PZ Myers on Why Creationists Believe, or A Look at an Evolutionist’s Double Standard


Recently on “rev” Barry Lynn’s Culture Shocks program, PZ Myers commented on geocentrism. After stating that such folks affirm that the Earth is the center of the galaxy or universe or whatever based on scientific ignorance [“It’s pretty easy to dismiss what you don’t understand,” opines Myers], he made the following estimation:

“Also, they’ve got an ideological basis for rejecting it. It’s the same thing with the gang at Answers in Genesis who insist that we have to interpret every word in the Bible literally because if there’s one word of Genesis wrong, then the whole story of Jesus must be false and there’s no salvation and we’re all going to go to hell, or there is no hell and no heaven. They just see it as a row of dominoes; if you knock one down, the whole thing goes down. So, you know, I suspect it’s the same sort of thing there [as geocentrists]. They have such a strong commitment to certain ideological principles that they cannot tolerate any questioning of even the most trivial details” [src: http://www.cultureshocks.com/shows/2011/07/12/p-z-myers/ 18:18 to 18:55].

Before I point out the obvious [that evos like PZ also have an ideological basis for rejecting Biblical Creationism], I’d like to point out that PZ is dead-on right that it’s easy to dismiss what you don’t understand… and he clearly doesn’t understand Creationism.

I don’t get it, but evos as a rule simply disagree with Creationism without bothering to find out specifically what they’re disagreeing over. They don’t know what Creationists believe. They simply disagree with us because it’s not evolution.

For example, PZ claims that Answers in Genesis insists that we have to interpret every word in the Bible literally. If you go over to his blogsite, you’ll note that he’s made several posts criticizing AiG and Ken Ham in particular. So we could assume that PZ knows what AiG does and does not believe, right? Apparently not.

Answers in Genesis has consistently refuted the notion that they are telling anyone to take every word in the Bible literally(for example, this article by Bodie Hodge). Creationists take the Bible in context, but we affirm that the context of Genesis and other passages relevant to the origins issue make it clear that Genesis was meant as literal history. The Bible contains round numbers, figures of speech and poetry in addition to prophecy, doctrine and history. Context is as important in Bible interpretation as it is in everyday speech.

So it doesn’t matter so much whether one word of Genesis is wrong [and I’ve no reason to think so], so much as if Genesis isn’t literal history then there is no foundational basis for the Gospel. PZ should be aware that even atheists have pointed this out. As I noted in Ex-Christians: The Evolution Factor, atheist Frank Zindler made the following assessment:

“The most devastating thing though that biology did to Christianity was the discovery of biological evolution. Now that we know that Adam and Eve never were real people the central myth of Christianity is destroyed. If there never was an Adam and Eve there never was an original sin. If there never was an original sin there is no need of salvation. If there is no need of salvation there is no need of a Savior. And I submit that puts Jesus, historical or otherwise, into the ranks of the unemployed. I think that evolution is absolutely the  death knell of Christianity.”–[Frank Zindler, debate with William Craig, Atheism vs Christianity video, Zondervan, 1996.]

G. Richard Bozarth chimes in similarly:

“Christianity has fought, still fights, and will fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus’ earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the son of God. If Jesus was not the redeemer  who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing.” — quoted from The American Atheist, September 1978, p. 30.

In that article, I also noted that “those who embraced evolutionism as fact rejected Christianity wholesale, recognizing that what was being presented as scientific truth completely contradicted what they’d been taught as religious truth.

