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Tired old arguments

Over at WorldNetDaily, there’s an article on evolution by Brannon Howse. Despite having an interesting name, he trots out tired anti-evolution arguments and rhetoric:

In the now-famous Scopes trial of 1925, the American Civil Liberties Union defended the teaching of evolution in public schools. True educational freedom, Clarence Darrow argued, requires the teaching of both theistic and naturalistic versions of origin. Any person with a well-rounded education should know the differing views on something as important as the most basic question in the universe.

Is this true? Talk Origins has an article related to the claim that the ACLU was trying to argue for the teaching of both scientific and theistic theories:

“It is bigotry for public schools to teach only one theory of origins.”

Hmmm. Did Clarence Darrow ever say that? Tom McIver attempted to track down the source of this quote [1]. The results are very interesting.

First it should be noted that it wouldn’t make any sense for Darrow to say such a thing at the Scopes trial. Darrow was trying to defend the practice of teaching only evolution, which is what the Dayton public schools were doing at the time of the Scopes trial [1]. Darrow would be shooting himself in the foot.

So, it looks like that idea is in dispute, but it’s not a major point here.

Now, I don’t think for a split second the ACLU in 1925 was nearly so well-intentioned as to simply want academic freedom for all. But the case could be made that a well-educated person should understand the arguments for and against the major theories about how we got here. Building on the momentum started by Scopes, however, the ACLU has fought hard to keep creationism from being taught in America’s public schools. With the aid of the National Education Association and other liberal groups, it has been stunningly successful in the censorship of facts and reality. Red-faced and veins bulging, these radical liberals verbally assault conservatives that seek the true educational freedom of teaching both Darwinian evolution and creation.

Blah blah blah, nothing interesting here. Conservatives are the persecuted truth-seekers, etc, etc.

Since the ACLU and National Education Association have always been supported by prominent humanists, we should not be shocked by their contempt for the creationist worldview. Evolution, as outlined in the Humanist Manifesto I, II and 2000, is a major doctrine of Secular Humanism. Instead of believing in God as the basis for their religion, humanists believe in nature or “natural science” – naturalism. The reason is supposedly to avoid resting an intellectual foundation on what secularists call “blind faith.”

Nothing very interesting here either. A nine year-old can attack evolution by calling it a religious “doctrine.”

The Christian faith, however, is anything but blind from an intellectual standpoint. Arguments for the God of the Bible are well-founded. What liberal humanists have substituted for a reasonable faith in a Creator God is, I would contend, blind science. Dr. D.G. Lindsay agrees and describes the intellectual underpinnings of evolution this way:

Evolution is a religion that attributes everything to “nature.” It demands a faith that is totally blind. Since the evolutionist believes nature and its laws are the guiding force in the universe, he is totally at odds with the Christian faith and the essential miraculous aspect of creation. The miraculous events of the Bible deviate from the known laws of nature, or at least from our understanding of them.

However, the evolutionist is blind to the fact that his religion, evolution, violates every known law for its own existence, making atheistic evolution more incredible (miraculous) than the Christian faith.

Violates every known law? I’ll be on the lookout for his explanation of how evolution violates Newton’s Laws of Motion. And of course, what arguments for God does he think are well-founded? We get an idea in the next paragraph:

In real life, logic applies. If we see a painting, we assume there was a painter. If an airplane flies overhead, there’s a pilot. It doesn’t matter that we don’t see the painter or the pilot. Elementary logic guarantees in our minds that they exist. If something looks like it was designed – a building, a watch, an airplane or a cosmos – we are safe to assume it was. Not so, however, in the world of blind science. Naturalistic humanists believe there is no God, not because that is the logical conclusion but because that is their preference.

Through experience, we know that the airplanes we see, the paintings we see, are flown and painted, respectively, by humans. Does someone who has never seen an airplane before assume there’s a human inside it? No, he or she would probably assume it was magic or a large animal. Now, how many Universes have we seen? Just this one. We in fact have no experience from which to judge. So, isn’t the logical conclusion to suspend judgement and investigate?

Don’t ever think for a minute they have the intellectual high ground. Much to the contrary, they abandoned the heights occupied by deeply committed Christian scientists like Galileo, Copernicus, Pasteur and Newton long ago. The humanist has no choice but to reject God and believe in man and naturalistic evolution because the alternative is to say there is a Supernatural Creator and Intelligent Designer. Their problem is that if such a Creator exists, then He is the author of the laws of nature, and we are accountable to Him. But being accountable to anyone other than self is not acceptable to the humanist. As a result, humanists reject out of hand any and all evidence that challenges their desired reality.

