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The Big Picture

'Have you ever heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates? Morons.' -- Vizzini from "The Princess Bride"

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Cameron's Creationism

I just don't know if I can let this go without some more snark...

Creationism in all its forms (Intelligent Design, Old Earth Creationism, and Young Earth Creationism) has as its main weapon a certain intuitiveness to it. In that I mean it is simple, straightforward and clearcut. It requires no knowledge of the Earth, biology, chemistry or physics. In fact, it requires a certain ignorance on its main source, Genesis of the Bible. No matter what "big" words you add to it, it is always nothing more than the notion that "well God did it, and that is all that you need to know."

Creationism does no science, it does no medicine, it does no research into how the world operates on a day-to-day and eon-to-eon basis. Creationism, absent of science, would still lay claim to a flat earth that has a small golden disk arc over it in the heavens which only extends up so far, and then begins God's house. Creationism would still use leeches as a medical tool against most diseases, and would never have gotten around to investigating germs or the spread of disease. Instead Creationism would still lay claim to demons as the source of many diseases (that couldn't be cured by leeches).

Why? Because this is what the Bible says is true of the human condition. The Bible never speaks of germ theory, viruses, or genetic mutations (or recessive genetic traits) causing inheritable diseases. If no science had ever bucked the "God does it and we are powerless to understand it" tact of the Bible, then no breakthroughs in medicine would have ever occurred. This is not to say that medicine was done by heretics or atheists, rather it was done by people who had the audacity to question what was once beyond question -- God's plan.

Today, creationism is the last holdout of that failed worldview. Medicine, physics, astronomy and biology have all proven themselves to be not just valid and useful, but right -- and by right, I mean True with a capital "T". Creationism clings to that view that we cannot, by definition, ascertain how organisms change over time because God simply created them the way they are today. Oh sure, most, if not all, creationists agree that "microevolution" happens; even though they fail to get involved in any of that research, simply relying on real science to do that for them. But they all believe that there is some inherant "stop sign" in the genetic code, or wherever, that prevents all those accumulated micro changes from adding up to a species change. "A dog has never given birth to a cat" is their plea. But that is not what evolution says, not even close. Evolution can be more accurately (even though this simplification is not entirely correct either) described as a pre-dog gives birth to another pre-dog who gives birth to another pre-dog (and so on) and then after thousands of generations, that last pre-dog is nothing like the first pre-dog, it is now a pre-cat. Furthermore, other pre-dogs (identical to that first pre-dog) did the same thing through the generations and arrived at a pre-dog that is now nothing like the first pre-dog, but is more like today's dogs. Each step is a micro change, and each step led to two different lineages, one for today's dogs and one for today's cats. As proof evolution does not do this, creationists argue that two floors of a building are seperated by 10 feet. No creature has legs ten feet long, and thus no creature can step from one floor to the next. But build a staircase, and suddenly one step at a time you can get from the first to the second floor with considerably shorter legs. Creationists argue that the staircase is impossible because God said it was. Intuitive, indeed.

So let's apply all this to Ron Comfort who appears in Kirk Cameron's video. First I would like to make clear the two main points of this five minute section of that video.
1) Creationism makes sense intuitively, just look at how supportive the banana is for human consumption.
2) Because of this simplicity much less faith is required for believing creationism than for believing evolutionism (and by default, atheism).

The intuitive problem has already shown to be not just useless, but counter-productive, as intuitive views of the world and its origins leads to Biblical creationism and a "God did it" mentality. Once you accept that "God did it", then investigating how it works is pointless. Why investigate how bacteria mutate, or how viruses can jump from one species to another, if you accept that God made them exactly what they are, and any investigation is encroaching upon God's sole knowledge (which is unknowable to us mere humans). Why bother? Why not simply do what the Bible says and pray for the demons to be excercized, or use the "laying on of hands" to cure? The answer is those things do not work, the first scientists recognized this and began to look for themselves into the causes. The cures came afterwards. If the Bible worked there would never have been any reason whatsoever to look towards more naturalistic causes.

Sure the Bible's account in Genesis is simple and easy to understand. It was written almost three thousand years ago! Those simple goat herders had no knowledge of physics or biology from which to draw their stories of creation from. So they made up the simplest and easiest story they could. They came up with: "God Did It!" It takes very little faith or knowledge to accept that. But their severely limited knowledge of the world, and the universe, shows through in today's defenders of their creation story. They use only the simplest and most convenient examples to prove it. Ron and Kirk chose the banana. It was compared to a soda can. (I would have chosen something more nourishing and healthy than soda, but then again I am not a creationist.) The banana is easily held in the hand! The banana has an easy to open top! The banana has peels which make access convenient! It is all so clear and simple. Much more so than that ubercomplicated evolution. But what about coconuts? They possess none of those properties. They must be cracked open forceably, their access is inconvenient and difficult, there is no easy way to hold and eat it. What about potatoes? They must be dug up out of the ground, sliced into thin strips and fried in oil (peanut or vegetable). [Yes I am referring to french fries here...] Ron's simple claims of creationism look ridiculous when one thinks of how the real world operates. His is the simple faith that fails to match the real complexities of the world all humans actually live in.