“For example:

  • The claim that the Earth and universe are billions of years old and man’s existence represents only the tiniest tail-end of that history contradicts Christ Jesus’ affirmation that God created man, male and female, “from the beginning” [Matt 19:4; Mark 10:6] and the Bible’s clear testimony that the Earth and the universe was created in 6 literal days. [Exodus 20:11]
  • The claim that Man is the product of evolution, an endless cycle of death and mutation contradicts the Apostle Paul’s authority for he said “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin” [Rom.5:12; also 1 Cor. 15:22].
  • As noted, the claim that Adam & Eve is only a teaching myth undermines the foundational basis of the Gospel, for if the literal First Adam did not literally Fall there is no need for literal sin debt to be paid by a literal Savior. [1 Cor 15:45]
  • The claim that the Noachian Flood was local rather than global contradicts the testimony of the Apostle Peter [2 Pet 3:6] and makes God a liar since He promised never to destroy all flesh by water again [Gen 9:12] — yet local floods abound!

Of course, PZ pretends as if evolutionists are free from ideological commitments, yet it is undeniably the evolutionists who “have such a strong commitment to certain ideological principles that they cannot tolerate any questioning of even the most trivial details.” Evolutionists fight tooth and nail to keep teachers from being able to teach BOTH the strengths and weaknesses of microbes-to-man evolution [not because there are no weaknesses, PZ] because that might open the door to the question of God’s agency in our origins, because that might expose the house of cards evolutionists have been stacking all these years and have been maintaining by an artificial High Wall of protection which insulates it from criticism rather than exposing it to the self-correcting mechanisms of real science. Oh, and by indoctrinating our kids into belief in evolution as immutable fact.

I covered most of this in Darwin’s Glass Chin.

The sad fact is that PZ has been convicted of his own words. It’s easy to dismiss what you don’t understand, PZ. Like most evolutionists, he has a ideological basis for rejecting the Creation and Catastrophism model and has such a strong commitment to said ideological principles that he cannot tolerate any questioning of even the most trivial details of his prefered model of origins.

-revTony

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Juno says:

    Tony –

    I read Bodie’s article and I have a couple of questions/comments about this statement:

    “Reading the Bible ‘plainly’ means understanding that literal history is literal history, metaphors are metaphors, poetry is poetry, etc. The Bible is written in many different literary styles and should be read accordingly. This is why we understand that Genesis records actual historical events. It was written as historical narrative.”

    First: the sacred texts of other religions (e.g., the Mahabharrat) also purport to be – or are believed to be by their adherents – ‘historical narratives’; I’m going to assume you don’t agree with their veracity. Why not?

    Second: Christians use the Bible itself when deciding what is literal and what is metaphorical, etc.; but the Bible is a collection of letters and other writings by various writers in various time periods separated by centuries. It would seem to me that the underlying ideological thread here is your belief that all of these human writers were ‘inspired’ by God to write what they wrote. And, of course, your belief in this inspiration comes again from the Bible itself. Don’t you think you may be deluding yourself with this circular ‘contextual referencing’, so to speak?

    Third: Especially with regard to the first chapter of Genesis – and other narratives written by people who weren’t and couldn’t have possibly been eyewitnesses to the depicted events – how can Christians be confident, other than by appealing to the alleged inspiration of God I mentioned in my second point above, that what was written is accurate?

    Fourth: As PZ noted recently, a little girl asked a museum docent, “Were you there?” when the docent told her that moon rocks were billions of years old. Well, obviously we can ask the same question of Christians, and specifically the authors of Genesis and all the books of the Bible if they ‘were there’ when these events happened. Was the writer of Genesis there when God created Adam & Eve? Obviously not.

    I know religious believers like to say that scientists are arrogant, etc. If they are, I would submit that this arrogance stems from the fact that science is phenomenally successful in describing the world, predicting how events in the world unfold, and being able to control the world to an astonishing extent based on this scientific methodology. You probably don’t want to believe this, but scientists understand (or should understand) that science is provisional; that is, new methods, tools, and insights can and do change scientific hypotheses – and sometimes even whole theories. But scientists are able to do this without recourse to super-natural theories and mechanisms. Why? Because they simply don’t work. Having a super-natural outlook on reality – and specifically a Judeo-Christian outlook – does not help us understand, predict, or control the world in which we live. Positing super-natural entities and forces to explain the world doesn’t work. That’s why science rejects them.

