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Creationism, Evolution, Faith and Reason

One of the trip wires of journalism is located along the fault line between creationism and evolution as explanations for the origin of man and other things.

Our Readers Who Comment are having a mostly civilized debate on this today because of Steve Hendrix's story about a Liberty University professor who takes his biology class to the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in hopes of strengthening a biblical view of natural history.

That view, of course, has big trouble with Darwin and the theory of evolution.

Our readers are using their interpretations of science and religion to argue their points. While the majority of early comments ridiculed the creationist position, its defenders soon joined. Humor and sarcasm (not always the same thing) abound. Several readers wonder why the Post is bothering us with this story --- while readership of it and the length of the comment string grow by the minute.

We'll start with this exchange:
ajeffrey824 wrote, "...Evolution is just as much religion than creationism. Even those Christians who reject a young Earth do so based on their own beliefs... Follow a persons morality and ultimately I will discover his theology -- be it evolution, atheism, creationism, communism, or any other type of "ism"."

To which whorton1 replied, "...Evolutionary biology is absolutely NOT religious. It is a set of theories which attempt to explain the origin and development of species based on the observation of measurable evidence. Religion, on the other hand, deals with the spiritual. It's not supposed to explain things scientifically... Both science and religion are vital to humanity, and they can and should inform each other where they can, but substituting one for the other only undermines both."

Geot wrote, "This article seems to lump all Christians who believe that God created the world into a single group. A group which interprets the Genesis account to describe a 6 day period that occurred 6000-10,000 year ago. It is sort of a straw man, one that attributes the characteristics of a vocal minority to the whole. One that is also easy, and apparently entertaining, to pillory."

TwoCentsWrth wrote, "For extra credit the professors should have the students read the testimony from the Dover, PA trial in 2005. It was especially enlightening to see that the human chromosome 2 shows evidence of having merged from two separate chromosomes similar to two distinct ones that other primates have. That was a real test for evolution and it passed."

chris15 wrote, "Only a fool would expect balance between superstition and science. These misguided people are creating their own reality, which is fine as long as they stay out of mine."

slim2 wrote, "They also brought the head of the university's physics department to make the case some people can walk on water."

Nosmanic wrote, "I don't care if you believe that evolution was done by God as long as you don't believe Darwin's Therory is a conspiracy to corrupt Christian or pushing your believes on other people which I think is almost impossible for Americans to NOT do."

jimkahan asked, "Gee, can I go to the Air and Space Museum to prove to my students that the Earth is flat?"

jollyolympian wrote, "It's weird. I went to 12 years of Catholic school, and we were always taught evolution. In our biology classes, sure, God made evolution happen, but they were never mutually exclusive... I don't understand the science vs. religion debate. It doesn't have to be either/or..."

Bill1230 wrote, "...The enormous complexity of life at the biochemical level largely demolishes the argument for evolution. Darwin never anticipated the complex biochemical mechanisms necessary to sustain life, and simple statistical analysis dictates that these myriad mechanisms could not have evolved by chance..."

jneps replied, "...don't assume that the thousands of scientists who have unequivocally established the validity of Darwinian evolution are stupid enough to be in error. Common sense will tell you that the scientific method, which has allowed man to split the atom and walk on the moon, is as valid here as in any other scientific demesne."

jr_cville wrote, "...this piece of journalism is irresponsible, in my opinion, because it props up a dogmatic, literal interpretation of the Bible without questioning it. The subtext of the story: If Creationism has its own college class dedicated to it, then it must have merit, right?... If the overwhelming scientific consensus is true, and life on Earth evolved over billions of years through mutation and natural selection, that shouldn't make it any less mysterious and awe-inspiring."

jocali wrote, "...We readers deserve better from the Post. Strong though the temptation may be to create (ha) buzz through cheap and easy shots like calling anyone who isn't a biblical literalist a "Darwinist", I plead to your better editorial angels for journalistic restraint. Let's apply a little fact-based editorial judgment before printing stories that distort reality, scientific or otherwise, for the sake of juicy, contrived controversy..."

