Creation Invasion in Europe

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In October the magazine Scientific American published two articles accusing creationists of being anti-science and lamenting their supposed threat to science.1

In the article “Creationism Invades Europe,” authors Stefaan Blancke and Peter C. Kjærgaard write about their concern regarding the growth of creation in Europe. What they believe was once “an exclusively ‘North American phenomenon’” has now “gone global” and invaded Europe. Actually, belief in the biblical account of creation “invaded” Europe a long time ago, but that’s another matter.2 But why are they concerned about the rise of creation in Europe? Because it is seen as a “potential threat” to the educational system. As the authors are aware, European nations are generally the highest among public acceptance rates of evolutionary theory; however, because of the influence of social media, many people are now becoming aware of the biblical creation position.

Nevertheless, the authors suggest the way for scientists to confront the rise of creation in Europe is not through science but by political action, and the way to do this is by operating “on all platforms where creationists are active” (i.e. public lectures, magazines, television, radio and websites). This is seen as a way for scientists to counteract the teaching of creation. The authors do not believe, however, that creationists are the main threat to understanding evolution but rather that the threat is a lack of education:

Ironically, being forced to consider antievolutionists operating in Europe, we now know that we need to do more to make people understand what we know about the fundamental processes of life on Earth. We need to work on multiple platforms to succeed and we need good examples. With visitor numbers to natural history museums increasing all over Europe we have the venues and the necessary public interest. Now we need to make the most of it.

But is the reason that people reject evolution that they have not been sufficiently educated about it? Or could it be that people do understand evolution and reject it because they rightly understand its claims?

The other article, A Plan to Defend against the War on Science by Shawn Otto, was more politically motivated, warning its readers of the consequences of the “anti-science” beliefs of several Republican politicians in America. Specifically, these “anti-science” beliefs are identified as the denial of climate change3 and evolutionary biology.

The article notes that many scientists are often politically “left leaning” and “are more inclined to accept the evidentiary conclusions from biological and environmental science.” On the other hand, conservative politicians are seen as having a “suspicion of science.” Of course this claim of a “suspicion of science” is also directed at “fundamentalist evangelicals, who reject what the biological sciences have to say about human origins.” This rejection of the biological sciences is apparently the result of an “authoritarian argument that says, “I don’t care about the evidence.” Interestingly, the author identifies what has helped this “authoritarian argument” gain ground culturally as

a generation of university academics who have taught a corrosive brand of postmodernist identity politics that argues truth is relative, and that science is a “meta-narrative.”

Consequently, it is argued, this has caused many to doubt the truth claims of science:

By undermining science’s claim of objectivity, these postmodernists have unwittingly laid the philosophical foundation for the new rise of authoritarianism. Because if there is no objective evidence that has ultimate credibility, how is one to settle competing claims of truth.

While science itself may be an objective exercise, scientists are not objective. This, however, does raise an interesting point: How do we decide competing truth claims? More importantly, how does a naturalistic evolutionist account for objective truth? Any belief system needs to be able to demonstrate consistency within its own worldview and also to demonstrate its explanatory power of that worldview in light of known reality (secondary evidence). For example, how does an evolutionist (who believes his brain evolved) account for such things as laws of logic, truth, and rationality? If a worldview cannot even account for these things, then it should be rejected.

The assumption in both these articles is that creation is religious while evolution is science.

The assumption in both these articles is that creation is religious while evolution is science. Therefore, to reject evolution is to reject science, and to do this will ultimately have a negative effect on society as a whole. Yet, when it comes to science, there are two important things that everyone should know.

First, science is interpreted through a worldview. Modern science came about through the working out of a particular worldview, and that worldview was Christianity.4 For example, you need to believe there is law and order in the world before you go out there looking for it. In fact, the universe needs to be orderly in order for science to work. But why should the universe be orderly if it is just a cosmic accident? The universe obeys certain laws and is orderly because God is a lawgiver and a God of order.

