Creationism – Evolution
An often overlooked religious criticism of biological evolution focuses on the alleged ethical consequences of accepting it, particularly increased immorality and harmfulness. In this essay Michael D. Reynolds describes and critiques one such criticism, that provided by biblical literalist John MacArthur and his historical forebears documented in Charles Sprading’s Science Versus Dogma and Maynard Shipley’s The War on Modern Science. MacArthur makes seven chief assertions about the ethical consequences of accepting evolution: (1) that naturalism and its acceptance of evolution removes the foundation of morality and causes immorality; (2) that accepting evolution prevents belief in spiritual things; (3) that acceptance of evolution entails that humans are no better than animals; (4) that conceding evolution robs human life of meaning or purpose; (5) that naturalism and its acceptance of evolution leads to nihilism; and that evolutionary concepts laid the groundwork for (6) Communist and (7) Nazi ideology. Reynolds concludes that MacArthur’s assertions exemplify the rejection of rational, evidential thinking in favor of unquestioning credulity.
Surveys have found that many high school biology teachers in the United States either reject evolution, emphasize creationism or intelligent design over evolution in their courses, or refrain from discussing evolution in their courses altogether. But few surveys have examined the rate of acceptance of evolution among educators who teach courses other than high school biology. This paper aims to measure the level of acceptance of evolution among graduate students in a master’s degree program in education, offering recommendations for similar future research.
In his recent opinion on the legality of teaching intelligent design in the classroom (Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School Board), Judge John Jones correctly found against Dover, but did so by employing mistaken premises. Two unsound arguments appear in Section 4 of Kitzmiller, “Whether ID is Science.” The first argument seeks to establish that ID is not a science by showing that it invokes supernatural causes outside of the purview of science. The second argument purports to show that even successful criticisms of Darwinism do not constitute evidence for ID. Neither flaw enhances the scientific credentials of ID, but each bolsters the erroneous perception that Darwinists assume as a matter of faith that either supernatural causes do not exist, or else cannot be investigated scientifically. A natural implication of this erroneous perception is that Darwinism is simply an alternative kind of faith, but in fact both Darwinism and many supernaturalistic hypotheses are amenable to empirical test.
Muslim Fundamentalists are fond of claiming that the Koran miraculously predicted the findings of modern science, and that all of its factual scientific claims are flawless. There are two important objections to this claim that I will make, one pointing to a general problem, the other a specific example of the failure of the claim.
Creationist Deception Exposed (1998) (Off Site) by Barry Williams
The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) engages in deceptive selective editing of its interview with Richard Dawkins to make him appear stumped by creationist’s question!
In a long overdue update to this popular article, Mark Vuletic offers a short but informed discussion of whether physical processes could have produced the universe from nothing. This discussion is divided into three main sections: (1) Can Something Come from Nothing? (2) Can the Universe Come from Nothing? and (3) Is the “Nothing” of the Physicists Really Nothing? This discussion is supplemented with an updated list of quotes from popular science works supporting the idea that the universe could come into existence from nothing via natural processes.
A short taste of the long-standing argument between religionists and evolutionists, where it has been, and where it is going. As Edis puts it, “Today, more than a century after Darwin convinced biologists that life had evolved, we still see a raging controversy over creation and evolution. Together with this, we have a large range of ideas about what evolution means for religion.”
Review pointing out some, but not all, of the errors in Denton’s book.
A scientific biography of Darwin.
Darwin Re-Crucified: Why Are So Many Afraid of Naturalism? (1998) (Off Site) by Paul Kurtz
“The crusade against Darwinism is no longer the sole preserve of fundamentalist Christians, for many influential religious conservatives have now joined in the fray. One hundred sixteen years after Darwin’s death, efforts to crucify him continue unabated. The main complaint of religious conservatives is that the theory of evolution is allied with naturalism, and this is inconsistent with their theistic faith.”
Argues that scientists and educators need to understand the beliefs and aims of creationists, and gives advice on what actions they can take to combat creationism.
Compendium of creationist criticisms of evolution, and evolutionist responses to those criticisms.
Argues that it is better to say that we know that evolution has occurred than to say that we believe in evolution.
A survey of what entropy really is, and how it is often misunderstood or misused in theist literature.
Part of Gerkin’s comprehensive review of Lee Strobel’s The Case for Faith, Strobel’s interview with Walter Bradley is analyzed and critiqued.
Objection #3: Evolution Explains Life, So God Isn’t Needed (5th ed., 2020) by Paul Doland
Part of Doland’s comprehensive review of Lee Strobel’s The Case for Faith, Strobel’s interview with Walter Bradley is analyzed and critiqued.
Commentary on Paul Doland’s Critique of Strobel’s Case for Faith (n.d.) by Avue (Off Site)
While Paul Doland’s critique of Lee Strobel’s The Case for Faith shows a decent understanding of current issues within the Christian Church and the socio-religious issues surrounding the Church, he does not show a good understanding of Christianity itself. He shows this, for example, in his discussions of God as heavenly father, original sin, and salvation.
In his earlier Secular Web critique of Lee Strobel’s The Case for Faith, Paul Doland concluded that by raising tough questions for Christianity but failing to adequately respond to them, Strobel (and his interviewees) inadvertently ending up producing a strong case against faith. A rejoinder to Doland’s critique was subsequently published on the God and Science website. In this response to that rejoinder, Doland defends his original conclusion that neither The Case for Faith in particular, nor Christianity in general, provide believable and coherent answers to the sorts of questions that Strobel originally raised. Nor, for that matter, does the attempt by the God and Science website to rehabilitate Strobel’s answers to Christianity’s toughest questions.
