Atheist Michael Zimmerman Pleas For Consistency: How That Would Effect the Teaching of Evolution In Schools
Atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman has written another alarmist HuffPu puff piece claiming that Barbara Cargill, chair of the Texas State Board of Education, is trying to sneak creationism into public schools.
Cargill’s sin is that she advocates “teaching another side to the theory of evolution.” Despite accurately quoting her as saying that faith-based theories should be taught at home or in church, not in the public school classroom, Zimmerman attempts to poison the well by suggesting that when she says we need to teach another side to the theory of evolution, she reeeeeeeeeally means that we need to teach religion-based alternatives. Because he has grossly distorted her meaning, he goes on to accuse her of being inconsistent with the stated position of the Methodist Church which roundly condemns teaching creationism in public schools.
But that’s not what she’s saying. Here’s what she said:
“Our intent, as far as theories with the [curriculum standards], was to teach all sides of scientific explanations. … But when I went on [to the CSCOPE website, ] last night, I couldn’t see anything that might be seen as another side to the theory of evolution. Every link, every lesson, everything, you know, was taught as ‘this is how the origin of life happened, this is what the fossil record proves,’ and all that’s fine, but that’s only one side.”
CSCOPE is a curriculum management tool developed by Education Service Centers around the state and used by many school districts. Cargill’s point was that if CSCOPE reflected the intent of Texas’ curriculum standards, it would not present a one-sided view of all-natural evolution. Instead, it would teach BOTH the strengths AND weaknesses of evolution.
Teaching evolution critically is not the same thing as teaching a religion-based alternative. I realize that as an atheist Zimmerman has to poison the well somehow. He is misconstruing her as saying she wants creationism taught in schools, because he no doubt realizes that if all-natural evolution is taught critically in schools, students may reject it in favor of religion-based alternatives. And that is a possibility, but that doesn’t mean that schools are overtly advocating any religion-based alternatives by exposing children to non-religious criticisms of evolution [the abiogenesis problem, the gaps in the fossil record, irreducible complexity, whence came the information, etc].
In fact, if we were being consistent, we could not advocate the uncritical teaching of all-natural undirected evolution in public schools even one day longer! You see, if we were to call the teaching of evolution’s weaknesses unConstitutional on the basis that it could add credence to a religion-based alternative, we have a problem: humanism is recognized by the Supreme Court as a religion and undirected evolution is one of it’s central tenets, so if we cannot teach something because it might support a religion, we could not consistently teach all-natural evolution in schools in the uncritical manner we have been doing so in lest we support the recognized religion of humanism!
I wonder if Zimmerman realizes that he’s cutting off his nose to spite his face when he opposes the critical teaching of evolution rather than an uncritical, one-sided indoctrination.
Here’s to hoping the country adheres to a consistent application of the establishment Clause rather than Zimmerman’s dream of a fascist humanist state.
Hypocrisy: Evolution Weekend’s Michael Zimmerman Calls the Creation Museum a “Theme Park” During Plea Against Name-Calling
Well, Evolution Weekend is upon us again and atheist Dr Michael Zimmerman has written his obligatory HuffPo post promoting it. Once again, he claims that lots and lots of signatures from liberal and apostate clergy somehow prove that Christianity and microbes-to-man evolution are compatible.
Oh, he did add some nonsense about being outraged that Young Earthers are telling people they will go to hell for believing in evolution [Holy Straw Men, Batmen... NOT TRUE]. Every major creationist organization is on record as stating that you can be a Christian whether or not you believe in millions of years of evolution. Rather it’s a Biblical authority issue, not a salvation issue. But thanks for completely misrepresenting your opposition, Zimmerman.
The irony… nay, the hypocrisy is that after quoting President Barack Obama as saying, “We cannot treat… name-calling as reasoned debate,” Zimmerman makes repeated pleas for reasoned debate and against name-calling…
Only to call the Creation Museum a “theme park” in the very next breath. Way to take your own advice, Mike. You’ve reeeeeeeally elevated the discussion with your use of weasel words [aka name-calling]. Kudos.
Celebrate a Creation Sunday tomorrow instead of an Evolution Sunday.
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” Romans 10:14
“For since in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” 1 Corinthians 1:21
What the modern creationist movement – and Christianity as a whole – needs is more Gospel preachers. That might sound like a funny thing to say at first glance. After all, don’t we live in a world saturated with Christian media? Don’t we already have countless ministries dedicated to the defense and proclamation of the Gospel?
I certainly think we could use more apologists and even more Christian media, but the reason I’m saying that we need more Gospel preachers is because we have few who are doing it effectively. We need to preach the whole Gospel from Creation to the Cross to the Consummation, with a renewed emphasis on God’s wrath and eternal judgment. As a preacher, I’ve noticed that sin, the law and hell generally get only a cursory nod, but the Good News can only be fully appreciated in light of the Bad News. These days, many preachers deliver an abbreviated version or another gospel entirely, one that promises us great benefits for a token fealty. Worse still, we preach a message that has no context.
I began thinking about this as I was listening to Dr. David Menton speak at a 2010 Answers For Pastors conference. He noted that one of the many deficits of the Intelligent Design movement is that it lacks a history. Humanists and secularists have begun to become aware of the importance of an overarching story to provide a context for our beliefs.
CreationLetter.com and CreationSundays.com are two of the better-known ministry outreaches of DefGen.org. When I discovered that over 12,000 Christian clergy had signed atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman’s pro-evolution letter that called Adam and Eve and other Biblical accounts “teaching stories” akin to Aesop’s Fables, I decided to do something about it. I created CreationLetter.com to allow Christians [clergy in particular] to sign a letter affirming the historical veracity of Scripture. Since Clergy Letter signers also preach evolution from our very pulpits on Evolution Sunday, we began encouraging folks to have a Creation Sunday instead. At some point, we became aware that some churches were using Michael Dowd’s Epic of Evolution, also called the Great Story, as part of their Evolution Sunday celebrations. Michael Dowd describes his Epic of Evolution as “humanity’s common creation story. It is the 14 billion year science-based sacred story of cosmic genesis, from the formation of the galaxies and the origin of Earth life, to the development of self-reflective consciousness and collective learning, to the emergence of comprehensive compassion and tools to assist humanity in living harmoniously with the larger body of life.”
