Can Anticreationist Rhetoric Survive Debate?
Darwinist rhetoric thrives when it’s the only show in town.
New Scientist‘s Andy Coghlan has his talking points memorized. When discussing a recent decision by the Texas School Board to deny criticisms of a new textbook’s dogmatic presentation of evolution, he was glad to see this “creationist threat” to “sabotage” biology textbooks defeated. “Children in Texas will spend the next decade reading biology textbooks free of anti-evolution propaganda, thanks to the defeat last month of creationist attempts to cast doubt on the evolution content of such books,” he wrote. Will Weissert had used the word “hijacked” in PhysOrg about the attempt to diminish the dogmatism (11/22/13).
Texas never advocated teaching creationism or intelligent design. The disputed Pearson textbook only presented evolution, but it did so without honest recognition of serious issues being discussed by evolutionists themselves. “Debate always involves at least two sides,” said Joshua Youngkin in Evolution News & Views in September as he explained that the controversy was over textbook being non-compliant with Texas state science standards that require science materials, in all fields of science, to teach about “examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.” Youngkin said the “one-siders” failed to fulfill those standards, preferring instead to toss “word salad” around, scaring readers about alleged creationist threats to science education.
Coghlan appears miffed that 33% of the public still disbelieves in evolution, according to a new Pew Research poll– no change since 2009. Respondents may have been confused, though, by the way the question was asked. They were asked only about human evolution, for one thing. For another, they were presented with a false choice: either “humans existed in present form since the beginning” or “humans have evolved over time.” Depending on what they assume “evolved” means, some may have thought that changes in skin color or eye slant qualify as evolution. Not even Biblical creationists think that people today look exactly like Adam and Eve. With better options, the numbers who disbelieve evolution would likely have matched the higher numbers consistently seen in the Gallup polls (6/01/12). Gallup’s questions are also poorly phrased, but result in numbers as high as 46% for those who believe God created man in his present form 10,000 years ago; only 15% agree that “Humans evolved over millions of years without God.” The remainder accept some form of theistic evolution, but not the evolutionary naturalism demanded by secularist academics. These consistently high numbers for creationists imply that a high number in the public do not accept evolutionary claims, despite decades of indoctrination. What would happen if there were more debate in the schools?
Science Magazine reported in November that Eugenie Scott’s replacement at the NCSE, Ann Reid, is ready to “fight the good fight” against the enemies of science education. Who might those be? The article says nothing about creationism, but describes Reid as a “feisty and powerful defender of the teaching of evolution and climate change in U.S. public schools.” Except for a brief reference to NCSE’s help in the 2005 Dover case, that’s all the article said about evolution. There was no mention of creation, creationism, Darwin, or Darwinism. The NCSE used to pride itself on its anticreationist agenda; now, its website splits its program equally into “defending the teaching of evolution and climate science.”
All eyes are on Kentucky now that Bill Nye the Science Guy has agreed to debate Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis on February 4th at the Creation Museum (see announcement and AIG press release). The agreed-on topic will be, “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?” Some evolutionists are worried about it. On Live Science, Jeanna Brynner listed reasons (from Greg Laden’s blog) why some evolutionists think this is a bad idea: “the fact that he [Nye] isn’t an experienced debater; there really is no debate, as evolution is supported by science and creationism is not; creationists will always win a debate since their arguments are not based in science; and lastly, the event is a fundraiser for the Creation Museum.” Brynner consistently misspelled Ken’s surname as Hamm.
For those interested in the issue of theistic evolution, the fall 2013 debate between Randy Guliuzza of ICR and Karl Giberson (formerly of BioLogos) has been posted in its entirety on YouTube.
Clarity can only be achieved by imagining the evolutionists’ talking points used against them. There’s no reason, other than charity, why creationists could not speak of the Darwinist “threat” to science, involving “hijacking” criticisms, and using “sabotage” against scientific evidence critical of evolutionary theory. There’s little evidence Nye is any less an “experienced debater” than Ken Ham; both normally speak to friendly audiences. Unless one defines evolution in the simplistic, meaningless sense of “change over time” (accepted by everyone), it’s simply false to say “there really is no debate, as evolution is supported by science and creation is not,” given the major upheavals in origin-of-life theory (12/31/13), the Cambrian explosion (9/25/13), early man (1/03/14) and the Darwinian mechanism itself (12/28/13). Saying “there is no debate” is like Kim Jong-un saying there is no opposition to the North Korean government. Of course there isn’t. He kills it.
Did you hear the latest news (though disputed) Kim and 300 of his minions watched dogs eat his uncle alive, an ordeal lasting an hour? (NBC News). That was the penalty for suspected anti-regime thoughts. However it happened, realize that Kim and the communists going back to his grandfather’s mentor Stalin are Darwinists. This incident bodes ill for North Korea’s starving millions and westerners hoping to see a glimmer of openness to the outside world. The boyish face of the new “Dear Leader” apparently conceals a monster no less horrible than his father and grandfather. Kim also publicly executed dozens recently for the crime of possessing a Bible (Fox News). Welcome to a Darwinist utopia.
As for the assertion that creationists win because their arguments are not based in science, many have noted that it has been the evolutionist debaters who typically used religious arguments in the Morris and Gish debates of the 1970s through 1990s, while the creationists appealed only to scientific evidence: e.g., thermodynamics and the fossil record. The “fundraiser for the Creation Museum” argument seems a paltry excuse for dodging debate; if Nye thinks he can trounce Ham on stage, it will hurt the museum and the creationist cause, so why not give it his best shot? In short, there is no reason to avoid debate. Science is supposed to thrive on debate. Dodging debate makes Darwinians look weak and dogmatic.
Wouldn’t it be nice if Ann Reid were motivated more to “fight the good fight” Paul spoke about in I Timothy 6: “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” Paul, who originated the term, was speaking of fighting for faith founded on evidence of Jesus Christ, who “made the good confession before Pilate” shortly before being crucified – a confession (“My kingdom is not of this world”) validated by His resurrection. I.e., it was not blind faith worth fighting for, but a “confession” (i.e., a world view) founded on observable facts and eyewitness testimony that was powerful enough to turn Paul, a destroyer of that faith, to its most ardent advocate. How ironic that Eugenie Scott and Ann Reid want to use his phrase to support anticreationism! This is not about a fight of faith vs science; it is one faith fighting against another faith. Evolutionists are fighting the bad fight of faith in scientism. As such, they must be opposed, and the public must be exposed to the evidence that contradicts their battle cries.