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Pawns and Crackpots: More on How Atheist Michael Zimmerman Tries to Trivialize the Very Real Creation/evolution Debate

March 14, 2010

As mentioned in my previous post, I’ve taken issue with atheist Dr Michael Zimmerman’s mischaracterization of the Creation/evolution controversy, as it appears on a recent post, Redefining the Creation/Evolution Controversy [March 3, 2010 – The Huffington Post]. I wanted you guys to take a look at this exchange because I want you to be aware of a tactic he’s been using against Biblical Creationists and I wanted you to see how I countered it.

I responded to his post briefly at the HuffPo [as best the word limit restrictions would allow]:

Dr Zimmerman,

I take issue with the entire premise of your post. You’ve simply played the old science versus religion canard and given it a twist. You’ve correctly stated that we ought to tear apart this old strawman but then suggested that we thatch a new one from it! The very real Creation/Evolution controversy isn’t an in-house squabble between religious factions, as you would paint it. Not to have to state the painfully obvious, it’s a debate between creationists and evolutionists. Both adherents of this worldview utilize a weight of arguments and scientific evidences to bolster their origins worldviews.

Your attempts to trivialize this very real controversy are transparent at best.

I’ve given your post a much fuller critique here:

Rev Tony Breeden
The Biblical Creationist response to the pro-Evolution Clergy Letter Project

Dr Zimmerman was kind enough to reply. Pay careful attention to his argument. See if you can see where he thatches together his straw man:
Your attempt to recast my article and the work of The Clergy Letter Project doesn’t make a great deal of sense. You write,“The very real Creation/Evolution controversy isn’t an in-house squabble between religious factions, as you would paint it. Not to have to state the painfully obvious, it’s a debate between creationists and evolutionists.” But the reality is that the “creationists,” as you call them are simply a group with one particular religious ideology, while the “evolutionists,” as you call them are deeply religious people who happen to disagree with your religious outlook as well as virtually all scientists, many of whom are also religious. Since religious leaders are on both sides of the “squabble” while scientists are only on one side, how’s this anything other than an “in-house squabble?”

When you write “I think both Evolution Weekend and the Clergy Compromise Letter absolutely [sic] a slap in the face to Biblical authority. I think you’re just using these misguided, misinformed clergy for your own purposes, to undermine the Creationist position and, ultimately, Biblical authority” (as you did to me), it’s clear what the issue’s about for you. I assure you that the religious leaders who have signed The Clergy Letter are neither “misguided” nor “misinformed.” And, I assure you, they have not “undermined…Biblical authority.” Rather, their respect for the Bible means that they look to it for moral and spiritual lessons without any desire to turn it into a science text.

Of course, these ministers HAVE inarguably undermined Biblical authority, despite Zimmerman’s assurances otherwise.

Dr Zimmerman is attempting to cast the entire debate as an in-house religious debate with scientists looking on in bemused consternation at why there’s an argument at all. Unfortunately, this sort of argument has to be muscled through by sheer insistence. He hopes to make you think that all scientists agree on evolution. In fact, his entire argument hangs precariously upon this premise, so of course he’s very, very wrong, as I pointed out in my counter-response:

Dr Zimmerman,

As an atheist outsider, I cannot expect you to fully comprehend the situation you’re commenting upon. Not to put too fine apoint on it, sir, but as an atheist, you are in no position to offer assurances concerning these clergy who’ve compromised Sola Scriptura for scriptura sub scientia. These clergy who happen to disagreee with me also happen to disagree with the traditional [that is to say, the orthodox] interpretation of the Bible. They have drifted far left of center. Has it not occured to you that almost all your signatures are from the liberal mainline churches and from “Christian” movements [like the Unity churches] that have traditionally been viewed as cults?

You hold them to be neither misguided nor misinformed because they agree with an atheist on how the Bible ought to be interpreted, which is hubris. Of course you think so!

I take issue with the straw man you’ve thatched together by saying the scientists are only on the side of evolution:

You see, this is where your attempt to trivialize the creation/evolution debate fails. Both sides have their clergymen. Both sides have accredited scientists who feel strongly about the issue. You’ve erroneously painted the very real debate as a chess board where one side only has pawns and bishops, when both sides have their pawns, bishops, rooks, knights and royalty.

Rev Tony Breeden

Keep thinking!

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 14, 2010 10:35 pm

    Thanks for your great post.

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