Interestingly enough, Connie Barlow1 acknowledges that “a coherent cosmology (creation story / worldview) through which to enjoy and securely navigate the years of childhood wonder, learning, and innocence” is a “basic human requirement.” Train up a child…
Yet when she comes into churches to teach children the Great Story, what does she teach about the ultimate authority of the Bible? She gives kids a skewed view of God’s Word:
“Do we present children with only the shiny bright side of ancient religious stories and teachings?” she asks. “Wouldn’t that be unfair to them (and us!) — perhaps encouraging them to regard religious scripture as good and “holy”, like many of their friends do, rather than as just one more book to which modern critical and moral reasoning must be applied? “
It’s clear in her treatment of the Noachian Flood that her goal is to discredit the Bible and twist its revelation to suit her own humanist agenda:
“…Do we continue to promote “religious literacy” in children by using the picture book Bible story of Noah’s ark, with a rainbow overhead and cute creatures filing onboard two-by-two? Or do we share the dark and horrific side as well — and at what age? After all, if we invite children to put on their thinking caps, isn’t one obvious outcome a gasp of horror when they recognize what happened to those left behind? There, floating around the ark as the waters subside would be billions of bloated bodies: drowned bunnies and dead puppies and all the millions of boys and girls who were not taken aboard. Freely thinking, we begin to see that it is God who was responsible for this terrible crime against nature, against sentient life forms, and against innocent children.”
This skewed view of God and the Bible also extends to the Resurrection of Christ:
“And is there anything honorable to be done with the religious underpinnings of Easter? Is an alleged supernatural resurrection from death anything we want to have our kids take seriously enough to ponder and make up their own minds about? Do we want to expose our children to the fact that human beings not only used to torture people by nailing their hands and feet to wooden planks but that the cross that some of their Christian friends wear around their necks is an even more barbaric symbol of capital punishment than a noose? …Thank goodness the Easter Bunny gives us a secular alternative.”
Her real fear is that if children aren’t imprinted with the Epic of Evolution that they’ll believe in Christ Jesus:
“Let us not leave the business of imprinting to the whims of the world outside the family home, outside our church community. Imprinting in one way or another will occur. If there is a substantial gap in a child’s relational bond with the world at large, that gap will be filled — perhaps when their best friend says, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so,” and then extends an invitation to church camp.”
Michael Dowd has professed in his book, Thank God for Evolution, that he thinks of the supernatural as “pre-natural.” In other words, once we come up with all-natural answers, he presumes the supernatural is invalidated. A lot of people have this attitude. Science has wed itself to pure naturalism and refused to allow a Divine foot to enter the door. As a consequence, all science can offer us are all-natural answers which may or may not be true – and are certainly false where supernatural agency was responsible! The hitch is that science via naturalism is prevented from ever acknowledging the supernatural. Only all-natural answers are allowed. This is why Richard Dawkins must dissemble that the design he sees in nature is only “apparent design.” Yet a lot of folks make the assumption that once an all-natural answer is found, the supernatural answer must be discarded as pre-natural, pre-scientific ignorance. Professing themselves to wise, they’ve become fools who say in their hearts, There is no God.
Dowd, an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ [to their condemnation], denies the virgin birth of Jesus Christ and his physical resurrection from the grave2, the latter doctrine being a non-negotiable requirement of authentic saving faith per Romans 10:9. Seeing the supernatural as a synonym for the unnatural, he tells the Gospel as follows:
“An unnatural king who occasionally engages in unnatural acts sends his unnatural son to Earth in an unnatural way. He’s born an unnatural birth, lives an unnatural life, performs unnatural deeds, and is killed and unnaturally rises from the dead in order to redeem humanity from an unnatural curse brought about by an unnaturally talking snake. After 40 days of unnatural appearances he unnaturally zooms off to heaven to return to his unnatural father, sit on an unnatural throne, and unnaturally judge the living and the dead. If you profess to believe in all this unnatural activity, you and your fellow believers get to spend an unnaturally long time in an unnaturally boring paradise while everyone else suffers an unnatural, torturous hell forever.”
Is this how you would tell the Gospel? Remember that when these evolutionary evangelists come to your area that our children, most of whom are educated in government schools, have already been taught this Big History and apologetics for millions of years of evolution. In other words, they’ve been primed for the anti-Christ humanist message of folks like Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd!
We need to teach our children true history from the Bible instead. It isn’t enough to refute to evolution. The notion of millions of years is derived from the concept of uniformitarianism, the idea that the present is the key to the past. Many Christians fail to recognize that uniformitarianism presumes that God has never acted in the past to interrupt or override the processes we observe today and likewise sees supernatural revelation [the Bible] as irrelevant to the search for truth. Ironically, God promises us in Genesis 8:22 that we should expect to see uniformity in nature, but this promise is made after Creation, the Fall and the Flood! When children are being taught the history of the universe in terms of millions of years, their hearts and minds are being prepared to accept an all-natural worldview that excludes the supernatural from all consideration and divorces God from reality.
Some will probably object that we need only preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified in the spirit of 1 Corinthians 2:2, but I must point out that the same Apostle Paul wrote that epistle started with creation when he spoke on Mars Hill. In Acts 17, Paul lays some groundwork for the Gospel, spending time to correct Greek notions of the Creator God, and then proceeds to speak of divine judgment and the Gospel itself. Some have pointed out that Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 concentrates only on the Gospel and judgment and that it was more effectively [numerically speaking] than Paul’s sermon to the Greeks; however, in Why Won’t They Listen?, Ken Ham makes a valid point that Peter spoke to a crowd with a foundational knowledge of the Scriptures, whereas Paul had to build from the ground up. In terms of the Parable of the Sower, Paul was dealing with a culture whose fallow ground was full of stones and choking weeds unreceptive to Gospel seed, whereas Peter dealt with ground that had been plowed and prepared for that glorious moment at Pentecost. Ham makes the argument that our present lack of success in evangelism stems from a common root: the culture’s lack of a Scriptural foundation. Whereas we could at one time preach only Jesus Christ and Him crucified and hundreds if not thousands would respond at mass crusades, in today’s post-Christian society we have few who understand what we mean by original sin and other basic Biblical doctrines.
