Monday, February 9, 2009

I'm Sorry, Alicia, But You've Been Lied To

A recent letter to the editor by Alicia Arseneault proves that some people truly believe that blind faith is a virtue. Unlike previous letters to the editor, I MUST address the points of this one specifically. Alicia is misrepresenting (lying about) evolution/natural selection. (The bold/italicized text is the original as COPIED from

Sir:I would like to comment of Mr. McKeown's letter to the editor about Churches and Darwinism co-existing and his implied suggestion that Bible-believing Christians cannot have a "deep appreciation" of the world around us because of our faith.

I'm not sure what "Mr. McKeown"'s letter actually said but if that is what he implied, I don't think he is far off.

Mr. McKeown does not understand that the Bible and science can, in fact, co-exist, so long as science does not contradict what the Bible says -- and often it doesn't.

True enough. The bible and science can co-exist. Simply having science contradict what the bible says does not make the bible no longer exist. But, seriously, that's not what Alicia is saying and I'll address what she means to say (heck, if she can interpret the bible, I can interpret her, as the bible's, human-made musings). Science does contradict the bible (often) - people who think the bible is the inerrant word of god and believe that it holds "truths" have failed to read their own book.

Not only does science contradict much of what the bible states as facts but the bible, itself, is full of contradictions.

Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is completely contrary to the Biblical description of creation. Therefore they can never co-exist. So when churches embrace the theory of evolution, they are compromising the word of God and therefore are saying that the Bible is inaccurate.

I couldn't agree more. The bible is inaccurate. Evolution is a fact. Darwin's theory is the "greatest game in town" in explaining how evolution occurs. And I will agree, too, that Darwin's theory is completely contrary to the biblical descriptions of creation. (Alicia, read the bible, there are two stories of creation and they are contradictory!)

The Bible says "God made man," not "God made monkey which then subsequently turned into a man through the development of highly unlikely and impossible circumstances." We need to understand the theory of evolution is not only that man evolved from apes but that we, and every other living thing, evolved from every other living thing.

This must truly be a parody. Evolution doesn't say "god made monkey". Evolution says that the need for a "god" is not necessary. Humans did not evolve from monkeys, we evolved from common ancestors. We did not evolve from every other living thing, we share common ancestry.

According to Darwin, all living things have a common origin, so essentially saying that we evolved from mushrooms at some point would also be a correct statement to make. Darwin himself admitted that "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down."

The first line started well (and contradicted the paragraph that preceded it) and then went awry. It may be demonstrated that humans evolved with one of our ancestors being a "mushroom" but to simply state that you could pick any living thing and say that we evolved from that is not accurate.

As for Darwin explaining what would negate his theory, that's the strength of science - the understanding that we do not, yet, have all the answers and it is possible, with new evidence, that the theory may need to be replaced/updated. It's not a dogmatic belief in some bronze-aged myths or human-made book. Darwin's theory, however, has been subjected to serious scientific study and the new evidence is proving, more and more, Darwin to be one of the greatest thinkers in all of history.

Darwin, in his day, was not able to examine life at the single cell level or cell structures themselves. If he were alive today, he would have to admit that the building blocks of life are far too complex for his theory to be true.

Wrong. (For those who don't know the argument, Behe is who Alicia would refer to on this one.) Alicia has probably heard about (she hasn't read her bible so I suggest she hasn't read other books very thoroughly either) Darwin's Black Box (Irreducible Complexity) where Behe claims that the bacterial flagellum is irreducibly complex - meaning that if any part was removed, it would not function. His argument, however, is one from personal incredulity (or he is a blatant liar). Numerous scientists have shown how this structure could have (and likely had) evolved.
Darwin, if he were alive today, would probably be amazed at how right he was.

As a Christian who believes the Bible literally, without modernization or with an eraser for the parts I don't like, I am very much able to have a vast appreciation for the world around me.

Really? You have a vast appreciation for woman being made out of a man's rib on an earth that is the center of the universe with two light emitting objects that revolve around it? (Science proves that woman didn't come from a man's rib, the earth is not the center of the universe, the sun does not revolve around the earth and the moon does not emit light.) And those absurd claims (along with a talking snake) are given in the first two chapters of the book you claim contains the inerrant word of god.

Science has played a major role in much of that appreciation because it has explained the tremendous purpose and vast differences in all the living creatures. And I believe my faith gives me the right basis to understand this universe and correctly interpret the facts around me. I simply see things from a different point of view. I see God's incredible power and His meticulous hand in all creation; evolutionists see it as something that just came to be out of the sludge of the earth.

I can clearly picture Alicia sitting in her pew listening to her pastor/priest telling her that these are the things that science claims. What did "god" create the earth out of? Doesn't the bible say that man was made out of dust? What/who created "god"? You really shouldn’t just believe everything you hear.

Science always has to change its theories based on new data discovered.

Science is about what is true - the more we learn, the more accurately we can explain things. Theories change, yes. Unlike the bible, science does not holdfast to things that we know are not true.

The Darwin theory has probably disproved itself more times in the last 200 years than proving it.

I shouldn't pick apart the obvious mistake(?) here because Alicia isn't all that keen on numbers, probability or statistics (as you've seen and will see more of) but Darwin's theory is not 200 years old. If Darwin were alive, he'd be celebrating his 200th birthday on February 12, 2009.

Last I checked, his mother didn't deliver him along with a copy of On the Origin of Species but, really, would that we less believable than a virgin birth? On The Origin of Species was released in 1859 – 150 years ago.

Theories don't disprove themselves and the theory of evolution by means of natural selection has only been strengthened with new discoveries. Darwin was, substantially, right.

This is why it continues to remain a theory and not fact.

Stop playing with words (save that for your bible interpretations and other nonsense). Evolution, like gravity, is a theory and a FACT. Theories don't become facts - they explain them. The scientific use of the word "theory" is not the same as the common use.

A lot of these changes have come to further support creationism ("Intelligent Design" is what scientists call it).

Creationism and Intelligent Design are two different things (when argued in court) and the VAST majority of scientists dispute Intelligent Design (including believers like Kenneth Miller).

However, there has been one rock that has never moved -- the Bible. It has always remained the same, it has never changed.

Huh? There are MANY versions of the bible (and they are different).

We all have faith, but in what, is the important question. In the God of the Universe or humans who think they were once mushrooms?

Famous, famous, famous. This is not an either/or proposition. Simply not believing in "the god of the universe" does not mean that a person thinks they were once a mushroom. That's absurd. Supporters of Intelligent Design suggest that if the theory of evolution is proven wrong, that Intelligent Design must be right (which is not true, a theory rests on its own ability to explain the facts/evidence and ID has not put forth a testable theory - not 1.)

Alicia Arseneault Sarnia

1 comment:

C Woods said...

I just watched the PBS NOVA rebroadcast about the Dover PA court case concerning introducing "Intelligent Design" into the classroom. It was proven that the Intelligent Design-nics just repackaged Creationism. We all knew that, but they repeatedly denied it. However, documents were found that showed they just substituted one term for another --revealed by poor editing. In his ruling, Judge Jones (a Bush appointee, no less) stated, “It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy.” It should also be noted that the people supporting the anti-Intelligent Design cause were frequently threatened with death, as was the judge. Oh, yes, being Christian makes people honest, kind and compassionate. I will be posting a story about this on my new series "Christians Behaving Badly" on 2/13/09.