notice the irony here?
distorted use of scientific quotations,
You mean, a quotation that’s perfectly in context that undermines a purported evidence for evolution, while mentioning that the person quoted still believes in evolution (so is a hostile witness)?
sometimes illustrated with magnificent photographs;
Would they rather that we illustrated them with lousy photographs?
and backing from well-known scientists, most of whom are not biologists.
There are many creationists who are biologists (see ‘Scientists alive today who accept the biblical account of creation’). And what about renowned defenders of (biological) evolution like the physicist Krauss and various non-scientists who write for Skeptic organizations and anti-creationist websites, or socialist politicians for that matter?
One cannot be fully aware of the risks involved in the significant decline in biodiversity and climate change if the mechanisms of evolution are not understood.
Another bald assertion. How is evolution helpful to understanding these things? How does loss of species explain how species originated in the first place? But the biblical Creation-Fall-Flood-Dispersion model explains it perfectly. The ‘mechanisms of evolution’ are mutations and natural selection. Mutations overwhelmingly destroy genetic information and natural selection eliminates it also. A proper understanding of evolution, that it is not capable of creating basic new kinds of organisms would indeed help people realize the importance of conservation of biodiversity, but that is not what the socialists have in mind. If they truly believe that evolution is a creative process that made all the living things on earth, driven partly by the pressure of climate change in the past, then they should not fear climate change because it will just allow more of their kind of evolution (pondscum to pelargonium) to go on. Teaching of the evolutionary dogma will have the opposite effect to that hoped for.
And if evolution is true, why care about destroying other species? It would merely prove that we are fitter than they are, so they ‘deserve’ to lose. See also Earth Day: Is Christianity to blame for environment problems?
Evolution is present everywhere,
This is the equivocation we mentioned above. Here ‘evolution’ is equated to mean ‘change’, which no Christian creationist denies. And if by ‘evolution’ they mean adaptation, creationists also recognize that organisms were created with the ability to adapt; it has nothing to do with ‘evolution’ of microbes into mankind.
How is this ‘evolution’? Historically, resistant germs took everyone by surprise, and only later did evolutionists ‘predict’ it after the fact. But in reality, much of the resistance is explained by a theory invented by the creationist, Edward Blyth, wrongly claimed as Darwin’s invention, and today is an important part of the creation model: natural selection (see also Darwin and the search for an evolutionary mechanism, which shows the historical and philosophical influences on Darwin’s ostensibly scientific theory). The biblical creation model would predict that bacteria already resistant to antibiotics would survive an antibiotic-heavy environment, while the non-resistant forms would be eliminated. The goo-to-you-via-the-zoo theory is completely irrelevant. See also Anthrax and antibiotics: Is evolution relevant?
to agricultural overuse of pesticides that causes insect mutations on which pesticides no longer have any effect.
The same principle applies here, again invoking the creationist-discovered idea of natural selection. Pesticides knock out all but those already resistant. So those are the only pests which survive to pass on their genes. So the next generation is heavily populated by resistant insects.
The document is simply wrong to say that the overuse of pesticides causes mutations. Rather, the mutations are random, and any that happen to confer resistance can be selected. But it seems that most cases of insect resistance to pesticides are due to already existing resistance genes. In the case of bacterial resistance to antibiotics, there are a number of examples where an information-losing mutation can confer resistance. For example, disabling a pump in the bacterial cell wall can stop the germ from pumping in its own executioner (the antibiotic), so it will survive better in an antibiotic-flushed environment. But in the wild, such a bacterium would be out-competed by the wild type. So often super-germs are really super-wimps . This sort of change is in the wrong direction to turn bacteria into biologists.
See Variation and Natural Selection versus Evolution from Refuting Evolution.
There is a considerable body of scientific evidence concerning evolution. Scientists have shown that evolution is a fact because of
-the evidence provided by palaeontological data,
Never mind that the links that are alleged to document change from one type of organism to another are missing in the fossil record.
-the numerous cases of characteristics shared by organisms with a common ancestor,
Only in the case of a created kind, e.g. we agree that tigers and lions share a common ancestor, as do false killer whales and dolphins. See Ligers and wholphins? What next? Crazy mixed-up animals what do they tell us? They seem to defy man-made classification systems but what about the created kinds in Genesis? But many organisms share similarities that evolutionists concede could not possibly have come from a common ancestor, called homoplasies. See for example the discussion on Tiktaalik’s limbs. The pattern of similarities in biology supports The Biotic Message. That is, the evidence from nature points to a single designer (the similarities in general), but with a pattern that thwarts evolutionary explanations (the similarities that could not be due to common ancestry). Also, in most cultures that have ever existed, a common design would bring great honour to the designer, showing his mastery over what he had made—see Not to Be Used Again: Homologous Structures and the Presumption of Originality as a Critical Value.
