D’Souza, Darwin and God

Dinesh D’Souza, a writer and thinker for whom I normally have a good deal of respect, got the relationship between evolution and Christianity exactly backward, and effectively, though inadvertently, demonstrated an important point I have tried to make many times in the past.

D’Souza’s point about Charles Darwin is that his theory of evolution did not cause him to lose his faith, though he does assert that it has caused others to lose their faith. D’Souza bases this on the fact that Darwin was already angry at God for the death of his daughter at age 10, and also Darwin’s refusal to believe that good men such as his grandfather who were unbelievers could be in hell. Darwin therefore was already moving away from Christianity when he started to formulate the theory of evolution. Therefore, says D’Souza, Darwin’s loss of his faith and his belief in evolution are unrelated events.

I would posit instead that they are closely related, as Darwin himself said, though D’Souza has the proposed cause and effect backward. Many Christians who believe in evolution make this same mistake, and think that we creationists are just blindly holding onto ignorance out of fear of losing our faith if we realize the truth of science. No, instead we recognize that evolution was simply intellectual cover for what logically did indeed come prior, the rejection of the God of the Bible. If one rejects the God of the Bible then one must find a way around one of the most common and compelling arguments for the existence of that God, which is the nature and existence of the things we see around us. So Darwin is rejecting God, and being of a scientific mindset, he must answer the question of how everything came to be, and he hits on this idea, the theory of evolution. As some of D’Souza’s own quotes of Darwin shows, he regarded any divine involvement in science as the death knell of his theory:

When Darwin’s co-discoverer of evolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, wrote him to say that evolution could not account for man’s moral and spiritual nature, Darwin accused him of jeopardizing the whole theory. “I hope you have not murdered too completely your own and my child.” Darwin’s ultimate position was that it was disastrous for evolution to, at any point, permit a divine foot in the door.

So Darwin certainly saw a connection between the two. But D’Souza merely says that it was “complicated”, like the way people talk about their relationships on Facebook when they don’t want to explain it more clearly. D’Souza likewise says that we have to distinguish between Darwin the unbeliever and Darwin the scientist. Why? Darwin didn’t distinguish. To him, evolution was necessary to avoid the God of the Bible, and evolution serves this same purpose for many other scientists, as D’Souza’s own quotes again demonstrate:

According to Richard Dawkins in The Blind Watchmaker, “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”


Biologist E.O. Wilson writes, “If humankind evolved by Darwinian natural selection, genetic chance and environmental necessity, not God, made the species.” Douglas Futuyma asserts in his textbook Evolutionary Biology, “By coupling undirected, purposeless variation to the blind, uncaring process of natural selection, Darwin made theological or spiritual explanations of life superfluous.” Biologist William Provine boasts that in the modern era, “evolution is the greatest engine of atheism.”


Darwin’s most ardent champion, Thomas Henry Huxley, took a different view. Huxley was vehemently anti-Christian, and he was attracted to Darwin’s theory precisely because they saw it as helping to overthrow the Christian case for divine creation. Huxley noted that evolution’s “complete and irreconcilable antagonism” to Christianity constituted “one of its greatest merits in my eyes.”

Christians or theists who believe in evolution are very anxious not to see this point, as some of my own interactions with them in the past demonstrate. They want to believe that they’re just separate issues, but they’re not. Evolution is one of the many tools, and one of the handiest tools for the scientifically minded, to avoid the truth about God. And those quotes above just demonstrate that without the theory of Darwin, one has little choice but to believe in a God who created everything. None of D’Souza’s handwaving can change the fact that there was the very closest of relationships between Darwin’s unbelief and his science. D’Souza never even attempts to examine whether the event that came before (anger at God over the death of his daughter) had any influence on the event that came after (the formulation of the theory of evolution). He simply assumes the wrong cause-and-effect relationship is what we theists believe and then disproves an argument that we don’t make.

Now this doesn’t mean that everyone who believes in evolution is trying to avoid the truth of the Bible. But this is the purpose of the theory, and the way it functions in most of our secular world. Peter didn’t recognize that the Judaizers were trying to steal the faith, and he was led astray. Many Christians are likewise led astray by those trying to destroy the faith. Belief in evolution doesn’t necessarily turn one into an atheist. But it sure helps a lot if becoming an atheist is what you’re trying to do anyway.