Even recently, Mark Harrison, a geologist from UCLA, admitted that the evolutionary model of how the earth was formed is based upon a worldview and not evidence. He said,

There is absolutely not a single scrap of observational evidence that requires that scenario ever took place. We as a scientific community created an origin myth that has no more intellectual value than 1 Genesis [sic]. . . . Although we’re very quick to criticize those that operate on faith, that’s exactly what we did.5

This is important since, in terms of worldview analysis, we have a research scientist from UCLA admitting that scientists have basically made up the history of planet earth, a history that has sadly become staple science taught throughout the education system. The evolutionary story of planet earth is not based on observational evidence but is part of their secular faith which denies supernatural revelation.

Second, we need to understand that there is a difference between observational and historical science, which is a distinction recognized even by evolutionary scientists.6 For instance, historical science has to do with one’s beliefs about distinct, non-observable events that happened in the past. On the other hand, observational science encompasses finding out about how things in the present world operate and being able to repeat, observe, and test those findings. When it comes to the debate over creation and evolution, we must understand that Darwinian evolution is part of historical science and not observational science. There is no empirical evidence whatsoever for Darwinian evolution (i.e., the belief that natural processes could explain the evolution of life as we see it from simple beginnings). Creationists do not deny natural selection or mutations, but they do deny that these processes produce the necessary changes that would increase genetic information and change one kind of creature into a different kind (e.g., a fish into an amphibian or a reptile into a mammal or bird). Evolutionists have failed to observe even one example of this.

The debate over creation and evolution is not a battle between science and the Bible but between two different worldviews.

The debate over creation and evolution is not a battle between science and the Bible but between two different worldviews—naturalism and biblical theism—and how the observed physical evidence (e.g., rock layers, fossils, redshift of starlight, DNA or anatomical similarities) is to be interpreted in light of them. Rejecting Darwinian evolution is not rejecting science but rejecting an ideology.

Footnotes

  1. Stefaan Blancke and Peter C. Kjærgaard, “Creationism Invades Europe,” Scientific American, October 1, 2016, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/eurocreationism/, and Shawn Otto, “A Plan to Defend against the War on Science,” Scientific American, October 9, 2016, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-plan-to-defend-against-the-war-on-science/.
  2. Some of Europe’s leading theologians throughout Church history believed in the biblical account of creation (see James R. Mook, “The Early Church on Creation,” Answers, October 1, 2007, https://answersingenesis.org/christianity/church/the-early-church-on-creation/). Also, men known as the Scriptural Geologists in Britain in the First Half of the Nineteenth opposed old-earth geological theories (see Terry Mortenson, “The Origin of Old-Earth Geology and its Ramifications for Life in the 21st Century,” Answers in Genesis, August 5, 2003, https://answersingenesis.org/age-of-the-earth/origin-of-old-earth-geology-and-ramifications-for-21st-century/).
  3. Biblical creationists do not deny climate change. However, what we do deny is the worldview-based assumptions that determine secular scientists’ interpretations and conclusions about the evidence (see Avery Foley, “Science Confirms Climate Change!,” Answers in Genesis, November 22, 2014, https://answersingenesis.org/environmental-science/climate-change/science-confirms-climate-change/).
  4. Professor of Social Sciences Rodney Stark states that “it was not the ‘wisdom of the east’ that gave rise to science, nor did Zen meditation turn people’s hearts against slavery. . . . Science was not the work of Western secularists or even deists; it was entirely the work of devout believers in an active, conscious, creator God.” Rodney Stark, For The Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch-hunts and the End of Slavery (Princeton University Press: Princeton, New Jersey, 2003), 376.
  5. Rebecca Boyle, “Rewriting Earth's Creation Story,” The Atlantic, September 27, 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/09/hadean/501668/.
  6. Harvard Professor E.O. Wilson pointed out, “If a moving automobile were an organism, functional biology would explain how it is constructed and operates, while evolutionary biology would reconstruct its origin and history—how it came to be made and its journey thus far.” E.O. Wilson, From So Simply a Beginning (New York, NY: W. W. Norton, 2006), 12.

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