Our situation is analogous to that of New Tribes Mission’s efforts to reach the Mouk Tribe of Papau, New Guinea. These missionaries tried traditional evangelism methods with almost no success. In order to reach a people with absolutely no Bible knowledge, they began with two months of Old Testament Bible stories. Only after this foundation was laid did they begin teaching about Christ. After teaching them about God and the Bible, NTM missionaries taught them about “Creation, and Adam and Eve, and man’s choice to sin. We explained how God promised a Savior would someday come to deliver us from sin.”
As a preacher, I’ve noticed that sin, the law and hell generally get only a cursory nod, but the Good News can only be fully appreciated in light of the Bad News. We are, one author has put it, selling Jesus, emphasizing the benefits of salvation while minimizing the parts folks might object to, like taking up our cross daily, hell and judgment, probable religious persecution, and repentance resulting in a changed lifestyle. This tendency to soft-sell the Gospel has resulted in a Christianity more concerned with personal fulfillment than self-sacrifice, prosperity rather than service, and comfort and popularity rather than evangelism and discipleship. Even though our Great Commission says to make disciples, we have pews full of believers who suppose that we’re really supposed to get folks to make decisions and that discipleship is somehow Next-Level Christianity. Rather than warning folks to count the cost, as Christ did, we tell them that nobody will be looking when they raise their hand.
These problems vanish when you start preaching the Greatest Story. You understand that a loving Creator made the world and crowned it with man, made in His own image. When you understand that Adam and Eve’s sin was rebellion/high treason against God’s command, you naturally realize that the same Jesus who is Savior must also be Lord of your life precisely because Christ is the Creator. You understand that the judgment of a worldwide flood in the days of Noah was righteous and that man was ultimately responsible for this awful event. When you read the Ten Commandments, you’re struck with your inability to save yourself, just as you’re reminded that way back in Genesis God promised a Redeemer. Which leads us to the Cross and to Christ. We used to call this the Greatest Story Ever Told. We just need to get back to faithfully telling it, from the beginning, just as God revealed it to us in His Word.
- All Connie Barlow quotes from her essay, Imprinting Is Not Indoctrination [8/30/10, TheGreatStory.org/imprinting.pdf]
- Comment asked by nephewofjesus on HuffPo article, New Atheists Promote Bible Study? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/nephewofjesus/new-atheists-promote-bibl_b_1320555_140325325.html and answered by Dowd: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/MBDowd/new-atheists-promote-bibl_b_1320555_140485474.html. He answered, “No, of course not, nephewofjesus! I know the difference between ancient mythic revelation and current evidential revelation. I also know the difference between inspiring myth and inspiring fact. It seems that you do not.”
Presbyterian “Rev” John Shuck: Undermining The Authority of the Bible AND The Credibility of Atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman
Once again, atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman, founder of the pro-evolution Clergy Letter Project, was pontificating over at the HuffPo. In the midst of preaching to that liberal choir, he made the following generalization:
“As I’ve said so many times before, the very existence of The Clergy Letter Project demonstrates that thousands of religious leaders have absolutely no trouble embracing evolution while remaining true to their faith.”
Is that even remotely true? Um, no.
Take for example, Clergy Letter signer and Evolution Sunday celebrant, “Rev” John Shuck. This false minister cannot even affirm the historical, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, a fundamental basic of authentic saving faith per Romans 10:9. In fact, Shuck doesn’t even believe in God. He’s a member of the Clergy Project [not to be confused with Zimmerman's Clergy Letter Project], a cabal of atheist clergy, most of whom still preach from our pulpits. And he doesn’t care who knows it. By his own admission, he revels in the fact that he’s underming the authority of Scripture and constantly thumbs his nose at the Presbyterian Church [USA] for letting him occupy one of their pulpits; here’s a quote from Shuck himself:
“…The PC(USA) is awash in heresy and it refuses to do anything about it.Take for example, me. I think the Bible is wrong about most everything. It is wrong about evolution, slavery, women, and gays. It has no authority on those topics. I think the Bible is wrong about cosmology, history, our future, Jesus, and God. The texts were all written by human beings without any supernatural or special revelation. Yet I preach in a PC(USA) pulpit. Run! Flee! Escape while you can into the refreshing waters of pure doctrine!
Ten denominations aren’t near enough. We will need plenty more break-offs before we finally give up on the oppressive notion of the Authority of Scripture. The Bible contains no truth outside of what we can discover through public means of inquiry. Don’t misunderstand. I enjoy the Bible. It is a marvelous human book. I read it and study it with all the critical means at my disposal. In so doing, I will do my part to undermine its Authority which I think is the next important step for religious freedom.”
Another conversation I had with John Shuck stands as a further contradiction of Zimmerman’s claim that the ”Clergy Letter Project demonstrates that thousands of religious leaders have absolutely no trouble embracing evolution while remaining true to their faith.” Commenting on how statistics [yes, Zimmerman: statistics]demonstrate a link between a belief in evolution and apostasy, I pointed the following out to John Shuck:
“Your own evident lack of faith in core Christian beliefs is symptomatic of the link between faith in evolution and religious unbelief. Might I suggest you read Already Gone by Ken Ham & Britt Beemer? I know you have no love for Mr Ham, but unless you are prepared to arbitrarily accuse him of lying, the statistics he presents in this book should convince all but the most heretical liberal of the link between evolution and loss of faith.”
the link between evolution and loss of faith
Science has a way of undoing superstition. May the loss of “faith” continue! …Your god doesn’t exist, my friend, nor does his hell. So I am not afraid for my “eternal salvation.” I do pity you for believing outrageous fairy tales and cruel ones at that. I hope you will repent as well and stop spreading fear and ignorance.
