‘Induction over the history of science suggests that the best theories we have today will prove more or less untrue at the latest by tomorrow afternoon.’ Fodor, J. ‘Why Pigs don’t have wings,’ London Review of Books, 18th Oct 2007


Friday, 18 December 2009

Christianity in the UK

I have often quoted the research finding of Prof David Voas (Manchester) that whereas non-religious parents have a near 100% chance of passing on their lack of religion to their children, religious parents have only roughly a 50/50 chance. I have used this data to help Christians appreciate the overwhelming secular indoctrination faced by our children through the media and in education. Adults of course are also strongly influenced! Preliminary analysis of more recent data has been made available by Prof Voas. So far I only have the report (17 December) from Ekklesia (a Christian thinktank sadly strongly pro-TE and anti-ID - not a rare situation today) at. Read Ekklesia article here

Here is a key extract:

"The study suggests that the decline in faith is largely attributable to children no longer being brought up in a particular religion.

Professor Voas commented: “The results suggest that institutional religion in Britain now has a half-life of one generation, to borrow the terminology of radioactive decay. Two non-religious parents successfully transmit their lack of religion. Two religious parents have roughly a 50/50 chance of passing on the faith. One religious parent does only half as well as two together.”

He believes that the population can be categorised as religious, non-religious or “fuzzy faithful” – the 36 per cent who “identify with a religion, believe in God or attend services, but not all three”.

Despite the survey showing falling belief in God, 65 per cent of those questioned still thought that religion helps people to find inner peace while 79 per cent thought it provided solace. An additional 44 per cent said it was a shame that the influence of religion on British life was declining, while 18 per cent claimed both that faith is becoming more influential and that this is a bad thing."
Arthur Jones

Friday, 4 December 2009

The Times names new ID bestseller as a Book of the Year

By Andrew Halloway

Flying in the face of critics who say Intelligent Design (ID) is not real science, leading ID scientist Dr Stephen Meyer’s latest book has been named a Book of the Year by the Times Literary Supplement (TLS).
ID – the theory that says design explains life better than evolution – is usually most vociferously opposed by atheist evolutionists on the basis that it is religion not science. Yet the brave TLS reviewer who has chosen the book is an atheist himself.
The selection of Stephen Meyer's ‘Signature in the Cell’ for the prestigious award was made by prominent philosopher and noted atheist Thomas Nagel of New York University.
Nagel says: “Stephen C. Meyer’s Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (HarperCollins) is a detailed account of the problem of how life came into existence from lifeless matter – something that had to happen before the process of biological evolution could begin.
“The controversy over Intelligent Design has so far focused mainly on whether the evolution of life since its beginnings can be explained entirely by natural selection and other non-purposive causes. Meyer takes up the prior question of how the immensely complex and exquisitely functional chemical structure of DNA, which cannot be explained by natural selection because it makes natural selection possible, could have originated without an intentional cause.
“He examines the history and present state of research on non-purposive chemical explanations of the origin of life, and argues that the available evidence offers no prospect of a credible naturalistic alternative to the hypothesis of an intentional cause. Meyer is a Christian, but atheists, and theists who believe God never intervenes in the natural world, will be instructed by his careful presentation of this fiendishly difficult problem.”
Last month, Signature in the Cell was also named one of the top ten bestselling science books on Amazon.com. Yet, in Darwinist-dominated Britain, the book hasn’t yet been published, and is only available from the USA.
Evidence of the irrational opposition of evolutionists to ID came this week in the overwhelmingly vicious and vitriolic flood of comments by Guardian readers on an article in support of ID. Arguing that ID should not be excluded from the study of origins, educational consultant Alastair Noble wrote in The Guardian on 1st December that complex biological systems have not been explained by neo-Darwinian processes.
Dr Noble was responding to the government move to put evolution on the primary curriculum for the first time. It is notable that the most ardent proponents of teaching evolution to primary children are atheists. Both the British Humanist Society and the British Council have been active in persuading the government to introduce evolution into primary schools. This is no coincidence, as atheists depend on evolution as one of the few scientific justifications for their beliefs.
Yet it is hypocritical, as they also say that children should be free to choose what they believe, rather than being indoctrinated. How can they choose, if they are not even offered a choice? Evolution is the only show in town as far as science teaching is currently concerned. No alternatives are allowed, and never will be, if atheists can help it.
But even the British Council’s own survey found that 54% of Britons agreed that evolution should not be taught in isolation, but science lessons should also include “other possible perspectives, such as Intelligent Design and creationism.”
Infuriated by the results of their own survey, the atheists are on the warpath.
As a former science teacher and schools inspector, Dr Noble is well-qualified to speak on the issue. He writes: “I am disturbed that proposals for science education are based on near-complete ignorance of Intelligent Design. I also think the views of most British people in this matter should not be so readily set aside.”
In addition, he says that ID “has a good pedigree. A universe intelligible by design principles was the conclusion of many of the great pioneers of modern science.”
In fact, even the co-discoverer of natural selection believed in an “overruling Intelligence”. Alfred Russel Wallace, a contemporary of Charles Darwin and the unsung scientist whose own work on natural selection propelled Darwin into publishing his ‘On the Origin of Species’, was opposed to Darwin’s purely materialistic (atheistic) version of evolution.
Michael A. Flannery, in his book ‘Alfred Russel Wallace's Theory of Intelligent Evolution: How Wallace's World of Life Challenged Darwinism’, shows that Darwin's exclusion of God from any involvement in the development of life was well entrenched in his mind long before he wrote ‘Origin of Species’. In other words, his belief that evolution could happen all by itself was not a product of his science but his philosophical position.
After many years of research, Wallace, second only to Charles Darwin as the 19th century's most noted English naturalist, came to the conclusion that evolution could not have happened without being guided by a higher intelligence, whereas Darwin held to the concept of randomness in evolution.
Writing in Forbes magazine, Flannery explained: "Darwin's own theory could hardly be called objectively scientific. Early influences on Darwin's youth established his predisposition to materialism and a dogmatic methodological naturalism [the exclusion of supernatural explanations] long before his voyage on the Beagle.
"In short, Darwin's metaphysic compelled his science. Wallace, on the other hand, was a tireless investigator who increasingly discerned design in nature. Unlike Darwin, Wallace's science compelled his metaphysics."
Dr Noble, continuing his argument in the Guardian, points out that discoveries in the 150 years since Darwin and Wallace have only increased the strength of Wallace’s case: “It is easily overlooked that the origin of life, the integrated complexity of biological systems and the vast information content of DNA have not been adequately explained by purely materialistic or neo-Darwinian processes. Indeed it is hard to see how they ever will.
“In an area such as this, where we cannot observe what happened directly, a legitimate scientific approach is to make an inference to the best explanation. In the case of the huge bank of functional information embedded in biological systems, the best explanation – based on the observation everywhere else that such information only arises from intelligence – is that it too has an intelligent source…
“There is a tendency in school science to present the evidence for evolution as uniformly convincing and all-encompassing, failing to distinguish between what is directly observable – such as change and adaptation over time through natural selection – and the more hypothetical elements, like the descent of all living things from a common ancestor. The evidence for these various strands is not of equal strength.
“If you insist that intelligent causation is to be excluded in the study of origins then you are teaching materialist philosophy, not science.
“I believe current government guidance is wrong in denying intelligent design the status of science. However, it does encourage teachers to handle it ‘positively and educationally’. That's a small step in the right direction.”

Doubting Darwin

Theos have now published their final report on Darwinism in 2009. The report Doubting Darwin - Can be read here. It investigates the thinking of creationists and evolution sceptics in the UK, and is suprisingly balanced in its approach, although a bit dry at times.

There is also an interesting debate here Have we misunderstood Creationism

Paul Bickley writes; "The first myth is that there is such a thing as a movement which we can legitimately call ‘creationism’." Undoubtedly that is correct, although there are as many views amongst those who hold to evolution. Undoubtedly also there is some bitter disputes, but I would suggest mainly at the fringes. Most creationists I know seek dialogue in a respectful manner.

"The second myth is that evolution sceptics are, in the words of Keith Porteous Wood of the National Secular Society, “…anti-science…" Again quite right, most creationists are not anti-science, as even Ron Numbers has pointed out.

"The third myth is that the way to take the wind out of creationist sails is fierce rebuttal and public derision in the mode of Richard Dawkins or Harry Kroto. On the contrary, if evolution scepticism could ever be moulded into a movement, it would be due in no small measure to the galvanising effects of Dawkins’ rhetoric:" Again a good point, although the report does note that many creationists feel like a minority under attack.

"Bickley finishes with this useful statement,"If the public debate on faith and evolution is to move beyond its stale polarities, we could do worse than starting with rigorous analyses of the protagonists’ respective positions. The evolution-sceptical community is not really what reputation would make it. Listening carefully – knowing who ‘creationists’ really are and what they really think – is a first step to understanding the roots of their antagonism. In time, this understanding could undergird strategies which improve public engagement with science."

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Guardian 'Comment is Free' on ID

A 'Comment is Free' item on the Guardian website has stoked a great deal of interest with over 1500 responses. Clearly the item, by former schools inspector Alistair Noble, has stirred up a hornets nest.

Intelligent design should not be excluded from the study of origins - Complex biological systems have not been explained by neo-Darwinian processes

From the blog profile "Dr Alastair Noble is an educational consultant and lay preacher, and a former teacher and research chemist."

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Children in Dawkins' atheist ads are from Christian family

The Times is reporting that the happy, smiling children on an atheist ad campaign are in fact from a Christian, evangelical family. An interesting irony perhaps.

