How Creationists & Evolutionists are Evidentially on Equal Footing

creationism vs evolutionism debate

The Science of Rock-Scissors-Paper

In my ongoing discussion with “skeptics”, my “skeptic” friends often appeal to the fact that the vast majority of living scientists, and educated people in general, hold to a belief in microbes-to-man evolution. I do recognize that this is the case.

My “skeptic” friends uniformly assume this must be because the scientific evidence is so overwhelming that only someone with a strong, predetermined, religious bias would seriously hold to creationism. Since relatively few hold to young earth creationism, they sometimes wonder if we think there is an anti-creationist conspiracy in academia keeping the truth of creationism from getting out.

I would like to enthusiastically offer my layman’s observations on those two assumptions.

ASSUMPTION #1: Creationists have a predetermined faith position into which they must fit all scientific data. They do not follow the evidence wherever it may lead, (like real scientists do).

It might surprise some that I actually agree with this assumption. Creationists are, in fact, quite open about their bias right out of the gate. Creationists do begin from a faith position that they choose not to question.

The fascinating point that I want to make here is that materialist evolutionists do exactly the same thing. Not something similar, but exactly.

Belief in microbes-to-man evolution is a faith position, complete with its own dogma that may not be questioned if one is to remain in good standing in academia among one’s peers. This isn’t merely my opinion. It is a fact that we can all observe. I will prove this shortly.

I will also point out that this notion shouldn’t be taken as an insult, but it is. It is insulting to materialists and “skeptics” only because they don’t want to see themselves this way. They’ve spent a lot of ink and pixels “accusing” the other side of acting from faith, while positioning themselves as standing strictly on scientific evidence. I am repeatedly told that there is no evidence for God. What nonsense.

Most often in my discussions, I no longer even attempt to prove that creationism is correct. That is far too ambitious a goal. My aim now is simply to get materialists to admit that they are also acting from a faith position when it comes to beliefs around the origins of the universe and life. I say we’re on equal footing. (Actually, as a theist, I believe that my position is the more rational of the two since my position is at least possible, but I’m trying to seek common ground).

But they will not budge. They have made the stakes for themselves too high.

ASSUMPTION #2: Creationists believe in an academia/media conspiracy designed to keep the truth from getting out, (like flat-earthers do).

This one I don’t agree with. It’s completely unnecessary to believe in such a conspiracy. The truth is much simpler than the existences of a secret conspiracy.

The truth is this: creationism is so embarrassing that it renders a conspiracy unnecessary.

Seriously. Creationists believe in an earth only thousands of years old, that God created human life fully formed in His image, and that a historical guy named Noah preserved humanity on an ark in a global flood that shaped geology. Anyone who claims to believe any of this in a secular academic setting commits career suicide.

It’s not a question of whether or not there is corroborating scientific evidence for all of this, (because there is), it is a question of academic respectability and peer approval. Creationism is not intellectual-sounding, and we all want to be thought of by others as intelligent people.

Furthermore, to even admit the possibility that science might corroborate these stories would amount to, not only scientific evidence for the existence of God, but even worse, it would amount to evidence for the existence of the God of the Bible. The secularist establishment will never allow that if it can be avoided. And it can be avoided by having faith that science will someday fill in the existing knowledge gaps.

The problem with questions of origins is that ALL of the possibilities are embarrassing! It’s just that we’ve been conditioned to accept the evolution story as somehow more plausible and intellectual. But it’s not. It’s ridiculous. As of today, it’s essentially belief in magic.

Just to be clear, materialist evolutionists believe that all of the life that we see today – from daisies, to hummingbirds, to blue whales, to Vladimir Putin – all of this accidentally arose from a single-celled organism – one ancestral genome – billions of years ago; blindly and mindlessly. Yet I would assert that we all innately know this is not how the real world works.

Someday science will fill in the gaps…
Perhaps. But until that day, can we admit that microbes-to-man evolution is a faith position?

Evolutionary science asserts that everything we see can be explained by natural processes. But as of this writing, that assertion is demonstrably untrue. In fact, at the most fundamental points, naturalism lacks known, scientifically observable, natural processes that can explain what we see:

  • There is no known, observable, natural process by which the material universe could have accidentally created itself.

 

  • We have known since the 19th century, from scientific experimentation, that life does not spontaneously arise from non-living matter. Yet materialists must believe that it does.

 

  • Even if simple living organisms could have accidentally appeared, there is no known, observable, natural process by which such organisms could have blindly evolved into doctors, lawyers, and Indian chiefs over time. Mutation (genomic copying errors) and natural selection are insufficient to account for this.

 

  • We know from genetic science that the human genome is deteriorating at an observable rate. Not only can mutation/natural selection not explain how complex information got into our deteriorating genome, it can’t even explain how it could have remained there up until the present time.

Accidental existence shouldn’t even be on the table as a serious option until it can be shown to be possible by natural processes. This is simply holding evolutionists to their own claims.

Yes, this too is dogma
I promised to prove that dogma exists in the realm of evolutionary science. Of several dogmas, here is perhaps the most crucial, authoritative doctrine in secular science: deep time – the belief that the universe is 13.8 billion years old, and that the earth is 4.5 billion years old.