If you’d like a short list of his skewed beliefs, he’s provided us with one on his site, under the heading, What Presbyterians Believe [Except Me]:
- in evolutionary theory. This obviously includes human beings. Evolution and science in general have had major implications regarding theology that we mostly ignore or in our worse moments deny.
- in higher criticism of the Bible. The Bible like all other books are human products (what else could they be?) and should be read as such as opposed to special revelation from a divine being.
- that all religion is a human construct. Its primary purpose has been and should be an attempt to find and evoke meaning amidst life’s contingencies as opposed to speculation regarding supernaturalism.
- that “God” functions as a symbol. The concept of “God” is a product of myth-making and “God” is no longer credible as a personal, supernatural being. For me, “God” functions as a shorthand for the Universe and sometimes for qualities and aspirations I wish to pursue or to emulate.
- that human consciousness is the result of natural selection. Human beings do not have immortal souls nor will consciousness survive death. Thus there is no afterlife. There is no heaven, no hell, and no need for salvation from one realm to another.
- that there is no “end” in human time. Earth is four billion years old. Earth was here long before human beings. Earth will spin on its axis and revolve around the sun long, long after the last human being has breathed her last. We will have to find meaning and our “eschaton” in this life.
- that Jesus may have been historical but most of the stories about him in the Bible and elsewhere are legends. But he’s cool. He serves as a human ideal and a focal point for devotion (like an ishta deva).
- that industrial civilization is in for a long descent. Peak Oil and Overshoot should be everyday terms in our lexicon. We ought to be putting our religious energies toward spiritual, emotional, and practical preparation for this reality.
Note that Shuck prioritizes evolution on this belief statement and that he freely admits that affirmation of evolution has consequences for theology. Those consequences are implicit in the rest of his belief statements. Which means that if Zimmerman truly believes his own press concerning the neutrality of evolutionary belief on religious belief, he’s done so by ignoring the evidence.
Zimmerman’s self-delusion aside, we’re forced to ask ourselves why the PCUSA allows this wolf to remain over one of their flocks? I think the Presbyterian Church USA is a little concerned that they’ll make a martyr of John Shuck if they remove him from his pulpit. He’s ceratinly itching for a fight:
“It could and likely will get ugly. Those who cling to their superstitions will be ruthless. There will be inquisitions. There will be heresy trials…. My advice for clergy and for laypeople who are growing out of a childish supernaturalistic past is to stand your ground. Don’t let them set the terms or the rules. Don’t resign.”
Yet the PC[USA] should remember that they will give an account before the one who charged them with shepherding the flock of God from wolves whether they be within or without.
Whatever decision [or indecision] the PCUSA commits to concerning this notorious apostste minister, Zimmerman needs to realize that rather remaining true to their faith, the majority of Clergy Letter Project signers appear to have abandoned the apostolic faith once delivered to the saints in favor of modern novelties and heresies.
This is an important point [one I wil close with]: Zimmerman and those who use his Clergy Letter Project to promote evolution in our churches and schools want us to look at the quantity of clergy signatures under the heading “Christian” when we ought also be examining the quality and validity of those clergy who affix their name to his apostate Letter. Can they affirm the historical, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ? Do they believe that Jesus is God? Do they even believe in God? If they cannot answer these basic questions in the affirmative, we can be assured that we are dealing with Christians in name only, damned wolves in sheep’s clothing.
More information is available here: Ex-Christians: The Evolution Factor and in Ken Ham’s excellent book, Already Gone: Why Your Kids Will Quit Church & What You Can Do About It!
And may I suggest that instea dof celebrating an Evolution Sunday this year, celebrate a Creation Sunday instead. You can view and add a Creation Sunday event in your area at http://CreationSundays.com
Karen Francisco, senior editorial writer for The Journal Gazette, recently wrote an editorial critical of Indiana Senate Bill 89, one of several pro-creation science bills introduced this year. The article, which you can read here, made several accusations against the bill and against creationism itself. What got my attention was that she accused creation of being bad theology and based that erroneous claim on the Clergy Letter Project! In fact, she claims elsewhere that “The northeast Indiana ministers who pushed Sen. Dennis Kruse to introduce the bill should read the thoughtful Christian Clergy Letter, signed by 12,786 clergy, including 315 from Indiana.”
Well, that didn’t sit well with me. Once again, the Clergy Letter is being used to enforce the uncritical exclusive teaching of evolution in our public schools. Worse, now someone has the erroneous idea that the Letter’s content actually represents orthodox Christianity, when it is demonstrably otherwise: While the Clergy Letter claims to be representative of “Christian clergy of many different traditions,” upon closer examination they are merely representative of liberal, modernist and feminist traditions. As always, we feel it necessary to note that not everything that calls itself a Christian should be taken at face value. I, for one, should like to contact the signers of the Clergy Letter and ask them whether they believe Jesus Christ actually rose from the dead and whether they believe Jesus is, in fact, the Son of God, these being Biblical tests for a true Christian. If not, the signatures of these “clergy” are invalid. It should also be noted that Zimmerman has no problem sliding in signatures of Unitarian Universalist, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Unity cult members and members of other cults in the “Christian” version of the Clergy Letter.
