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The Creation / Evolution Controversy - What Both Sides Should Do and Avoid

The following are concerns I have pertaining to the Creation - Evolution debate, areas in which I believe that evolutionists, and yes, creationists too, sometimes call into disrepute the claim to be truly seekers after truth, which, after all, is what both science and religion are all about.

Ignorance of What the Other Camp Is Saying
Books and articles attacking creation often reveal a great lack of knowledge about what creationists are actually saying and reiterate arguments for evolution and against creation to which creationists have easy answers. It is true that creationists are guilty of the same thing too. Both sides can often afford to be a lot more scholarly than they sometimes are! A pretended ignorance, on the other hand, by either creationists or evolutionists in which arguments are presented for the sake of their effect on the public at large even though the author knows but fails to reveal significant weaknesses in the arguments, has no place in the name of science whatsoever. (That should be self-evident, shouldn't it?)

It is easy to find out what the evolutionists are saying. Most scientific journals and magazines and scientific television programming are focused largely on evolution. It is becoming increasingly easier also to find out what creationists are saying, so evolutionists really don't have an excuse not to know. Here are a few links:

Amazing Discoveries
This web site was created by Dr. Walter Veith, once a committed evolutionist. This site is great! I wish to quote briefly from his site:

"Evolutionary scientists argue that creationism is not science, as it is based on a preconceived ideology which excludes it from the realms of science. However, if the facts fit the Biblical paradigm, cannot it then be argued that the creation account could be right, or would it be excluded on the grounds of having been preconceived?
...
"My change of view regarding evolution was not instantaneous. It was not emotional. It was the result of a long and often hard road in search of truth."

Answers in Genesis
This organization is probably at the forefront in promoting creation science today. They are doing a great work restoring the confidence of Christians in God's Word!

Geoscience Research Institute
I really appreciate GRI. These people are top notch scientists who don't have an "us against them" attitude towards evolutionists. I believe there are many honest hearted evolutionists in their profession who are honestly inquiring, "What is truth?" Such will not be turned off by GRI.

Institute for Creation Research
An excellent site! Check it out.

Origins - Linking Science and Scripture
This book by Ariel A. Roth, former director of Geoscience Research Institute, is a scholarly, well rounded introduction to scientific creation written by a scientist, with the skeptical scientist in mind. The book does not belittle.
(For even more resources, the Geoscience Research Institute web site has an excellent list of web sites and other resources relating to the Creation - Evolution question.)

The Claim that Science and Religion Are Mutually Exclusive
Scientists sometimes try to define what the boundaries of religion are and to prove that science is outside of the realm of religion, and therefore, people of faith should not be fearful of the claims of science but rather to simply accept them because they are unrelated to religion by definition. It is intriguing that there are scientists who, speaking as scientists, feel qualified to state just where the boundaries of religion are and where they are not, and yet they claim that science has nothing to say about religion. Granted indeed that there are some theologians that say the same thing, just as there are other theologians who don't. But scientists who claim science has nothing to say about religion aren't qualified to endorse a theologian either, are they? Anyway, one of the arguments given is that science deals with the nature of the observable, measurable universe and that religion deals with the purpose of the universe, and that these are mutually exclusive. Well, suppose I were to show you a blue-print of an atomic bomb and to explain all the details of its workings (something observable and measurable), and then I were to tell you that this instrument was designed (its purpose) to feed the hungry, provide shelter for the homeless, and to clothe the naked? Would you believe me? Of course not! Now, suppose that I show you the blue-prints of a universe built on a foundation in which the oppressive (the "fittest") win over the meek and then try to convince you that Jesus was correct when He said that the meek shall inherit the Earth? Is there no problem here? Even if we grant that these difficulties may be resolvable within the framework of both evolution and Jesus' teaching, the very fact that there are apparent discrepencies that need to be worked through calls into serious question the assumption that science and religion are mutually exclusive!

Furthermore, I will submit that if we were to accept a definition for religion that makes religion and science mutually exclusive, it would no longer be proper to call the faith of the Bible a religion because its teachings encompass much more than is delineated by such a narrow definition. Not a big deal, really, just a change in the English language - at least it doesn't really change anything for those who recognize the fact. But this stealthy redefinition is encouraging thousands of people to discard cherished beliefs for no other reason than that they've been lured by a definition. For those who accept that religion has a legitimate place of importance for humanity, that kind of thought manipulation should be spooky! (Remember Newspeak from George Orwell's 1984?)

Misconstruing Evidence
Neither evolutionists nor creationists should misconstrue evidence to support their viewpoints nor should they conceal evidence that doesn't seem to fit a particular theory so well. Every effort should be made that this doesn't take place either willfully or unwillfully. All scientists should be up front, publicly, about how their interpretations both appear to fit and don't appear to fit the evidence. Admittedly, there is a level of subjectivity involved and it may not always be practical to point out every little minor discrepancy. But we need to beware lest we make "practicality" an excuse for misrepresentation.