tedplaw wrote, "I have a crazy uncle who believes he was abducted by aliens. Why doesn't the WP do a story about him, since you're doing stories on people who believe ridiculous nonsense... failure to print their stories shows that the WP has an anti-alien abductee bias."

checkers2 wrote, "So until evolution offers real tangible proof, rare as it might be, to me it is not real science, just conjecture. All of the debate is really about two unprovable theories- creation & evolution. One group wears ties to church and attempts to discover how they are supposed to relate to each other and their God; the other group wears white coats to the digs and attempts to discover a reason why their life is so miserable. But both are scientific theories that will never be proven, just accepted on one side or the other."

sql_yoda replied, "checkers2 - the idea that an intelligent designer created the world as it is now, in a scientific theory, would first require you to prove that the designer exists. this cannot be done. it cannot be a scientific theory because it cannot be disproven. i am rapidly tiring of these same stupid arguments"

andrewpatejr wrote, "It's regretful that Liberty students are not fully exposed to the beauty of Darwinism, which is, in reality, NOT opposed to Christian understanding, but to the contrary, quite compatible with its finest expressions."

sjoyce4 wrote, "I was disappointed that this story never once referred to the irrefutable scientific method of radiological and Carbon 14 dating... Creationists...always ignore, skip over or refuse to debate this piece of science. The obvious reason, it would seem, is that they haven't invented a rebuttal... That level of pure science (the Laws of the Universe) are irrefutable."

garryh, in an extended post, concluded by writing, "The way I see it, both religion and life have evolved over time and will continue to do so. Someday, I hope that people glory in the uniqueness of our fleeting existence, rather than embrace bigotry to anoint their selves as morally superior."

We'll close with jamesd1, who wrote, "40 percent of Americans are functioning retards, I guess. Darwin bad. Jesus good. Pro Choice bad. Pro Life good. Taxes bad. Freedom good. Foreigners bad. Americans good. Sex bad. Abstinence good. Science bad. Supernatural good. "If I close my eyes super-duper tight and wish really really hard it has to be true." What a country. We're doomed."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  March 11, 2009; 7:39 AM ET
Categories:  Journalism , Science  
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Comments

To say that "Christians" oppose evolution is misleading. The Catholic Church and mainline Protestant denominations accept the validity of evolution and teach it in their schools. It is only fundamentalist, evangelical Protestants who have a problem with science.

Maybe someday they'll be secure enough in their faith to catch up with the rest of Christianity.

Posted by: Garak | March 11, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

The comment from TwoCentsWrth made the best argument. The difference in chromosome number between other primates and humans was long held up by creationists as evidence we did not evolve from primates. Evolution says that the difference had to be due to the merger of two chromosomes into one in humans. DNA sequencing recently proved that.

Creationism makes NO predictions, so it cannot be a theory. A theory is a hypothesis that has made consistently accurate and verifiable predictions. Evolution has done this hundreds of times. What does creationism have to show? The methods of creationism are not even described or shown to exist or have existed. Light from distant galaxies proves the universe is very old. Radiological dating of rock both on earth and moon show both to be the same age and much older than 6000 years.

Now lets think about creationism. They say there was a flood. Where is the evidence? Where did all the extra water come from and where did it go when the flood was over? Even if all the ice in the world melted it would not be enough for the water to cover all land. They say there was an ark but how did the kangaroos get off that ark and swim to Australia? How did Australian animals even get to the ark? And when the ark landed, which species did the lions, tigers and even Noah make extinct by eating since their shipmates would have been the only food after the flood. And where are the dinosaurs? The bible says ALL animals made it onto the ark. How does creation "science" explain these massive discrepancies? Evolution explains the fossils and our relatedness to other animals. Geology explains the age of the earth. Astronomy explains the age of the universe. All are consistent with one another. Creationism is out there, alone, with no other support. It is, in a word, wrong. A delusional attempt to hang onto a myth in the face of facts.

Posted by: bevjims1 | March 11, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

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