Children who front Richard Dawkins' atheist ads are evangelicals

The ad calls for children to be brought up without having religious labels placed upon them by their parents. Of course while the humanists don't want parents to instill their values within their own children, they really want children to turn into humanists without any religious belief - why else would they fund these adverts?

It is an interesting question what right parents have to instill their beliefs upon their children (I would suggest it is in fact a duty to bring children up to love and respect others, and the best basis for that is within a Christian ethos) But I would ask, what right does Dawkins and friends think they have to force their beliefs upon other people's children? Absolutely none!

While they have a pretence to respect children's freedom to believe, the humanists are engaged in a campaign to remove traces of religion from public life in Britain and America. Secular education for instance has an undercurrent of humanist beliefs. Charles F. Potter wrote in 1930 (in Humanism: A New Religion), 'Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism, and every American school is a school of humanism. What can a theistic Sunday school's meeting for an hour once a week and teaching only a fraction of the children do to stem the tide of the five-day program of humanistic teaching?'

The 'program' of Dawkins and friends is not about freedom and respect at all, but about control - their control.

But perhaps the message of the smiling children in the ads, is that if you want your children to grow up happy, then bring them up in a loving Christian environment where they learn about values. About their own values and the value of others.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Darwin and school shootings

A friend has alerted me to this book and article in The Times online.

Charles Darwin and the children of the evolution

The headline makes the statement "The naturalist outraged the church, prompting a bitter debate that still sets creationists against evolutionists. Now a sinister link has emerged between his work and the recent spate of high-school killings by crazed, nihilistic teenagers."

Read the article here by Dennis Sewell

The book is available "The Political Gene: How Darwin’s Ideas Changed Politics" (Picador, £18.99) by Dennis Sewell is available at the BooksFirst price of £17.09, including p&p.
"The Political Gene: How Darwin’s Ideas Changed Politics" at www.amazon.co.uk

Thursday, 22 October 2009

IVP book now advertised + some more news

IVP have now published their latest catalogue advertising the book edited by Norman Nevin

Should Christians Embrace Evolution?

Andrew Halloway has a couple of news items of note on the Lifebite website. Firstly Andrew responds to the claim that the language of Genesis does not indicate God's direct creation from nothing, then he comments on Richard Dawkins refusal to debate intelligent design proponent Steve Meyer following the publication of his new book.

God not the Creator, Says theologian --- Dawkins Dodges Design Debate
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Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Should Christians Embrace Evolution? – new book edited by leading geneticist


There is a new book coming out in November Should Christians Embrace Evolution? published by IVP edited by Norman C Nevin

From Amazon.co.uk

I picked this link up from Pandas Thumb it may be a bit out of date – about Norman Nevin

“Professor Norman Nevin: Norman C. Nevin is Professor of Medical Genetics, Queen’s University of Belfast and Head of the Northern Regional Genetics Service. He has held the positions of secretary, vice-president and president of the UK Clinical Genetics Society as well as serving on various national and international committees notably the Human Genetics Advisory Commission. He is a member of the European Concerted Action for congenital abnormalities. Professor Nevin was a founder member of the UK Gene Therapy Advisory Committee (GTAC) and is currently its’ chairman. His research interests have resulted in over 300 peer reviewed publications on various aspects of genetics, especially single gene disorders and congenital abnormalities.”

David Anderson has posted the Preface online

“In the face of the new atheists’ claim that evolution has rendered faith utterly redundant there is a flood tide arising that demands that Christians must embrace evolution or acknowledge that they are opposed to science. This book believes that this is a false premise. It is written to set out a clear theological framework on the relevant issues and to confront the questions that this gives rise to. It is written with a compelling conviction that science and faith are not in opposition. It is written by theologians who are committed to the authority of Scripture and to the exercise of careful exegesis. It is written by scientists who are fully persuaded of the importance of rigorous scientific investigation but who are dissatisfied with the arbitrary exclusion of possible conclusions and the failure to follow the evidence wherever it leads. This is not written for a select readership that already has expert knowledge of the subjects. It is written for ordinary men and women, who have the capacity to weigh the information, seek further clarification and draw their own conclusions.”

‘God is not the Creator’, claims academic

The Daily Telegraph has reported the work of a Dutch academic who claims the first verse of the Bible has been wrongly translated. Why we should believe a 21st century academic over traditional biblical teaching, where the writers were understood the Hebrew language much better than westerners do, I don’t know.

The paper reports Prof Ellen Van Wolde as claiming that the Hebrew verb "bara", does not mean "to create" but to "spatially separate". The first sentence should now read "in the beginning God separated the Heaven and the Earth" according to her.

There is incidentally a lot of harmony with this view and pagan beliefs, where Plato’s demiurge was for instance said to have created the world out of a pre existing chaos. Traditional scholars consider that Genesis was written in a style by Moses that was diametrically opposed to the beliefs of the pagan nations that surrounded Israel at the time, thus giving ‘clear blue water’ between the work of the one true God, and the gods the other nations considered to be divine. Genesis presents an ordered creation spoken into existence at God’s direct command.

Old Testament scholar Alistair McKitterick writes; “The word 'bara' certainly does mean create, if you read it in the context of the rest of the Bible. There is a perfectly good Hebrew word for 'to divide', namely the Hiphil form of the verb 'badal', which occurs a number of times in the first chapter of Genesis. What Professor Van Wolde seems to be doing is to take the Ancient Near Eastern myths and try to squeeze the Genesis account into conformity with them. But if the only way you can do this is to distort the Genesis account, then it is a pretty good sign that the endeavour is doomed to fail.

Genesis is different to the ANE accounts. God is certainly depicted as creating everything from nothing in the first verse, and that is the kind of thing that the Biblical God does. It is much better practice to read Genesis 1 in light of John 1, where we read that through God the Logos 'all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.'

If Prof Van Wolde were interested in the Biblical teaching about creation then she should have turned to the rest of the Bible to help her understand the meanings of such words, rather than to a collection of polytheistic texts. Polytheism will forever have a problem with creation because they will always have difficulty answering the important question 'which god came first?' and 'which god made the other gods?' The Bible has no such difficulties; it is the consistent teaching of the whole of Scripture that the one holy Lord God made all things.”

Source: Richard Alleyne, God is not the Creator, claims academic, Daily Telegraph, 8th October 2009
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/6274502/God-is-not-the-Creator-claims-academic.html

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Mega-hyped 'Missing Link' quietly dropped

Back in May the BBC trumpeted its ‘missing link’ fossil documentary as “the exclusive story behind a scientific discovery that could revolutionise our understanding of human evolution” – but already the ‘Ida’ fossil is being relegated to the backwaters of evolutionary discussion.

The flagship BBC1 60-minute documentary ‘Uncovering Our Earliest Ancestor: The Link’, presented by David Attenborough, was shamelessly promoted as revealing a devastating discovery for evolution-doubters.

Dr Jørn Hurum, leader of the scientists analysing the lemur-like fossil, confidently asserted: “This is the first link to all humans.” The media jumped on the evolution bandwagon, proclaiming Ida as a ‘ground-breaking’ find.

Before even having seen the programme, I predicted in a report on Lifebite that once all the hoopla had died down, Ida may well turn out to be a lame duck. I said: “Be wary of the media when you see TV programmes or headlines that deal with evolution – someone might well be making a monkey out of you.”

On the eve of the broadcast, some commentators were even then beginning to have qualms about the claims for Ida. Times science writer Mark Henderson said: “I am baffled as to how they [the scientists] could stress the significance of this fossil without undertaking the requisite research to support their hypothesis.”

In July, only two months after the headline-hitting documentary, America’s leading science journal, Scientific American, let the cat out of the bag.

In ‘Weak Link: Fossil Darwinius has its 15 minutes: Skepticism about a fossil cast as a missing link in human ancestry’ (Scientific American, July 21, 2009), Kate Wong described the original hype: “In an elaborate public relations campaign in which the release of a website, a book and a documentary on the History Channel were timed to coincide with the publication of the scientific paper describing her… Ida’s significance was described in no uncertain terms as the missing link between us humans and our primate kin. In news reports, team members called her ‘the eighth wonder of the world,’ ‘the Holy Grail’ and ‘a Rosetta Stone’.

“The orchestration paid off, as Ida graced the front page of countless newspapers and made appearances on the morning (and evening) news programmes… And Google incorporated her image into its logo on the main search page for a day.”

Wong also described the subsequent scientific downgrading of Ida: “Critics concur that Ida is an adapiform, but they dispute the alleged ties to anthropoids [the line leading to humans]. Robert Martin of the Field Museum in Chicago charges that some of the traits used to align Ida with the anthropoids do not in fact support such a relationship. Fusion of the lower jaw, for instance, is not present in the earliest unequivocal anthropoids, suggesting that it was not an ancestral feature of this group…

“Martin further notes that Ida also lacks a defining feature of the anthropoids: a bony wall at the back of the eye socket. ‘I am utterly convinced that Darwinius [Ida] has nothing whatsoever to do with the origin of higher primates,’ he declares.”

In other words, the so-called great missing link in human evolution is no more. But will BBC1 be broadcasting an hour-long documentary to rectify their mistake and let the public know that what was proclaimed as evidence of human evolution is no such thing? Will they heck.

As I said in my article in May: “Anyone who keeps a critical eye on the overblown claims of evolutionists has been here before. It’s certainly not the first time that a so-called ‘missing link’ has been hyped to the media as the holy grail of evolution, only later to be quietly debunked in the back corridors of academia away from the media’s prying eyes.”

The real story that the media should be reporting is that scientists rushed prematurely into publicising a ‘missing link’ to humans because they are desperate for proof of evolution, and came a cropper – yet again. Perhaps they need the PR to keep their evolution research budget fed, and perhaps the TV channels and newspapers are just too eager for evidence to support their own liberal, atheistic opinions.

