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The second article in a two part series discussing what happened at the 172nd meeting of the AAAS last month.
Part 1 | Part 2
In yet another anti-creation symposium titled “Anti-Evolutionism in America: What’s Ahead,” the venerated Eugenie Scott once again took the lead to explain the different varieties of anti-evolutionism and how to combat them. She described the two types of creationism as being Bible-based creationism and design-based creationism, commonly known as the ID movement. She said that creation science is actually the richer and more scientific of the two because it makes more “fact claims” than ID. Creation, for example, has a “historical narrative” while ID has none.
Finally, she encouraged evolutionists to ignore their creationist critics and “not stop using the peppered moth” as evidence for evolution (despite the fact that it has been shown to be based on fraudulent data). In fact, Scott encouraged her audience to ignore all evidence against evolution because “any time you hear any evidence against evolution, assume creationism is behind it.”
A special session called “Evolution on the Front Line: An Event for St. Louis-Area Teachers” was open to teachers at no cost (as opposed to a $350 fee to attend the rest of the conference). Throughout the conference, teachers had been accused of a dismal failure to teach science (i.e., evolutionism), but in this special session with many teachers in attendance, teachers were warmly praised for their noble efforts.
The leadoff speaker was U.S. Congressman Russ Carnahan, from Missouri, who said the best day of his life was “when we passed the [embryonic] stem cell research bill in the House.” He assured the teachers that he was totally opposed to ID and insisted that “questioning evolution threatens all of science.” He urged teachers to show conviction when teaching evolution and assured them that “evolution is compatible with religion.”
A consistent theme among nearly all the speakers in this session for teachers was that “there is no conflict between evolution and religion.” In an apparent effort to prove this point, a noted Jesuit astronomer was invited to address the teachers, but he was less than reassuring. Indeed, no speaker was more controversial and irreverent than the Reverend George Coyne, Director of the Vatican Observatory outside Rome. In his address, “Is God a Scientist? A Catholic Look at Evolution,” he declared that “if God is a scientist, He is a poor one.” He quipped that if God were a scientist, “I would want an eye with 360 degree vision.” He assured his audience that “God is not an engineer or a designer of the universe,” and that if He were, “that would belittle God.”
Coyne also explained that “the Scriptures were written before science was developed” and that its authors “couldn’t have known the future.” According to Coyne, “God let the universe participate in its own creation.” In a concluding statement that seemed to embarrass just about everyone except Coyne, he said, “I’m sorry to be so emphatic about fundamentalism, but the literal interpretation of Scripture is a plague in our midst.”
What can the concerned, Bible-believing Christian conclude from the AAAS conference, and how might we respond to its challenges? The first lesson is that we cannot look to the courts to support the teaching of ID or creation in the public schools. Perhaps the most that can be accomplished is to get the protection of the courts for those teachers who elect, on their own, to critically evaluate the evidence for evolution.
While it may well be true that ID is dead as a legal maneuver to force change in the public schools, creation and ID are not dead in the hearts of most Americans. Even the evolutionists concede that while they are winning in the courts, they are not winning in the minds of most Americans. Because they do not understand why this is so, evolutionists will continue to try to correct the problem in the schools by crushing all dissent and teaching evolution ever more frequently, stridently and dogmatically. Even some of the secular press covering the AAAS convention commented on the zeal and dogmatism of the evolutionists.
Evolutionists understand that most Americans believe in a Creator God, and they also understand that they cannot win “the battle for men’s souls” as long as the public understands that there is a deep conflict between biblical Christianity and evolution. The AAAS tries to obscure this fact and intends to take the battle into the church, where they hope to convince both clergy and laymen that “evolution is compatible with religion.” But this is a meaningless claim because while evolutionism is compatible with some religions, it is certainly not compatible with others. Almost anything could be said to be compatible with some religion.
Throughout the conference there were appeals for “people of faith” to speak to the news media to show the compatibility of evolutionism and “faith.” Some evolutionists are even getting into churches to preach the “gospel” of evolutionism, often under the guise of titles like “The Preservation of Biodiversity.” In 1995 the AAAS established the program “Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion” (DoSER) to establish communication between scientific and religious communities. In a notice for an upcoming book sponsored by DoSER, called The Evolution Dialogues: Science, Christianity, and the Quest for Understanding, are the following questions: “does evolutionary theory deny the existence of God as creator?” and “must Christians choose between evolutionary science and their faith?” They insist that “the answer to all of these questions is a resounding NO!”
How can the AAAS make these claims when, by their own estimates, about half of all Americans reject evolution in favor of the biblical account of creation? The answer is really quite simple, though they are reluctant to put it on the table for all to see. Apparently, it is OK to believe in a “God,” as long as you do not claim that this God actually does anything physical, like create natural things by the power of His Word or physically answer the prayers of an individual. In other words, it is OK to believe in a God who doesn’t actually do anything because the physical world (all of reality) is the exclusive domain of science.
Finally, Christians should be very wary of any efforts on the part of the public schools to “teach about religion.” Some Christians naively think that this sounds like a good idea, but evolutionists and the courts will ensure that all religions be given equal status and all be considered mythology. Evolutionists can hardly wait to teach young students how religion supposedly evolved in the mind of primitive man, and to postulate about its adaptive value. They think that when the students are presented with a bewildering array of purported religious myths, students will conclude that none of them is worth their belief or devotion.
We would do well to consider the warning of the Apostle Paul to the Colossians: “
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:8–10).