‘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


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 fa├žade 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

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Theos / Comres report - intelligent design supporters 'highest educated'

The Theos funded report on attitudes to evolution and creation in society has now been published. It gives a confusing picture, although that didn't stop the Guardian taking one figure out of context to give the spin required by the paper. Guardian news item Theos news item

The report, Faith and Darwin written by Comres not Theos to avoid bias, commented on page 102.

"Despite the decrease of religious practice in the UK and the recent media coverage of issues of science and faith, there is still a core of people who hold to Young Earth Creationism. However, interestingly, the youngest generations and highest educated people show inclinations towards believing in Intelligent Design. Could this be a pointer towards the dominant trend of tomorrow?"

Elsewhere, on pages 18-19, it gave a profile of a typical intelligent design supporter.

"[He is typically] 25 has just completed a master’s degree, believes that the complexity of life on earth can only be explained by Intelligent Design. He believes there is a God or higher power of some sort, though is unwilling to be drawn on whether that is the God his grandmother believes in or some other force. Evolution, he says, is still just a theory that is waiting to be proved or disproved by the evidence. It doesn’t offer a serious challenge to the question of ultimate purpose in life, and does not contradict his view that humans have unique value and significance. He thinks science challenges religious faith, but is happy to live with this tension and remains open-minded about how evolutionary theory and Christianity relate to each other. Unlike his father, he thinks children should be introduced to Intelligent Design in school, but while his grandmother would like to see it taught in science lessons as an alternative to evolution, he agrees with his mother that it is a more appropriate subject for discussion in subjects such as RE."

However, Paul Wolley of Theos continues to promote his belief in theistic evolution, calling on people to carefully weigh the evidence for evolution. It would seem though that many of the best educated have concluded that Darwinian explanations cannot explain all of life.

Furthermore, Theos continue to assert that Darwin's ides have little consequence for theistic belief despite the fact that Darwin's writing, correspondence and acquaintances are complicated and Darwin seemed to have had feet in a number of camps. Darwin for instance seemed to give tacit approval to the activity of T.H. Huxley who was develop a sense of conflict between science and faith while promoting Darwin's work; at least there is little evidence that Darwin did anything to question Huxley.