June 5, 2024 | Jerry Bergman

How to Survive as a Creationist in Science

To survive as a creationist, stay
in the closet and accept evolution
as God’s method of creation

by Jerry Bergman, PhD

As has been well-documented by many researchers, a large number of young persons reared in the church grow up to reject the creation model. The major reason why is that they are exposed to one-sided presentations of evolution in most public schools and universities. When they accept the Darwinian worldview, they often reject the Christian worldview, and many turn to atheism.[1] Some often become functional atheists as I did, or accept what is called theistic evolution— a worldview with an evolution core covered by a thin veneer of theism. Functional atheists are persons who live their life as if there is no God.

A Journey Taken by Many Students

One typical case is a woman named Mikaela Lee who was reared in California as an evangelical Christian but in school was taught that her more conservative set of beliefs were in conflict with science. The journal Nature told her story: “I grew up believing in creationism, that God created the world. Evolution was … a dirty word in my church.”[2] She then explained why she rejected creationism and accepted evolutionism, stating that she

“believed that we, as human beings, had almost an obligation to study the natural world and discover things about it, especially for medical research. And as I got older, I decided that you couldn’t take bits and pieces: you either had to accept all of the science or none of it.” This led her to adjust her religious beliefs to accommodate scientific evidence.[3]

The fact is, she has not accepted all of the science because, if she did, she would realize—as was true of many scientists who do accept all of the science—that the scientific evidence is the doorway to creation.[4] She then explained that

The evidence that I saw was quite convincing. When we studied evolution in school, it kind of clicked in my brain. And it doesn’t just make sense. It’s beautiful. It’s elegant. That was the tipping point for me.[5]

How Beautiful Is Darwinism?

In science, ideas may appear beautiful or elegant, but that subjective opinion does not constitute tangible evidence for a theory. Evolution is certainly neither beautiful nor elegant! In the words of Alfred Lord Tennyson, ruthless evolution is “red in tooth and claw,” characterized by a life of struggle and suffering.[6] It grew out of notions of domination by Herbert Spencer, who called it ‘survival of the fittest’. Darwin built his theory of evolution on notions of aimless variations selected by natural selection. These variations were later tied to genetic mutations. We know now, however, that the vast majority of mutations are genetically harmful.

Northern Illinois University professor Mylan Engel explored the enormous level of animal suffering that occurred throughout evolutionary history. In 2009, professor Murray wrote about Darwinism’s sordid history of animal suffering .[7]

Ignoring these problems, Ms. Lee’s one-sided college education caused her to re-examine

“many of the conservative beliefs that she’d been taught growing up. After moving to the United Kingdom for university in 2018, she joined the more liberal United Reformed Church, which, she says, has many scientist members.”[8]

Darwinism Sneaks into Churches

In an effort to understand the beliefs of the “the more liberal United Reformed Church,” I consulted the written resolutions of the Fourth Synod of the United Reformed Churches in North America (URCNA), held in 2001, which stated that their “Synod affirms that Scripture teaches, as summarized by the Creeds and the Three Forms of Unity,” the following doctrines:

  • The authority and perspicuity of Scripture (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day VII).
  • Necessity and sufficiency of Scripture (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day VII).
  • God the Father Almighty created the heavens and the earth and all things visible and invisible (Apostle’s and Nicene Creeds).
  • The Father created the heavens and the earth out of nothing (Lord’s Day IX).
  • God gave every creature its shape and being (Belgic Confession XII).
  • The creation and fall of man. “God made man of the dust of the earth; man gave ear to the devil.” (Belgic Confession XIV).
  • The historicity of Adam (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day VII.20; Canons of Dort III, IV.1).
  • Man was created good, in a garden, and tempted by the devil, committed reckless disobedience (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day III and IV).
  • God’s words to the serpent in Paradise are noted as the first revelation of the Gospel (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day VI).
  • Adam plunged himself and his offspring by his first transgression into perdition (Belgic Confession XVI).
  • The result was Adam’s fall into sin and our connection to it (Canons of Dort I.1).
  • God came seeking man when he, trembling, fled from Him (Belgic Confession XVII).
  • God created all things good in six days defined as evenings and mornings (Genesis 1 & 2 and Exodus 20:11). This means that we reject any evolutionary teaching, including theistic evolution, concerning the origin of the earth and of all creatures (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day IX).[9]

It appears that either Ms. Lee does not know, or understand, the doctrines of her church, or (more probably), her particular church does not follow the United Reformed Churches’ teachings.

