Dear YEC Friend – #1
Thank you for letting me know about Jonathan Sarfati‘s book, The Greatest Hoax on Earth? Refuting Dawkins on Evolution, that Creation Ministries International is touting as ‘one of the most important Christian books in a generation’.
One of the quotes in CMI’s announcement of this book stood out to me:
Many people today believe that ‘science’ has all the answers, and more problematically, they equate evolution theory with the same sort of science that provides us the benefits of modern technology. So they wrongly believe that creation theory is ‘anti-science’.
I have to ask why ‘science’ is put in quotation marks. Is it meant to be ironic? Is the author employing an unusual definition? In any case, science does not claim to have all the answers, so what ‘many people’ believe is irrelevant.
I wouldn’t call Creation Theory anti-science. It’s definitely ‘science’. And yes, those quotation marks are meant to be there.
So, Dr Sarfati has spent months writing this book as a response to Richard Dawkins’ book. I find his rebuttal book’s title to be mocking and sarcastic. This is unbecoming behavior of a Christian, especially towards an unbeliever.
Richard Dawkins is an atheistic evolutionist. Furthermore, he is a militant anti-creationist atheistic evolutionist. However, not all evolutionists are atheists. The two are not synonymous. It is disappointing to note that many creationists (especially from the Young-Earth Creationist ‘camp’) perpetuate this myth. Evolution is not atheistic in nature. Evolution neither requires one to believe in God nor requires one not to believe in God. It seeks to explain things observed in nature; it is a science. What one does with the findings is entirely up to the individual person.
Dr Sarfati holds a PhD in chemistry. Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist. Dawkins latest book is about biological evolution (which is his area of specialty). Right there we have a problem. The two scientists are not from the same field of science. Sarfati himself has criticised some of his opponents for their lack of appropriate credentials, noting of one researcher, that he was an anthropologist, and therefore “anything he says about rediometric dating should be taken with a large grain of salt.” I hope Dr Sarfati will not object if others also take his latest work with a large grain of salt.
At a cursory glance, I do not really have a problem with Dawkins’ latest book, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. How the world and life have unfolded to all the complexities we see today IS the greatest show on earth.
I do think, however, that Dawkins is being somewhat confusing with his quote (from Wikipedia):
This book is my personal summary of the evidence that the ‘theory’ of evolution is actually a fact – as incontrovertible a fact as any in science.
—Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth, p. vii
Maybe Dr Dawkins was using the word ‘theory’ in the common, everyday sense to mean ‘guess or conjecture’ and not the more precise scientific sense to mean ‘principles and methods’, eg, The Theory of Gravity. Perhaps he’s trying to persuade his audience that evolution is not a ‘proposed explanation’, but rather ‘confirmed’. In any case, evolution is both a theory AND a fact.
My biggest ‘beef’ with the YEC camp is that they are so dogmatic about their views and make belief in a Young Earth (almost) a salvation issue. They imply that one cannot be a Christian and accept evolution, or that if a Christian accepts evolution, then he/she is either misinformed, brainwashed or compromising on their faith. They perpetuate fear of mainstream science among their adherents. I have met homeschooling mums who have said that they are afraid (yes, this is the word they used) to teach science, or they were hesitant to teach about dinosaurs, or biology or whatever. Where does this fear come from?
Some YEC organisations try to provide ‘science’ books, but these books do little more than to misrepresent evolutionary ideas/theories, argue against them (usually by mocking or belittling) and then claim that creation must be the only logical conclusion. These are strawmen arguments. I have several ‘science’ books written from a YEC point of view and have read through with them with my children. I taught them these ideas. These YEC organisations equip young people with a false sense of being ready to face the ‘enemy’ (ie evolution) with answers.
I also have problems with YEC’s overall attitude and the ramifications of those attitudes, but that will have to be a topic for another day.
I want to be clear. I have no problem with YEC saying, “This is what we believe science is telling us about (fill in the blank) and here is why (backed up with scientific evidence).” Anyone who says that they believe in a YE because of scientific evidence, or even if they lean towards that way because they just don’t know enough to form an opinion has my utmost respect. Such people show that they are humble and have a teachable spirit. I DO have a huge problem when YEC make belief in a young earth a salvation issue. They may not say this outright, but they heavily imply it with questions like, “If you can’t trust the Bible in one part, then you can’t trust any of it.” (This is a part-to-whole logical fallacy)
The answer to that is here.
Blessings to you and I hope you will research the issue with me.
Posted on Thursday, March 3rd, 2011, in Creation Ministries International, Creation Scientists, Creation vs Evolution, Evolution, Letters to my Young Earth Creationist Friend, Misconceptions, Old Earth Creationism, Theistic Evolution, Young Earth Creationism, Young-Earth Creation Organizations and tagged Jonathan Sarfati, Richard Dawkins. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.