-the reality of continental drift,
Oh, this is biology, is it? Or does this august Council mean by ‘evolution’ the materialist worldview that invokes only natural explanations for the origin of the whole universe? It now seems so, although earlier the paper, for the sake of his fallacious anti-creationist argument, wanted to limit ‘evolution’ to biology.
Of course continental drift is real; it was first proposed by the creationist Antonio Snider-Pellegrini in 1858, a year before Darwin published Origin of Species. But continental drift was probably much faster in the past, as per catastrophic plate tectonics, otherwise it wouldn’t have happened at all! That explains why some subducted crustal plates in the mantle are still cool—they have not had time for the temperature to equilibrate, because they sank quickly only about 4500 years ago. Again, it is a creationist geophysicist, Dr John Baumgardner, who developed the leading supercomputer model for plate tectonics, even according to secular scientists.
-direct observations of genetic changes in populations.
So things change? Tell us something we don’t know. But do they evolve in the direction of microbes to misotheists such as Richard Dawkins?
Continental drift, which is the result of the splitting up of the Pangea (the old supercontinent comprising almost all the land that emerged from the Carboniferous period at the beginning of the Jurassic) at least 200 million years ago, also enables proof of evolution to be furnished. The fossils of organisms that evolved when the continents were connected have a wider geographical distribution than those of organisms that have evolved more recently. The effect of continental drift was to separate families of living organisms and thus bring about their development, independently of their descent, as well as the appearance of new species and the extinction of others.
Very droll. Darwin used biogeographical evidence as ‘support’ of evolution based on the then current idea of fixed continents. So how can biogeography now be invoked as support under the completely different geographical history of moving continents? No, evolution is so plastic it can be molded to fit even mutually contrary sets of circumstances. Indeed, the currently popular view has problems explaining the distribution of marsupials, for example. They are not mainly in Australia ‘because they evolved there’. Evolutionists have to concede that marsupials once lived in Europe, Asia and North America (in profusion in the latter), but now are largely absent (except for opossums in the Americas). Two evolutionists admit:
‘Living marsupials are restricted to Australia16 and South America … In contrast, metatherian fossils from the Late Cretaceous are exclusively from Eurasia and North America … This geographical switch remains unexplained.’17
Natural and artificial selection make it possible to provide evidence of evolution.
Since they were discovered by (Christian) creationists, it’s not surprising that they actually provide evidence for the biblical creation model.
More generally, the recent changes in the AIDS virus are evidence of the ability of any organism to evolve.
So viruses change into viruses—yes that really proves that they could change into virologists. Here also, there is no evidence for information-increasing changes required for evolution to work. Indeed, the evidence indicates that the mutations conferring resistance are information-losing, because the HIVs that are resistant to anti-virals are out-competed by the wild varieties once the anti-virals are removed. More inconvenient scientific evidence against evolution! See discussion in Argument: Natural selection leads to speciation from Refuting Evolution 2.
One of the discoveries that has been made in the study of our planet and has been confirmed many times, is the dating of the major events that have marked its development:
How do they know the dating is reliable, since they weren’t there? See our Q&A pages on radiometric dating.
-the solar system, which includes the Earth, was formed approximately 4.6 billion years ago;
So how come we still have comets, although they should only last 10,000 years as they pass by the sun and are evaporated? And how is it that we find carbon-14 in diamonds that supposedly formed billions of years ago? And there is much other scientific evidence against these billions of years scenarios.
-life appeared on Earth at least 2.5 billion years ago (in the form of unicellular bacteria);
And this ‘ancient’ life form left structures called stromatolites, which are still formed today by organisms that look the same as those that were fossilised at the supposed beginning of life—cyanophytes (cyanobacteria or ‘blue-green algae). This is rather incredible, when you consider that the grand evolutionary story has the huge diversity of life on earth evolving from those very same organisms that have not apparently evolved much, if at all. There are many other living fossils that defy the evolutionary story—more evidence.
And do these socialists have any explanations of how life—like those incredibly complex cyanobacteria—could have evolved from non-living chemicals, although the laws of real chemistry are against this happening? This is more hard scientific evidence against the evolutionary story telling.