Safe Spaces for Darwin Skeptics

In her Nature article on “How religious scientists balance work and faith,” Anne Marie Conlon spoke about Elaine Ecklund who for the last 20 years has studied scientists’ attitudes towards religion. Ecklund admitted that religious scientists felt relief to talk about their religion’s beliefs “in a safe environment.” One climate scientist in Singapore that she interviewed, Benjamin Grandey, expressed the view that his Christian faith informs his science: “My theology helps me to appreciate the value of why science works, because I believe in a God who has made a very ordered Universe, and that He has given us, as human beings, the ability to understand a lot about that Universe.”[10] Others are not so open about expressing their views. Conlon mentions the findings of one study about the experiences of over 1,300 religious graduate students in science:

many religious people studying science struggle to be open about their faith, reporting a culture [in science] of ‘assumed atheism’ that often led them to conceal their religion for fear of being judged or discriminated against.[11]

Half Truths and Compromisers

Some articles try to soften claims of discrimination with half truths. For instance, last November in The Conversation, Christoper Schietle from West Virginia University claimed that there is no discrimination. He said,

plenty of scientists are religious, undercutting assumptions about faith and science being inherently in conflict. Take Francis Collins, the former director of the National Institutes of Health, who is open about his Christian beliefs.”[12]

Collins may be religious but, as a theistic evolutionist, he has undercut the creation worldview and supported evolution.[13] For instance, in his book The Language of God, Collins repeated an oft-used “bad design” claim by evolutionists that the human eye is poorly designed (see figure below). The argument goes that since the neurons are in front of the retina, they not only block vision, but must pass through the retina in order to travel to the brain. This produces the blind spot.

This arrangement does not affect vision for several reasons. To start with, the retina only senses the data. It is the brain that builds the picture from this data using the vast store of knowledge it has gained from experience. The design is actually ingenious for several reasons. One is that the brain easily blocks out not only the blind spot, but the dirt on one’s glasses, the floaters in the vitreous humor, and the light glare that distorts the image on the retina.

The so-called “backward” retina. Note the light from the light bulb on the far left must go through the nerve fibers, retinal ganglion cells, amacrine cells, and bipolar cells to reach the light-sensitive, visual cells called the rods and cones. From Wikimedia Commons.

Furthermore, if you stared at something without eye movement, your receptors would become saturated, causing what is termed bleaching of the rods and cones. To prevent temporary blindness, the muscles constantly move the eyes, and certain nerves compensate for these movements. If our mind were to see what our retinas view, the world we would see would be herky-jerky. Our eyes continually dart around, causing the image to jump around on our retinas. This set of movements, termed saccades, is smoothed out by the brain. German scientists have identified non-retinal neurons that distinguish between the automatic saccadal movements and the darting glances that we deliberately make to view a large area. These neurons compensate by canceling the saccadal movements.

Most of the other arguments he uses against Intelligent Design have often been repeated by evolutionists in spite of being carefully refuted (see my book Poor Design).

Discrimination Against Theists Persists in Academia

As I have documented in three books, except for some conservative Christian colleges, academia is usually a hostile work environment for theists. Scheitle’s article states that religious people clearly

face challenges when working in science. These challenges have little to do with internal struggles over stereotypical issues like the origins of human life. Instead, religious scientists more often report navigating hostility from their peers and a professional culture that poses challenges.[14]

One reason they face this opposition from peers is because

the culture of assumed atheism meant that other students and professors felt they could speak dismissively about religion …Among students who are more religious, it is a fairly common experience that they hear offhand negative or stereotypical comments about religion or religious people, … either in the classroom or in the laboratory or [college] departmental offices.[15]

As Scheitle noted in his 2023 book, The Faithful Scientist, concealing a part of a religious person’s identity can be isolating: “Research has found that this concealment itself often ends up being harmful to their own psychological well-being and to their sense of connection to others.”[16] Persons who were open about their faith admitted having some very awkward interactions with their non-religious peers: “You can tell [that some co-workers] get uncomfortable, and they change the subject,” said one chemistry student. “It’s not something that’s deterred me from being who I am, but I hate the awkward interactions.”[17] The fact is, only 22 percent of graduate students in science say they believe in God, and of these 22 percent only 20 percent describe themselves as very or moderately religious.[18]