    Science has found – based on actual experience – that only natural entities and forces are able to describe and explain reality. If a biologist can’t explain the bacterial flagellum with reference to natural events and forces, positing an undefined (indeed, unknowable) ‘god’ – or Intelligent Designer – doesn’t help. The proper attitude of the scientist wishing to understand the world is to say, “I can’t currently explain the bacteral flagellum; I will wait for new insights/methods/tools to help me. If they never materialize, I will have to be satisfied with ignorance. In the meantime, I will keep working on it.”

    1. Juno,

      You wrote:

      “I read Bodie’s article and I have a couple of questions/comments about this statement:
      “Reading the Bible ‘plainly’ means understanding that literal history is literal history, metaphors are metaphors, poetry is poetry, etc. The Bible is written in many different literary styles and should be read accordingly. This is why we understand that Genesis records actual historical events. It was written as historical narrative.”

      I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

      “First: the sacred texts of other religions (e.g., the Mahabharrat) also purport to be – or are believed to be by their adherents – ‘historical narratives’; I’m going to assume you don’t agree with their veracity. Why not?”

      Well, the Bible is an all or nothing proposition. It claims to be true from the beginning and to be the God-breathed revelation of the Creator who knows everything and never lies. These other narratives contradict the Bible and each other in many places, so they canot all be true at the same time. Furthermore, the majority [if not all] of these other narratives do not account for the universe from nothing, but use pre-existing materials – only the Bible does this. In addition, the Bible describes the universe as we see it. See How Did We Get Here? for more on this subject. Creationists believe that these other narratives contain elements of truth but that they are corruptions of the true history revealed in the Bible. My next answer reveals another reason I reject these counterfeit texts.

      “Second: Christians use the Bible itself when deciding what is literal and what is metaphorical, etc.; but the Bible is a collection of letters and other writings by various writers in various time periods separated by centuries. It would seem to me that the underlying ideological thread here is your belief that all of these human writers were ‘inspired’ by God to write what they wrote. And, of course, your belief in this inspiration comes again from the Bible itself. Don’t you think you may be deluding yourself with this circular ‘contextual referencing’, so to speak?”

      No, I don’t. You see, scholars have proven over and again that the Bible is historically and geographically accurate. In addition to this, the Bible is also supernaturally accurate; that is, it consists of about 27% prophecy, much of it fulfilled. This fulfilled prophecy gives us confidence in not only the as-yet-unfulfilled prophecies the Bible contains but also in the veracity of the Bible’s other claims of supernatural authorship. Too, there is ample evidence of the historicity of Christ’s Resurrection [and did I mention that many of the Bible’s prophecies, written hundreds of years before His Advent, were fulfilled in Jesus Christ?] also lends credence to the Bible’s claim to supernatural authority above all other texts.

      “Third: Especially with regard to the first chapter of Genesis – and other narratives written by people who weren’t and couldn’t have possibly been eyewitnesses to the depicted events – how can Christians be confident, other than by appealing to the alleged inspiration of God I mentioned in my second point above, that what was written is accurate?”

      You are correct to note that man, created on day 6, could not have been an eyewitness to the events of the 1st chapter of Genesis. Orthodox tradition maintains that God revealed these things to Adam, who passed them down to his children. Yet again, fulfilled prophecy, the Resurrection evidences, the Bible’s geographical and historical acuuracy, and the Bible’s true assessment of the human condition are more than suficient to give the Christian confidence that Genesis is the accurate revelation of their Creator. Your insistence that we need an outside authentication is unnecessary under these conditions and merely seeks to create a false dilemma.

      “Fourth: As PZ noted recently, a little girl asked a museum docent, “Were you there?” when the docent told her that moon rocks were billions of years old. Well, obviously we can ask the same question of Christians, and specifically the authors of Genesis and all the books of the Bible if they ‘were there’ when these events happened. Was the writer of Genesis there when God created Adam & Eve? Obviously not.”