Meanwhile, truly ground-breaking evidence for the Intelligent Design (ID) behind life is ignored by both scientists and the media.
Leading ID theorist Dr Steve Meyer has a new book out called ‘Signature in the Cell’ which is described by a review in The American Spectator as “a defining work in the discussion of life’s origins and the question of whether life is a product of unthinking matter or of an intelligent mind. For those who disagree with ID, the powerful case Meyer presents cannot be ignored in any honest debate.”

The review explains that the chance of life arising by itself, with no input from a Designer, is less than the chance of accidentally finding one atom in the entire galaxy: “It has been calculated that the mathematical chance of producing a functional protein of a modest length of 150 amino acids long, is about one in 1074. Since the number of atoms in our galaxy may be estimated to be 1065, it would be a billion times easier to find a single marked atom in the Milky Way by a completely random search than to produce functional proteins 150 amino acids long by chance.

“Historically, those advocating that life could arise from random combinations of molecules typically have invoked lengthy time periods that would permit such unlikely results to occur. In the 1950s, a biochemist quoted by Meyer explained that, ‘Time is in fact the hero of the plot…Given so much time, the impossible becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain.’

“Well, no. Life on earth, according to most scientists, developed within the first billion years or so after earth’s formation. A billion years (nine zeros) seems like a long time, but any scenario relying on chance is hopelessly, pathetically, impossibly inadequate when confronted with probabilities such as 1 out of 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (74 zeros for the modest protein just mentioned).”

And that’s just for one protein. There are many more needed for life to arise, and they must all work together in an extremely complex symphony to produce a cell with its own encoded information and mechanisms for reproducing itself. All by chance. All before evolution can even begin to have any influence on life.

What will it take for our media to begin to give an equal hearing to scientists who have a more plausible theory about life’s origin?

By Andrew Halloway - first published at www.lifebite.co.uk

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Have we evolved to believe in God ?

The Sunday Times, September 6, 2009, 'We are born to believe in God' by Jonathan Leake and Andrew Sniderman

Apparently: "The idea has emerged from studies of the way children’s brains develop and of the workings of the brain during religious experiences. They suggest that during evolution groups of humans with religious tendencies began to benefit from their beliefs, perhaps because they tended to work together better and so stood a greater chance of survival."

Similar arguments have been made for belief in design which seems hard wired into children, even those of atheistic parents. But there is a gapping hole in this argument for evolution. It is pertintent to ask. 'If I have evolved to believe I have not evolved, then does not evolution produce in me false beliefs? In which case how can I know I have evolved?

Science clearly works best in the context that there is a creator God who has brought order to nature.
Andrew Sibley

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Realism and Climate Change

Mike Hulme asks us to become more realistic about climate change. Instead of seeking to eradicate it we need to come to terms with it.

Mike Hulme in the New Scientist

"... they will not "solve" climate change. This does not imply passivity in the face of change, however. Nor does it allow us to deny that our actions on this planet are changing the climate. But it does suggest that making climate control our number one political priority might not be the most fruitful way of using the idea of climate change.

The world's climates will keep on changing, with human influences now inextricably entangled with those of nature. So too will the idea of climate change keep changing as we find new ways of using it to meet our needs. We will continue to create and tell new stories about climate change and mobilise these stories in support of our projects. Whereas a modernist reading of climate may once have regarded it as merely a physical condition for human action, we must now come to terms with climate change operating simultaneously as an overlying, but more fluid, imaginative condition of human existence."

Posted by Andrew Sibley

Sunday, 30 August 2009

The Seen and Unseen in Science and Theology

Another interesting paper I have come across recently was published by the American Scientific Affiliation. Hyung S. Choi , 'Knowledge of the Unseen: A New Vision for Science and Religion Dialogue', Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, 53.2 (June 2001): 96-101.

http://www.asa3.org/asa/pscf/2001/pscf6-01choi.html

A few quotes:

"While contemporary physics and cosmology take seriously the knowledge of invisible realities, the discussion of the unseen in religion has been largely neglected in the recent science-and-religion discussion. Neglecting the issue in theology is ultimately self- defeating since God is considered the Unseen. In light of contemporary understanding of the unseen in science, we contend that that there are significant parallels between scientific and theological claims concerning the unseen. The epistemic distinction between the seen and the unseen does not necessarily imply the ontological demarcation between the natural and the supernatural. New heuristic frameworks such as a multi- dimensional model are suggested for more holistic and dynamical understanding of reality that includes both the seen and the unseen."

"In hindsight, it is an irony that while modernity in its positivistic spirit started out with the notion that the reality perceived by our senses is the only knowable reality there is, we now end up with the idea that the true nature of physical reality is quite different from what we experience through our senses. The legend of the tangibility of matter, or what may be called "the matter myth," which served as the basis for the certainty of knowledge, was lost."

"Here, within science, were raised the problem of reality (an ontological problem), issues of the limits of human knowledge (an epistemological problem), and the problem of testability (a methodological problem). Relativity and quantum physics, which serve as the pillars of contemporary science, and more recently chaos theory, are now presenting us with a radically new physical view of the world in which positivistic, deterministic, and materialistic philosophies no longer have secure places. They present us with deeper, greater, and more mysterious aspects of nature."
Andrew Sibley

Friday, 28 August 2009

Humanists try to Close Christian Zoo

It seems the British Humanist Association (BHA) has become a self-appointed arbiter of science. In criticising a Christian-owned zoo this week, it seems to be aping Richard Dawkins in not only promoting atheism but also pontificating on what is or is not good science.

Mind you, it’s got ‘previous’ on this issue, having waded into scientific arguments on many occasions. And, true to form, it is also trying to squash opposition to evolution, instead of standing for the ‘free thinking’ it claims to embrace.

The BHA says Noah's Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxhall, North Somerset, is bad for science, and has been urging tourism boards to boycott the zoo and the local authority to revoke its licence. Of course, the BHA’s concern for good science is a cloak for its opposition to creationism. When else do you ever see the BHA standing up for good science? Answer: only when creationism or Intelligent Design theory need a good kicking. Why? Because such unorthodox science threatens the atheistic view of life that the BHA espouses. It can stomach no opposition.

Signs at the zoo suggest that the "three great people groups" of the world may be descendants of Noah – which a literal reading of the Bible would certainly support. Another sign says animal predation occurred after "man rebelled against God". Now, such views might be typical of traditional Young Earth Creationism (YEC), but the website and two spokespeople for the zoo do say that they view “the natural world around us as a product of both God and evolution”.

A closer look at their website indicates they accept a limited form of evolution and believe that the world may be much older than the typical YEC position of less than 10,000 years. As a spokesperson says, "Although technically creationists, we do not hold the stereotypical creationist views that the world was created in 6,000 years and there is no evolution."

So we are not dealing here with the ultra-traditional creationism that the BHA seems to want to brand this zoo as espousing. But that is no matter to the BHA – any religious view on life must be suppressed. The BHA’s criticism is an attack not only on creationism but on freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

BHA education officer Paul Pettinger says, "We're very concerned because it will undermine education and the teaching of science." First, it’s ridiculous that one small zoo could undermine education as a whole, and second it certainly doesn’t undermine the teaching of science itself – only the teaching of a rigid Darwinian view of evolution. But of course, the BHA needs evolution to reign supreme in order to shore up its atheistic beliefs.

The zoo’s website says that scientists are afraid to talk about "design" in the natural world, and the zoo’s owner Anthony Bush says, "There's a lot of people who believe in Genesis who don't want to come out of the woodwork, but they don't want to come out of the closet because of the thought police."

Well, it’s clear why when the Inquisitors of the BHA come knocking on your door if you cast the slightest doubt on Darwinism.

Bush, a former Evangelical preacher, says his zoo actually presents a variety of views, only one of which is creationist. "I think God created life. I have no idea when," he adds.

One tourism group, Visit England, avoided the issue by pointing out that it only checks a zoo’s visitor satisfaction rating and has no opinion on content. On that score, Noah’s Ark Zoo is clearly a winner. Despite only having 100 animals, it is visited by 120,000 people every year, including members of school parties, yet only gets about ten complaints per year. As Noah's Ark research assistant Jon Woodwood says, "Clearly the public do not share the British Humanist viewpoint.''

BHA director of education and public affairs Andrew Copson also accuses the zoo of deceiving people about its creationist views: ''We believe Noah's Ark Farm Zoo misleads the public by not being open about its creationist agenda in its promotional activities.”

This is clearly untrue as the zoo website has a whole section on creationism and is completely open about its stance. And as Jon Woodwood points out, the zoo is actually named after the biblical Noah’s Ark – might that not be a big clue as to its viewpoint?!

As for undermining science education… ''Our education policy is purely based around the National Curriculum. We are offering our visitors the chance to look at the evolution/creation debate. As it is a free country, that is within our right. Contrary to a small minority of people's claims we do not teach false science.

''This is clearly shown within the zoo, with one exhibition talking about Darwin and another offering another point of view.”