Let us be clear. There can be no theory of microbes-to-man evolution via mutation and natural selection without these billions of years. This is absolutely non-negotiable for naturalism or materialism if one wants to remain a rational believer in those things. Regarding the scientific method, an evolutionary scientist may not, cannot, will not, consider a young earth conclusion even if the evidence should point to that conclusion.

The theist’s job, then, is simple: Any evidence that points to a young earth is essentially hard evidence for a belief in God. And there is a great deal of it, from diverse scientific fields. (See a variety of examples here).

To clarify: creationists don’t have to prove the earth is only 6000 years old. It may be 10,000 years old. It may be 100,000. It may be 500,000. Some evidence indicates it may be one or two million years old. This is still far, far too little time for microbes-to-man evolution to be possible. This fact leaves evolutionists in the hopeless position of fitting all scientific evidence that comes in into a deep time scenario. Much of it does not. The fact that soft dinosaur tissue exists today in supposedly 65 million year old bones is just the tip of the iceberg. The universe continues to surprise us.

Without deep time, rational atheism is dead. The dictionary defines dogma as, prescribed doctrine proclaimed as unquestionably true by a particular group.” If you are a materialist, you may object to calling belief in deep time “dogma.” I would ask you to explain why it is not.

Science has its limits, particularly when discerning unobservable, unrepeatable, distant historical events. The creation-evolution debate is ultimately not about what science says. It’s really about what each of us wants to believe, because science says “both.”

 

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5 comments on “How Creationists & Evolutionists are Evidentially on Equal Footing

  1. Interesting that your essay came today when I just read an interesting admission by neo-darwinist, Richard Lewontin:

    “It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

    Does that sound like science or an a priori ideological prejudice?

    A few observations…

    1. While there may be no spoken “conspiracy” against Creationism in academia, one has to wonder why the majority in academia subscribe to Darwinism. Is it because they’re smarter and know more than the rest of us or is it because that’s the de facto ideology into which anyone entering academia is indoctrinated?

    2. While the Darwinist is incredulous that all variety of dogs came from two average dogs, they believe that all dogs came from a mud hole. Which sounds more reasonable? And does the materialist actually believe an elephant will magically pop into existence in front of his car as he drives? Why not? After all, he believes something far more fundamental, the very laws of physics and chemistry upon which the existence of elephants depend, magically popped into existence.

    3. Darwinism has no scientific credentials. It doesn’t fulfill criteria of what is usually accepted as part of the “scientific method” (an epistemology that can’t even satisfy its own truth-conditions). Darwinian macro-evolution isn’t observable, isn’t repeatable, isn’t falsifiable, and is held and propounded dogmatically rather than held tentatively.

    4. Finally, with respect to the age of the universe, that’s not even an issue accessible to empirical inquiry. In order for something to be part of the empirical sciences, it has to be measurable/quantifiable. And in order to measure something, there has to be some method of measurement. And in order to be valid and trustworthy, a measuring apparatus must be calibrated. And the only way to calibrate a measuring apparatus is to use a sample of a known value on it to test whether it is measuring accurately. Since we cannot, in principle, reasonably know the age of anything beyond recorded history (which goes back far less than ten-thousand years), there is no “known” sample by which to calibrate any apparatus to measure any age older than recorded history. Moreover, attempting to calibrate one method by way of another uncalibrated measuring method is simply question-begging, so any argument which claims that “many measuring methods concur” is simply an act of the blind leading the blind. And for those measuring methods which do function properly, they must be tested for their limits. For example, a bathroom scale which is properly calibrated still cannot weigh an electron or a mountain. It has limits at both ends and it only functions within boundary conditions. So any measuring method which can be shown to measure accurately must still demonstrate where its boundary conditions exist, and boundary conditions with respect to very old ages runs into the same problem I stated at the outset, i.e., there are no samples of known value of anything beyond recorded history. So in principle, any claim to date the age of the universe is without scientific credentials because no calibrated (i.e., valid and dependable) measuring apparatus exists.

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Frank.
    I’m aware of only a few times when materialists have been honest enough to publicly admit that they have no intention of going where the evidence should lead, if the evidence should lead to the supernatural. Your Lewontin quote is one of those.

    I recently saw Richard Dawkins himself make a similar statement. In a 2013 conversation with Dawkins, Peter Boghossian asks him what would persuade him that God exists. Dawkins replies,

    “…Well, I’m starting to think that nothing would, which in a way goes against the grain because I’ve always paid lip service to the view that a scientist should change his mind when evidence is forthcoming. The trouble is I can’t think what that evidence would look like…”

    In the interview, when he tries to come up with what examples of evidence for God might be, he can only come up with anti-scientific, cartoonish examples, (God calling out to Him in a deep voice, or writing a message with the stars.) If he doesn’t know what he’s looking for, it is unlikely he will find it.

