Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Evolutionist response to new Gallup poll further evidence that humans are evolving into creationists

A new Gallup poll has sent the cultural elite into paroxysms of superciliousness. And if you don't know what that means, then you must not be one of them, but, instead, an unfortunate member of some lower order of thinker. Quite possibly, a Republican. Or even, God help you, a creationist.

A majority of Republicans, according to Gallup, "do not believe the theory of evolution is true and do not believe that humans evolved over millions of years from less advanced forms of life." This new survey result also shows that, even among non-Republicans, there is a significant minority who do not believe the theory of evolution. In fact, 40 percent of Democrats take a basically creationist position.

The new survey, when considered in light of past surveys showing increasing popular support for creationism in recent years, gives added credence to my theory that human beings are evolving into creationists. People who believe in the survival of the fittest, as it turns out, are less fit for survival. Those who believe in natural selection are losing out in Nature's selection process.

In short, when the final character in the Hall of Man has been added, he will be a guy in a short sleeve dress shirt with horn-rimmed glasses and a pocket protector who believes the earth is 6,000 years old.

I am still waiting for the recognition and celebrity that is my due for thinking up this revolutionary new addendum to Darwin's theory, but I may have to wait until all the Darwinists have become extinct--until, that is, Nature has finished playing her ultimate practical joke.

Darwinists have completely misinterpreted these survey results (and if this is not evidence of their diminishing status in the gene pool, I don't know what is), seeing in them further evidence of how much smarter they are than all those religious rubes, and how much higher their branch is on the evolutionary tree. But this does nothing more than add to the increasingly formidable body of data suggesting the deterioration of their ability to reason properly and to see the plain truth in front of them--important survivability traits in humans. Their branch on the tree is rotting from the inside, and, if they are not careful, they will only succeed in landing themselves alongside the Tasmanian Wolf, the Great Auk, and the Wooly Mammoth on Nature's scrapheap.

These new poll results, they seem to think, should be considered evidence of the ignorance of religious people in general, and Republicans in particular. They prove, once and for all they think, the tendency of conservative religious people to ignore reason and evidence in favor of faith and reliance on authority. This, of course, assumes that people who believe in Darwinism are all independent-minded people who have come to their views by having gone through some kind of advanced scientific reasoning process, which, of course, is nonsense.

Most people who believe in Darwinism believe in it for the same reason religious people believe in creationism: on the basis of faith and authority. Instead of placing faith in religion, their authority is Science. Creationists have the Bible; evolutionists have the Origin of the Species. In both cases, the majority of the adherents believe unquestioningly in what their holy books say. At least religious people have the excuse that that is what they are supposed to do.

Most people who believe in evolution have no clue why they believe it, other than that's what they are told is believed by Science, that exalted body of knowledge overseen by those higher beings in white laboratory smocks. They can't tell a helium molecule from a hole in the ozone, but they do know this: Science hath spoken.

The idea that most people believe in evolution for any other reason is just wishful--and quite sloppy--thinking, which, if Darwinists didn't have their noses so high up in the air, they would realize. This increasing tendency on the part of Darwinists toward careless reasoning and self-congratulatory rhetoric is a sure sign of a species in decline.

"Pride goeth before the fall"--or, as my theory states it: "Arrogance precedes extinction." Evolutionists are losing their evolutionary edge. The dominance of Darwinism is diminishing.

When the chapter in the book of evolutionary history on the theory of evolution is finally written, there will be little doubt why they went the way of the Dodo.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I really must see your books on logic.

Martin Cothran said...

I agree.

JPrichard said...

Lordy, Brother Ham! Brother Cothran surely has the "gospel fever" now!

Despite your feeble claims that you do not support the Dinosaur Evangelist, you certainly seem ready to rush right into Brother Ham's 1920's tent revival disguised as a Creation Museum.

What will you celebrate next? An upsurge in the number of Flat Earthers? Or Geocentrists?