Fortunately the director of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Miranda Stevenson, is perceptive: ''I find it extraordinary that an organisation that I thought promotes free thinking appears to want censorship.''
By Andrew Halloway

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Theos and Mary Midgley

Nick Spencer of Theos has interviewed Mary Midgley as part of their Rescuing Darwin project. This is written up in a report entitled Discussing Darwin. It would seem though that Midgley is closer to post-modernism and a multi-faith approach to truth, than the type of objective modernism that Darwinists believe underpins their science. Is she really the person to ask to defend science? Both Dawkins and scientific creationists have one point of agreement, that there is such a thing as objective truth.

http://campaigndirector.moodia.com/Client/Theos/Files/DiscussingDarwin.pdf

While she has a few good points to make, she believes for instance that Darwinism is the creation myth of our age, she seems in reality muddled by post-modern ideas. I am not convinced that Darwinists would really find such ideas of relative truth helpful to the advancement of objective science. She comments;

“Yes, we all have myths through which we explain the world. The word ‘myth’ is a bit awkward because it is sometimes used simply to mean ‘false’, but I find its other meaning very useful. I also talk about dreams and dramas and visions and so forth. Whichever way one talks about it, it’s about an imaginative background, a way of seeing a problem in the world which determines what questions you ask, how you select your questions.”(p. 13)

“I suppose it sounds less surprising if one refers to ‘visions’. It’s an imaginative framework within which one fits the different elements. (p.14)

“So if one asks what myth the term ‘evolution’ is propagating, it is rather a pernicious one in many ways, because whatever the right way to justify some policy may be, it never is that it is the only road to the future.” (p.16)

But while she believes in having one’s own ‘myth’, and recognizes the subjective and perhaps ‘pernicious’ nature of such beliefs; ‘revelation’ she thinks is dangerous. “You need to have an awareness that other people have views and that your position is just your position and not revelation. The idea of revelations is a dangerous one.” (p.15)

In this statement she is making the mistake of collapsing a belief in literal truth into militant fanaticism. That does not follow by necessity and is offensive to many people, but it is a prejudice of our age where liberals have an antithesis towards those who believe strongly in objective truth, whether it is suicide bombers, or those who uphold the absolute sanctity of life; but what of nihilism – and the darker side of Darwinism that comes out of ‘myth,’ isn't that potentially dangerous also?

So biblical literalism is apparently irrational and dangerous. That sounds to me like an argument that objective truth is irrational or relative truth is rational. As Mike Peter’s of the pop group the Alarm said, ‘The truth is the truth or the truth is surely a lie.’ Or as St Paul said, ‘let God be true and every man a liar.’

It is part of the muddled thinking of post-modernism where the only acceptable intolerance is towards those who are deemed intolerant because of their belief. I might ask on what basis and by whose authority should we reject objective truth - not on the basis of reason and logic I would guess. So why might I disagree with her article - perhaps for no other reason than it makes me feel good and it isn’t in accord with my ‘myth’, but that would be wholly unsatisfactory.

Midgley though thinks that creationists and intelligent design supporters are cutting themselves off from others. I would suggest the reverse is the case, that the liberals who accept Darwinism are expelling and ostracising those who want to believe that there is a truth and objectivity in the universe worth finding, a 'myth' that is ultimately true is the great hope of humanity.

Andrew Sibley

Saturday, 15 August 2009

James Lovelock calls for mitigation strategies

James Lovelock commented to an audience at the 'Ways With Words' literary festival at Dartington Hall, near Totnes in Devon that; "It's not going to take much of a sea-surge to knock out London. We should be spending money strengthening defences there rather than vain efforts to improve renewable energy."

Although he thinks renewables are a good idea, he is right to note that they are not very practical at present, instead more work needs to be done in developing mitigation strategies around the world to protect against sever weather. That would have a benefit to the world whether global warming is real or not.
Renewables are a waste of time, says James Lovelock Telegraph 14th July 2009
Andrew Sibley

Friday, 24 July 2009

So even God evolves now?

A new book by an author of best-selling books about science, evolutionary psychology, history and religion attempts to unify conflicting religions into a one-world religion of niceness – thereby avoiding World War Three. How? By showing that belief in God has evolved and is evolving into a ‘tolerant’ God that all religions can share.

Breath-taking naivety or a subtle crusade for political correctness?

Both, if you ask me. But as usual this theme of unifying religions will be lapped up by the chattering classes. The author is Robert Wright – an American journalist and scholar who was born into a Southern Baptist family. He seems to have rejected faith as a young man – leaving Texas Christian University after only one year, switching to Princeton University.

If Richard Dawkins and the ‘new atheists’ have their way, religion will be eliminated. They claim this will be for the universal good because they believe that religion poses the greatest danger to world peace today. But more realistic atheists and agnostics, who recognise that God is too powerful a concept for people to give up, are instead trying to recreate him in their own liberal image so that ‘tolerance’ becomes the god of all religions. In this way, each religion’s own understanding of God will no longer be so unique that it’s worth fighting for, and consequently all religions will be emasculated and their attraction undermined.

This seems to be the secret campaign behind Robert Wright’s book. And to give the idea a veneer of scientific respectability, Wright has called his book ‘The Evolution of God’. Of course, to the so-called ‘fundamentalists’ who oppose his views, the word ‘evolution’ will be a red rag to a bull. But bending evolution to his cause will give Wright’s book an appeal to those more liberal believers who have already compromised their religion by accepting evolution instead of their own creation doctrines.

Indeed, it won praise in a Sunday Times’ review (10 May) by Andrew Sullivan, a liberal Christian: “My own view, as a struggling and doubting person of faith, is that truth matters in whatever mode we find it — but ultimate truth, because we are not ultimate beings, will always elude us. The search for this truth is the point, illuminated in my own faith by Jesus… Our consciousness asks questions to which there will never be a complete answer… And the challenge of our time is… a humble openness to history and science and revelation in the journey of faith… if we are to survive this era of technology with the potential of mass destruction, if we are to endure past the darkness of the Taliban and the religious right, this process of religious reform is not an option. It is a necessity.”

Note Sullivan’s readiness to equate the “religious right”, by which he means Bible-believing Christians, with the Taliban. In that respect, he’s already fallen for the atheist propaganda that sees all fervent believers – as opposed to “doubting persons” –as a bad thing, regardless of whether one group (fundamentalist Islam) promotes violence and the other (Bible believers) denounces it.

Then note Sullivan’s belief that ultimate truth will always elude us, in contrast to the uncompromising words of the Jesus he claims to be illuminated by: “I am the truth. No one comes to the Father except by me.” Note too his readiness to accept “history and science” as well as revelation in his “journey of faith” – as if God’s revelation in the Bible were not enough. In contrast, the Bible claims that all we need for salvation and truth is revealed by God in its pages – and condemns anyone who would seek to add to it.

But liberal Christians like Sullivan have already made themselves vulnerable to Wright’s kind of “religious reform” by losing faith in the authority of the Bible, so it’s not surprising that they should go along with his ideas. In fact, Sullivan is exactly the sort of believer that Wright aims to attract to his ultimately secularist cause. But Wright waits till nearly half way through his book to reveal the real aim of his argument: "Today globalisation has made the planet too small to peacefully accommodate large religions that are at odds. If the Abrahamic God—the God of Jews and the God of Christians and the God of Muslims—doesn't foster tolerance, then we're all in trouble. We need a god whose sympathies correspond to the scale of social organisation, the global scale" (p. 205).

Just like Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett, and Harris, Wright believes that loyal Jews, Christians and Muslims threaten world peace because their religions give them non-negotiable beliefs. As another reviewer, Dr Benjamin Wiker, explains, “Rather than eliminate these intractable religions, Wright engages in a grand strategy of co-opting all three by vacuuming them up into a larger, comprehensive evolutionary-historical argument, wherein their particularities are magically being transformed into a deity he can countenance—[which is] more or less, Wright himself writ large, a god of universal niceness whose one command is ‘Thou shalt be tolerant of all gods before me, or no gods, or anything in between. Or whatever. Just don't fight.’ “This isn't a real god, as Wright himself admits: ‘The god I've been describing is a god in quotation marks, a god that exists in people's heads.’”

And how should this new god of tolerance be imposed on the world? Well, ironically for a liberal, Wright suggests what can only be described as a totalitarian route: moving from national to international rule. In the interests of world peace, there must be a universal world government that promotes Wright’s new type of monotheism. As Wiker says, Wright’s philosophy is: “One government, one god, and his name is Tolerance… It is wishful thinking of the worst kind: ‘I wish God would go away, but since he won't, let's at least make him useful.’”

But if history and evolution are moving human beings inexorably towards this goal of one ‘god’ of niceness, as Wright claims, why does he need to argue for it? Why not just sit back and let it evolve? Maybe because it’s not happening – human morality is not evolving towards niceness, and Wright needs to persuade us to accept a one-world government to impose this tolerance on all of us (by force if necessary, one assumes). But we have already seen what happens when a global movement to make everybody conform to the same beliefs tries to impose those beliefs by political power – it was called Communism. And not only did it not defeat religion, it moved morally backwards, not forwards. It was responsible for the most un-nice, intolerant, human rights abuses in human history.

Using implausible Darwinian theory as scant cover, Wright basically argues for a political solution to a religious problem. And just as natural selection kills off those unfit for the environment, so Wright’s so-called tolerant utopia will weed out the religious misfits who happen to disagree with him.

Haven’t we heard all this before somewhere? Well, yes. It’s all written in the Book of Revelation in the Bible, where an anti-Christ sets up a one-world government by deceiving the inhabitants of the earth. This anti-Christ will allow only one religion and “cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed” (13:15).

Those, like Wright, who try to hasten the arrival of a ‘new world order’ in the name of peace will find it only ushers in this most terrible dictator of all.

Thankfully, the return of Christ himself will end the reign of this ultimate tyrant, and reveal the Truth in all his glory.
Andrew Halloway www.christianeditor.co.uk

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Evolution and cartoons

Apparently children's cartoons, such as The Flintstones and Barney and Friends, are the reason why they do not accept evolution. This is according to James Williams who is a lecturer in education at the University of Sussex.