So the point is not that we creationists are afraid of being turned into atheists if we believe in evolution. It’s just that we recognize that the major engine promoting evolution is the atheistic impulse, the desire to avoid the truth of God’s word, and we see no reason to go along. I see no reason to carry water for people who hate God and the Bible. I see no reason to justify their attacks against my Lord and Savior and call the theory something other than what it is. I see no reason to disbelieve Scripture’s clear teachings in favor of this atheistic attack on God. And I see every reason to warn other Christians, like Paul warned Peter, not to fall prey to these deceptions. The evidence may seem compelling and the arguments may seem overwhelming. Satan has always been good at what he does. But their real intention is clear. And God’s word is clear. He made all things by the word of His power in six days, some six to ten thousand years ago. Let God be true and every man a liar.

The Myth of Apolitical Science

Science, like all other human pursuits, is done by humans. This should be self-evident, right? Scientists are not different kinds of humans than anyone else, and are subject to the effects of the fall just like everyone else.

I was recently re-reading one of my old discussions regarding the subject of evolution and whether it could be fit into the narrative of Genesis 1-11. One of the assertions made by my opponents in these kinds of discussions is that scientists are neutral, not concerned with the promotion of agendas but only concerned with the pursuit of unvarnished truth. It is almost as if scientists in the pursuit of science are not subject to the effects of the fall the same way the rest of us are.

I happened to notice a story on Ace of Spades regarding the persecution of a scientist for promoting a theory about the nature of transgender disorders which did not fit the political agenda. From the NYT article:

To many of Dr. Bailey’s peers, his story is a morality play about the corrosive effects of political correctness on academic freedom. Some scientists say that it has become increasingly treacherous to discuss politically sensitive issues. They point to several recent cases, like that of Helmuth Nyborg, a Danish researcher who was fired in 2006 after he caused a furor in the press by reporting a slight difference in average I.Q. test scores between the sexes.

Ace applies the issue to climate studies, to the promotion of the anthropogenic global warming theory. But if this kind of pressure for conformity to certain acceptable views exists within some fields of study, it simply proves the fact that science is done by humans, and humans have biases, agendas and presuppositions and that science is subject to the same kinds of groupthink pressures as exists in any other field.

Why would a Christian advocate of the Darwinist view protest this seemingly indisputable point? The Bible makes clear the point that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; that the truth is not in man in his natural state; that in our natural state, we are sons of the devil who is the father of lies. But if the supposed neutrality and openness to any truth on the part of the scientist can be brought into question, then one of the major planks of the Christian Darwinist is undermined. There is then no reason to accept the conclusions of scientists, even a great majority of scientists, as being indisputable.

They would agree that it’s disputable, but only by other scientists. Until scientists come to a given conclusion, nobody else is allowed to have any other views. If there is consensus on any given question within the scientific community, then it must be true, at least until a different consensus is arrived at. But this story is a great example of how that consensus is often reached- by browbeating, slander, ruining careers, denying funding and tenure, and in general suppressing any views that deviate from the orthodoxy.

I’m not down on scientists. I’m writing this on a computer that is the product of amazing scientific discovery. All I’m asserting is that scientists are humans, and act like humans, and we need to keep this in mind when we compare the claims of science with the claims of the Bible.

Let God be true, and every man a liar.

Blinded by Science

Andrea noticed this study over at the always fabulous Fox News. As she said, we always knew this and now science does too. According to the study, kids are better behaved and adjusted when their parents are religious, as long as their parents are generally agreed on their religion.