Misrepresentations of the Opposition
Willful misrepresentations of the other side are intolerable in both the name of science and in the name of religion. Truth does not need falsehood to promote it. Falsehood is a fitting tool for propagandists of oppressive regimes to promote their self-styled version of what they call truth. It is totally out of place, on the other hand, for those who claim to be seeking after the real truth. Not only is willful misrepresentation wrong, great care needs to be taken to avoid accidental misrepresentations of the other side. At the same time, we need to be forgiving of each other for occasional misunderstandings because they will surely occur once in a while even when we take great care to avoid them.

Along the same vein, there is no place in the promotion of truth for the enlistment of straw men arguments. In other words, we should take care not to present an easily refutable statement as representative of "the other side" when the opposition does not even make such a statement in the first place.

Enlisting Language Ambiguity in Defense of What We Call Truth
Scientists need to take care not to use the ambiguities of language to win public support for their case. That is dishonest, and should be an embarrassment when done in the name of science, or in the name of religion for that matter! An example is a person saying that no scientist believes in creation, but not revealing to the public that the speaker's personal definition of a scientist excludes creationists by definition. By choosing to not reveal this tiny but pertinent bit of information, the message being conveyed to the general public is that no one who has made valuable contributions to science in recent years is a creationist, which is absolutely not true! (See AiG's Scientists who believed in the Bible: past and present.) True, there may indeed be many scientists who agree with such a definition, but not even all scientists who favor evolution hold to such a definition of the word scientist.

Another example is saying that evolution is an established fact, just as is the law of gravitation. It would be very laughable indeed not to believe in the law of gravity! Aside from the fact that any first-grader knows that gravity makes apples fall to the ground, the universal law of gravitation has been directly observed and measured in the laboratory, and is a foundational factor in the space program. If by the term "evolution", natural selection is what is really being referred to, there is no question but that natural selection has been observed in the laboratory and in nature in the "here and now" countless times, and thus the statement that evolution is as an established fact as is the law of gravity is true, but misleading because of the ambiguous usage of the term "evolution". The truth is, no serious creation scientist today questions the fact of natural selection and of change over time. One needs to read no more than a few pages of biological creationist literature today to find clear affirmation of natural selection and change.

On the other hand, when it comes to microbes becoming people, and of the evolution of sophisticated biological structures over the course of billions of years, the situation is very different. By its nature, this can never be demonstrated in the laboratory. Evolution, in this sense, is a historical or a forensic science, and not an experimental science, and is thus in a totally different category than is the law of universal gravitation. Even if we grant that there is a fair amount of evidence or even a great deal of evidence in favor of evolution, there is a lot less certainty and a great deal more room for both debate and speculation in this realm. The comparison of evolution to the law of gravity in this sense is entirely unwarranted.

Inadmission To Not Having All the Answers
We should be willing to admit that we don't have all the answers. Really, that shouldn't be so embarrassing for either side, should it? That's just the nature of science. There are areas in which the evidence seems to more closely favor one side, and areas where it seems to favor the other. Many evolutionists fear admitting that creation may fit the evidence better in at least some cases for fear that may cause evolution to lose ground. The question, however, is, are we interested in promoting truth, or in promoting our opinion of truth? Science, which presumably exists for the purpose of discovering truth rather than for the purpose of promoting a system of belief, has nothing to fear from an honest forum. It is intriguing, then, that Christians - who by definition are committed to a system of belief - often are more willing that both sides be heard than are evolutionists.

Using Outdated Arguments
It is natural to expect that there may be arguments used by both sides that may later be overturned by further evidence. Both sides need to take care not to use outdated arguments, and to admit publicly when an argument turns out to be unsound.

For arguments creationists should not use, see: Arguments We Think Creationist Shouldn't Use and Arguments Creationists Should Not Use (both links are to Answers In Genesis).

Curt Emotionalism and Name Calling
Curt emotionalism and name calling are often resorted to when one has no other answer to give. That, quite simply, is not scientific. Neither is it befitting the "pinnacle of evolution" nor "humans created in God's image."

Pounding the "pulpit" to cover up weak arguments
It is said that in the margin of a preacher's sermon notes was written the words "Argument weak here...Pound pulpit." Whatever one's viewpoint on the creation-evolution debate (or on anything for that matter), don't do this. For example, prefacing statements with words such as "It is obvious that...", or "We can be 100% certain that..." when you don't believe the argument is so certain yourself is simply dishonest. Better should be expected, both from the Christian, and from the scientist.

Image of Hubble Ultra Deep Field by NASA and ESA

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