There is some irony that secular evolutionists are very happy to use iconography when in suits the cause, and only object when harmless cartoons hinder that cause. Sir Ambrose Fleming was complaining about the Illustrated News back in the 1920s and 1930s, which for instance turned a pig's tooth from Nebraska into our ancestor. Perhaps the reason many are sceptical of Darwinism is because of an apparent catalogue of abuse in science that keeps generating failed icons, thus forming a pattern from Bathybius to Piltdown Man to Microraptor. I would suggest that if science is disneyfied it is solely the work of the Darwinists.

One lesson from some Christian parents' experience of trying to ban popular cartoons from children is that it is often counter productive. If Dr Williams wishes to ban Barney and Friends from children, I can assure him that those children will not love or accept evolution more.
Evolution of confusion: Pupils take dinosaur fiction for fact - Academic says failure to teach young children scientific truth plays into creationists’ hands, TES, 3rd July 09

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Peppered moths back to form

The Daily Mail is reporting that the peppered moth, Biston betularia is now reverting back to its light form because of improvements to the environment. Of course this story is presented as evidence of evolution, but in reality it is just a change in the ratio of the numbers of the light and dark form. In other words, evidence of natural selection on pre existing genetic material, not an example of evolution at work.

The Daily Mail account can be read here

Other factors may also be involved. Judith Hooper's book 'Of Moths and Men' provided some interesting discussion about environmental factors that may change the moths colouration during the caterpillar stage.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Intelligent Design in the Telegraph


An interesting article has recently appeared in the Daily Telegraph about 'biomimicry' - 8th June 2009 by Sanjida O'Connell.
The Gecko for instance has specially adapted feet for climbing, technology that has been put to good use by the Pentagon.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Are animal experiments about to end?

Those concerned about experimentation on living animals may find the following news encouraging. According to The Times advances in science mean that new drugs will soon be able to be tested on virtual computer systems, and on cultures of cells. Read the news story at the following link.
Sam Lister at The Times - Animals experiments could end in a generation
Andrew Sibley

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The 'fiasco' of Ida. Has the BBC helped deminish science?

The repercussions over Ida continue. Although I have as yet only seen the first few minutes of the BBC programme about Ida, a telling statement by Attenborough raises concern about the way the science behind Ida is being conducted. Attenborough commented that scientists had been working in secret, but are now going public in a big way on how important this find is, that is before peer review has even begun in a meaningful way. Brian Switek writes as follows.

" If Ida does turn out be more closely related to lemurs than to humans, creationists may use the hype to paint evolutionary scientists as glory hounds who care more about publicity than accuracy. Ida would not be an “icon of evolution”, as Dr Hurum hopes, but a public embarrassment that creationists would surely use to sow further doubt about evolution. Likening Ida to the Holy Grail and the Lost Ark only compounds the problem; creationists will undoubtedly argue that these metaphors reveal that evolution is a religion with its own holy relics.

What could have been a unique opportunity to communicate science has quickly developed into a fiasco. Science proceeds through discovery and debate, and hypotheses do not become accepted by flooding the media with press releases. Scientific scrutiny of Ida has only just begun, and regardless of who her closest living relatives are, I hope the debate surrounding her will not sink away from sight. She truly is an amazing find, but for now I think that she has taught us more about science communication than our ancestry."


Ida the Lemur-like creature, has had some high praise from leading Darwinists. David Attenborough announced with confidence that the missing link ‘is no longer missing,’ but the way the evidence has been presented and handled has raised questions about media manipulation, especially from the London Times science correspondent Mark Henderson; he seems quite miffed.
Mark Henderson reports that doubts have arisen now that others have finally been given access to the fossil and suggests that Ida is related to ‘nothing that exists today.’ Although Ida is an important fossil, he writes that ‘she isn’t all that’ and complains that the researchers haven’t provided sufficient evidence to justify their claims. He argues that this is…

‘…especially serious given the publicity blitz behind Ida…a popular book, a documentary, a website and an exhibition have been launched on the back of this find, before it has received full scientific scrutiny.’

Henderson comments that the researchers appear to have rushed their work ‘to fit with the media schedule.’ Rights were sold to some media outlets, including the BBC, and this has shaped the way the evidence has been conducted and presented. Science journalists without that privileged access to data were given insufficient time to properly evaluate the story. Henderson writes;

‘Is it really right that full embargoed access to important and controversial research findings should be restricted on the say-so of the authors, to media that best suit their publicity strategy? Especially when money has changed hands?’

Henderson ends by correcting a previous statement;
‘there was an unfortunate error in the graphic accompanying my piece in the paper. An early draft was printed by mistake. Darwinius masillae is not a direct ancestor of both lemurs/lorises and apes/monkeys. It seems to lie on the ape/monkey branch, after the last common ancestor of both groups, and it may well be a direct ancestor of nothing at all that exists today.’ (emphasis added)

Friday, 15 May 2009

Did Darwin Kill God ? Disappointing debate at Westminster Abbey

This event, organised by Theos, and held in Westminster Abbey seems to have failed to live up to expectations, even though 800 people attended. Reading some of the commentaries suggests the debate was a bit of a non-event. But then with all the panellists committed Darwinists that is hardly surprising.

The panel consisted of Lord Robert Winston - a Jew of unknown description, Professor Steve Jones – who likes to be identified as a 'non-theist', Dr Denis Alexander - a Christian theistic evolutionist from the Faraday Institute, and Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell – who is apparently an agnostic.

The debate was supposedly part of Theos’ project on Darwin and Religion, but the panel was disappointingly unrepresentative of the British public, 51% of whom are sceptical of Darwinism according to Theos’ own recent survey.

Paul Woolley suggests that one lesson that came out of the debate is that it demonstrates that it is possible to ‘disagree without being disagreeable.’ He accuses some atheist’ books of being ‘devoid of grace, humility and courtesy.’ A fair point, but there would appear to be a little amnesia in this statement concerning comments in a postscrtipt in Denis Alexander's recent book.

Let’s be frank. While having a superficial respectability, the shape of this debate revealed a desire to exclude the views of a large section of the population who are in fact sceptical of Darwin’s claims. Very convenient instead to pretend they are not important or their views don't matter. I would hope that the next time Theos decide to organise an event they remember to include intelligent design supporters and those who are honestly sceptical of evolution. There are many of us have long called for respectful dialogue along these lines.

Further reading:

Theos comment -
http://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/Did_Darwin_kill_God.aspx?ArticleID=3105&PageID=14&RefPageID=5

Justin Thacker’s comment -
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2009/may/13/darwin-evolution-religion-science

Paul Woolley’s comment -
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/paul_woolley/blog/2009/05/13/did_darwin_kill_god
Andrew Sibley

Monday, 4 May 2009

A.N.Wilson returns to his Christian faith

The former noted atheist A.N.Wilson has returned to his Christian faith after years of doubting [1]. His article in the New Statement makes interesting reading, suggesting that his initial conversion to atheism was a quasi-religious experience where he felt at one with his atheist peers such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens.

However, doubts remained towards atheism. Wilson comments that he finds religious authors, such as Samuel Johnson and composers such as Bach and Beethoven more interesting than the works of atheists and sceptics such as David Hume. Furthermore, he suggests that the explanations that Darwinists give are mere story telling and every bit as creedal as the biblical stories.

Wilson comments that it is just too incredible that language simply evolved, noting the ‘amazing morphological complexity of a single sentence.’ The existence of language, and love and music, convinced Wilson that humans are spiritual beings. Furthermore, he asserts that the religion of the incarnation, where God made mankind in His image, and then ‘continually restores’ humanity is ‘simply true’; this is because it fits best with a complete understanding of life. Wilson questions whether atheists are really missing out on the richness of human experience and have ‘no ear for music, or have never been in love.’

Wilson also comments on his research into the Wagner family and Nazism in Germany, and says that he found Hitler’s neo-Darwinian ravings to be incoherent. However, the opposition to Hitler came mainly from Christians who paid for their stand with their blood. This has left an impression upon Wilson, especially Bonhoeffer's book on ethics, which shows that ethics cannot simply be of human construction. Wilson then believes that atheists are making a category mistake about what it means to be human, and that, as Samuel Taylor Coleridge noted, materialism can never explain how man came to be a living soul.
Andrew Sibley

Monday, 6 April 2009

Did Darwin Kill God?

Professor Steve Fuller offers a very useful review of the recent BBC 2 programme 'Did Darwin kill God?' by Coner Cunningham shown 31st March 2009 Review: Did Darwin Kill God? Uncommon Descent Cunningham, it would seem, is involved with a theological movement known as ‘Radical Orthodoxy.’ An attempt apparently to recover a pre modern view of the world.

Here is my own review - The latest programme in the BBC’s pro Darwin propaganda series for the birthday celebrations was Did Darwin Kill God? Shown 31st March on BBC2 7pm, presented by Coner Cunningham. I found this programme to be very disappointing indeed.

Cunningham, who wanted us to know that he was a Christian who accepted Darwin’s findings, tried to make the case that the orthodox Christian view was that of acceptance of evolution, with the literal interpretation of Genesis considered un-orthodox and only a twentieth century invention by extreme fundamentalists. In order to make this point Cunningham used evidence very selectively, citing Philo and Augustine to make his case, ignoring the words of Jesus and the apostles writing, or biblical literalists such as St Basil. Philo though was Jewish with an interest in the works of Greek philosophers, hardly an example for orthodox Christianity. The other person he cited was Augustine, who was a convert from neo-Platonism. Even so Augustine gradually weeded the Platonism out of his theology by the time he wrote his third commentary on Genesis, considering that a literal reading should be accepted from day 4 of the creation week.