In any case, I wrote a letter to the editor to correct the misinformation contained in the editorial. Would it surprise you that the have since published several guest editorials and letters to the editor which were friendly to her views while my letter remains unpublished? In fact, to my knowledge, there has not been one single letter of dissent published since Francisco wrote her editorial. Perhaps The Journal Gazette is still getting around to it…
In the meantime, here is my response in its entirety:
“Letter To the Editor[s] of the Journal-Gazette regarding the Jan 31, 2012 editorial “Creationism is bad science”,A recent editorial printed in this newspaper accused “Northeast Indiana lawmakers experiment with bad science, misguided theology and a violation of constitutional principles in their push for creationism in the classroom” with regard to Senate Bill 89, which ”provides that the governing body of a school corporation may require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science, within the school corporation.” With due respect, the editorial did not make its case.For example, to support the allegation that SB 89 is scientifically unsound you appeal to Indiana’s current science standards which, as you correctly note,require students to know that Charles Darwin’s book, “On the Origin of Species,” is supported by “a massive array of biological and fossil evidence.” Would it interest you that, rather than ignoring the scientific evidence proposed for microbes-to-man evolution, creation scientists address those self-same evidences and go on to propose alternate explanations for these observations. The origins isn’t about evidence for we have exactly the same evidence with differing interpretations. Furthermore, it was Darwin himself who noted in the Introduction of Origins the following: “I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.” This fair-minded analysis of the origins argument is precisely what SB 89 seeks to accomplish.More seriously, you allege that this bill would be theologically unsound on the basis of the Clergy Letter Project. Just because men calling themselves clergy have signed the pro-evolution Clergy Letter does not make them representative of Christianity. The Clergy Letter signators include Unitarian Universalists, Unity cult members and liberal mainline clergy, some of whom cannot even affirm a basic tenet of authentic Christian faith: the historical, bodily resurrection of Christ! You may as well get your “sound theology” from the local skeptics society! The signers of the Clergy Letter Project are anything but orthodox representatives of the apostolic “faith once delivered.”
Your allegation that this bill is bad for business requires something of a crystal ball. I am prepared to concede that if top researchers in the life sciences are determined more by their ideological commitment to the current consensus of the scientific establishment than their quality of research, then, Yes, Indiana would be in big trouble. Of course, if this is really the state of affairs within modern science somebody owes Cardinal Bellarmine an apology. Whenever science insists that its practitioners adhere to the common consensus, it ceases to be science, for science is tentative, self-correcting and thrives on challenging existing theories.Regarding your final allegation, that this bill violates the Establishment Clause, I do admit that it has been the recent trend of the activist judges to interpret the Establishment Clause as guaranteeing freedom from religion rather than freedom of reliogion; that is, the founders intended the Establishment Clause to protect religion from the influence of the government, not [if we consider the many religious declarations included on our monuments, state charters and other early American documents] to protect the government from the influence of religion. It has also been a recent trend for evolution enforcement organizations such as Americans United, the ACLU, the NCSE, and others, to use what amounts to legal extortion to preserve the exclusive, uncritical teaching of evolutionism in tax payer funded schools. That be as it may, Indiana SB 89 does not violate the Establishment Clause because it does not endorse or support any religion. Rather, it dares to include the consideration of other theories of origins as any valid scientist ought and does not exclude its chief origins science competitor.Regards,Rev Tony BreedenFounder, DefGen.org, CreationLetter.com & CreationSundays.com”
The following devotional was given to the staff of the Creation Museum on Thursday, March 19, 2009. The text has been reconstructed from my notes.
My name is Rev. Tony Breeden and I’m here to tell you a little bit about the ministry of CreationLetter.com, and to give a devotional.
The Creation Letter Project or CreationLetter.com is the Biblical Creationist response to Dr. Michael Zimmerman‘s pro-evolution Clergy Letter project. So often it is helpful to know a little about the problem before we discuss the remedy, so let me tell you a bit about Zimmerman’s Clergy Letter Project.
The pro-evolution Clergy Letter Project began in 2004 with less than 200 signatures. Dr. Zimmerman used those few signatures to fight the Grantsburg, Wisconsin school board’s proposal that “all theories of origins” be taught in district schools. He succeeded in cowing the Grantsburg school board. Instead of teaching “all theories of origins,” they settled for teaching both the “strengths AND weaknesses” of evolution – but evolution only.
Since then, the Clergy Letter has collected nearly 12,000* signatures from pastors and other clergy affirming:
- That “religious truth is of a different order than scientific truth,” that they’re “two different, but complementary forms of truth.”
- That “an overwhelming majority” of Christians “do not read the Bible literally as they would a science textbook.”
- That “beloved stories like Creation, Adam and Eve, and Noah and the Ark convey timeless truths” in the tradition of Aesop’s fables.
- That evolution is “a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests.”
- That to reject evolution or even suggest competing theories is to “deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children.”
In short, every line of the Clergy letter reads like it came straight out of the Big Bad Book of Standard Bogus Evolution Arguments.
The Clergy Letter Project has promoted Evolution Sundays since 2006, expanding the concept to an entire Evolution Weekend in 2008 to accommodate “other faith traditions.” Each year on the Sunday nearest Charles Darwin’s birthday, they preach evolution and undermine the authority of God’s Word from our very pulpits.
In the case of TeachThemScience.org, a website co-sponsored by arch-humanist Paul Kurtz’ Center For Inquiry, the Clergy Letter is seeking to combat “anti-evolution” proposals and thereby enforce the monopoly of evolution in the Texas science curriculum. have you noticed a lot of these “science advocacy” groups are no more than evolution enforcement groups? On March 25, 27 [next week], Texas will decide its science curriculum standards for the next ten years. Texas is so big that publishers will change their textbooks to meet Texas standards. Many other states also adopt these textbooks. Ironically, what Zimmerman is fighting through TeachThemScience.org is a proposal that allows both the strengths and weaknesses of evolution to be taught in public schools. I remind you that when he used the Clergy Letter to brow beat the Grantsburg, Wisconsin school board down from teaching “all theories of origins” to just evolution’s “strengths and weaknesses, he called it a victory. Need we more proof that they will not stop until evolution is taught as unchallenged dogma?
The problem is this: Not only is it a pack of lies, the Clergy Letter is often cast in our faces as evidence that Young Earth Creationists are somehow an irrelevant minority, because there has not yet been a sustained, definitive response in kind.
I think it’s disgusting that this modern-day Goliath gets to mock the armies of the Living God. So I decided to do something about it…
So here’s what the Creation letter Project [CreationLetter.com] is doing.
We’re proactively seeking signatures, particularly from ministers, for the Creation letter, affirming that evolution is not observable, testable, repeatable science. It’s a belief about the past – a lie which undermines both Biblical authority and the foundational basis of the Gospel. Likewise, the creation letter affirms that the Bible stands as the revealed, inerrant Word of God. As such, the conclusions and speculations of fallible, finite men should be weighed in light of the Revelation of an infinite, infallible God – not the other way ‘round! Then we ask signers to affirm the truth of a Biblical 6-day Creation and to discourage anyone from celebrating or endorsing an Evolution Sunday.