Scheitle wrote about one teacher named Suzanne Kalka, who stated she is not able to be open about her Pentecostal faith, especially since she taught mainly in secular schools, and decided not to risk her career by singling herself out because of her religious beliefs. Threats of conflict pushed her to disguise her religious identity:

“you’re living two lives — you don’t want to risk your scientific credibility by being openly religious. The fact is  “it was a minority of science teachers who had any religious belief at all, and it was never discussed [by others in her school].”[19]

Scheitle agrees that religious science teachers often find it very difficult to be open about their beliefs.[20]

Conlon noted that, although 75% of scientists awarded a Nobel Prize between 1901 and 2000 were at least nominally of the Judeo-Christian faith,[21] nonetheless, the fact is there is often a “strict divide between science and religion… [which is] a barrier to the free exploration of ideas. Discussing evolution and the origins of life, for example, in such environments could lead to stilted conversation.”[22] She writes,

accepting the existence of religion in a scientific context can help to encourage diversity. “Our studies show that people may be kept out of science to some extent because they’re religious, … or that they feel like they have to hide that they’re religious.” … Women and people of color — groups that the scientific community strives to attract and retain — are more likely to identify as religious. “By raising suspicion about religious people, we, as scientists, may be inadvertently keeping racial and ethnic minorities and women out of science.”[23]

Conclusion

The well-documented conclusion is that academia and several branches of science are very antagonistic to the religious world and persons who hold a religious worldview. The 2024 article by Conlon is further evidence of this discrimination. It’s noteworthy that Nature published her article, which gives it credibility in both academia and science. One can hope that Nature‘s piece may open the door to other work in this area.

References

https://creationsuperstore.com/product/darwinism-is-the-doorway-to-atheism-why-creationists-become-evolutionists-book-by-dr-jerry-bergman/[1] Bergman, J., Darwinism is the Doorway to Atheism, Leafcutter Press, Southworth, WA, 2019.

[2] Conlon, A. Fitting Faith into the Workplace. Nature. 629:957-959. May 23. 2024. p. 958.

[3] Conlon, 2024, p. 958.

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

[5] Conlon, 2024, p. 958.

[6] Murray, M.J., Nature Red in Tooth and Claw, Oxford University Press, New York, NY, 2008.

[7] Engel, Jr., Mylan, “Review of Nature Red in Tooth and Claw: Theism and the Problem of Animal Suffering,Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, https://philpapers.org/rec/ENGROM, 2009.

[8] Conlon, 2024, p. 958.

[9] “URCNA Statement on Creation & Evolution,” Phoenix United Reformed Church, https://www.phoenixurc.org/urcna-statement-on-creation-evolution.

[10] Conlon, 2024, p. 958. Italics added.

[11] Conlon, 2024, p. 958.

[12] Scheitle, C., “The challenges of being a religious scientist,” https://theconversation.com/the-challenges-of-being-a-religious-scientist-213816, 27 November 2023.

[13] Collins, F., The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, The Free Press, New York, NY, 2007.

[14] Scheitle, 2023a. Italics added

[15] Conlon, 2024, p. 958.

[16] Conlon, 2024, p. 958.

[17] Scheitle, C., The Faithful Scientist: Experiences of Anti-Religious Bias in Scientific Training, New York University Press, New York, NY, 2023b.

[18] Scheitle, 2023b.

[19] Conlon, 2024, p. 959.

[20] Scheitle, 2023b.

[21] Shalev, B.A., 100 Years of Nobel Prizes, Albany Publication , New York, NY, 2003

[22] Conlon, 2024, p. 959. Emphases added.

[23] Conlon, 2024, p. 959.


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 1,900 publications in 14 languages and 40 books and monographs. His books and textbooks that include chapters that he authored are in over 1,800 college libraries in 27 countries. So far over 80,000 copies of the 60 books and monographs that he has authored or co-authored are in print. For more articles by Dr Bergman, see his Author Profile.

(Visited 317 times, 2 visits today)

Leave a Reply