Peter Harrison, an Oxford Professor of theology, has also argued that the Protestant commitment to reading scripture literally actually enabled science to get going because the reformers then read creation literally, and not symbolically as had been the case in the past. Cunningham failed to mention this evidence, nor those Christians such as the Wesley’s and Luther who argued for a literal interpretation of Genesis in history.

Then we were told that young earth creationism was merely a twentieth century invention ignoring the hundreds of gentlemen scientists who were young earth creationists in British Victorian society, including the captain of the Beagle Robert FitzRoy. The founders of the Victoria Institute for instance were young earth creationists as were the nineteenth century scriptural geologists. Although Terry Mortenson of Answers in Genesis was interviewed his research on the scriptural geologists was ignored. Instead we were led to believe that most Christians merely caved in and accepted Darwinism within a few decades. For many years afterwards though Darwin’s claims were not widely accepted because the influential Lord Kelvin had given Darwin far too short a time span for his theory to work.

The funniest point was that we were then told that William Jennings Bryan was both a right wing Republican and a socialist! Yes Bryan was motivated to counter social Darwinism in America, and therefore he supported creationism of an old earth variety, but his politics looks decidedly mainstream being a conservative Christian with a social conscience, hardly the extremist that Cunningham was looking for.

A note about the programme from non-executive producer Jean Claude Bragard on the BBC website, comments that the producers wanted to explore how Christians harmonise Darwinism with their faith and Cunningham was asked to be involved and present the programme. Sadly, an accurate reflection of history was lacking, and we won’t hold our breath waiting for a more balanced approach that deals with the issues accurately. Instead, in this programme we were fed another set of Darwin myths that failed to get to the historical truth.
Andrew Sibley

Sunday, 29 March 2009

BBC baulks at full implications of Darwinism

‘Darwin’s Dangerous Idea’, the BBC2 series presented by Andrew Marr, has flinched from biting the bullet on the link between Darwinism and genocide. The title of this month’s three-part documentary promised more than it delivered – admitting that evolution was dangerous in the wrong hands, but absolving evolution of all the evil resulting from its adoption in the public and political sphere.

In his own BBC article promoting the series, Andrew Marr explains why Darwinism might be dangerous. He concludes: “However we celebrate the old man [Darwin], we mustn’t let his work crust into creed or harden to dogma.”

But he’s too late. Darwin’s idea hardened into dogma long ago. So much so that even Marr himself asks, “There’s no doubt that Darwinism, and indeed scientific truth generally, can supply people like me [atheists] with some of the nourishment religion offers… Darwin’s vast brow hangs over us all. His foamy white beard cascades down in the familiar Michelangelo Old Testament style. He speaks to mankind of ancient origins and end times. In this year of his double anniversary, are we in danger of turning Charles Darwin if not into God, at least into the founder of a secular religion?”

Marr in the end says that’s not the case, but he avoids the evidence. The truth is that the scientific establishment has long treated evolution as sacred doctrine and excommunicated anyone criticising the theory. And the consequences have been disastrous. Although the series highlighted the bad politics that came from Darwinism – the eugenics and genocidal policies of Nazism and Communism – it presented that fact as just an unfortunate perverting of Darwinism and not a logical consequence of believing in it. A convenient but inadequate response to the historical evidence: it’s plain wrong to divorce Darwinian theory from its impact on society. On this I can agree with Marr: Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection has been one of the most politically and culturally consequential ideas of the past 200 years. But he sees it as a positive force – I see it as mainly negative. And here’s why.

There is a direct causal link between Darwin and the Holocaust, Darwin and the genocides in Stalinist Russia, and Darwin and slavery. Not to mention a whole lot of lesser evils that have arisen from ‘social Darwinism’ – the expansion of Darwin’s ideas out of biology and into political and social influences. Yet defenders of evolution like Marr downplay or deny this link. Darwin himself, Marr says, never approved of such applications. But that is irrelevant. It is also untrue. Although Darwin almost entirely avoided applying evolution to the human arena in ‘On the Origin of Species’, he himself applied his theory to society in his later book, The Descent of Man. In it he talked about natural selection’s implications for race, welfare, morality and even marriage.

Darwin researcher John G. West says, “In that book, Darwin insisted that there are significant differences in the mental faculties of ‘men of distinct races’ and argued that the break in evolutionary history between primates and humans came ‘between the negro or Australian and the gorilla’, thus making blacks the closest human beings to apes.”

Although Marr says rightly that Darwin opposed slavery, Darwin’s evolutionary analysis of human races led directly to the justification of racism by scientists. Marr is honest enough to admit that “most Europeans [of Darwin’s time] believed that slaves from Africa belonged to an inferior race. Some believed they were a different species.” But he fails to ask why this should be so. They couldn’t have got this idea from the Bible, because it teaches that all people are equal in God’s sight, and all descended from one fully human couple – Adam and Eve.

They got it from evolution, because evolution as an idea was around in intellectual circles a long time before Darwin. For example, Darwin’s own grandfather wrote a book that promoted the concept (what was missing was a mechanism to explain evolution, which Darwin, in theory, provided). So it can only have been scientists influenced by evolution that conceived of Africans as a lower race or even a different species. And certainly, once Darwin’s theory became accepted, this view of Africans and Australian Aborigines accelerated and gained a more overt scientific justification.

Whilst the majority of scientists rejected racism in the wake of the discovery of the Holocaust, even today the concept of racial superiority has not been entirely eliminated. As recently as 2007, Nobel prize winner James Watson, who co-discovered the DNA helix, claimed that black Africans are genetically inferior to whites due to their evolutionary past. And in the TV series, Marr himself gets tested to see if he has a gene which is said to have ‘evolved’ 6,000 years ago and is being associated by some scientists with higher intelligence and the white races. Darwin’s ‘The Descent of Man’ also paved the way for eugenics. At its beginning, in the early 20th century, it was a science-led campaign to eliminate genetic illnesses by preventing ‘unfit’ people from being born. Their method was to sterilise the mentally ill, the ‘weak-minded’ and a range of victims of various disabling diseases. By the Nazi era the elimination of the so-called ‘unfit’ was carried out not by sterilisation but by murder.

Marr, as usual, seeks to exonerate Darwinism as the cause. But Darwin himself said that humanity was under threat because society had halted natural selection by helping the poor and genetically weak to survive: “No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man… [E]xcepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.” His comparison with animal breeding was the basis of eugenics.

And so eugenics gained the support of the majority of the scientific community, leading to a campaign for forced sterilisation of the ‘unfit’ that failed to gain political approval in the UK, but was successful in America and in some European countries. As Marr states in programme two of the series, “Between 1907 and 1970, more than 60,000 people in the USA were forcibly sterilised” and “70,000 disabled people were sterilised in Nazi Germany for the crime of ‘impure race’.” But that was the tip of the iceberg. The mentally handicapped were sent to the gas chambers. Between 1939 and 1945 almost 250,000 disabled men, women and children were killed. And we haven’t even begun to talk about the Nazi extermination of Jews and Eastern Europeans…

A perusal of Mein Kampf makes it clear that because Hitler saw the Aryan race as the height of evolutionary achievement, he believed all other races were inferior. He believed he was just accelerating the process of natural selection and human evolution. In explaining the Nazi thinking behind the ‘Final Solution’, Marr reveals that “the Nazis said the Jews who survived the concentration camps would be the most resistant due to natural selection, and if released, they would provide the seed for a new Jewish revival. Therefore, according the Wannsee Protocol, they must be eradicated.”

In truth, modern science shows that all humans belong to the same race, but this has not been concluded from Darwinism. It has been proved by the study of genetics. And it was of course asserted by the Bible 2,000 years ago. Marr defends Darwin by saying that “the selective breeding scheme of the Aryan master race was inspired by a crude manipulation of Darwin’s theory of evolution – the survival of the fittest.” In similar vein, he says evolution was “abused” to justify imperialism, discrimination and mass murder, and that the Nazis “quite explicitly used a perverted interpretation of Darwin’s theory as they finalised their plan for the Holocaust.” But was it really a ‘crude manipulation’, an ‘abuse’ of the science and a ‘perverted interpretation’?

If evolution is true, then the idea of eugenics and even the murderous Nazi programme to purify the Aryan race is a completely logical conclusion to draw. You need some other input of ethics to oppose eugenics. There is none to be found in evolution. If we are all in a competition to survive, and our creation was not the design of a loving Creator but an accident of physics and chemistry, then the only law that counts is not the Ten Commandments but the law of survival. And if there is no Creator, then there is no need to answer to him for our behaviour – either in this life or the next. In that case, human life is no more valuable than that of a flea.

Princeton University bioethicist Peter Singer cites Darwin to justify his view that “the life of a newborn baby is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog or a chimpanzee.” Darwin himself was never an active atheist, but he certainly created an intellectual excuse for atheism. As Marr says in the TV series, “Evolution did not describe the world of liberty, equality and fraternity that Darwin himself believed in. It described a world of violence, competition and remorseless struggle for survival.”

So is it any wonder that a new worldview emerged that lay the foundations for the casual attitude to human life that was displayed by the Nazis and Communists (and is still displayed by the atheistic Communist regimes like N. Korea and China that continue to exist today)? In the first episode of the series, Marr correctly explained how evolution had removed the Bible as the authority to which people looked for the truth about their origins – yet he fails to recognise the consequences of this. If evolution proposes that life is all about treading on others to survive, where does that leave morality and compassion?

The Bible teaches that bad fruit comes from bad trees and good fruit from good trees, so we can identify good and evil from their fruit. If the fruit of evolution is a worldview that not only denies the Bible’s teaching on origins but on morality and faith, and has given rise to atheism, persecution and genocide – why are some Christians so blind that they embrace evolution as divine truth?