Actually we agree to a certain extent. This poll casts no adverse reflection on the Republican Party per se. Just the ultra-conservative Christians within its ranks. Clearly the fear, intolerance, anti-intellectualism and religious bigotry that swept the heartland in the 20's is still with us at the dawn of a new century.

Had a similar poll been taken before Lyndon Johnson embraced the Civil Rights movement, the same type of God-fearing folks would have denounced "Darwinism" as die-hard Democrats.

The Bible belt is particularly well manured with narrow fundamentalism and blind evangelical zeal to yield a never-ending bumper crop of "Creationists". The original crusade against evolution has never died and given this, the poll results reveal nothing new.

Why listen to a Sagan or even a Dawkins when there is so much comfort in the pious braying of Balaam's Ass?

Indeed the never-ending "jihad" against Darwin's theory has nothing to do with science. It is a social movement pure and simple. Listen carefuly to the rhetoric of conservative Christians from the Moral Majority to Focus on Family and you will hear the modern heirs of that great, white, Protestant, conservative, family values organization from the 20's - the Ku Klux Klan.

"I Found Christ in the Ku Klux klan" was a typical rallying cry in that golden era. Thousands of "One Hundred Percent Americans" (i.e. white, Protestant conservatives) rallied around burning crosses from Maine to Mississippi to fight rising crime, immorality, immigrants - and "Godless evolutionists".

Does this sound familiar Martin?

Do all of us who reject sectarian science and Bibliolatry regard Darwin's Origins as "the gospel truth"? Of course not. Indeed no true scientist has ever declared Darwin's theory to be anything like the ancient dogma you so desperately cling to.

But I do have faith in the methods and philosophy of modern science. Consider this. Galen, the pious, pagan genius of late antiquity criticized the credulous Christians of his day for their lack of critical thinking. While many, if not most of his theories have since been rejected, Galen helped lay the foundations for modern medicine.

With all due respect, Jesus, on the other hand, merely "cast out demons" and healed those whose afflictions resulted from "sin." He raised Lazarus from the dead but did nothing to lower the infant mortality rate.

Indeed his handful of miracles in one small corner of the world seem meaningless when compared to the untold suffering of millions of children in his own lifetime.

Yet Evangelicals love Jesus and long to spend eternity strolling beside him on the streets of glory. But I defy any good Christian to stand in the way of James Dobson's limo and the nearest emergency room when his time comes. And I wonder how many stricken Christians would decide to reach for their Bibles or call Benny Hinn rather than dial 911?

While I am not a Christian it still saddens me to see the profoundly moving symbol of a crucified Christ reduced to a mere scarecrow by the latest apostles of fear and intolerance. A scarecrow they hope will frighten away the spectres of same-sex marriage, stem cell research and any form of science that challenges the "Word of God."

I bow to your mastery of Latin, Martin. But are you sure that vere loqui doesn't really mean "fossilized thinking" or better yet "fossilized faith"?

Martin Cothran said...

JPrichard:

Amen, Brother Prichard!

I only wish I could join you down at the Holy Darwinist Tabernacle of the Evolutionary Brotherhood, where the shouting and dancing is even louder and more vigorous than over at Brother Ham’s.

I do truly understand your reticence about becoming involved in Brother Ham’s “1920’s tent revival disguised as a Creation Museum,” and yet I am somewhat mystified by your preference for a theory that derives from the 19th century. I also continue to be surprised at the lack of rational content in the criticisms your sect (despite all of its pretensions of adhering to reason as opposed to faith) makes of alternative beliefs, preferring instead to engage in ridicule.

I am still trying to gather together the vagrant thoughts expressed in your post to find something that I could put before your implicit conclusion, “Therefore, evolution is true.” Let’s see, we’ve got:

There was religious inspired intolerance, anti-intellectualism, and bigotry in the 1920’s.
Therefore, the evolutionary theory is true.

No, that doesn’t work. Hmmm. How about this:

Some Protestants were involved in the Ku Klux Klan.
Therefore, the evolutionary theory is true.

I guess that has obvious problems too. Okay, what about this one:

Jesus wasn’t a Great Society Democrat.
Therefore, the evolutionary theory is true.