We’re also promoting Creation Sundays. While the most recent one is past, we’re already planning next year’s. Since it will fall on Valentine’s Day, our proposed theme for 2010 is Who Do You Love?, applying Matthew 6:24 to the concept of trying to serve two masters or holding two opposing authorities in your life, because it all comes down to man’s word or God’s Word as our ultimate authority. We have lots of ideas on our website to help churches celebrate a Creation Sunday, and we’re making pastors aware that they have the opportunity to hold a Creation Sunday during our Summer of Creation initiative.
As part of this Summer of Creation, we’re actively encouraging churches and youth groups to schedule creation speakers and conferences, to host Creation VBS and youth camps, to visit local Creation Museums such as this one, and to hold Creation Sundays in order to blunt the impact of the so-called “Year of Darwin.” Our primary focus is youth. Churches typically focus on youth during the summer, through VBS and youth camps. We now have the opportunity to evangelize and tell them the truth about evolution. All school year long, they’re indoctrinated and saturated with a one-sided case for evolution as scientific fact. Statistics demonstrate that kids who are taught evolution as scientific truth largely go on to reject religious truth. I’ve seen this with my own eyes.
I literally watched one day as a a table full of boys in a typical middle school cafeteria made the awful decision to become atheists that day. There were 8 or 9 of them. Each one was saying, “I think I’m an atheist. I think I’m gonna be an atheist, too.” Except one. One dissenting voice said, “I believe in God.”The conversation went back and forth for a while, but the dissenting voice persisted. Finally one of the born-again atheists challenged his friend, “So what if you believe in God? That’s YOUR problem.”
That day was Darwin Day, Feb 12, 2009, and I don’t think it was a coincidence.
Our secondary focus is on educating the Church. The USAmerican Church is being choked to death by thorns of complacency and by trivial pursuits. The problem isn’t Zimmerman and the near-12,000 clergy who’ve signed his letter of compromise; the problem is the silence of the rest of Christendom. We have believers who just don’t think it’s important, while our children reject Christianity largely due to a belief in evolution as scientific fact. We have churches who think the entire issue is too political, too divisive. And we still have the do-nothing “moderate” that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lamented over in his Letter from the Birmingham Jail, the mugwumps who sit on the fence with their mugs hanging over one side and their wumps over the other, who forbid others to enter and neither enter in themselves. Little wonder that G. K. Chesterton declared that “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried!”
The key is education, prayer and action. The Church needs to be made aware of the problem and the importance of the fight for Biblical Creation. We need prayer, for only God can change hearts. And we need to take action for we never gained anything for God by timidity or faithlessness.
Because we practice what we preach, we have other things in the works. We’re putting the finishing touches on our downloadable Defending Genesis bulletin inserts, free for any church to use during our Summer of Creation. We’re also in the planning stages of the up-coming WV Creation Conference. Basically, we’re doing whatever God puts before us and we’re expecting Big things because we serve a Great Big God [Ecclesiastes 9:10].
Turn with me to Galatians 6:9. As our devotional this morning, I want us to consider this verse: “And let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
Not counting Jesus Himself, my favorite guy in the entire Bible is Caleb. You recall that at Kadesh-Barnea, Joshua, Caleb, and ten faithless fellows were sent forth to scope out the Promised Land [Numbers 13:26]. They returned with a report of a good land flowing with milk and honey [vs. 27], but right off the bat they started doubting God’s Word. “The people there are strong,” they warned. “Their cities are huge and fortified. There are giants, the children of Anak [vs. 28].”
But note Caleb’s response: “Let us go up at once and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it!”
Yet still they complained and doubted. “No, we can’t do it; they’re stronger than us [vs. 31]. That place will eat us alive! They’re bigger than us [vs. 32]. And don’t forget: they have GIANTS. We were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in theirs [vs. 33].”
The people of God listened to these doubters, and suddenly everyone wanted to go back to Egypt [Numbers 14:1-4]. Moses and Aaron hit the deck, falling on their faces before God, realizing he would not like this turn of events [vs. 5]. Joshua and Caleb tore their clothes and insisted, “The land is an exceeding good land. If God delights in us, He will give it to us, a land flowing with milk and honey. Only rebel not against the Lord, neither fear this people, for they are bread for us (we’ll eat THEM alive). Their defense is departed from them and the Lord is with us. Fear them not [Numbers 14:6-9].”
Rather than listening to their words of faith, the people of God decided to stone them, so God stepped in. He decided Caleb and Joshua would enter the Promised Land, but the others who doubted His Word would roam the desert until that faithless generation passed away [Numbers 14:10, 14].
Now that’s pretty good stuff, but that’s not why Caleb is one of my favorite fellows in the whole Book. You see, forty-five years later that faithless generation finally passed away and Joshua asked Caleb what portion of the Promised Land he wanted for his inheritance – and this is why Caleb stands out for me:
“Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the LORD said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadeshbarnea. Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart. Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the LORD my God. And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children’s for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God. And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will bewith me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.
And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance. Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel.”
- Joshua 14:6-14
Notice what he said: “Give me that mountain, the one with all the giants, the one with the fortified cities, the one everybody was so afraid of. Give me THAT mountain!”
What a challenge!
Caleb had discovered a great mystery: it doesn’t matter how small we are; it matters how big God is. A shepherd boy named David showed us that small stones may well give us access to a giant’s sword.
G. K. Chesterton was right. Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried. It is said that D. L. Moody once heard Henry Varley say, “The world has yet to see what God can do with and through and to a man fully consecrated to Him.” Dare we respond with Moody and Caleb, “I will be that man! Give me that mountain!” dare we be known as men and women who wholly followed after God??
Give me that mountain! Nevermind the mugwumps. God will shake their fences!