The thing that jumped out at me about this study was their examination of causation. The study wasn’t designed to identify the causation of the effect, but they were speculating about it:

Bartkowski thinks religion can be good for kids for three reasons. First, religious networks provide social support to parents, he said, and this can improve their parenting skills. Children who are brought into such networks and hear parental messages reinforced by other adults may also “take more to heart the messages that they get in the home,” he said. Secondly, the types of values and norms that circulate in religious congregations tend to be self-sacrificing and pro-family, Bartkowski told LiveScience. These “could be very, very important in shaping how parents relate to their kids, and then how children develop in response,” he said. Finally, religious organizations imbue parenting with sacred meaning and significance, he said. University of Virginia sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox, who was not involved in the study, agrees. At least for the most religious parents, “getting their kids into heaven is more important than getting their kids into Harvard,” Wilcox said. But as for why religious organizations might provide more of a boost to family life than secular organizations designed to do the same thing, that’s still somewhat of a mystery…

Now here’s a study about religion in particular. It notices that religion has an impact, and that this impact is different than secular organizations that have the same purpose. Anyone hearing this will think of the possibility that the reason that religion has a positive impact is that there is a God and that living in terms of this reality has benefits. But the article never even raises that as a possibility. Now I know I’m just reading the article and not the study; perhaps the article has hidden the researchers’ thinking on this point.

But this shows how this belief in what science is, that science cannot consider even the possibility of supernatural causes really does end up with less information, not more. We are left not allowing ourselves to consider something that would have the possibility of increasing our understanding of a particular phenomenon. I know this is just one little study without a great deal of importance. But of course the proper relationship between science and religion is huge, and this illustrates it well. Even more huge is the general question of epistemology, and here we see the effects of dividing our thinking into religious knowledge and all other kinds of knowledge, with the two basically having no effect on one another. This leaves us with less information, not more; less understanding of the world, not more.

This is one of the basic premises of the Intelligent Design movement, and I think they’re exactly right. I’m not a big fan of ID, but not because I think they’re wrong, but because I think that in the approach they’re taking, they inadvertently give away more than they can possibly gain.

Inerrancy at Stake

Well, I’ve about wrapped it up over at the Evangelutionist.

The last statement from GJG, the main guy I’m arguing with:

So it all comes down to that question. How does accepting a scientific approach to natural history in any way compromise fundamental Christian doctrine?

My response:

