Tom Pittman's WebLog

2012 August 2 -- Balancing Darwin vs Creation

ChristianityToday tries very hard not to take sides on issues they do not consider crucial to Evangelical Christian faith, and mostly they succeed. Their political coverage is remarkably well-balanced, neither pro-Republican nor pro-Democrat, despite that they are often and explicitly pro-life -- that is, against abortions; they refrain from taking sides on capital punishment. The cover story on the current issue is one of those efforts, this time with respect to "what happened in the beginning," and mostly it succeeds.

Mostly. This article insists on muddying the term "Creationist" by redefining it to encompass the Darwinist perspective of one of their protagonists. That's slightly less than honest, in my opinion. If they want to use the term to refer to the opinion that God created the individual species out of nothing in separate creative acts over a period of millions of years, I won't complain, but fish slowly evolving into humans is not "creation" whether God did it directly or indirectly using time + chance + natural causes.

The author also shows some imbalance in his choice of representatives. For the Darwinists he picked Darrel Falk, who currently heads up BioLogos, the Christian-Darwinist initiative started by world-famous geneticist Francis Collins, but for the Creationists he chose an unknown working in a tiny college without even funds for a decent lab. Maybe the better-known Creationists refused to participate. I don't know, but I can't exactly fault them for disliking what they might have correctly inferred about the result.

I think we might be able to achieve civil discourse if we could bring to a single table partisans from both sides who are willing to examine and sign their name to all objective evidence brought by either side. They can then put their respective different interpretations on that evidence, but the testable facts can be agreed on. Until then, it appears that the Darwinists refuse to say anything about the contrary evidence the Creationists cite, and vice-versa. The CT article is not such a table, it only tells their respective stories, mediated by a guy who is not a scientist and probably doesn't care which is ultimately right. There is no science in this CT article, only the personal histories of two people, plus some of the polemics being thrown about.

The problem is that unlike policy questions such as whether to kill children or criminals, or whether to prefer the political package of one party or the other, the question of where we came from is a matter of fact, not opinion. We collectively may not know for sure whether we evolved from slime over millions of years or were created as two living breathing humans with no parents, but exactly one of those happened regardless of our opinions about it. The people who argue for each side are necessarily convinced that the other side is factually and scientifically in error. Scientists and theologians alike care about truth, and there is only one truth.

Once the facts get laid on the table, and if it starts to clearly show that one side or the other is wrong, then the polemicists from the other side are likely to try to sabotage the process and conceal the truth. That may be happening already today, but we have no way of knowing until at least one side addresses all of the data. Neither side is doing that. It's like they are both afraid of the truth. Or maybe, like the CT article, one side lacks the funds to consider all the data, while the other side has the funds but (for whatever reason) refuses to do so.

From my perspective, that looks really bad for the Darwinists.


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