Christians who believe in evolution must be living in denial. Would they really rather believe in a man-made theory that has been responsible for destroying the faith of millions and taking the lives of many more millions than question the scientific validity of evolution? Obviously they either haven’t joined the dots yet, or they are simply refusing to believe that the connection is real.

One thing you can be sure of is this: the ultimate author of all evil is a liar and deceiver, and the Bible predicts that in the last days even the very elect shall be deceived. Satan will use any and all means to lead people away from God, and one of his classic ploys is to take something good – like science – and pervert it into something bad.

For non-Christian scientists, evolution has become a replacement religion. As the saying goes, when people lose belief in God, they don’t believe in nothing, they believe in anything. Evolution has filled that gap for many of scientific persuasion. And they hold to it as if it were their god. Evidence of this is the ridicule handed out to anyone who questions evolution, and the academic persecution of non-evolutionary scientists, who have been fired, demoted or refused work because of their views – despite being eminently qualified. Italian geneticist Giuseppi Sermonti says, “Darwinism... is the ‘politically correct’ of science.”

In every programme the BBC have produced on evolution in this year of Darwin celebrations, they have held unswervingly to the party line. And sadly Andrew Marr’s series, despite its title, was no different. But then Marr is, by his own admission, someone who has abandoned faith and is a believer in evolution. So how could he ever have made a programme that looked at evolution in an objective way? Well, as the journalist he is, he should have. And in that respect, he has let us down badly.
Andrew Halloway, Editor, Writer and Publishing Consultant.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Towards a Christian University

The Times Higher Education Section is reporting on the desire of some academics to establish a specifically Christian university in the UK. Faith, Hope and the Academy

Gavin D'Costa, who is a professor in Catholic theology at the University of Bristol, commented that such an institution would 'plug a culture gap' because the dominant culture is becoming too dogmatic in higher education in its secularism, and this endangers the 'general plurality in the public square.'

D'Costa comments further that 'only once there are more Christian higher-education institutions of real intellectual calibre can there be a flourishing again of Christian culture, which can make a genuine contribution to the wider good."

D'Costa has an interesting book published, 'Theology in the Public Square' which also argues for a Christian University. Univeristy of Warrick professor Steve Fuller, also sees benefit in such an institution because it will help people understand exactly what science is.

While undoubtedly there are those who wish to criticise this idea through fear of creationism, there is a need for institutions that reflect Christian approaches to truth and values in science. There has been a tendency for too long in secular society to exclude Bible believing Christians from studying science in higher education, because their desire is to study science in their own way. Instead the overwhelming assumption is that science must be carried out on the a priori belief that nature is all there is. This raises the secular naturalistic belief system above other faith positions.
Andrew Sibley.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Environmentalism and The Age of Stupid

Ed Miliband was speaking at a screening of a new documentary entitled 'The Age of Stupid' asserting that opposition to wind farms should be 'faced down,' and such opposition considered socially taboo. Opposing Wind Farms should be socially taboo, says Ed Miliband - Guardian

OK so who is stupid?

It was Aldo Leopold who argued for a land ethic (much of Leopold's comments I think are overstated, but he had one good point). He said; "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise." Aldo Leopold, The Land Ethic, A Sand County Almanac, OUP

It would seem that Ed Miliband has little respect for the beauty of the British countryside and the spiritual aspect that comes from appreciating the art of creation, unspoilt by human technology. Perhaps with his family's Bolshevik European roots he has a lack of comprehension and respect for how the natives think in Britain, and their right to determine how the land is used. It was after all the Soviet system that nearly destroyed the Aral Sea in the name of secular progress.

The RSPB has also called for a great increase in wind farms, together with more help to overcome local objections, in order to tackle climate change because of the perceived threat of global warming; Oh but we can spare sites where some birds are important. BBC - RSPB calls for more wind farms

Other environmentalists call for direct action against coal fired power stations, and for nuclear power stations to be built. The irony is that nuclear was considered the enemy when I was growing up, with pressure from CND etc., to ban it. How times change, but environmentalists have shown themselves to be a woolly headed lot in the past with lack of respect for other human beings, disagreements, changeable views and wishful thinking. Being woolly headed on its own is very English, but the lack of respect for the countryside and the views of the resident people is not.

Meanwhile Jonathan Porritt has called the UK population to be reduced to 30 million.
Timesonline - UK population must fall to 30m, says Porritt
Andrew Sibley

Saturday, 21 March 2009

GM crops harming the soil in India

What is happening with Monsanto these days? A recent report by Navdanya in India has noted that Bt Cotton is damaging the soil in parts of India by reducing the number of bacteria that perform vital ecological roles. Monsanto’s policy appears to be to make farmers around the world dependent upon their own GM modified seeds and pesticides, that they have patented, in order to make a profit for shareholders.

Read more at the Institute of Science and Society website Institute of Science and Society

Meanwhile, in America there is concern about a Food Safety Modernization Act 2009 that seeks to extend food safety laws to seeds that are to be grown for food. The concern centres around possible dependency on GM crops by small farmer's who fear they will be forced into the arms of big multinationals when unnecessary health and safety legislation becomes too costly petition comments

The pressure from secular science to extend ethically questionable practices has recently been shown by Obama’s determination to push through embryonic stem cell research, a technology that can lead to tumours and is less stable than adult stem cells, together with being ethically questionable because it leads to the destruction of the embryo.

In the same way the idea that it is acceptable to modify seeds and patent crops for profit, and thus make small farmers dependent upon big business for seeds, also goes against the grain of creation, and against the idea of equality in the global economy.
Andrew Sibley

Monday, 16 March 2009

Test of Faith

I see there is a new film coming out, Test of Faith, by the Faraday Institute that seeks to develop an understanding between science and faith. The Templeton Foundation, unsurprisingly, funded this initiative. Looking at the trailer on the website Test of Faith there are some interesting scientists interviewed in the making of the programme, which encourages me to think it might be worth watching. I just hope it doesn’t descend into another creationism / ID bash that we have seen before. Those who seek dialogue between secular science and Christian faith would also do well to work for dialogue between Christians in the science / faith arena as well.

At a press interview relating to its launch, the current President of Christians in Science, Professor Malcolm Jeeves says that he thinks ‘creationism is wrong,’ along with his ‘colleagues in Christians in Science.’ CiS though doesn’t take an official line on creationism, and I know of members who are creationists (and I am a lapsed member). Bearing in mind the recent Theos / Comres survey that reported high levels of support for creationism and ID in society it is regrettable that CiS doesn’t do more to facilitate dialogue between Christians in this area. I would suggest there is a pastoral role for the leadership of CiS that is not being undertaken at present.
Andrew Sibley

Friday, 13 March 2009

Developing Ethical Stem Cells

The BBC is once again reporting that stem cells can be grown from existing tissue, without the necessity to destroy an embryo. Researchers also believe they have found a way of making stem cells without safety concerns. 01/03/09 BBC 'Ethical' stem cell creation hope

But a few days later new President of America Barak Obama has said that he will lift restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. 09/03/09 BBC What next for stem cell research?

Not only is this ethically questionable, it is also unnecessary when other researchers are already obtaining stem cells from cord blood and other tissue. Furthermore, there would appear to be safety fears relating to the growth of tumours that need to be overcome with embryonic stem cells. Many left thinking secular scientists appear happy with this development, heralding the benefit for scientific research with little concern for ethical standards that respect humanity. Of course it would be good to find cures for some, or all, heredity diseases, but this should be done within an ethical framework.
Andrew Sibley

Monday, 9 March 2009

Templeton Funding in the Church

The Discovery Institute's Bruce Chapman is reporting that the Templeton Foundation has funded the recent pro-Darwin conference in Rome. Templeton's Darwin Conference in Rome 5th March

It is interesting to note that in the UK the Templeton Foundation has also funded some very vocal theistic supporters of evolution, including the Faraday Institute, headed by Denis Alexander, with $2,000,000 dollars.

And the wide ranging Theos / Faraday research project, that wants to 'rescue Darwin' by gathering information about the level of acceptance of evolution in UK society, was also funded by Templeton. Theos reported back in June 2008 that it is 'delighted to announce that it has been awarded a major grant by the John Templeton Foundation to undertake a new project on science and religion. Theos wins major grant to 'rescue' Darwin 3/6/08

Of course at the human level there is nothing wrong with taking money from Templeton, but I wonder how ethical it is for Christians to accept so much money from a vaguely spiritual organisation in order to promote acceptance of evolution in the Christian Church and thus shape Christian theology?

In the interest of academic freedom, it is to be hoped that funding from the Templeton Foundation, in the area of science and religion, comes with 'no strings attached' and is offered to those who are sceptical of the wider Darwinian claims as well. But the evidence would suggest that funding is not so forthcoming to those who are sceptical of evolution and wish to research intelligent design.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

The Trojan Horse of Liberal Theology

The most fundamental foundation of all Bible-believing Christians’ faith since Martin Luther is under attack – from evangelicals themselves.

How is this possible? Let me explain… The concept of ‘Sola Scriptura’, on which Protestantism was founded, is still one of the greatest unifying factors among evangelicals today. But a coach and horses is being driven through this doctrine by another belief that is insinuating its way into evangelical theology… the belief that the scientific establishment is right about evolution. And it is a Trojan horse for a liberal conquest of evangelical Christianity.

Gradually, leaders of the evangelical community are accepting evolution as fact – unlike the majority of average Christians. Why? Because they have been targeted for conversion to evolution by a small band of evangelicals who happen to be eminent scientists and who have accepted neo-Darwinism as unchallengeable fact. These ‘theistic evolutionists’ have persuaded some churches to adopt ‘Darwin Day’ this year and are on a campaign to rescue Darwin from atheism and creationism alike.