Give me that mountain! Nevermind the 12,000 faithless ministers who’ve slapped Biblical authority in the face. The Word of God stands sure. These are not cleverly devised fables; we will preach the Word of God, whether it’s in season or out of season!
Give me that mountain! Nevermind the hundreds of churches celebrating Darwin Sunday. We will celebrate a Creation Sunday and boldly proclaim, “let God be true and every man a liar!”
Give me that mountain! Nevermind that the Church continues to slumber while USAmerica becomes less Christian every year. We can wake them up. Be a watchman. Sound the alarm!
Give me that mountain! Nevermind that we are as grasshoppers in their eyes, for they are as grasshoppers in the eyes of a God whose strength cannot fail and they are bread for us! This is the God Who created the heavens and the earth, Whose Voice shakes the mountains, Whose Word will not return to Him void, and Who cannot lie. This is the God who said, knock, and the door will open for you; Seek, and you will find; ask, and you’ll receive,” and he also promises that we SHALL reap, if we faint not!
-End of devotional-
*The figure of “nearly 12,000″ has risen since March 2009 to 12,757 signatures as of 9/03/11. Of course, as the case of signatories John Shuck of Tennessee and Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (neither of whom can affirm the literal and bodily resurrection of Christ, a crucial requirement of authentic saving faith per Romans 10:9) illustrate, not all of these signatures represent authentic Christian clergy but humanist clergy in Christian clerical robes. I’ve also noted how members of “Christian” cults and Unitarians are erroneously listed on the Christian Clergy Letter to inflate the numbers somewhat.
It appears that a post entitled Why Creation Is Foundational To Science – Not Evolution has been the object of some spirited discussion at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OriginsTalk/message/25760. This article drew attention recently when ScienceAgainstEvolution.org featured CreationLetter.com as their website of the month.
A commenter who dubs herself gluadys disagrees with me on several points:
“To begin with: the title. Neither creation nor evolution are foundational to science. What is foundational to science is the scientific method which Bree[de]n has already attributed to Christian thought about God and nature.
Creation, as a theological doctrine, plays no part in science. Of course, the created order (i.e. the natural world) is the object of scientific study, but the theology of creation does not enter into that study. Evolution is an important theory about an important part of the created order.
Here gluadys commits the fallacy of bifurcation: the old science versus religion/theology canard, pretending as if there is no such thing as creation science – only creation theology. While it’s true that our origins science is based on our theology, it is equally true that the origin science of evolution is based on an atheistic philosophy (naturalism investigates the world as if God did not exist). Since the interpretations of origins science are determined by its ultimate standard (reason or special revelation; man’s word or God’s Word), we should expect a Christian to interpet the evidence consistent with Biblical revelation. We acknowledge that some Christians are not quite so consistent in this area, but they ought to be.
Moreover, gluadys contradicts herself by stating that “Creation, as a theological doctrine, plays no part in science,” yet admitting that the scientific method is attributed to “Christian thought about God and nature.” Does she propose that Christian thought about God and nature is divorced from the theological doctrine of creation?
Of course, she’s missing the point entirely, as she reveals when she makes the contradictory statement: “Evolution is an important theory about an important part of the created order.” You see, evolution is the all-natural Just-so story of how the heavens and the earth created themselves out of nothing and how all life sprang from a single organism which sprang from random chemical processes; this modern-day all-natural fable is the inevitable result of science which plays by an arbitrary set of rules that refuses to consider supernatural agency [creation]. It is utter nonsense to suggest that God created by a process which was imagined to make Him entirely unnecessary!
And only the Biblical Creationist has a consistently rational basis for the uniformity we find in nature. Dr. Jason Lisle, author of The Ultimate Proof of Creation, has given this line of reasoning quite a bit of thought in a post called Evolution: The Anti-Science:
“The biblical creationist expects there to be order in the universe because God made all things (John 1:3) and has imposed order on the universe. Since the Bible teaches that God upholds all things by His power (Hebrews 1:3), the creationist expects that the universe would function in a logical, orderly, law-like fashion. Furthermore, God is consistent and omnipresent. Thus, the creationist expects that all regions of the universe will obey the same laws, even in regions where the physical conditions are quite different. The entire field of astronomy requires this important biblical principle.
Moreover, God is beyond time (2 Peter 3:8) and has chosen to uphold the universe in a consistent fashion throughout time for our benefit. So, even though conditions in the past may be quite different than those in the present and future, the way God upholds the universe (what we would call the “laws of nature”) will not arbitrarily change.8 God has told us that there are certain things we can count on to be true in the future—the seasons, the diurnal cycle, and so on (Genesis 8:22). Therefore, under a given set of conditions, the consistent Christian has the right to expect a given outcome because he or she relies upon the Lord to uphold the universe in a consistent way.
These Christian principles are absolutely essential to science. When we perform a controlled experiment using the same preset starting conditions, we expect to get the same result every time. The “future reflects the past” in this sense. Scientists are able to make predictions only because there is uniformity as a result of God’s sovereign and consistent power. Scientific experimentation would be pointless without uniformity; we would get a different result every time we performed an identical experiment, destroying the very possibility of scientific knowledge.”
So the Biblical Creationists has a rational basis for trusting in the uniformity of nature and past experience. The evolutionist has no rational basis for the uniformity we find in nature. If the universe is the result of chance, random events, we have no way to know whether the uniformity we have experienced extends to the entire universe or will continue in the future; furthermore, if our brains are the result of chance, chemical processes, we have no way to know whether we can trust our experiences. Thus, Lisle correctly concludes:
”Evolutionists are able to do science only because they are inconsistent. They accept biblical principles such as uniformity, while simultaneously denying the Bible from which those principles are derived. Such inconsistency is common in secular thinking; secular scientists claim that the universe is not designed, but they do science as if the universe is designed and upheld by God in a uniform way.”
And as for theistic evolutionists, well, the inconsistencies we’ve mentioned already are their ultimate downfall:
“A theistic evolutionist does not believe that Genesis is literally true. But if Genesis is not literally true, then there is no reason to believe that Genesis 8:22 is literally true. This verse is where God promises that we can count on a certain degree of uniformity in the future. Without biblical creation, the rational basis for uniformity is lost.
