Indy Star on Evolution

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Friday, September 25, 2009 | Published in

So, I was idly eating my dinner tonight at work while reading my local newspaper, the Indianapolis Star. Usually I just skip right to the comics section and do the cryptoquip for the groan inducing puns. Occasionally though, like tonight, I actually read the front section to see day old news and read the horrific opinions section. What should greet me there but a column from the opinions page editor Russ Pulliam entitled "Taking Darwin on Faith".Yeah, this is going to be a fun one. Surprisingly there aren't as many evolution-denying Young Earth Creationists in Indiana as you would think so this usually isn't a problem. In NCSE's last report on how well each state does at teaching evolution Indiana got an A, Good. I have a feeling that is mostly due to the rather large biotech industry here. Eli Lilly and all of the medical supply companies in Columbus know where their bread is buttered. A population that doesn't have a basic understand of science will eventually vote against research funding. That ends up hurting the companies and the state.

Anyways, back to the story... and it's kind of a big disappointment. Pulliam couldn't even throw in one of the standard Creationist arguments like how complex the eye is, how fine tuned the universe is, or even a dig about Darwin being a racist bastard who caused the Holocaust. Instead we get: blah blah blah 150th anniversary, IU is offering special classes on evolution, surveys show that most Americans are blithering idiots don't believe in evolution. Then he hits us with an old favorite of Kent Hovind:
Yet in the debate between evolution and creation, those on the Darwinian side of the discussion often make the same error that they see in their opponents. They observe nature and evolution within species, or adaptation. From there came Darwin's evolutionary hypothesis that humans evolved from the amoebas.
That's right, the old "Goo to the Zoo to You" card (with a side of "Microevolution, not Macroevolution" slipped underneath). Of course the problem with "Goo to the Zoo to You" is that it skips several trillions of steps in the middle. (Not to mention how supremely ironic this is for someone who believes that man was formed out of dirt and clay and that woman was made out of his rib.) No scientist thinks that several millions of amoebae got together one day and "decided" to become a man. It went unicellular organism, mutlicellular organisms, invertebrate fish, vertebrate fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, primates, apes, then humans with about 3 billion years from the start to today. In other words:Then he has to pull out the old "faith" card:
Many scientists contend that the theory has been proven, or rendered undeniable, by so much research. Yet there's a leap of faith involved in Darwinian theory.
Obviously he is using a definition of faith I had previously not heard. Faith is belief without evidence. With evolution we have evidence. TONS OF IT! Billions of it just lying about the place. For instance, all of genetics and paleontology scream Common Descent. It takes as much faith to believe in evolution as it does to believe in gravity, electromagnetism, germs, and the Big Bang.

To further present his case that every biologist in the last 100 years is wrong he employs the help of... a biologist that also happens to be a minister:

Bloomington Reformed Presbyterian Pastor Richard Holdeman also has a doctorate in cell biology and is a lecturer at Indiana University. He sometimes finds himself in the middle of this debate.

"Charles Darwin made careful observations and laid out an elegant theory explaining how biological organisms change over time," Holdeman said.
Carefully note that Professor/Pastor Holdeman has no issue with evolution at all. He even calls it "elegant" which Creationists never do. You aren't helping your case much here, Russ. Next time you want a helpful quote from a questionable authority that denies evolution try giving the Discovery Institute a call. I'm sure they are in your Rolodex.
What troubles Holdeman is how some followers of Darwin have taken his work and turned it into a theological treatise about the origins and purpose of the universe. "Science by nature does not answer questions related to meaning and purpose in the universe." he said. "It is wrong to use science to justify what are essentially religious beliefs. The result is that many religious people are offended by and reject evolution because of its supposed religious implications rather than its scientific merits or lack thereof.

Yes, it is true that evolution doesn't prove that God doesn't exist. That is a slippery eel that will never get disproved since the definition of God keeps changing to something unprovable. All evolution did was take away one of the gaps that God was hiding it. It took away the Teleological and anthropic arguments in one fell swoop and is very quickly working on the argument from morality. Add in the fact that the Big Bang Theory destroyed the cosmological argument and, well, God doesn't have very many places left to hide.
"In addition, some scientists have underplayed the significance of the unanswered questions relating to evolutionary theory. For example, where did the first cell come from? Thus there is a general mistrust of the scientific community among many people of faith."

GAAAAHHHH!!! How the hell does a cellular biologist not know the difference between evolution and abiogenesis??? Seriously, you work around cells all day and presumably have for the last 20 plus years. Evolution doesn't talk about where cells come from, the tell us what happens after those cells got here. A layman like me shouldn't have to tell you this!!!

I almost felt bad writing all of this because Russ's article is just a throwaway column at the end of the week. There was really no substance there except to say that "Sometimes atheists use evolution to say bad things about God." At least he and I can agree on one thing though:
Or, as Holdeman puts it, "As long as evolutionary theory is advocated in semi-religious terms, this debate is not going to go away."
The sooner religion learns to accept scientific fact, the sooner we can all move on to more productive debates. Like, where is my beer?



  1. James F. McGrath said...

    Thanks for posting on this. I linked to your post from my own.

    September 30, 2009 at 9:23 AM

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