Okay, I give up. Can you just give us a hint as to what your argument is?

Oh, and let me get this straight: it’s Ken Ham who is irrational?

JPrichard said...

Surely a mighty wind has swept forth from Danville - bearing all the force of "home schooled" logic.

But tell us Martin why did you dance away from the boasting premise of your original posting like a whirling dervish? Have you chosen a new form of spiritual expression or did you simply not want to look into the mirror I held before you?

The Gallup poll revealed that most Americans reject evolution for "faith based" reasons. If that's not faulty logic I don't know what is.

Yet like the simple beast that bore Jesus through Jerusalem you brayed to the world that Darwinists were being driven to extinction.

How strange that most anti-evolutionists choose to clutch their Bibles rather than shield their faith with the "cutting edge" psuedo-scientific works of the late "Dr." Henry Morris or the discredited Dr. William Dembski? You know, the great scientific rebels you compare to Einstein.

I merely reminded you that the same mindset has always been in the majority. Furthermore modern foes of Darwin largely remain as narrow minded and anti-intellectual as their fundamentalist forebearers.

You were so busy shouting "Hallelujah!", that you failed to realize that the current widespread support for Creationism carries about as much moral and intellectual weight as earlier misguided movements that gave widespread support to nativism, the "family values" Klan and Communist witch hunts.

Again the present cotroversy is not rooted in scientific differences but the continued efforts of fear-mongers to portray Darwin's 'dangerous idea" as a threat to traditional faith and values.

Despite your claims to the contrary, I was not trying to prove evolution "right". But rather that there is no place in modern science for religious dogma. I won't shed a tear if Darwin's theory is completely rejected some day.

However i will continue to have faith in human reason and the scientific method. Nor will I ridicule people of faith who value reason as God's greatest gift.

However the procrustean bed of Creation Science, which is rooted in Bronze Age myth, poses a real danger to our public schools. Moses was no Einstein and the miracles of Jesus never sparked a scientific revolution or major medical breakthrough.

As for the clever magic trick in which Bill Dembski dons a white lab coat and pulls Jesus out of a test tube...well let's just say that Intelligent Design carries about as much weight in the scientific world as Vere Loqui does in the realm of logic.

JPrichard said...

PS:

Brother Ham is not irrational...just blinded by faith. Like some other people I could name.

David Charlton said...

This post is in response to the next to the last post by jprichard. I found your use of the phrase "home-schooled" logic to be offensive, which I imagine is what you intended. Are you insinuating that home-schooled people are fearful, ignorant, anti-evolutionary zealots? If so, you greatly misunderstand the reasons millions of people have joined the home-schooling movement. There are some home-schoolers who do not believe in evolution, but do not make the mistake that this is true of everyone - or even the majority - of home-schoolers. Using cheap shot rhetoric of this type does not help make your argument.

When engaging in debate, criticizing or belittling the position of another person does not make the case for your opinion. You can tear down the position of another person all day long but it tells us nothing of what you believe. True debate and exchanging of ideas goes much deeper than just an "oh yeah" kind of argument. If you disagree with Martin, make your case in a logical and organized fashion. You do your case no favors by simply making snide remarks.

I say this as someone who probably agrees with you on this particular issue (that is, Young Earth Creationism, Intelligent Design, and evolution). I am a pastor who is opposed to Young Earth Creationism and Intelligent Design. I believe that at the current time evolution is the most accurate scientific explanation of human origins. I think the new museum of creationism in northern Kentucky is based on bad science and bad theology, although I have to admit I am going on information I have read as I have not personally visited the museum. And I would like to hear Martin make his case for why he seems so supportive of those making the case for Intelligent Design and Young Earth Creationism, but I will simply ask him to make his case and not seek to belittle either him or the way he lives his life.

I will also list my name to this or any other post I make on a blog, as I don't believe in the use of anonymous user IDs that make it too easy to make public comments about someone while hiding behind anonymity.
Dave Charlton
davidcharlton@bellsouth.net
davidcharlton.blogspot.com
www.davidcharlton.net

JPrichard said...