The truth is that ‘theistic evolution’ – the idea that God created life but used evolution to do it – is being squashed into an evangelical framework for the sake of the credibility of Christian scientists in the eyes of their secular peers. These evangelical theistic evolutionists have a laudable evangelistic aim – to remove the evolution/creationism controversy as a stumbling block to faith for scientifically-minded people. Once creationism is defeated, their thinking goes, then we can say to all scientists that you don’t have to leave your brains at the door in order to become a Christian. You can accept evolution and be a Christian – there is no conflict. Well, it’s perfectly true that you can accept evolution and be a Christian, but that doesn’t mean that evolution is true. However, it does mean that you have to surrender your view of the Bible as the supreme truth on the matter of origins – and ultimately on all matters – since science is the new gauge for spiritual truth.

Think I exaggerate? Stay with me.

‘Sola Scriptura’ was a foundational doctrinal principle of the Protestant Reformation held by the Reformers and is a formal principle of Protestantism today. It is Latin for ‘by scripture alone’ and is the doctrine that the Bible is the only infallible or inerrant authority for Christian faith. Consequently, Sola Scriptura demands that no doctrine is to be admitted or confessed that is not found directly or logically within Scripture. Sola Scriptura demands that all other authorities are subordinate to, and are to be corrected by, the written word of God.

But well-meaning evangelical evolutionists are forced to abandon this principle in order to accommodate evolution, and consequently they are crowning a new authority over Scripture – science.

Why? Because in order to fit evolution into the Bible narrative, you have to interpret unchanging, infallible Scripture in the light of changing, fallible science. If you accept evolution as fact, then wherever there is a clash between Scripture and evolution, evolution must be right, not the plain meaning of Scripture. Therefore the meaning of Scripture must be changed to make it fit evolution.

This is exactly what evangelical evolutionist Dr Denis Alexander, for example, has done in his recent book ‘Creation Or Evolution – Do We Have To Choose?’
So, has this compromise on Scripture being condemned by evangelical leaders?Hardly. The book was given major article space in the Evangelical Alliance’s IDEA magazine, and no opposing book has so far been covered in the same way, as a means of balance.Of course, those of us who can see through the false façade of evolution hope the EA will see the error of its ways and include an article which presents the case against theistic evolution. And this may happen, given that a new book doing exactly that is due to be published later this year. But I’m not holding my breath. Justin Thacker, the EA’s Head of Theology, is a theistic evolutionist. He says his personal beliefs won’t affect his work of representing all evangelical views on this matter – so let’s hope he is true to his word.

But the fact that a theistic evolutionist has reached that position within the EA says something about the times we live in. Many evangelical Bible colleges and heads of denominations have publicised their pro-evolution views. Christianity magazine, the leading monthly for evangelical leaders, recently allowed a theistic evolutionist booklet, ‘Rescuing Darwin’, to be given away free with every copy.

Of course the magazine would say it doesn’t necessarily endorse the views of an insert paid for by another organisation, but neither has it prevented such a booklet going out to every reader. In addition, this month’s issue features an article on Darwin’s theology by a theistic evolutionist (Nick Spencer). It doesn’t explore evolution itself much, but nevertheless credence is given to a theistic evolutionist writer.

This trend is deeply worrying for anyone who cares about both the primacy of Scripture and the unity of evangelicals.

Let’s look closer at why.

A leading evangelical evolutionist is Prof David Cutler, president of the prestigious Linnaen Society. In an interview with the Salvation Army’s ‘War Cry’ evangelistic newspaper (which incidentally has carried many such interviews with evangelical evolutionists over the last year), Prof Cutler was asked, ‘Some people think that science has superseded the Bible. How do you view the Bible?’

His answer was revealing. It stood out from what was in other respects an orthodox evangelical interview. He said, ‘The Bible contains the word of God.’ Note the word ‘contains’. A traditional evangelical would have said, ‘The Bible is the word of God.’

What’s the difference? Well, if the Bible only contains the word of God, that implies that some parts of it aren’t the word of God. By contrast, if the Bible is the word of God, then all of it is the word of God.

Once you start saying ‘contains’ then you can chuck out any of the bits that you don’t like as not being inspired, or not relevant to today, etc. That’s convenient for Christian evolutionists who want to promote evolution as fact.

Denis Alexander, the author of ‘Creation Or Evolution: Do We Have To Choose?’ professes to be an evangelical. I have no doubt that he is. And he is a great scientist in his field. But when it comes to evolution, his theology falls woefully short of Sola Scriptura.

The methods of Biblical interpretation which he applies in his book are clearly liberal hermeneutical methods, yet because he belong to the evangelical faith, this seems to have been overlooked by most evangelical church leaders. Denis performs interpretative gymnastics with Genesis in order to shoehorn evolution into the story of creation, when it clearly doesn’t exist there.

David Anderson, a missionary working in Kenya and a keen blogger, lays out the theological errors in Denis Alexander’s book in great detail in a series of posts. He says, “If evangelicals take the contents of this book to heart, they will not only be endorsing a certain set of conclusions regarding origins; they will also be embracing a seriously erroneous approach to interpreting the word of God as a whole, and its relationship to other areas of knowledge.

“Such an approach, if carried out consistently, will ultimately damage the whole structure of Biblical revelation and the gospel itself – a road which I believe Dr. Alexander in this book has already travelled a long way down.

“I agree with Professor Andrew McIntosh, whose review in the Evangelical Times published in September 2008 asserted as follows: ‘By writing this book, Alexander has placed himself on the side of liberal theologians and, in this reviewer’s opinion, has departed seriously from the evangelical faith.’

It’s not just young earth creationists who believe in a literal six 24-hour days of creation who should beware of the liberal interpretation of Scripture that is the backdrop for theistic evolution. All evangelicals, whether you believe in God-directed evolution, Intelligent Design theory, progressive (long ages) creationism or whatever, should unite around the principle of Sola Scriptura. And if you do, you cannot take evolution as an authority by which we should interpret Scripture.

The real question is whether Darwinism contradicts the gospel. Dawkins and the atheists think so, as do traditional creationists. And here are some reasons why.

The Bible says the world was created very good and fell, beginning to decay. In contrast, evolution says it began in chaos and has gradually self-created into a state of complexity. The Bible says God created everything at the beginning, and his creative acts ended when he rested on the Seventh ‘Day’ (and we are still in that Sabbath Rest). But evolution says order has come about through natural processes which are continuing to ‘create’ today, and organisms will continue to be ‘created’ by evolution in the future. Both can’t be true.

Which is authoritative and infallible, the Book of God or the Book of Nature? God can speak to us through nature, yes, but nature and human scientists are fallen – so they are not a perfect vessel for revealing God’s truth. Only the Bible is.

Scripture should be used to interpret Scripture. Science can inform and help us understand Scripture, like history and archaeology can, but in any clash we should always choose Scripture. Time and again historians and archaeologists have mocked the Bible for containing myths for which there is no evidence, only to later find historical documents or artefacts that back up the Bible. Why should we think biology is any less fallible?

As David Anderson says: “The Bible is our ultimate authority, and therefore takes the prime place in interpreting itself… True Christian exegesis means to find out what the Bible itself actually teaches us about what Genesis means... How did Christ use its teachings and what was his and the apostles’ hermeneutic?

“Denis Alexander warns us against the danger of reading passages with excessive literalism. Where, though, I wonder is the opposite warning? We live in times dominated by Enlightenment thought. We live in the unpleasant afterglow of over a century of unbelieving theological liberalism. We live in times when people think of the Bible in terms of myth… not the real world of time and space. Literalism has slain its thousands, but liberalism its tens of thousands. “It is not excessive literalism which has ruined the mainline denominations of the professing Christian church; it is liberalism. So where is Denis’ warning that we might be in danger of treating straightforward matters of history as if they weren’t? Where are we alerted to the risks of facing the Bible’s cold, hard assertions about real history, real space and time, and committing the sin of unbelief in their face?”

Denis Alexander sums up his whole liberal approach when he says that Genesis “is describing creative events that occurred before anyone was around to describe them, so it cannot be history in any normal use of that term.”

So, God isn’t capable of writing history unless he has human eyewitnesses to do it for him? Is it not possible that God inspired Moses to write real history – as the Bible itself claims – or are miracles not allowed in evangelical theology any more, just as in liberal theology? For theistic evolutionists, Genesis is theology and evolution is science, and never the twain shall meet. They say the Bible wasn’t written as a scientific textbook, which is true. But they then conclude that where it does touch on scientific issues it can’t be trusted to say anything plainly – it must be all symbolic. In contrast, neo-Darwinism is science, so it can be trusted! Hail the new religion of evolution! Evangelicals should bow down to it, like a Canaanite idol.

The truth is that Genesis makes historical claims and so does evolution, and in many places they are in conflict.

I leave the conclusion to David Anderson: “As I read Dr. Alexander’s book, my main fear ironically isn’t that it’ll persuade Christians to embrace Darwinism. What this book will actually do to Christians who really take it to heart is much worse… it might lead them into a much more far-reaching theological downgrade, through the methods of Bible interpretation that Dr. Alexander uses… The authentic Christian approach to the Bible is to give it an unrivalled place of supreme authority and absolute truth, so that it dictates the parameters which any other supposed sources of truth must adhere too. The Bible is certain and non-negotiable; other sources of truth are uncertain, must fit within the parameters of Scripture and be believed with appropriate tentativeness.”
Amen.

Written by Andrew Halloway, the contributing editor of ‘The Delusion of Evolution’, a booklet that exposes the fallacies of evolution and explains why scientists are increasingly taking up Intelligent Design as a better way to understand the evidence. See www.newlifepublishing.co.uk/delusion