A meme about green beans and young-earth creationist arguments

Today’s meme was suggested by a reader, Larry Bunce. The text (if it’s too hard to read) is as follows: “A lot of the YEC arguments against evolution seem to be based on circular reasoning. ‘God could not have used evolution,’ they say, ‘because evolution is atheistic and against his nature.’ …Isn’t that sorta like saying, ‘I’m glad I don’t like green beans, because then I would think they taste good, and they don’t taste good’?”

We thought the argument was a pretty fair critique of this common anti-theistic evolution argument, which basically translates to: “God could not have used evolution, because that would mean that he used evolution, and he just would never do that.”

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  • SJB

    I hadn’t run into that argument before. I thought their main criticism was that they thought evolution was contradicted by Scripture?

    • Oh, they have lots of arguments against evolutionary creationism, for two reasons (in my opinion). One, they can’t tolerate such a viewpoint, because they are best served by a black-and-white, atheists vs. Christian battleground. Any viewpoint that might demonstrate you can look at science honestly without sacrificing your faith or the Bible is a huge problem for those who profit off of young-earth creationism. Secondly, none of the arguments against evolutionary creationism are very good, so I guess they figure the more they can muster, the better. Quantity over quality.

      But to answer your question, yes, I see this particular argument all the time, in a few different forms.

    • Evolutionary Creation

      Some do, but most do not. If you read Jason Rosenhouse’s book, Among the Creationists (2012), when he describes his experiences with young-earth creationists and intelligent design advocates at various conferences and debates and the Creation Museum, he found it remarkable that their primary arguments were never based on scripture. One or two would eventually make a biblical argument, but it was never a primary argument for any of them.

      But when they actually do raise a biblical argument, there are only three predictable ones they make: (1) that “day” in Genesis refers to a normal “evening and morning” day, (2) that Adam and Eve were real, historical figures, and (3) the was no death in the world before Adam sinned. I think they are right about the first two, but those are not defeaters of evolution (i.e., the first two arguments do not conflict with evolutionary history).

      The last one they are simply wrong about, since the context of Romans 5 is clearly mankind (cf. vv. 12 and 18). And creationists are blissfully inconsistent when they concede that 98 percent of all organic life on earth experienced death prior to the fall—absolutely everything except vertebrates—but somehow God would be cold and creation would no longer be “very good” if any of the remaining two percent died before the fall. Not sure how that works, but there go. (They argue that “nephesh chayyah” does not apply to plants or invertebrates; e.g., Jonathan Sarfati, “The fall: A cosmic catastrophe – Hugh Ross’s errors on plant death in the Bible,” Journal of Creation, vol. 19, no. 3 (Creation Ministries International, 2005), p. 62).

      Incidentally, Adam being a historical figure does not equate to him being the first human. Those are two very different arguments. Scripture supports the former, but the latter is typically just assumed.