Saturday, August 27, 2011

Do You "Believe" in Evolution?

This seems to be the question du jour from elite media pundits and reporters eager to discredit GOP candidates just by the asking of it.

Well, Ann Coulter, for one, doesn't believe in it and will say as much, out loud and unapologetically.  (Whatever else you think of her, you have to admit, this woman is fearless.)  But before, in this week's column, she gives you a few reasons for scepticism, she first suggests turning the table on the press and their favorites, similarly liberal Democrats:
Evolution is the only subject that is discussed exclusively as a "Do you believe?" question with yes-or-no answers. How about conservative journalists start putting mikes in front of liberal candidates and demanding, "Do you believe in the Bible -- yes or no?" "Is an unborn baby human -- yes or no?" and "Do you believe teenagers should have sex -- yes or no?"
I love it.

Anyway, the subject of evolution animates mightily many who come from my little cross-section of American culture known as evangelical Christianity.  While I'm a card-carrying member, debating the question over whether and how we are descended from apes (why not "ascended"?) has never held my attention in the same way it does for so many others of my ilk.  Nevertheless, Coulter's column made me feel as though I really ought to lay at least some of my cards on the table.  (I say "some" because the post would be too long if I tried to lay all of them out.  I know, I know, "It's too long already Sage."  Yea, yea, yea.)

I, too, do not "believe" in evolution.  At best, I'm sceptical, extremely so, and always have been.  In the first instance because of that very word "believe".  Coulter calls Darwinian evolution the "liberals' creation myth", a "mystery religion from the Victorian age."  I have to agree because to me it's always had that feel of religion about it and not science.  I recall watching many years ago an episode of the PBS series Cosmos hosted by the late Carl Sagan. (Remember it?)  Anyway, while I only watched the one piece, I remember commenting at the time that this guy was no scientist, he was a preacher.  Everything about that show made me feel as though I was sitting in church listening to a sermon.

Which leads to another reason for my scepticism.  Experience has taught me that far too many of the champions of the theory of Darwinian evolution seem impervious, and increasingly so, to the acceptance of counter-factual evidence.  In that respect, they're much like "climate change" enthusiasts.  It's getting colder--climate change.  It's getting hotter--climate change.  It's staying the same...well, you take my point.  Similarly, Darwinian evolutionists will argue that the principle of the survival of the fittest explains, for example, not only selfishness, but altruism as well.  A theory that explains everything, actually explains nothing.  When I encounter this in argument, over any subject, I always stop and ask my antagonists what kind of evidence they would be willing to accept in order to dis-prove their contentions.  With evolutionists, one is usually met with silence.  Evolution just is, you see.  Um, no, I don't see.  Help me out, please?

Another reason: The process of natural selection is really no insight at all.  That a black bug has an advantage in surviving over a white bug because a hungry bird in a dark forest can see the white bug more easily is really no different than a black horse's advantage over a white one if the breeder prefers a darker colored animal.  One mechanism is natural, the other artificial, but things become extinct just the same.  When's the last time you saw anyone wearing bell-bottom pants?

Yet another reason:  Darwinian evolution looks to me very much like a return to a belief in spontaneous generation, that discredited medieval superstition explained to me by the same tenth-grade biology teacher who first introduced me, formally, to Darwinian evolution.  Darwinists insist that if you were to mix up a brew of carbon and hydrogen and oxygen and then step back and stare at it long enough, then not only a fly, but a full-grown man will eventually rise up out of that puddle.  Oh, they'll gussy it up a bit with talk of  random mutations and punctuated equilibriums and such, but at the end of the day, or, rather, at the end of untold billions of years, homo-sapien himself will evolve, emerge, stand erect, hunt and gather, construct huts then cathedrals, debate philosophy, compose sonatas, and finally argue, with a straight face, that he's essentially no different than any other living thing despite the fact that no other living thing can do anything even remotely approaching what he does as a matter of course.