Here’s the problem with that: belief in God doesn’t lead to any of that. Belief in a theistic god does. If I were to believe in some Creator, it doesn’t follow that I know how it wants me to act or that it wants me to act in a certain way. Hell, it doesn’t even mean the Creator still exists. In any case, evolution doesn’t exclude the possibility of a Creator. For one thing, evolution doesn’t deal with the actual origin of life. That’s abiogenesis. For another, a Creator didn’t have to create us specifically to have been our Creator. Could it not have created the Universe (the big bang?) in such a way that life was a natural consequence? Maybe we can push it back farther and say God is simply the reason there’s something rather than nothing? We could say everything is a consequence of God creating “something” and we are a result of unaltered cosmic evolution from then on. So, I don’t really see anything in science that directly rules out an overall Creator. In my opinion, science has shown that a Creator is either unnecessary or of unknown necessity, not impossible. All that means is faith is necessary for a belief in God. Surely Howse doesn’t think faith is bad.

The liberal, then, who has faith in evolution does not do so out of compelling intellectual honesty but because the alternative requires accountability to God (both in this life and the next). Naturalists look only at theories that don’t contradict their presupposition. Consider the a priori discounting of evidence advocated by the Humanist Manifesto II:

We find insufficient evidence for belief in the existence of a supernatural; it is either meaningless or irrelevant to the question of the survival and fulfillment of the human race. As non-theists, we begin with humans not God, nature not deity.

Anything that calls into question the original presupposition (that there is no God) is rejected, even if it means having faith in an idea, belief or theory that is mathematically not possible and even it if it contradicts bedrock scientific facts or the laws of physics. Their version of science must blind itself to logical deductions in order to draw the conclusion they prefer.

Way to misrepresent a quote! The skill never ceases to amaze me. It seems to me that they are taking the position I just did: there is no evidence and even if there was, it makes little difference to us as a species.

After this we get no more arguments, just a couple of quotes:

Four years after the ACLU worked the Scopes trial, Professor D.M.S. Watson, one of the leading biologists and science writers of his day, explained that the real goal behind evolution is to reject the alternative – a belief in God. Watson notes, “Evolution [is] a theory universally accepted not because it can be proven by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.”

And I can produce a quote that says otherwise. Hooray.

Professor Richard Lewontin, a geneticist and self-proclaimed Marxist, reveals why the dogmatic humanist continues to accept evolution despite its improbability and the unscientific propositions on which it is built:

We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so-stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. 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 counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

So why has materialism become the assumption behind science? Is it because it provides the most rational foundation? No. Professor Lewontin explained it quite clearly. It’s because only materialism provides the liberal humanist’s preferred philosophical base.

Lewontin wrote that in a critique of Carl Sagan’s The Demon Haunted World. He is disagreeing with the typical viewpoint of scientists. Howse would probably say it’s a case of uncommon honesty, but all it is is a quote. There’s still no support for the argument, proposed by a scientist or not.

It is really quite pathetic when you consider the mental gymnastics a humanist must perform – and the ACLU must defend – to uphold the new version of educational freedom that allows only one view of origins to be taught in our public schools. Although the humanist typically mocks as unscientific those who believe in a creator God, when the science of their worldview is proven to be unscientific and mathematically impossible, they ignore the facts and create preposterous theories simply to sidestep the logical belief in an Intelligent Designer. Which brings me to the one summary statement that explains what is truly the foundation of Blind Science: Note its initials.

I find it funny that Howse has only given us only one (very poor) argument for a Designer, buried in all his bluster and table pounding.

Categories: Religion, Science
  1. Beel
    May 27, 2005 at 3:50 am

    The whole argument about “materialism” is a red herring. “Materialism” is a doctrine that is self contradictory because it can’t even be stated. When life, and in particular, sentient beings, are gone, the universe will still exist most likely. That is a material world. “Materialism,” on the other hand, is a doctrine existing necessarily in the world of thought. This is true of all science, for that matter.
    The Intelligent Designers are simply living in a muddle. –Beel

  2. May 28, 2005 at 2:02 pm

    That’s funny, I’ve never heard of this position on the argument; that is, to define evolution as a religion. Of course, when defined in such a manner, it makes it far easier for one with a contrasting opinion to remark on its percieved inconsistencies. Leave it to the “devout” to take only one side of an argument and mock the opponent on the exact same pretense.

  3. May 28, 2005 at 3:06 pm

    You haven’t seen it before? It seems like it’s always in their arguments somewhere, though it’s rarely expanded upon.

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