It’s not just any god that is required in order to make sense of uniformity; it is the Christian God as revealed in the Bible. Only a God who is beyond time, consistent, faithful, all powerful, omnipresent, and who has revealed Himself to mankind can guarantee that there will be uniformity throughout space and time. Therefore, only biblical creationists can account for the uniformity in nature.”
Oblivious to the logical inconsistency of her position, gluadys continues:
“Second: the implication that the appendix and the tonsils in humans are not vestigial. I am not promoting the routine removal of these organs. As long as they cause no problems, let them be. But they are still vestigial.”
Seriously? This critic’s information appears to be a bit out-dated. Vestigial arguments presume common ancestry to be true and then propose that so-called vestigial organs are proof of common ancestry. The argument is entirely circular. See Vestigial Arguments: Begging the Question For Darwin for more on this subject.
Third, the appellation “intellectual larceny” applied to the synthesis of different scientific theories. Scientists have every right to get insights about one field from another field of science. After all, there is only one created order, so if various theories are incompatible, at least one must be in error in some way. A good theory does not only explain its own topic well, but is consistent with all scientific theories in all scientific fields.
Gluadys did a nice job of moving the goalposts here. Wells was talking about the fact that evolutionists seem to take credit for things that have nothing to do with microbes-to-man evolution [or co-opted portions of theories that were actually in dispute of evolutionism, in the case of Mendel, who believed in genetic limitations which would have made goo-to-you evolution impossible, or von Baer, whose work in embryology was distorted to appear to support of Darwinism when in fact it stood at odds with his theory.] For example, speciation, mutation and other observable horizontal changes within created kinds of creatures have nothing to do with the larger claim of unobserved vertical [phyletic] fish-to-philosopher evolution. In fact, as I comment in Deflating Dobzhansky’s Grand Assumption, or Why Microevolution Does Not Lead To Macroevolution:
“What we actually OBSERVE is far different from the claims of evolutionists. We see animals change over time, but there are limits to that change.
For example, bacteria may mutate to resist a vaccine but it remains bacteria. A finch or woodpecker might change beak sizes in dry/wet seasons, but they remain finches and woodpeckers respectively. Furthermore, we note that the information [genetic potential] was already there encoded in the animals DNA. No new information was added. All change is horizontal not vertical as would be necessitated by macroevolution’s claims. The deck was simply shuffled. Furthermore, we note that if there is a change in the amount of genetic variability, there is a decidely downward trend. For example, one could theoretically breed a poodle from a wolf [eventually], but you could never breed a wolf from a poodle [the latter of which is afflicted with so many genetic disorders as to make my point further evident]. ”
When evolutionists make the unsubstantiated claim that such observable phenomena are evidence for their unobservable claim of microbes-to-man evolution, they are are are guilty of the very “intellectual larceny” Wells accuses them of.
Let’s move on to gluadys’ final objection:
“Finally the implication (never explicitly stated) that “evolutionism” has something to do with the science of evolution. He speaks of “evolutionists” for example, who “object that their theory is more rational than the belief in a Creator God.” No doubt, among the people who agree with the theory of evolution, there are some who fit this description. But calling them “evolutionists” suggests two errors of fact:
–that most people who agree with the theory of evolution as science also take this stand about God, and
–that taking this stand about God is part of the theory of evolution.
Neither of these last statements is true.”
Evolutionists often object when we put that -ism after the word evolution, or [ironically] when we call them evolutionists. The reason for this is obvious. They believe evolution is science and thus the suffix -ism or -ist should be reserved for things they believe are mere ideologies or pseudosciences. Thus, they have no problem refering to creation science as creationistm and those who practice it as creationists; conversely, they have a problem admitting that creation science exists at all, so it’s easy for evolutionists to commit the logical fallacy of bifurcation [as gluadys demonstrated in her 1st objection].
Now, I use the terms interchangeably, because the origins debate isn’t really about evidence or science. We have exactly the same pool of evidence because we live in the same universe, but we have different interpretations of that evidence. Creationists recognize that there are two type of science: operational and origins.
Operational science deals with the present and is subject to the scientific method – It is testable, observable, repeatable and falsifiable. Origins science, also refered to as historical or forensic science, deals with the past and is NOT subject to the scientific method. It is not directly testable. The past cannot be observed or repeated; it’s already happened. Operational science deals with the material world we observe and is temporally limited to present phenomena.
Origins science is something of an educated guess based on a weight of arguments and evidences, the latter of which are not self-interpretive and are generally interpreted according to our presuppositions. Typically, a rescuing device may be employed to avoid falsification. Our presuppositions are derived from whatever we hold our ultimate standard of authority (eg. reason, the Bible, consensus, et cetera). Origins science is therefore not the same as operational science.
Creation science is science that holds the Bible as it’s ultimate standard. Of course, evolutionists like to pretend that they have no presuppositions, but they presuppose naturalism and, conversely, refuse to consider the very possibility of supernatural agency. Theistic evolutionists allow for some sort of nebulous supernatural oversight, but they’re inconsistent, as previously discussed. In fact, while they give lipservice to the Bible as their ultimate standard, in practice they hold naturalism and human reason as their ultimate standard since they claim the Scriptures must be re-interpreted in accordance with the opinions of men who [largely] suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Again, if human reason is the result of chance chemical processes as evolutionists suppose, why should we trust that as our ultimate standard over the revealed Word of a God who never lies, always tells the truth, knows everything and has always been there?
The Origins Argument isn’t about facts or science; it’s about authority. Who gets to make the rules: God or men? Whose word should be our ultimate standard? It’s about authority: The revealed Word of an infallible, infinite God versus the ever-changing word of fallible, finite men who reject Him and who weren’t there.
Our ultimate standard should be the one is non-arbitrary, consistent and rational. Only the Biblical Creationist worldview provides such a basis for the uniformity of nature, without which scientific inquiry would be impossible. Which is why creation is foundational to science – not evolution.