answers in genesis
For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. –Romans 1:20 (emphasis mine)
The true scientific model of the origin of species, by design not by chance, can be demonstrated by common sense and the simplest of scientific experiments with any species, particularly of butterflies; whereas it is scientifically impossible to sustain the evolutionary model without having to distort objective truth itself. –Bernard d’Abrera, The Concise Atlas of Butterflies of the World (emphasis mine)
I wanted to follow-up on my last two posts in which I was critical toward Answers in Genesis and the RATE Project by ICR. Some may think I may think I was just bashing them. I do not mean to, but there is a reason why I have a deep conviction about this: scientific data should be able to stand as neutral. God makes it clear in nature that he can be understood. We should never have to bend or distort data to fit a philosophy, whether religious or atheist.
In his writings on modern thought and culture, Francis Schaeffer has emphasized going back to the basic and primary question of “Is there a God?” Science and the evidence we uncover are the best way to decide that. All people, whether believers, agnostics, atheists, or whatever, should be able to use the tools of analysis and it will point to God’s handiwork. What truth do we observe?
- A universe that came out of nothing and had a beginning.
- The universe’s physical laws are fine-tuned to support life. For instance, if the force of gravity were any stronger or weaker by 1 part in 10100 (a 1 with 100 zeroes behind it) the universe could not support life. For perspective, there are 1080 atoms in the entire universe.
- The Earth is uniquely situated in our galaxy such that it provides the overall best conditions for scientific discovery of the universe. (refer to The Privileged Planet dvd)
These points are all based on scientifically verified data, and they all seem to point to a Designer behind the universe. Also, this data was not generated by the religious, either. In fact, the Big Bang was a hard pill to swallow for naturalists, who believed that the universe had always existed. The data for the Big Bang forced scientists to accept the view that the universe, at one time, did not exist. And then it existed. The philosophical ramifications were obvious-it pointed to an external cause, namely a creator. Yet scientists, regardless of personal beliefs, accepted the data.
What about the theory of evolution? Does nature proclaim it as truth? Not at all.
- Fossil evidence: researchers have been looking for over 100 years for missing links between the major species without result.
- The fossil record of the Cambrian “explosion” demonstrates the exact opposite of what Darwin predicted. Here you have almost all of the basic body plans (phyla), rather than only a few basic types of animals that gradually divide into the phyla.
- DNA: this discovery has only exacerbated evolutionary theory. As Bill Gates has noted, “DNA is like a computer program, but far, far more advanced than any software we’ve ever created.” There is no scientific theory or explanation for the origin of the informational code in DNA.
- Cells are nano-machines: they read DNA and make small molecular machines that perform specific tasks that are essential for life. There is also no scientific theory or explanation for the origin of cellular functioning.
- Irreducible complexity: many aspects of cellular functioning require many parts, working together. Removal of any of the parts yields a non-functioning system. To pass on this function to off-spring, all parts must be present, which challenges evolutionary model.
- Butterflies: the caterpillar spends its life gorging itself. In the chrysalis, the caterpillar literally dies and its body is used as food by a latent set of genes that use the caterpillar’s body to build the butterfly. The big question- how did these butterfly genes evolve?
All these facts are direct challenges to evolution and, as d’Abrera stated above, evolutionary biologists do not accept the data and have to distort truth to fit their philosophy. If it is fair to ask evolutionists to evaluate the data neutrally, outside of their preconceived notions, it is fair to ask Christians to do the same. In my view, since God made it, it is a win-win situation.
I have just skimmed through an Answers for Kids Bible Curriculum, published by Answers in Genesis, and I am very alarmed. Earlier I wrote a post based on John Lennox’s book Seven Days that Divide the World. I have been trying to put together a summary of evidence and reasoning for my belief in an old universe. I won’t do that now (I definitely will soon), but I want to identify some very destructive teaching. Sorry if this stirs some controversy with my friends.
Based on my previous post, it is clear from history that the church has interpreted scripture wrong: the Earth was never the center of the solar system even though theologians believed it so. Copernicus knew the universe was “wrought for us by a supremely good and orderly Creator” and revealed the heliocentricity of the solar system. As a devout Christian, his goal was to observe the natural world and elucidate God’s order. In fact, Loren Eiseley, anthropologist, educator, philosopher and natural science writer, has said that “in one of those strange permutations of which history yields occasional rare examples, it is the Christian world which finally gave birth in a clear, articulate fashion to the experimental method of science itself.” Theologian Thomas Derr expressed, “As the creation of a trustworthy God, nature exhibited regularity, dependability, and orderliness. It was intelligible and could be studied. It displayed a knowable order.”
The above quotes were taken from The Soul of Science by Nancy Pearcey, which details the rise of the scientific method as linked exclusively to Christian thought through the Middle Ages. Copernicus, Kepler, Gilbert, Paracelsus, Van Helmont, Galileo, Descartes,Newton, Leibniz, Boyle, Ray, Linnaeus, Cuvier—modern science was built on Christian men like these. So, it pains me to read in this Answers in Genesis book that,
“even though we can study the earth and the universe today, we can’t use our scientific findings to figure out what happened in the past—or how long ago it happened—since we weren’t there.”
At first sight, this appears to be the most ridiculous anti-scientific statement I have ever read. After reading a bit on their website, I found this observation confirmed. It is not that I simply disagree with their position, it is the patronizing statements used to endorse their opinions and the lack of citations for their data. You are simply presented with an opinion with a thinly veiled implication that to believe otherwise is unbiblical. Please, present your argument, but give me some evidence. As a scientist, I found unsupported assumptions peppered through their discussions. It is no wonder these people are dismissed by real scientists.
After reading this, I struggle to make any other conclusion than this: Answers in Genesis are enemies of science, and I doubt very seriously the men who laid the foundations of modern science would accept it.
We are called to love God with all our hearts, souls and minds. Too often “faith is…seen as being a ‘blind leap’ in the dark, not based on evidence, logic, or testing. People frequently think faith means believing in something even when common sense tells us not to. But is this position really what the Bible says? Does God expect us to believe in Him without any evidence?”
I believe our observations of the natural world demonstrate God’s wonder and science should influence our interpretation of the Bible. Just as was the case with Copernicus, popular biblical interpretation can be wrong, but does nothing to undermine God’s truth.
NOTE: I did some research on the internet, and this curriculum at Reasons to Believe is something I would advocate:
This course is designed to encourage individuals, homeschool co-ops, and Christian high schools to explore the harmony between the Bible and the record of nature. The course’s overarching goals are two-fold: present a (1) BIBLICALLY FAITHFUL approach to interpreting Genesis 1 as being the error free Word of God; and (2) SCIENTIFICALLY RESPONSIBLE understanding of the record of nature. A key foundational assumption for this entire course is that the discoveries of modern science will always be in harmony with the Word of God.