- The Nation: “What’s the Matter With Creationism?”
Popular liberal columnist Katha Pollitt, whose “Subject to Debate” column was called “the best place to go for original thinking on the left” by the Washington Post, decided to rant about creationists in general and Answers in Genesis in particular in her June 14 column in The Nation. Responding to a recent Gallup poll (See And Don’t Miss section for details.) reporting “46 percent of respondents are creationists” (defined by Gallup as agreeing that “God created human beings pretty much in the present form at one time within the last ten thousand years or so”), Pollitt indicts the American educational system for its abysmal failure to convince college graduates that evolution is undeniable. In the course of her essay she not only uses groundless insults as her strongest arguments but also demonstrates her own misunderstanding of the creationist position.
Pollitt is alarmed that “the proportion of college graduates who are creationists is exactly the same as for the general public.” She writes that those who reject evolution refuse to use their brains and sarcastically refers to a typical “pastor with a Bible-college degree or a homeschooling parent with no degree at all” as among those so foolish as to flatter themselves by thinking they can see the “obvious holes” in evolutionary arguments.
She misrepresents creationists as foolish enough to think an ancient ivory flute recently discovered in southern Germany and dated at 43,000 years old was just “some old bone left over from an ancient barbecue,” and she ignores the creation scientists’ position that the dating of such objects is based on unverifiable assumptions. She also does not acknowledge that creationists publish scientifically reasonable, biblically consistent explanations of how the makers of such a flute fit into the biblical timeline. 1
Pollitt is under that impression that creationists rely on a “fundamentally paranoid worldview” and believe “almost every scientist on earth” is “engaged in a fraud so complex and extensive it [involves] every field . . . a massive concatenation of lies and delusions.”
The Creation Museum’s latest addition gets a particular mention. Pollitt writes, “To celebrate its fifth anniversary, the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, has installed a holographic exhibit of Lucy, the famous proto-human fossil, showing how she was really just a few-thousand-year-old ape after all.” (Be sure to read more about the exhibit, the evidence presented by the evolutionists, and the true significance of Lucy in A Look at Lucy’s Legacy. ) Pollitt is under that impression that creationists rely on a “fundamentally paranoid worldview” and believe “almost every scientist on earth” is “engaged in a fraud so complex and extensive it [involves] every field from archaeology, paleontology, geology and genetics to biology, chemistry and physics . . . a massive concatenation of lies and delusions.”
Pollitt joins outspoken evolutionary biologist Kenneth Miller in fear that humanity is endangered by the existence of so many who refuse to jump aboard the evolutionary bandwagon. “Science education has been remarkably ineffective,” Miller told her. “Those of us in the scientific community who are religious have a tremendous amount of work to do in the faith community. . . . There’s a potential for great harm when nearly half the population rejects the central organizing principle of the biological sciences. It’s useful for us as a species to understand that we are a recent appearance on this planet and that 99.9 percent of all species that have ever existed have gone extinct.”
The columnist did have access to information about the importance of worldview—the decision to accept or reject God’s Word as reliable history—in interpreting scientific observations regarding origins. Though she did not mention it in her column, she did interview Dr. Andrew Snelling of Answers in Genesis. Dr. Snelling holds a PhD in geology from the University of Sydney in Australia. As in his recent interview with a UK radio show host, Dr. Snelling explained that the origins issue doesn’t turn on the evidence but upon the worldview through which the evidence is viewed. Creation scientists, such as the professionals at Answers in Genesis, do not ignore science and scientific evidence. Neither do we claim to “prove” the events described in Genesis 1–11 happened using science. We instead point out that the Creation and global Flood described in Genesis are consistent explanations for scientific observations. Dr. Snelling also reports that he explained to her in great detail about the unproven assumptions involved in the radioactive dating methods, including radiocarbon, to demonstrate that creationists’ objections to the grossly inflated ages for fossils like Lucy are based on solid, empirical (testable) evidence.
The “overwhelming evidence of evolution” to which Pollitt refers does not “prove” that life randomly evolved from non-living chemicals, that organisms evolved from other kinds of organisms, or that the earth has existed for billions of years, either. Instead, evolutionists choose to ignore the biblical eyewitness record provided by our Creator. They replace God’s account with a story of their own making in an attempt to explain life without God. We as creationists do not believe the world is full of scientists perpetrating a fraudulent web of lies. No, we believe that each scientist involved in historical/origins science brings along various untestable presuppositions that color his or her interpretation of data.
Taking a biblical stand does not undermine science or place humanity in jeopardy. Our recent discussion of ad hominem attacks on the renowned surgeon Dr. Ben Carson described equally uninformed prejudices. Experimental science involving the ability to make observations, develop and test hypotheses, and devise possible solutions for the world’s medical and environmental challenges does not rely on acceptance of untestable evolutionary beliefs about events long past.
Be sure to read more about why creation scientists are real scientists at Can Creationists Be “Real” Scientists?, the difference between experimental/operational science and historical/origins science at Evolutionary Call to Arms, the real nature of Tennessee’s new law affecting education at The Teacher Protection Academic Freedom Act, Re-Writing History concerning myths about the Scopes trial, the significance of Lucy in A Look at Lucy’s Legacy, and the biblical timeline explaining where the human fossils belong in When Did Cavemen Live? and don’t miss An Evaluation of the Myth That “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution”, an insightful refutation of Kenneth Miller’s assertion that evolution is the “central organizing principle of the biological sciences.”
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