February 17, 2021 | Jerry Bergman

Name-Calling Anti-Creationist Fails on Facts

Responding by Name-Calling to Those Challenging Darwinism:
Lesson: Before Putting Pen to Paper, Do Your Research!

 

by Jerry Bergman, PhD

Here I examine a recent critique of Darwin doubters that was published on The Conversation on 4 Feb 2021. It was written by University of Glasgow Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, Paul Braterman. His claims begin off-topic with “the myth of the stolen U.S. election” (which could refer to either the 2016 or the 2020 election) as an example of a conspiracy theory that, in his opinion, Americans have a penchant for embracing. (Note: the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to rule on the 2020 election concerns.) From that launching pad, Braterman goes to his more serious concern. The election conspiracy theory will fade in time, he says, but

there is arguably a much more enduring conspiracy theory that also pervades America in the form [of]….  creationism. And it’s one that we cannot ignore because it is dangerously opposed to science. In the U.S. today, up to 40% of adults agree with the … claim that all humans are descended from Adam and Eve within the past 10,000 years. They also believe that living creatures are the result of “special creation” rather than evolution.[1]

Confusing Definitions

Though possessing a Biblical name (Paul), Braterman is careless about truth. For instance, he lumps creationism in with Intelligent Design. In his words: “the Discovery Institute, [is] a conservative think tank which promotes creationism under the banner of “Intelligent Design.”[2] Braterman added these “beliefs derive from the doctrine of biblical infallibility, long accepted as integral to the faith … including the Free Church of Scotland.” This confusion about intelligent design is often repeated in the secular media, but it differs profoundly from the official definition of intelligent design prominently displayed at the head of IntelligentDesign.org:

The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.

Nothing about this definition involves adherence to the Bible or its concept of God. Furthermore, a large number of scientists, including myself and many other ex-evolutionists, contend that Intelligent Design conclusions are the result of clear scientific evidence, not religious premises.[3]

Professor Braterman then alleges,

the present-day creationist movement is a fully fledged conspiracy theory. It meets all the criteria, offering … claims that the scientific establishment promoting evolution is an arrogant and morally corrupt elite. … [that] supposedly conspires to monopolize academic employment and research grants.[4]

He obviously has not read the extensive literature on this topic. Three sources out of hundreds in print are listed in the footnotes.[5]

Either-Or Fallacies

Braterman points to what he considers an important historical impetus behind the creation movement,

the long-time best seller, The Genesis Flood, by John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris. This provided the inspiration for Morris’s own Institute for Creation Research, and for its offshoots, Answers in Genesis and Creation Ministries International. Ken Ham, the founder and chief executive of Answers in Genesis, is also responsible for the highly lucrative Ark Encounter theme park and Creation Museum in Kentucky. As a visit to any of these websites will show, their creationism is completely hostile to science, while paradoxically claiming to be scientific.[6]

Hostile to science? Anyone who has read creationist literature knows that peer-reviewed science research is heavily relied on, quoted extensively, and is the main source of their conclusions. Braterman adds that “Creationists go to great lengths to demonize the proponents of evolution, and to undermine the overwhelming evidence in its favor.” Creationists do not focus on the majority of scientists; some, however, such as the large number who sided with the Nazis, are rightfully condemned.[7]

Interestingly, Braterman excludes from the ‘conspiracy’ the evolution-tolerant organizations such as “BioLogos, the American Scientific Affiliation, the Faraday Institute, and the Clergy Letter Project, which describes itself as “an endeavor designed to …. promoting evolution science within the context of religious belief.” [8]

Braterman then bemoans the fact that creationists link “together the separate topics of evolution, materialist philosophy, and the promotion of atheism.” They do so for very good reasons! As is well-documented, Darwin developed his theory to do away with God. Natural Selection, as he explained in a letter to his good friend, botanist Joseph Hooker, dated January 11, 1844, was “like confessing to a murder.” Darwin made it clear what he was referring to, specifically the murder of the Christian God that his wife Emma believed in. Why was this the intended effect? His theory destroyed the main reason people believed in God: that humans were created in His image. In effect, Darwin murdered not just the traditional Christian faith, but the Creator Himself. This resulted in, at least in biology, the elimination of “any necessity for religious explanations.”[9]

Is Braterman a Communist?