“[The Creation/Evolution] debate is too often conducted as a scientific debate, which it is not. It is a theological debate; and only when that is realized can there be hope of mutual understanding and agreement.”
A frequently asked questions list which addresses many common creationist misunderstandings.
Discussion of practical implications of evolutionary biology.
We can prove that evolution is scientifically valid but Creationists claim that evidence from the fossil record is insufficient. They claim that to demonstrate the proof of a theory, it must be possible to demonstrate the entire theory all at once. This objection is now met by computer simulation. Simple desktop computers can perform over a million floating point calculations a second, making simulations of evolutionary processes easy to demonstrate.
A comprehensive, point-by-point refutation young-Earth arguments and other creationist claims made by Dr. Kent Hovind (“young Earth creationist and dinosaur hunter”) in the Hovind-Patterson debate.
Brief paper outlining some of the problems with creationism, and defending evolution from a few creationist criticisms.
Christian liberals read the Bible figuratively, re-interpreting it so that the six days of Creation are taken to mean six “epochs” each spanning millions of years. This concession, Ho argues, allows them to preserve the Bible’s truth and sanctity by harmonizing Genesis with geological fact. Ho argues that this apologetic way of thinking should be rejected, because it leads to “immense textual difficulties elsewhere” in Genesis, and “it still fails to explain other geological and evolutionary facts, or is even at odds with them.”
Forrest argues that intelligent design creationism is an attempt to ground social institutions in evangelical religion, allowing proponents to align with more literalist creationists in “defeating naturalism and its consequences,” and to transform science itself in a theistic endeavor designed to promote faith rather than science.
Observed Instances of Speciation (Revised 1995) (Off Site) by Joseph Boxhorn
Some creationists concede that evolution can occur within species but claim that there is no evidence that speciation can occur. This article defines what scientists mean by “species” and lists several examples of observed speciation events.
Plantinga’s Probability Arguments Against Naturalism and Evolution (1997) by Branden Fitelson and Elliott Sober (Off Site PDF)
In Chapter 12 of Warrant and Proper Function, Alvin Plantinga constructs two arguments against naturalistic evolution. Both arguments hinge on the idea that naturalistic evolution cannot account for the reliability of human cognitive faculties. Fitelson and Sober contend that Plantinga’s arguments contain serious errors.
A refutation of Walter’s Brown claim that subduction of plates into the lithosphere cannot occur.
Petrologist Lorence collins tackles the complicated issue regarding the use of “Polonium halos” in granites as evidence of instantaneous, i.e., Biblical, creation.
Takes the eminently terrible pathlights.com “encyclopedia” to task for irresponsible claims about the eminent physicists George Gamow.
In this greatly expanded version of his contribution to The Antipodean Philosopher, Raymond D. Bradley uses H. L. Mencken’s classic “Memorial Service” as a jumping off point to explain why he is an atheist, and not an “agnostic,” about the existence of any members of the category “gods.” Since which gods happen to predominate in the society into which one was born depends upon accidents of birth, how can anyone justifiably have confidence that any of the gods on Mencken’s list actually exist? Turning to our own Western monotheistic tradition, Bradley goes on critique the intellectual and moral defense that believers have mounted for the biblical God of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, with particular emphasis on “intelligent design” and “fine-tuning” arguments and how the pastorate feign ignorance about what their own biblical scholarship has uncovered about the all-too-human origins of their “revealed” sacred texts.
“Creationism is not dead. It is not even dying. What is dying is American science education. We are graduating a generation of scientific illiterates who will be the voters of tomorrow. It is they who will determine how we fare in international technological competition. And, given that the high stakes issue of the future could be biotechnology, we may be moving toward a particularly ominous tomorrow.”
From the National Academies: Teaching the Science of Evolution (2004) (Off Site) by Bruce Alberts and Jay B. Labov
This article focuses on the Academies’ efforts to address challenges to the teaching of evolution in the nation’s public schools. It describes the nature of the problem and how the Academies have joined with others in the life and physical science communities to confront it. It also points out what you can do, if and when similar challenges emerge where you live.
Response to a short series of exchanges on cosmological creationism which explains many of my views on the subject and exhibits what I see are paradigm examples of what is wrong with the thinking and methods of creationists. This essay is aimed at those creationists who are not beyond all reason, but who admit they may be wrong, and thus may yet notice their mistakes and learn from them, and who at any rate are genuinely open to honest debate.
A Total Eclipse of Reason (1999) (Off Site) by John Rennie
“Kansas turned out the lights more permanently by endorsing ignorance of evolution.”
Theistic evolution (TE), the theological view that God creates through evolution, combines evolutionary biology and religion in a way that pretends to avoid a conflict between these two disciplines. This view is held to a greater or lesser extent by the Roman Catholic Church and major Protestant denominations, and is even propagated by some nonreligious scholars. In this essay Bart Klink argues that evolution is irreconcilable with theism, particularly Christian theism, on both philosophical and theological grounds.
“The point of the tired, old watch-in-the-desert analogy was supposed to be that evolution does not and could not occur. But watches have evolved; they aren’t created miraculously, ex nihilo; and their inability to self-assemble has nothing to do with the obvious ability of chemical compounds and living things to assemble themselves out of available materials.”
Barbara Forrest, Southeastern Louisiana University, outlines the political agenda of the Discovery Institute’s “Wedge Strategy,” exposing it as a scientific failure encumbered by religious ambition and public relations. Forrest articulates clearly the goals, strategies, and political ambitions of the Intelligent Design movement in America today.