I already answered you a couple of times, but you didn’t apparently like the answer. And I’m sorry, but I think I’m just about done with the civility you value so much. The core doctrine you’re compromising is inerrancy and infallibility. You think the Bible has errors, lots of them, beginning to end. And you think that science is possessed of sufficient authority to correct Scripture, when the opposite is in fact the case. You think yourself in a position, possessed of sufficient wisdom, to correct the mistakes of Moses, Peter, Paul, and anyone else in the Bible that doesn’t match up to your level of understanding (even Jesus? He mentions Abel in Matthew 23:35- is Abel a real person?). And you say that the YEC-ists are lacking in humility! Your doctrine isn’t insulting to me. It’s insulting to God. You are lacking in humility. You are the one confused. You think your little telescope, your Discovery channel special, your Carl Sagan magazine article can correct the Holy Scriptures? You think your test tubes and Geiger counters are a more accurate source of information than the Holy Spirit? Moses talked with God FACE TO FACE (Deut. 34:10), as God said He would never talk to any other man until Christ came, and you think you know better than him. Appalling arrogance, and makes me realize what a waste of time this whole thing is, thinking you’d ever listen to me when you won’t listen to Moses. Scripture doesn’t need your help. You need its help, because you’re on the path to death. You apparently believe that God, who said that the mythologies of the nations around Israel were abominations, then used those abominations to teach Israel religious truth. Do you think God incapable of telling the the truth about His own creation in a way that they could understand? Do you really think the Israelites were such idiots that if God had told them “the universe is in fact very old” that they couldn’t understand it, despite the fact that other ancient cultures believed that too? That God could have told Moses (face to face, remember), that some of his details about who was whose parents and how long they lived weren’t right? And maybe Jesus (created all the world, remember) could have dropped a bug in Peter’s ear that Genesis 1 was just a “fable” before Peter would embarrass himself by relying on that fable in the very same passage that denies that he follows fables? Maybe you’d like to rewrite the Bible the way it should have been done? Could have avoided all those poor souls going down to hell because God wasn’t smart enough to write the Bible the way you thought He should have? You should be on your knees asking forgiveness. I could go into quite a bit of detail, how your doctrine destroys the parallel Paul makes in Romans 5, which wrecks the doctrine of imputation of sin and therefore the doctrine of imputation of Christ’s righteousness. The whole covenantal structure is standing on quicksand when the actual historical events that established the covenant may or may not have actually occurred. Original sin is foundering when Adam’s existence is called into question. Death is supposed to be the penalty for sin according to lots of passages (Romans 6:23 for one), but death is just part of God’s mechanism for progress if you’re right. Another contradiction. But you’ve failed to understand or deal with my arguments from the beginning, just accusing me of illogic and ignorance (even accusing me of being ignorant of the meaning of the word ignorant!). I’ve spilled thousands of words on this already. It’s all there. These are the doctrines you compromise as I’ve said from the beginning. I mention Bultmann because I thought you might be interested to know whose arguments you’re using, and what bitter fruit those arguments have borne. And just as a personal exercise I’ll try one more time with my argument about 2 Peter: Peter says that following a myth would be bad, and denies that he does it in verse 16 of chapter 1. Yes, he’s talking about Christ. If your argument is right, then just fifteen verses later, he does just what he said is a bad thing to do by using the flood as proof for his argument- he is following a myth. You seem to think following myths (”religiously, not historically”) is OK, but the word (”muthos”) or the concept everywhere in Scripture is something to avoid. A myth is something that is false, a lie, in Scripture. You say the mythological nature of the flood doesn’t affect his argument, but you apparently don’t understand his argument then. Here it is: Major: God punishes false prophets. (Proof: Flood, Sodom and Gomorrha)
Minor: False prophets exist today.
Conclusion: God will punish those false prophets as well. If the proof for the major premise didn’t happen, then the argument doesn’t work. And also just as a personal exercise, I’ll try this part of my argument again as well: What bar is there to using your exact interpretive method, as many have, to discount the resurrection of Christ? If historical and religious truth can be separated, couldn’t they be separated there as well? Couldn’t I believe in the principle of forgiveness of sins and resurrection and atonement without needing to actually believe in a virgin birth (which science tells us is impossible)? Or to put it another way, who are you to decide which doctrines of Scripture can be tossed aside and which are essential? Who are you to decide that any given truth that God saw fit to communicate to us in Scripture can just be discounted? I say these things for the benefit of anyone else who may be reading. It’s clear to me you’re not going to listen to any arguments I make. Why should you? I’m not greater than Peter. I’m not greater than Moses. You ignore them; you’ll ignore me too. John 5:44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?
45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.
46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? You appear very much to be more interested in being well-regarded by your fellow “scientists” than being approved by God. I won’t judge your heart, but I will warn you. See the above passage and prayerfully consider whether this applies to you or not. This is why I believe Genesis 1. I believe it because I love Jesus, my Savior, who died for my sins and rose again. I am not my own. I belong to Him. And He told me to believe Moses, without qualification. So I’m going to believe Moses, and all the “science” of the world be damned. Jesus didn’t tell me to believe Moses “religiously but not historically”. He just told me to believe him. If Jesus thought that belief needed a caveat, He could have mentioned it somewhere. See, all I care about is what I’m going to answer for myself when I’m standing in front of His holy throne. I don’t care if it turns people off to the gospel. That’s God’s business. He elects, He calls people to Him anyway. It’s not my job to make Scripture more palatable. It’s an offense, a stumblingblock, and it always has been. I’m not ashamed of it. So, worst case scenario- I’m completely wrong and you’re right. I think I will be able to claim good intentions, that God’s words on this point were a little unclear. I’ve lost nothing, really. I just believed God’s word. I have a hard time thinking God will condemn me for that. But switch it around- I’m right and you’re wrong. What are you going to do when you’re standing in front of God and He wants to know why you didn’t believe the plain teaching of Scripture, and taught other people to do so as well? Whose honor are you interested in receiving? Again, the essential doctrine is the cross of Christ. What’s the link? Verse 46 above. Jesus says if you don’t believe Moses then you won’t believe Him either. I think there’s a little too much at stake here for you to play your little word games. Just believe Moses. He spoke face to face with the creator of the universe, and he knows more than you. I know that you, in your breathtaking arrogance, don’t think that’s true. But I’m going to take the revelation of God over all your little scientists and rock hammers and telescopes and chemistry sets any day of the week. All who contradict the word of God will be weighed in the balance and found to be nothing, the chaff that is blown away. Repent, I am urging you. Your doctrine is the doctrine of devils, and leads to death.
UPDATE: His response is here.