(By the way, "billions and billions of years" is one the evolutionist's trump cards.  I find it much too often a convenient dodge.  It's hard to argue against the "mists of time" as an explanatory factor.  "How long does it take for something, for anything, to evolve?", you ask.  "Why, billions and billions of years", they respond.  It's kind of like the US debt, huge numbers with which, conveniently, no one can possibly be intimately familiar and, therefore, in a position to judge.)

Which leads to yet another reason, which is actually a moral objection as well:  Insofar as evolutionists maintain that all living things descend (that word again) from a common ancestor, and are therefore essentially the same, I think they are being willfully ignorant.  Imagine some Martian, some objective Martian scientist, that is, observing the planet earth.  While I can agree that he might conclude that among the many living things that inhabit the planet, they share many, very many, in fact, characteristics that distinguish them from the inanimate rocks.  But beyond those elementary distinctions, the differences get larger, not smaller.  That which distinguishes, for example, flora from fauna is huge.  The distinctives among fauna are greater still, the fish from the fowl from the amphibians from the mammals.  But among the mammals one species stands out, stands out so much that it simply must be of a different order altogether.  That species is of course man.  I cannot believe that any scientist could fail to notice the difference, any scientist, that is, who is not already committed to some other paradigm, a paradigm that begins with a conclusion, a conclusion that the differences are not really remarkable at all and, as a result, must be explained away.

There are more reasons, many more in fact, but this is a blog after all.

Bottom line:  Don't let the fact that because much of what passes for the contemporary intelligentsia has swallowed Darwinian evolution hook, line, and sinker make you feel stupid for refusing the bait yourself.  You're not only not alone, you're actually in pretty good company, pretty smart company as well.

Notice that I never once invoked God, Jesus, the Bible, the Church, the Virgin Mary, or any of that Christian stuff that drives liberals and secularists nuts.  Hmm, maybe I should have?



  1. Dear Sage,

    I think I've figured out how to comment. Anyway, YIKES!!!! You usually reserve this much venom for liberals; or it seems to me on the caustic side anyway. No need to throw all the scientists in the primordial slime :)

  2. I didn't think I was Lavender. My intention was to defend sceptics like me who are typically dismissed as ignorant flat-earthers, snake handlers, or worse.

    But point taken. So, to all my evolution "believing" friends, if I've offended you, please accept my sincere apologies. And, as long as I have your attention, are you interested in any shorefront property in Kansas?

  3. Dear Sage,

    No shorefront for me in Kansas thanks! Your points are all well made. It is true that many staunch evolutionists grossly overstate their positions with the intention of demeaning those with serious, legitimate questions/doubts. Adding insult to injury, they pontificate endlessly on what mysteries they believe science can or has already solved, and that with great hubris. Sadly, this is often because they believe in nothing else; it is their ONLY faith. That said, I think it helpful to be aware of how much thought, and angst, this issue brings to the professional and personal lives God-fearing scientists. Most are passionate about God and their discipline. Unfortunately, a simple "I have no idea how it happend!," or "God did it honey that's all you need to know!," simply won't suffice in their day to day existence. This is particularly true in some professions.

    That the Creation was designed and intended to change with time and adapt to a changing planet it seems there can be little doubt. Unlocking some of those mysteries, albeit with the flawed tools we have, is an inspiring endeavor even when it means we invoke natural processes because the Great Mystery is outside our purview.

    Yours in green and purple!

  4. Beautiful picture Lavender!

    For the record, I'm sensitive to the very difficult position many scientists find themselves in. I wish we could de-politicize this issue more than a bit, but when reporters stick a mike in the face of a candidate and demand ye/no answers to questions that won't allow it, I get miffed. Their clear purpose is to discredit the candidate thereby, so swinging back, hard!, is sometimes necessary. Sad, ain't it?

    Anyway, welcome back to the blog, I treasure your responses and have missed them.