Mr. Charlton:

Your point is both valid and well taken. I am more than willing to admit that in my efforts to challenge Mr.Cothran's recent posting I crossed the line with the comment you referred to.

While I honestly feel that today's anti-evolution crusade is just as irrational as that of the 20's and that contemporary critics of evolution use the same scare tactics as their fundamentalist forebearers, I personally have no disrespect or animosity for the home-schooling movement.

To be perfectly honest I have no personal animosity toward Mr. C. We simply differ over certain issues. I merely like to step in the ring with him from time to time to "chat" about our differences.

However in this instance, I threw a wild punch. And I assure you that the home schooling movement was not the intended target of my remarks.

I sincerely apologize for my ill chosen words and want to assure you that, in the future, I will aim my barbs soley at Ham, Dembski and their misguided defenders.

Martin Cothran said...

My post was, of course, largely (and pretty clearly) tongue in cheek, although I did want to make a serious point about the way that evolutionists make their case to the public. They complain that they are not making the headway in persuading the non-scientific public of the evolutionary theory that they would like or expect, and yet, I think, they have only themselves to blame. In too many cases they take a condescending and scornful attitude toward their opponents and often simply refuse to engage in a rational discussion.

I don't ascribe to the belief that the earth is 6,000 years old, since I don't think that's what the text of Genesis necessarily implies. I also believe (and I think I agree with both of you here) that a modest version of the evolutionary theory is not necessarily inconsistent with Christian theism. As Chesterton put it, "I am not arguing with the scientist who explains the elephant, but only with the sophist who explains it away."

I am a bit of a skeptic in regard to this whole issue, and I suppose I am in somewhat the same position as many non-scientists out there who just wish the people debating this would set forth their arguments in a way that a normal person could understand and not just dismiss the other side out of hand. I do, however, have a little more sympathy with the creationist side simply because, 1) I understand and sympathize with their motives, which are largely sincere, and 2) They appear to be more willing to set forth their case plainly than the evolutionists. In short, the scoffing seems to come mostly from one side, and it is not endearing them to people like me, who are just trying to figure the whole thing out.

A couple other things in response to JPrichard (whose comments, by the way, I do not consider out of bounds, but perfectly within the spirit of spirited debate, although I reserve the right to continue to criticize his reasoning--or lack thereof):

1. I don't know what the premise I stated was that I am now "dancing away from". Maybe you could clarify that;

2. In what way has William Dembski been "discredited"? Being the subject of criticism and being discredited are two different things. Maybe you could state what specific statements of Dembski's have been decisively disproved.

3. I nowhere compared William Dembski or Henry Morris with Einstein. What I did do was to compare the situation creationists like Ken Ham find themselves in with the situation Einstein was in in the early part of his career, when his theories were dismissed out of hand. When I say that people like Ham and Einstein are treated similarly, I am not comparing Ham and Einstein. In fact, I'm simply pointing out that, in doing this, the scientific establishment is preventing itself from making a reasonable distinction between the two.

4. You said, "was not trying to prove evolution 'right'. But rather that there is no place in modern science for religious dogma." Of course my main problem with the scientists is precisely this: that they are acting as if they WERE religious dogmatists.

5. You said, "As for the clever magic trick in which Bill Dembski dons a white lab coat and pulls Jesus out of a test tube..." Well, one of the reasons that I continue to be dubious about the claims of people who support evolution is because, instead of dealing with Dembski's actual arguments, they make statements like this that have no bearing on what he has actually said. In fact, I have yet to meet an opponent of Dembski who has actually read what he has written, preferring instead to propagate caricatures of his arguments.

Finally, you say that "Moses was no Einstein and the miracles of Jesus never sparked a scientific revolution or major medical breakthrough." It seems to me that defeating death itself makes scientific revolutions and medical breakthroughs seem a little trivial in comparison.

JPrichard said...

Your response makes a valid point in the sense that, like Dr. Kenneth Miller, author of Finding Darwin's God, I agree that the acerbic anti-religious barbs of Dawkins and others have done much to equate evolution with atheism in the public mind.