Next, Braterman endorses communism! Notice the linkage between the two anti-God ideologies:

Darwin did for the understanding of nature what Marx and Engels did for human society—he overturned teleology and essentialism and established a materialist basis for understanding how organisms change over time. And that is precisely what Marx meant when he said that On the Origin of Species “contains the basis in natural history for our view”.[10]

Learn about Marx’s horrible personal life in this book review on Prager U, “Intellectuals” by Paul Johnson. —Ed.

Darwin was astoundingly successful, so much so that a Pew Research Center Survey found 99 percent of members of AAAS (the American Association for the Advancement of Science) are functional atheists. Furthermore, by contrast, according to a survey of the general public also conducted by the Pew Research Center, 95 percent of Americans believe in some form of deity or higher power.[11]

Braterman notes with amazement that a “former U.S. Congressman Paul Broun has described evolution as ‘a lie straight from the pit of hell’. When he said that … he [Broun] was a member of the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.”[12] Given the previous discussion about the results of Darwin’s theory, the congressman’s admission of his personal beliefs are understandable. (See my articles about the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, 28 Dec 2020; evolutionary racism, 16 Sept 2020, Darwinian eugenics, 19 June 2019, and my books The Darwin Effect and How Darwinism Corrodes Morality.)

He goes on to allege that  “creationists immunize themselves from fact-based criticism. They label the study of the past as based on unprovable assumptions, thus disqualifying in advance the plain evidence of geology.” But is that not a reasonable cautionary position to take in view of the fact that history cannot be scientifically tested empirically and assumptions often must be made? Doubting claims of the geological consensus does not disqualify “in advance the plain evidence of geology.” In fact, creation geologists rely on the same observational facts that evolutionists rely on. Creationists do not question the observed facts of geology, but only the Darwinian interpretations of those observations. Many of their published works provide detailed evidence that falsifies the uniformitarian interpretations of particular formations.

Defending the Indefensible

Braterman claims that we focus on “frauds, such as Piltdown man – a hoax skeleton purportedly of a missing link between humans and other apes that was debunked more than 60 years ago.” Actually, Piltdown is only one of the most well-known frauds, both inside and outside of science; naturally, therefore, it is and should be discussed by creationists, historians and philosophers of science.[13] But it is only one of many well-known evolutionary frauds. I have documented many examples in detail in a past book and will do so again in another volume soon to be published.[14]

He mentions one more example of fraud, “the dinosaur-bird amalgam “Archaeoraptor”, discredited by sharp-eyed scientists before ever making it into the peer-reviewed literature (although not before making it into National Geographic).” Yes, that fraud was caught before publication, but it was only the tip of the proverbial iceberg of frauds and blunders that did make it into journal publications.

Braterman mentions the embarrassing Haeckel embryos, drawings which he openly admits “are now considered to be seriously inaccurate[15]. He then rationalizes the fraud, saying that Haeckel’s drawings “correctly draw attention to what most matters here: the features shared during development by different organisms – including humans – such as gill arches, a long tail, and eyes on the side rather than the front of the head, confirming they have a common ancestry.” Again, Braterman failed to do his homework. Human embryos do not have “gill arches, a long tail (or even a short tail), and eyes on the side rather than the front of the head.”[16] Thus the claims by Haeckel and his apologist Braterman do not support common ancestry; quite the contrary. No scientist should be saying anything good about Haeckel’s embryos, one of the biggest frauds in the history of science.

Why does Braterman put the onus on the other side? He says,

Haeckel’s name appears on the Answers in Genesis website 92 times. He is also the subject of a lengthy chapter in Jonathan Wells’ Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth?. This book …  was what first convinced me, back in 2013, that creationism was a conspiracy theory.

How discussion by Wells convinced Braterman that “creationism was a conspiracy theory” is not stated. I fail to follow his logic, if there is any.

What Is a Conspiracy Anyway?