-about 200 million years ago Pangea began to split up to form the continents we know today;
-homo sapiens, ie human beings, emerged between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago.
It is thus not hard to understand why these discoveries have presented a challenge to those who apply a strict interpretation to the first part of the Bible, ie Genesis.
We don’t dispute any actual discovery made by an evolutionist, just their interpretation—see Evolution & creation, science & religion, facts & bias from Refuting Evolution. And of course it is not a ‘strict interpretation’ but an originalist or grammatical historical hermeneutic, which tries to understand what the words would have meant to the original reader in their context at the time of writing—see Should Genesis be taken literally? and Is Genesis poetry / figurative, a theological argument (polemic) and thus not history?
How, for example, can advances be made in medical research with the aim of effectively combating diseases like AIDS if every principle of evolution is denied?
Very easily, because we can apply the biblical creationist principle of natural selection.
Nonsense. No important medical advance depended upon evolutionary notions. Consider:
- Vaccination was discovered by Edward Jenner (1749–1823—note that Darwin published Origin in 1859)
- Antisepsis by Joseph Lister, creationist.(1827–1912)
- Anaesthesia by James Young Simpson (1811–1870), who believed that God was the first anaesthetist (Genesis 2:21).
- Germ theory of disease by Louis Pasteur, creationist (1822–1895), who disproved spontaneous generation, still an evolutionary belief.
- Antibiotics, developed without the slightest input of evolution, by the serendipitous discovery by Alexander Fleming (1881–1955), who had previously discovered lysozyme, the ‘body’s own antibiotic’.
In fact, evolution has impeded the development of modern medicine: through erroneous notions such as embryonic recapitulation, vestigial organs and (recently) junk DNA, which have hindered medical discovery.
How can we consider living in a world without medicine?
With great difficulty, but the teaching of evolution, as distinct from coherent, logical biology, has absolutely nothing to do with the discovery and development of medicines. But it is interesting that the 18 million inmates who went through the brutal socialist-communist GULág18 occasionally managed to survive without medicine, given that Solzhenitsyn could emigrate and write about it. Furthermore, people survived quite well for thousands of years before Darwin’s writings began to popularize evolutionary ideas of origins.
That appears absurd, but removing the teaching of evolution from the curriculum, as advocated by the creationists, could result in a considerable reduction in, if not the end of, medical research.
As shown, that is just a scare tactic, with no basis in reality. Do these politicians have any clue about medicine? See the article by a Christian creationist medical doctor, who obviously does have a clue, Is evolution really necessary for medical advances?
In addition, the “scientific” approach adopted by the creationists to put forward and support their ideas is itself a particularly dangerous instrument of mental manipulation: presenting a thesis as a scientific theory without providing any evidence can be compared to an attempt to manipulate minds for purposes that are, moreover, scarcely virtuous.
By way of response we could politely ask: Why ignore the evidence actually presented by creationists, by excluding it from the government junior secular indoctrination camps aka public schools? Is the writer a product of such indoctrination who has never bothered to research the matter for himself? The alternative is that he is being dishonest and wilfully misleading the readers, because even a casual browsing of just this web site (and there are other good ones) would provide abundant evidence for creationist ideas. Of course if you are a dogmatic materialist, which a socialist is, then no amount of evidence is likely to count—like this admission from self-proclaimed Marxist Richard Lewontin.
As Charles Otis Whitman, an American zoologist (1842–1910) wrote, “Facts without theory is chaos, but theory without facts is fantasy”. Accordingly, as G. Lecointre notes, any clever manipulator relies on “facts” alone.
But the exceedingly clever manipulators, such as our socialist politicians, don’t even have the facts!
Playing ‘switcheroo’ with history
In conclusion, when reading through the Council of Europe’s resolution against creationism, one needs to be aware of one overarching deceit in particular. That is, ‘creationism [i.e. the Genesis account] is religion, but evolution is science’. In fact, the Genesis account is an account of history, and evolution is also alleged history. So when the secularists demand that ‘creationism’ not be taught in science classes (but of course they demand that evolution be taught in science classes) they are actually substituting the true account of history with their own (false) version, and calling it ‘science’. Don’t be deceived! Nobody can know definitively what happened before they were born, unless they have access to (and trust) a true eyewitness account. Consider this sage advice to students (especially relevant to science students) from creationist geologist Dr Tas Walker:
Realize that if the events described were not observed (e.g. if they’re making claims about a time before the researchers were born) then they are telling you a story—an attempt to construct an evolutionary ‘history’ that fits the present evidence. Once you are alert to this you will not be tricked into accepting their evolutionary way of thinking. (Cf. the Scriptures’ emphasis on the importance of eyewitnesses—Deuteronomy 19:15; Job 38:4,21; 2 Corinthians 13:1.)