    His comments occur around the 12:30 – 15:30 minute mark of the 53 minute conversation in case anyone would like to check the quote and the context:

    I would argue that, ironically, God >has< in fact written a message in the stars, and that the apostle Paul even refers to the Psalmist citing this as the "voice" of God (Romans 10:18). The stars and planets move according to discoverable, precise, predictable laws of motion. Dawkins and friends must believe this is all a result of an accidental explosion.

    • Asking a skeptic what evidence he would accept for theism is a great approach because, depending on his answer, it’ll reveal what his attitude really is, whether he’s driven by truth or prejudice. When William Lane Craig asked Keith Parson what evidence he would accept for theism, Parson said that if a giant hand emerged from the clouds in some Monty Python fashion and commanded that Parson believe in Him, that might convince him, to which Craig then asked, “Wouldn’t you just say you were having a hallucination?” The audience had a good laugh, because, during his debate with Craig, Parson kept attributing post-crucifixion sightings of Jesus as mere hallucinations. The point is, nothing would convince Keith Parson of theism, and I suspect the vast majority of militant skeptics are similarly hard-hearted to the point of resisting any evidence, no matter how conclusive. What I find interesting is that, upon examination, most such skeptics have some axe to grind. Many of them have religious backgrounds and feel God has done them some wrong in the past so, like an angry child who believes he is punishing his parents by ignoring them, these skeptics believe they are punishing God by denying Him.

  3. Brian says:

    Frank can you help explain this?

    “Finally, with respect to the age of the universe, that’s not even an issue accessible to empirical inquiry. In order for something to be part of the empirical sciences, it has to be measurable/quantifiable.”

    You did not speak to any form of carbon/radiometric dating which seemed to be the obvious defense that would be brought up to your point. Was hoping to hear you wax on that a bit?

    Note I lean heavily on the young earth side already…but I want to hear your point, as it seems to be a significant piece and the most obvious answer a detractor might give.

    Appreciate the depth of thinking from both of you.

    • My critique needn’t address problems intrinsic to any particular dating method. The problem I raised applies to any and all scientific attempts at acquiring data through measurement. Carbon/radiometric dating as a means to measure age must be calibrated for reliability, and the only way to calibrate anything is to test it with a sample of a known value. In the case of carbon/radiometric dating, we can take something of which we know the age, say, a live animal, and date it to test the measuring method. The problem is that, while the method may sometimes work, it’s also been known to yield grossly false results, such as dating live snails at thousands of years. Those who have faith in carbon/radiometric dating simply dismiss or intentionally throw out such results and offer ad hoc excuses as a rescue device (skeptics are far more guilty of offering their materialist/naturalist-theory-of-the-gaps than theists ever are of offering God-of-the-gaps explanations).

      Now carbon/radiometric dating seems to make sense in principle, assuming decay rates are fixed. Let’s just assume that all we know about decay rates indicate that they are currently fixed, and let’s be generous and pretend that testing on all samples of known values have yielded acceptable results. The problem is, how do we know decay rates have been fixed for all the existence of the universe? If the decay rate has changed from before recorded history, we can’t know, since there is no way to get into a time machine and go that far into the past to retrieve a sample of known value. And therein lies the problem of calibrating such a measuring method. Without a sample of known value, we can’t know the limits within which current decay rates can be trusted.

      I’m not sure if I’m explaining all of this clearly, which is why I previously gave the example of a bathroom scale. Even if we know for a fact that the bathroom scale is working properly and can weigh anything comparable to the weight of a human body accurately, does that mean it can measure all things accurately? Can it weigh an atom? Can it weigh the Great Pyramid? Of course not. It has boundary conditions beyond its ability to measure. Let’s take any other means of measuring. Can the tape measure in your garage tell you the length of a molecule? Can it tell you the length of the Great Wall of China? Of course not. It may work perfectly, but it has boundary conditions beyond which it cannot function. Likewise, even if carbon/radiometric dating worked perfectly for something (hypothetically) between 100 years and 3000 years, it still must be calibrated for its boundary conditions so that we know to what extant it can be trusted to yield reliable results. And since there’s no way to obtain a sample of known value from before recorded history (since time machines don’t exist), we cannot, in principle, calibrate measuring methods for accuracy anything previous to that, ergo, no method for dating anything before recorded history can be said to represent legitimate “scientific” data with respect to observable science.

      To be honest, much of what passes as “science” is really speculative philosophy. You see, data is not self-interpreting. One must bring his philosophical presuppositions to the table and use those assumptions to interpret the data. So when critiquing scientific claims, it’s worth noting the intellectual baggage people carry (for example, those who hold to an old age for the world have a philosophical commitment to uniformitarianism, a presupposition which has no scientific credentials, but it allows them to believe in things like fixed processes without questioning the need to scientifically calibrate their measuring apparatus). It’s also worth noting that, before one can interpret data, it obviously must be collected, and it’s doubtful that the collection of all data is even done accurately or reported honestly. The scientific enterprise is plagued with problems and scandals. I personally think Christians ought to study the philosophy of science, which is more valuable in evaluating scientific claims than trying to study and be expert in every area of science, which simply isn’t feasible for most of us.

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