Braterman thinks that creationism “is driven by a deep-seated power struggle within religious communities, between modernists and literalists; between those who regard scripture as coming to us through human authors, however inspired, and those who regard it as a perfect supernatural revelation. And that is a struggle that will be with us for a long time to come.” How this makes it a conspiracy is unclear. If it is, as Braterman admits, “a deep-seated power struggle,” that is not a conspiracy. A conspiracy is defined by Webster as “a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful.” Having a debate between groups is certainly neither secret nor harmful. Amassing evidence for the existence of a Creator and the validity of the scriptural record is neither secret nor harmful. Braterman likely uses the word ‘conspiracy’ because the term is now ‘woke’ and is often overused by the media to ridicule ideas that one opposes.

Summary

Braterman’s effort to expose creation and intelligent design as a conspiracy theory is both uninformed and naïve. This chemist may have meant well as a self-appointed savior of science, but it reflects the culture and not the facts. He should have studied both creationism and intelligent design movements in detail and distinguished between them. He should have interviewed the leading spokespersons. He should have carefully documented each claim. He did not do this and it shows. What results is an emotional tirade geared to ridicule views that he opposes and make them look threatening.

[1] Braterman, P., Why creationism bears all the hallmarks of a conspiracy theory, The Conversation,  February 2021; https://theconversation.com/why-creationism-bears-all-the-hallmarks-of-a-conspiracy-theory-153831.

[2] Braterman,  2021.

[3] Bergman, J., Science is the Doorway to the Creator: Nobel Laureates and Other Eminent Scientists Who Reject Orthodox Darwinism,  Leafcutter Press, Southworth, WA, 2019.

[4] Braterman, 2021.

[5] This included Bergman, J., Slaughter of the Dissidents: The Shocking Truth About Killing the Careers of Darwin Doubters, 3rd edition, Leafcutter Press, Southworth, WA, 2021; Silencing the Darwin Skeptics: The War Against Theists, 2nd edition, Leafcutter Press, Southworth, WA, 2021; Censoring the Darwin Skeptics: How Belief in Evolution is Enforced by Eliminating Dissidents, 2nd edition, Leafcutter Press, Southworth, WA, 2020. .

[6] Braterman, 2021.

[7] See Bergman, J., Darwinian Eugenics and The Holocaust: American Industrial Involvement. Involgo Press, Ontario, Canada, 2020; The Darwin Effect: Its Influence on Nazism, Eugenics, Racism, Communism, Capitalism & Sexism, Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 2014; Hitler and the Nazi Darwinian Worldview: How the Nazi Eugenic Crusade for a Superior Race Caused the Greatest Holocaust in World History, Joshua Press, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, 2012.

[8] Braterman, 2021.

[9] Burkhardt, F., et al. The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, Volume 8: 1860, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1993.,

[10] Angus, I., A Redder Shade of Green: Intersections of Science and Socialism. Monthly Review Press, New York, New York, 2017, p. 40.

[11] file:///Creation:Ev:.doc%20posts/Scientists%20and%20Belief%20%7C%20Pew%20Research%20Center.html

[12] Braterman, 2021.

[13] Bergman, J., “A History of the Piltdown Hoax,” Rivista di Biologia/ Biology Forum 96(3):457-484,  January-February 2003; The Piltdown Hoax’s Influence on Evolution’s Acceptance, CRSQ 36(3):145-154, 1999. See “In Search of History. Hoax of the Ages. Piltdown Man,” The History Channel, 2001. [On the Internet?]

[14] Bergman, J., Evolution’s Blunders, Frauds and Forgeries, CMI Publishing, Atlanta, GA, 2017.

[15] Emphasis added.

[16] Bergman, J., Useless Organs: The Rise and Fall of a Central Claim of Evolution, Bartlett Publishing, Tulsa, OK, 2019.


Dr. Jerry Bergman has taught biology, genetics, chemistry, biochemistry, anthropology, geology, and microbiology for over 40 years at several colleges and universities including Bowling Green State University, Medical College of Ohio where he was a research associate in experimental pathology, and The University of Toledo. He is a graduate of the Medical College of Ohio, Wayne State University in Detroit, the University of Toledo, and Bowling Green State University. He has over 1,300 publications in 12 languages and 40 books and monographs. His books and textbooks that include chapters that he authored are in over 1,500 college libraries in 27 countries. So far over 80,000 copies of the 40 books and monographs that he has authored or co-authored are in print. For more articles by Dr Bergman, see his Author Profile.

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