      I answered this objection in my previous answer. Moses, the author of Genesis, was not there when God created Adam & Eve, but he received the toledoths of the generations before him. The Hebrew phase ‘elleh toledot’ is generally translated as ‘the generations of.’ Genesis contains the toledoth of Adam, Noah and others; the very first toledoth is in Genesis 2:4: “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.” Everything preceding that is the toledoth of creation, or more specifically of the Creator Himself as likely related to Adam. Moses compiled these toledoths into the Genesis account under the inspiration of God.

      “I know religious believers like to say that scientists are arrogant, etc. If they are, I would submit that this arrogance stems from the fact that science is phenomenally successful in describing the world, predicting how events in the world unfold, and being able to control the world to an astonishing extent based on this scientific methodology. You probably don’t want to believe this, but scientists understand (or should understand) that science is provisional; that is, new methods, tools, and insights can and do change scientific hypotheses – and sometimes even whole theories.”

      Are you attempting to educate me regarding science? Creationists do not say that evolutionary scientists are arrogant so much as willfully ignorant. we obviously make no such criticism about Creation scientists. Many inventions and discoveries and scientific disciplines that were founded were the work of Bible-believing scientists, who didn’t need evolution. The Scientific Method itself is credited to one of these Bible-believing scientists, Sir Francis Bacon, and is based on the idea that we have an orderly universe that may be rationally understood because both it and our minds were designed by a Creator. As for the self-correcting mechanisms of science… so long as microbes-to-man evolution is insulated from critical inquiry, you may as well toss that out the window, because by thus insisting that evolution be free from criticism you are impeding the progress of science.

      “But scientists are able to do this without recourse to super-natural theories and mechanisms. Why? Because they simply don’t work. Having a super-natural outlook on reality – and specifically a Judeo-Christian outlook – does not help us understand, predict, or control the world in which we live. Positing super-natural entities and forces to explain the world doesn’t work. That’s why science rejects them.”

      Actually evolutionary science rejects them because it plays by an arbitrary set of rules [yes, arbitrary] that precludes supernatural agency as a cause for any phenomenon – which is a real problem if in fact God exists and He’s done anything, as the Bible claims. What this means is that a scientist playing by the No God Allowed rule would eventually make up a naturalistic Just So Story to account for something God actually did and scientific discovery would be derailed by science fictions. In short, if God exists [and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that he does; fulfilled prophecy, the Resurrection, etc] then science playing by these all-natural rules are actually being willfully ignorant and turning from the truth to fables simply because they don’t wish to acknowledge that God could actually do anything.

      In fact, the Scientific Method works for the excellent reason that universe we observe is orderly, containing precisely set constants, beautiful mathematics, fine-tuned physics and follows definite laws. The existence of such specified information implies purpose. Why should undirected randomness produce any sort of order, much less useful information precisely tuned for a Just Right universe? Especially when things have a tendency toward disorder. Explosions in print shops don’t produce encyclopedias! Yet it’s not only ordered; for the evolutionist, it’s much worse than that. The state of the universe is exactly what is necessary for human life to exist. We live in the perfect type galaxy of the right shape, on the right piece of the arm of the spiral. Our sun is exactly the right size, color, mass, distance, orbit. This incredible string of Free Lunches goes on and on. Each time, the evolutionist invokes chance because they refuse to allow a Divine foot in the door whether the evidence might allow for it or not.

      The Bible claims the cosmos was framed by the word of God. God spoke, and light, life and all the rest came into being at His Word. Frankly, those who object to this as a possibility have already ruled God out as a possibility. In all fairness Even Thomas Huxley, Darwin’s bulldog & certainly no friend of religion, conceded that given a Deity, he would have no difficulty in conceiving that where nothing had existed, the universe could suddenly appear out of nothingness, at the volition of that Deity.