But it is equally true, Martin, that each side has heaped scorn and ridicule upon the other since the fundamentalist crusade against Darwinism began in the 20's.

The works published by Ken Ham, Dr. Henry Morris and other advocates of Creation Science reflect on one level or another the main thrust of William J. Bryan's anti-evolution tracts published decades ago.

Bryan ridiculed both Darwin's theory and the scientific community in general. However, like his modern counter-parts, he sought to rally the people of the heartland by distorting evolution as a threat to the very existence of Christianity and the moral order of the nation.

Unlike Christian intellectuals such as yourself, the average church goer doesn't read Dembski, Miller or Dawkins. Rather they are taught to reject evolution by fanantical evangelists such as Ken Ham or televangelists such as Pat Robertson.

Robertson's warning to the good people of Dover that they risked the wrath of God for failing to support ID typifies the self-righteous arrogance that leads to the "condescending and scornful" attitude you condemn.

I felt you danced around the issue simply because I focused solely on the contention that the same mindset that fueled the fundamentalist crusade of the 20's is still alive in the heartland.

In 1926, the citizens of one Kentucky community burned a pile of books they felt were tainted with Darwinism. For a generation after the Scopes trial there was a virtual "black out" in science texts in large parts of the country, especially the Bible Belt. Publishers quickly learned that including the "E" word in science texts hurt sales.

When evolution was introduced more forcefully in the public school curriculum, Henry Morris took up Bryan's fallen banner. His disciple, Ken Ham, if you have read his works only pays lip service to science. He is a creation evangelist who primarily uses fear and distortion to keep the cause alive.

We can discuss such concepts as "Irreducible Complexity" all we want, but I contend that the anti-evolution majority in America still represents a largely anti-intellectual, populist movement in defense of "Old Time Religion".

No one has started burning books in Kentucky...yet anyway... but science textbook pages have been glued together. And in other states "warning labels" have been affixed to text books in an effort to keep the "Demon of Darwinism" at bay. I contend that most of those who support these acts of ignorance have never read Darwin let alone Dembski.

I've read your comments on Intelligent Design with interest and will reserve comment on this posting. I've read one of Dembski's works and was not surprised to find Jesus waiting for me on the other side of the "bridge between religion and science."

However, you make a good point. I made a poor choice of words. Dembski has been largely dismissed by the scientific community not discredited. Nor did you ever compare Dembski or Morris to Einstein.

However, I honestly feel your defense of Ham in the Courier was misguided and the reference to Einstein in the piece almost reduced it to the level of farce.

Einstein was a rebel. But he was a true scientist not a dogmatic, religious zealot like Ken Ham. The foundation of Ham's museum is based on Morris's teachings which have been challenged and refuted by the majority of the world's scientific community for over forty years now.

So in this respect, most scientists have clearly made a reasonable distinction. A museum built as a public platform for Bibliolatry has nothing to do with true science.

In response to your 4th point, one cannot violate the basic rules of science and still expect to be allowed on the playing field. Science doesn't have to be "fair" in this sense. You have the right to go to a faith healer but you don't have the right to force physicians to admit "faith healers" to the medical profession.

Your final comment brings us full circle. Again, I argued that most Americans make their decision to oppose evolution for faith based reasons and that none of my statements were intended to prove evolution "right".

Was Jesus truly the Christ? Did he truly conquer death? This is all a matter of faith. More importantly, if Jesus conquered death, that has more to do with the next world than this one.

Jesus dwelled solely in the world of the supernatural and the real "miracle workers" in this world are the Galen's, Darwin's and Einstein's. Shackle science with religious dogma and the boundless curiosity of an Einstein will be snuffed out by a new generation of medieval minds.

James M. Prichard

David Charlton said...

I have been following this post with continuing interest. Let me say first, to Mr. Prichard, that I appreciate your response to my post. I have read all of your posts with interest and I agree with much of what you have to say. I think the Intelligent Design and Creationists are talking more about faith than science, and are backing into their scientific views from their particular faith perspectives.