If only a majority of Europeans knew this, and took it to heart, the future for Europe would surely look far less bleak. If Europe does not take steps to re-establish its Christian roots, which means beginning with the true history of the universe recorded in Genesis—the historical foundations of Christian belief—then its future will be bleak indeed, as it will slide into anarchy and/or totalitarianism. This vote by the Council of Europe is in exactly the wrong direction.
- Parliamentary Assembly—Council of Europe, Document #11297: The dangers of creationism in education, <http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=/Documents/WorkingDocs/Doc07/EDOC11297.htm>, 8 June 2007. Return to Text.
- Reilhac, G., European rights body calls off creationism vote, Reuters, <http://uk.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUKL2543885120070625>, 25 June 2007. Return to Text.
- ABC News, Council of Europe to vote on creationism, <www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/09/26/2043373.htm>, 26 September 2007. Return to Text.
- Parliamentary Assembly—Council of Europe, Council of Europe states must ‘firmly oppose’ the teaching of creationism as a scientific discipline, say parliamentarians, <http://assembly.coe.int/ASP/Press/StopPressView.asp?ID=1965>, 4 October 2007. Return to Text.
- Maier, P.L., foreword to: Schmidt, A.J., How Christianity Changed the World, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, p. 9, 2004. Return to Text.
- Muslim anger at Danish cartoons, BBC News, <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4361260.stm>, 20 October 2005. Return to Text.
- Muslim cartoon fury claims lives, BBC News, <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4684652.stm>, 6 February 2006. Return to Text.
- Dutch filmmaker critical of Islam killed, USA Today, <www.usatoday.com/news/world/2004-11-02-filmmaker-killed_x.htm>, 11 February 2004. Return to Text.
- Smith, C., Riots spread from Paris to other French cities, New York Times, <www.nytimes.com/2005/11/06/international/europe/06paris.html>, 6 November 2005. Return to Text.
- Paris-area riots appear to ebb on fourth night, MSNBC News, <www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21978411>, 28 November 2007. Return to Text.
- Harrigan, S., Swedes reach Muslim breaking point, FOXNews.com, <www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,139614,00.html>, 26 November 2004. Return to Text.
- MacAllen, Susan, Salute the Danish Flag!—A symbol of Western freedom, Family Security Matters, <www.familysecuritymatters.org/homeland.php?id=1172085>, 23 July 2007. Return to Text.
- Colson, C. and Pearcey, N., How Now Shall We Live? Tyndale, Wheaton, IL, p. 131, 1999. Return to Text.
- See also Steyn, M., America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, Regnery, 2006. This covers Europe’s suicidal abandonment of its own culture and its below-replacement birth rate. Thus Islamic Sharia Law could be imposed by purely democratic means in a few decades. Return to Text.
- Wilkins, A.S., Evolutionary processes: a special issue, BioEssays 22:1051–1052, 2000. Return to Text.
- Actually, living marsupials can also be found in Papua New Guinea (north of Australia) and westwards from there into Indonesia—even on the major Indonesian island of Sulawesi (see, e.g., The Sulawesi Bear Cuscus, Creation 24(3):28–30, 2002). And the Australian possum now also lives in New Zealand due to human help, and is regarded there as a major pest. Return to Text.
- Cifelli, R.L., and Davis, B.M., Marsupial origins, Science 302:1899-2, 2003. Return to Text.
- GULág (ГУЛаг) is an acronym of Главное Управление Лагерей (Glavnoye Upravleniye Lagerey), Chief Camp Administration, or in full, Главное Управление Исправительно-Трудовых Лагерей и колоний (Glavnoye Upravleniye Ispravitel'no-Trudovykh Lagerey i koloniy), The Chief Administration of Corrective Labour Camps and Colonies. By metonymy, this original meaning of central administrative agency was transferred to the system of the prisons and labour camps it administered, then to the camps themselves. The GULág Archipelago (Архипелаг ГУЛАГ) by Alexánder Isáyevich Solzhenítsyn (Александр Исаевич Солженицын 1918–2008) was instrumental in revealing to the world the depths of Soviet tyranny. Return to Text.
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