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Friday, June 25, 2021

Selling God short

Attacks on evolution, often very complex arguments rooted in religion, leave me shaking my head and thinking, "Here we go again. Dancing on the head of a pin." One of the more popular dance numbers is Young Earth Creationism. This Christian fundamentalist argument against evolution sells God short. It diminishes God.

I like to think God's approach to creating our world was done in the spirit of the following aphorism: give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

The evangelicals claim their God is all powerful, all knowing, all wise, yah-da-yah-da-yah-da. Then these religious folk toss out evolution and all the evidence surrounding it. Anything is possible for their Lord, it seems, except for evolution. 

A favourite argument against evolution involves the eye. They claim the eye is proof evolution is a fraud. Something as complex as an eye just didn't happen; it didn't evolve. Impossible. These fundamentalist are certain that something as complex as an eye must be created at once, complete, fully functional.

Balderdash! That's the thinking of a human. That is hardly the thinking one expects from an all wise, all knowing God. That's the limited thinking of a child. These are people whose God was made in the image of man.

I prefer believing that God created our universe with potential, great potential but unrealized potential. Evolution is but one way this potential is realized. Study the eye and and the more you learn about it, the more its evolution seems reasonable. (Read: Evolution of crystallins for a role in the evolution of the vertebrate eye lens.)

I had the lens in my right eye surgically replaced with a plastic, man-made lens. That plastic lens did not evolve. It took a lot of human effort to make that little plastic disk: chemical factories, sophisticated manufacturing facilities, imaginative surgical procedures and, in the end, it is not as good as the amino acid one it replaces. For instance, the plastic lens suffers from flare when viewing a strong light. Before the cataract damaged my sight, the unusual amino acid compositions of the natural lens worked exceedingly well. No flare.

God didn't have to create a fully developed eye, God took a more complex, more Godlike approach, and created a universe where eyes could develop or evolve. Only about 22 amino acids are needed to make all the proteins found in the human body and that includes the lens in the eye. Creationists diminish God. And who knows, maybe God is not above putting a thumb on the evolutionary scale.

Creation Science is Not Science

As I mentioned in my last post, a close relative has tumbled down the Extreme Religion Rabbit Hole. This person told me that even as a child they were wise enough to recognize the false nature of the theory of evolution. They had no interest in Charles Darwin and his theories. There is no way, in their estimation, that humans and monkeys shared a common ancestor.

I'm an ex-Sunday school teacher but I quickly discovered I am not up to the task of defending science from the likes of my relative. Admitting that, I found the following essay by Michael Ruse, a philosophy professor with a background in the Quaker religion:

Christianity and Darwinism: The Journey Is More Important Than the Destination

 If you don't have time to read the entire essay at this time, please study the following:

The essential characteristics of science are:

  • It is guided by natural law.
  • It has to be explanatory by reference to natural law.
  • It is testable against the empirical world.
  • Its conclusions are tentative, i.e., are not necessarily the final word.
  • It is falsifiable (Ruse and other science witnesses).

Creation Science … fails to meet these essential characteristics. Whatever Creationism is it is not science and should not and cannot be taught in science class.

The mad belief in Young Earth Creationism

A close relative has tumbled down the Extreme Religion Rabbit Hole and entered a veritable Alice in Wonderland world. One of the strangest beliefs she now espouses is the belief in young earth creationism. According to YEC, the earth is no more than 10,000 years old. 

My relative can mount quite the defence of what many would immediately label indefensible. It is not. If a an argument is posed outside the normal restraints of logic, it can be damn near impossible for someone just encountering this madness to argue successfully against it. The totally illogical can be an amazing solid position for a believer once all reason has been sacrificed on the alter of Christian evangelical fundamentalism.

And so, admitting that I am not to the task, I am posting this link: 

Revisiting the Scopes Trial: Young-Earth Creationism, Creation Science, and the Evangelical Denial of Climate Change