Francis Collins, in his book "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief" has this to say about Intelligent Design and Young Earth Creationism:

"The claims of Young Earth Creationism simply cannot be accommodated by tinkering around the edges of scientific knowledge. If these claims were actually true, it would lead to a complete and irreversible collapse of the sciences of physics, chemistry, cosmology, and biology...the YEC perspective is the equivalent of insisting that two plus two is really not equal to four...

"The fundamentals of so-called Creationism are hopelessly flawed...by any reasonable standard, Young Earth Creationism has reached a point of intellectual bankruptcy, both in its science and in its theology. Its persistence is thus one of the great puzzles and great tragedies of our time...

"But it is not science that suffers most here. Young Earth Creationism does even more damage to faith, by demanding that belief in God requires assent to fundamentally flawed claims about the natural world...

"Those battles (belief vs. unbelief) cannot be won by attaching your position to a flawed foundation. To continue to do so offers the opportunity for the opponents of faith (and there are many) to win a long series of easy victories." (pp. 173-178).

I think, when it comes down to the realities of this argument about science/faith and creation/evolution, it's really a matter of religious people believing they are defending the faith against unbelief. Evolution has become, in the minds of many religious people, synonymous with unbelief, which is terribly unfortunate. When I listen to and read some of the ways that science and theology must be twisted to harmonize a literal reading of Genesis with science, I shake my head and worry about the shape of theology in our society.

JPrichard said...

David,

Good to hear from you. I have always admired Clarence Darrow who said at one point during the Scopes trial that he did not seek to attack people of faith.

Your initial post reminded me how easy it is for any of us to go for the throat where certain issues are concerned and I'm grateful that you accepted my apology.

Richard Dawkins has certainly not done much to create an atmosphere for reasonable debate on this issue. However there are Christian scientists such as Kenneth Miller and atheist intellectuals such as Michael Shermer who defend Darwin's theory without dipping their respective pens in venom.

I have read that Dr. Kurt P. Wise, a leading Creationist is far from strident on this issue and I added one of his works to my reading list. I've read two of Ham's books however and they are disturbing in a jihadist kind of way.

I don't think there should be a barrier between faith and science. Yet too many these days seem to forget St. Augustine's view that the Bible was written to "nourish the soul" and was not a scientific text.

I recently ran across an interesting quote from Sir Francis Bacon who warned men,in reference to divinity and philosophy, not to "unwisely mingle or confound these learnings together."

To me there's a vast difference between a man of faith using the gift of reason to explore our world and a man who seeks to shackle science with religious dogma.

Thanks for sharing the quotes from Collins' The Language of God. I'll be certain to add a copy of that work to my reading list!

James M. Prichard

Martin Cothran said...

Dave,

I don’t necessarily disagree with much of what you say here, although I think Intelligent Design is quite obviously a different animal from young earth creationism, since many of it’s adherents explicitly reject young earth creationism. Also, I would contend that if ID is not science strictly speaking, it may inhabit a sort of gray area on the outskirts of the discipline, much as some areas of theoretical physics do. Leastwise, I have yet to see a criterion for what is science that excludes ID but not, say, superstring theory at the same time. At bottom I think one would have to say that ID is philosophy (or some sort of mathematico-philosophy), but I don’t think you could reasonably establish ID as religion, at least not if you take Dembski’s writings as the basis for your judgment.

bobxxxx said...

evolutionists have the Origin of the Species.

Evolutionists, also known as people who are not uneducated hicks, have a lot more than one book written in the 19th century. There has been about 150 years of scientific progress since that book was written. For example, biologists now have the complete genome of the human ape and chimpanzee ape species. When they compare DNA sequences of these two species they can see powerful evidence that shows beyond any doubt that people and chimps share an ancestor. The creationists deny this fact of evolution because they are cowards who are afraid to grow up and face reality. They are willing to deny mountains of scientific evidence and they are willing to destroy America's science education to defend their childish idiotic magical fantasy world.