This leads us into the second claim of Ron and Kirk. The amount of faith needed for creationism versus evolution. First let us consider what faith is. In the epistle to the Hebrews, faith is described as: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" [Hebrews 11:1 NKJV]. Hebrews 11:2,3 further describe those "things not seen".

I would like to open this rebuttal with this statement: "I do not now, nor have I ever, had any faith that 2 + 2 = 4." There is no need for faith to make that statement true. Faith in mathematics is useless. The same goes for gravity. I do not have faith that gravity will continue to keep me firmly attached to the surface of the earth. Faith is useless in this context as well. The same for the sun rising (i.e. the earth rotating), or the moon orbiting the earth. Faith is not a factor in these.

But suddenly when it comes to evolution, out of nowhere, creationists claim evolution is all about faith, and so much faith in fact, that it is far greater than the amount of faith necessary to be a Christian. I will point the reader to the New Testament and Paul's epistles to discern that faith is the only currency Christians have. Faith in Jesus is the path to heaven -- the ONLY path to heaven. And we know that faith is the substance of things hoped for. Not things known to be true, like 2 + 2 = 4. The point is that Christianity is founded on the idea of faith, this hope that things unseen are real. But what of evolution? Is it also based on faith? I have never seen one single article, book, essay, or manuscript that described evolution in terms of faith. In fact, the opposite is true of all the literature of evolution. Evolution is based solely on evidence, the things seen.

Thus there is a duplicitousness to the statement that it takes more faith to believe in evolution than it does creationism. There is no evidence, the things seen, to back up creationism, whereas there are mountains of evidence backing up evolution. Thus the only real comparison of faith in evolution versus creationism comes down to what you trust more, evidence of things unknowable or that of things knowable (and already known). If taking things known is to be called faith, then you inevitably come up with having to claim that it must be taken on faith that 2 + 2 = 4, because it is knowable and known in exactly the same way that genetics and fossils are known.

Finally, how much must Christians (and Christianity) cheapen the foundation of their religion, if they are going to claim that it takes more faith to believe in evolution than it does creationism (and Christianity). They are essentially saying that the bedrock of their religion -- faith -- is so tiny, when compared to the mountain of faith required to believe that 2 + 2 = 4 or that evolution leads to concrete results that they themselves use in their everyday lives (e.g. disinfectants to kill germs to protect from disease, new anti-bacterial medications). How can faith in Christianity be so small, when it is the entire makeup of the religion. How can it be less than "faith" in evolution. Wouldn't that make the Bible's definition of faith proof that evolution is real, since evolution requires "more faith" than Christianity, according to Christian doctrine, if Christianity is to be based solely on faith?

That Christians would be so willing to cheapen their own faith into non-consequence just to destroy evolution must tell you how little of substance there really is to Christianity.

And for the record: It takes zero faith to be an atheist. Atheists base their "religion" on what is known, that is, what is seen. If God is by definition, unseen, as Hebrews would have you believe, then there can be no faith to atheism, it is by Biblical proclamation totally faith-free. An atheist says merely that, "I see no evidence of God, therefore I don't believe in God." If the evidence changes, then the belief of the atheist changes, pure and simple observation. So far, that has not occurred.

End Note:
At least for the time being, the best and the brightest of Christian apologetics can point to the Kirk Cameron video showing Ron Comfort holding a phalic banana in one hand and poking it into his other hand (closed into the shape of a vagina) and saying this is the best evidence of creationism -- EVER! Certainly evolution is doomed after this intellectual display...

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6 Comments:

At May 14, 2006 11:34 PM, Blogger CFeagans said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At May 14, 2006 11:37 PM, Blogger CFeagans said...

Great article! I have a podcast on my drive somewhere where is supposed to discuss with Penn Jillette the whole "banana" thing. She was apparently in a debate with Ray Comfort while on the air where he conceded the point. I'll have to listen to that one this evening.

 
At May 14, 2006 11:39 PM, Blogger CFeagans said...

Okay.. sorry about the link. I tried it twice and each time it previewed fine. The word "Hellboundallee" is supposed to be just after "where" and before the link.

 
At May 15, 2006 10:11 AM, Blogger jeffperado said...

Greetings,

Thanks! I have listened to that podcast, I found the link at UTI. Also, in another post I wrote, I mention it and link to it. It is the science and scientism post.

--jeff-perado

 
At May 15, 2006 10:24 AM, Blogger Veronica said...

You know, all these words are not really required, because ultimately you're talking about "Kirk Cameron giving lessons on the creation of the Universe." I mean... Kirk Cameron... really... it sounds like some sort of joke.

He should get together with that dude from Charles in Charge--the one that plays "BibleMan" nowadays, and do a special on brain surger and what Jesus would do.

 
At May 15, 2006 2:36 PM, Blogger jeffperado said...

Veronica,
This is very true. The reason I nail poor ol' Kirk (and AiG) is that while they are pure caricature, the reality is that people listen to them. So we cannot honestly ignore them. The truth needs to be told.

Besides, isn't it fun to show them for the frauds they are?

 

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