      “Science has found – based on actual experience – that only natural entities and forces are able to describe and explain reality.”

      I beg to differ. If only natural forces and entities are able to describe and explain reality, which natural force or entity describes or explains logic. Logic is not a material entity. It is a thought construct. You actually have to assume that logic exists in order to use logic. The rules of logic cannot be deduced from nature. Logic is a part of our reality, as is the uniformity of nature and moral law. Since logic and nature exist apart from each other, this invalidates your claim.

      “If a biologist can’t explain the bacterial flagellum with reference to natural events and forces, positing an undefined (indeed, unknowable) ‘god’ – or Intelligent Designer – doesn’t help. The proper attitude of the scientist wishing to understand the world is to say, “I can’t currently explain the bacteral flagellum; I will wait for new insights/methods/tools to help me. If they never materialize, I will have to be satisfied with ignorance. In the meantime, I will keep working on it.”

      Why do you raise the old “Goddidit” canard? Have you no respect for yourself? No one’s asking anyone to stop looking into how the flagellum works. Intelligent design theory doesn’t claim that God is responsible for anything we cannot yet explain, but that there are elements in nature that evidence specified complexity which we generally acknowledge as having an intelligent source. For example, we know that life does not spring from nonlife, though the scientific consensus once affirmed spontaneous generation! All experiments to prove the viability of chemical evolution so-called have only shown how extremely difficult it would be to accomplish even ON PURPOSE. and how ludicrous that it should have occurred by chance. To get the cell itself… well, the cell has turned out to be a miniature universe all its own, full of incredibly complex, interconnected molecular machines. Six feet of DNA is coiled in each cell and contains more information than all the world’s libraries. Experience teaches us that such ordered information, like the arrangement of notes in a symphony or the letters of a novel, such specified complexity has an intelligent source. The only reason to deny the possibility of an intelligent agent is the arbitrary insistence that science be conducted by the No God Allowed rule.

      Also, I must object to your unqualified staement that God is unknowable. Who’s god is unknowable? Not the God the Bible, whom we are discussing! The God of the Bible has revealed Himself through nature, through the Bible, the prophets, through Christ, through universal morality, and through the Church. What may be know of Him has been revealed to us through the very things you reject.

      Regards,
      revTony

  2. Stanley says:

    Richard Bozarth wrote: ““Christianity has fought, still fights, and will fight science ……”.

    My commet is:
    I am an engineer just like H.M. Morris. I never fight verifiable science. My study and my career is based on science, verifiable science. But the theory of evolution is unverifiable. So it is not “true science”. It is no use for engineering. But creation is not verifiable too. So it is not “true science” either. There are no real scientific proofs in either theory. So one can only believe in evolution or creation.

    Because I am now a Christian, I prefer to believe what God said, rather then what Darwin said.

    Stanley Sethiadi.

    1. Stanley,

      Thank you for your comment. I disagree with you on one point. It is true that neither the evolution model nor the creation model of origins are subject to the scientific method, for they both deal with singularities [past, non-repeatable events] and are not observable, testable, repeatable or falsifiable. In other words, they are not subject to operational science. However, they are subject to the historical, forensic method of science; unfortunately all origins science consists of piecing together events and processes from the past with evidence from the present – and this evidence is not self-explanatory.

  3. MAUCH says:

    You can’t quote your textbook as evidence for creation you need to present independent evidence to validate your claims. Evolutionary biologists may quote Darwin but they then go out and present mountains of confirming evidence which you then summarily deny.

    1. Tony Breeden says:

      MAUCH,

      Thank you for displaying your ignorance of creationist claims. We do not simply quote from our textbook with no evidence to back it up. In fact, creationists and evolutionists have exactly the same evidence, just different interpretations of said evidence. Please do your homework before parroting standard evo straw men on this site.

      Thank you,
      Tony

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