Evidences of an Old Earth

From this discussion:

Touchstone and GloverGJ,
I just can’t leave it alone. I’ve learned from past experience not to say I will not reply to an argument anymore, because often I can’t resist.

So. The OT says that a legal matter could be decided on the evidence of two witnesses. You’ve implied I must be ignorant of the scientific evidence. So I’ll tell you this, to make you aware of my educational background and capacity to understand your argument: I’m not a scientist. But I have received a B.A. degree from a secular university, including classes in physics, astronomy, chemistry and calculus. I have taught calculus, geometry and trigonometry on the high school level. I am trained in logic. I am aware of the arguments regarding the speed of light, the distance of stars and the Doppler shifts we have observed. I am also aware of the arguments regarding radiometric dating of rocks, though to a lesser degree.

So let me ask you- what are, in your minds, the strongest two arguments for the old age of the earth? What are the two witnesses you would appeal to? Please don’t make it lengthy- let’s just name the evidences and briefly summarize them. If I need to do research to understand the arguments, I know how to do that research. You will know from my replies whether I understand well enough or not.

Update: Here is the discussion on Evangelutionist’s site. It’s quite lengthy. The discussion revolves not so much around the specific evidences, but on the question of epistemology, the basis for our knowledge and understanding of things.

I am endeavoring to show that belief in old or young earth is a choice you make. Judge for yourself whether I am successful or not. The evidence does not compel belief in an old earth as there are possible explanations for the evidence. Even if the evidence says what they say it does, there is simply the possibility that God created it that way six thousand years ago, with some processes already advanced:

All of the data you presuppose could have simply been created in that state by God six thousand years ago. I know that such a solution is usually mocked, but really, why should it be? There’s a perfectly good reason why God would create the light of the stars already on earth, and that’s that He wanted us to see the stars. Stars are very useful for navigation and other things. And all of these heavy elements and radioactive isotopes must have their purposes too. Just because we don’t know why God would do something like that doesn’t mean He didn’t do it, or that there isn’t some reason of which we are unaware. Can you prove that it’s impossible for God to have created everything six thousand years ago with some processes already advanced? It is necessary for you to prove this in order to make your case. And there’s another possible reason that He did it that way, and that is the real possibility that He did it in order to test people, to see whether they would believe Genesis 1-11 or the theories of God-hating idolaters. Unworthy of God, perhaps you might say? Isn’t that deceptive, dishonest? But God told us He would do exactly that: Deuteronomy 13:1 “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder,
2 “and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’ — which you have not known — ‘and let us serve them,’
3 “you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. This isn’t the only passage that tells us God would do this. Revelation mentions it several times. Many passages speak of God clouding the minds of people with madness and giving their minds over to lies to punish them for their rebellion. It’s not really deception when God told us He would do it for the purpose of testing us, and provided the truth in clear and unambiguous language as well. He said He would introduce misleading and difficult evidence into play to see whether or not we would believe what He has clearly told us. I think that’s exactly what’s going on here. Another example of this exact thing is the story of Micaiah and King Ahab in 1 Kings 22, where the prophet tells Ahab that God sent lying spirits to deceive him through his false prophets so that he would go to war against Syria and be killed. God at the same time provided the true witness in the form of Micaiah, telling him the truth, so that Ahab would be tested, to see whether he would follow God or not.

His response:

“Can you prove that it’s impossible for God to have created everything six thousand years ago with some processes already advanced?” Absolutely not – such a thing is impossible to prove. Neither can you prove that the earth was creation this morning and all of our childhood memories are false. You can never prove these things. As a result, the “appearance of age” argument is the only logical YEC argument out there. If you agree to this, then we can stop all of this silly arguing over the “evidence” because it will always favor an old earth, and you will always have a logical way to dismiss it – since the “actual” age as revealed by God is much younger. If this is your position, why concern yourself with the evidence for an old earth in the first place?

The point is to show the fact that this belief is a choice you make. The evidence does not require it. It may be a hard choice in the face of the pressures the world puts on us. But everything about Christianity flies in the face of the world. This is no different. Christians must make hard choices and suffer the scorn of the world.