I closed part 2 of my essay with a statement that may have seemed odd: “Whatever the arguments, we can see very clearly, that the bulldogs can bark and growl and froth, but their bite is found wanting. I wish the same could be said for Darwin’s deniers.” Meaning that Darwin’s deniers have a surprisingly bad bite to go along with their equally horrible bark. But, of course, I must explain why I believe that.
Whereas atheist polemics like Richard Dawkins and numerous others like to use evolution as a banner for their cause, their scope of influence is rather limited to their devotees and those who happen to stumble onto their stuff via YouTube, bookstores, etc. Not so with deniers.
Those who not only doubt evolution, but insist that one cannot be a Christian without doing so, have caused believers in Christ to be thrown out of their churches and cut off from their family and friends, who are told that it is their Christian duty not to talk to X, or associate with X, until they renounce their belief. They are to told to cut a person off for the sake of “saving their soul” and “bringing them to repentance.” Naturally, this intimidates many believers (including myself) from coming out and being the Galileos the American church desperately needs.
Outside of the church, deniers also have a strong voice in public policy. What is decided regarding the content of textbooks in the state of Texas, including science textbooks, often applies to the rest of the United States. And Texas has no short supply of intelligent design and young-earth creationism activists.
“2008 and 2009 was when they were at the height of their influence,” said Dan Quinn, media representative for the Texas Freedom Network, a civil liberties watchdog group. “They wish to pass laws that essentially will force their views and opinions into textbooks, regardless of whether or not scholars and scientists think those opinions are based on real facts and evidence.”
But who exactly are the most prominent of these deniers? Who are the individuals that are contributing to the idea that evolution isn’t for Christians, and leading the assault against mainstream science? Unlike part 1 and 2, we will stray from the “rule of threes” and spotlight only two of the most influential figures: one from the YEC world and the other from intelligent design.
We begin with Ben Stein. Now, make no mistake, Ben Stein is smart. Smart enough that I respect his mind and intellectual cunning like a village boy would a tiger he stumbles on in the jungle. And I must admit, Stein has written books that I have found beneficial to my life. But he’s also hosted a documentary called “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.”
The film had two primary points: No. 1, that academia is dishonest, and wishes to stifle the free exchange of ideas when it comes to ID and origins, and No. 2, that Darwinism helped bring about eugenics and Nazism. Seeing as how more than half of prominent American scientists believe in a higher power, (51 percent, according to a 2009 Pew Research Center poll), it’s hardly a safe conclusion to say that academia is “against God” and wishes to stifle any idea that might have something to do with him. Does academia try to stifle ID and YEC? Maybe. But perhaps their resistance comes about because they know the evidence simply doesn’t point in those directions. We would not protest academia for stifling the flat-earth movement from infiltrating our schools, nor would we argue for the “free exchange of ideas regarding our planet’s shape.”
In regard to charges of dishonesty, perhaps the makers of “Expelled” should have followed their own advice. This leads us to the film’s second point. In order to make the case that Darwin and evolution created a pathway that led to eugenics and Nazism, Stein took Darwin’s words in “Origin Of Species” and cut, blended together and mismatched them in a way that was nothing short of slander, reading them as if it were all a single paragraph. Any journalist would have been immediately fired for pulling such a stunt, and rightfully so.
There were so many lies in “Expelled” it’s simply stunning. What did this film ultimately achieve? It further encouraged YEC attack dogs in churches around America to continue their offensive, and further affirmed to them that evidence against evolution was becoming obvious “outside” the church. Perhaps such was not the film’s intention, but to overlook that result would be jaw-droppingly naive, and it certainly did its part to give Christians the idea that evolution wasn’t for them.
Representing YECs are, of course, Ken Ham and his organization Answers in Genesis. AiG (or as I like to refer to them, “Christian Ingsoc“), promotes among Christians not only vitriol against evolution itself, but a paranoia for brethren who believe in it. Ham writes, “As time goes on, I notice that it’s not just secularists who are trying to win the hearts and minds of our children to their unbiblical beliefs. Sadly, even professing Christians who have compromised with evolution and millions of years are also trying to instill a mistrust of God’s Word in our kids…”
Notice the operative words and phrases: “professing Christians,” “compromised,” “trying to instill a mistrust of God’s word.” This indicates to me that Ham believes theistic evolutionists are not really Christians but are faking it (merely “professing”), in order to infiltrate Christianity and weaken the walls of the castle (“compromised”), and we are trying (a word which would be indicative of desire) to make “our kids” (the magic words) mistrust the Bible.
So, not only is evolution not for Christians, according to Ham, but those who are Christians and accept evolution are, in reality, closet atheists infiltrating the church to take hold of your children’s minds. We’re spies. No doubt this invokes a warfare state of mind, though, by far, this is not the craziest thing Ham and his colleagues at AiG have said or done.
Why all the resistance? Has a 6,000-year-old universe always been the viewpoint of Christians, and only now is it under faces assault from new, heretical forces? It may surprise some, but the YEC perspective is — unlike the earth — very, very young. Although small traces of it can be found in the 16th century, most notably in William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” YEC in its current form, as a so-called “scientific discipline,” didn’t begin until 1923. A Seventh-day Adventist named George McCready Price, wrote a book titled “The New Geology,” which was based off “Patriarchs and Prophets,” written by Adventist “prophet” and co-founder Ellen White.
“The New Geology,” like White’s book, discusses the impact of Noah’s Flood on the planet. The title of Price’s book notwithstanding, he wasn’t actually a geologist. In fact, he wasn’t a scientist at all. In 1961, two Baptists, Henry Morris and John Whitcomb Jr., also not scientists, adapted and updated Price’s “New Geology” and dubbed it “The Genesis Flood,” which to this day is a second Bible for YECs. Even our pal Ken Ham heralded “Genesis Flood” as “the book the Lord used to really launch the modern creationist movement around the world” (and, as we know, if K-Ham says something, you can bet it’s true).
So there you have it. A “geology” book written by an ardent Adventist who wasn’t a geologist or any other kind of scientist, which was later updated and adapted by two other men who also weren’t scientists. Arriving at the present, we find one “museum” run by Ken Ham and AiG, widespread fear among brethren that if they come out and call YECism the garbage that it is they’ll be excommunicated from everything and everyone they love, and not a single peer-reviewed article or shred of evidence to back YEC claims.
You know what? Stop. History lesson is over. Enough about the “doves” and the “bulldogs” and the “deniers,” too. I’m finished talking about history, because in truth, it isn’t really a matter of history we’re dealing with anymore, is it? It’s time to speak frankly.
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