A Review of “Evolution vs. God” from Reasons to Believe

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August 9, 2013 Tags: Christian Unity, Science & Worldviews

Today's entry was written by the BioLogos Editorial Team. You can read more about what we believe here.

A Review of “Evolution vs. God” from Reasons to Believe

Our mission here at BioLogos is to advance the conversation on science and faith through loving, compassionate discourse about the controversial issues that tend to divide Christians.   One such issue is evolution; at BioLogos we hold the position of evolutionary creation, that God acted to create all life using the process of biological evolution.  Other Christian organizations disagree; they question the evidence for evolution or reject it completely, preferring views where God acts directly and miraculously to create life.    

Reasons to Believe is one group with whom BioLogos has had much dialogue over the past few years.  We have the highest respect for the Christian faith, integrity, and character of RTB leaders such as Hugh Ross, Fuz Rana, and Jeff Zweerink.  While BioLogos disagrees with RTB about evolution, our two organizations have found common ground in more fundamental beliefs and values.  We agree that the God of the Bible is the creator of this vast and beautiful universe, and we agree that both the Bible and the natural world are trustworthy revelations from God. We also share a commitment to living out Christian unity, humility, and loving respect for others as taught in the Bible.

Sadly, other Christians behave differently.  Ray Comfort has released a new video titled Evolution vs. God.   While Ray Comfort and RTB share concerns about evolution, their tone and tactics are entirely different.   Today we link to a thoughtful review of Evolution vs. God by RTB’s Jeff Zweerink. As Zweerink writes, “A number of Christians are promoting evangelist Ray Comfort’s new DVD, Evolution vs. God. Although the video contains some valid content, its questionable treatment of science and scientists—with an attack mindset and a goal to make scientists look stupid—causes me to advise extreme caution.”

Zweerink goes on to critique the hostile approach Comfort uses in his interaction with the scientists he interviews—most of whom are grad students, not vetted academicians—and that Comfort’s method, “creates a distorted impression of evolution and evolutionists, especially due to the inclusion of the students’ less articulate answers. Thus, the film seems to lead to the conclusion that those who believe in evolution:

  • cannot articulate the theory in any understandable fashion;
  • do so based on little to no evidence; 
  • accept evolution only so they can follow their animal instincts without accountability;
  • actively deceive others into believing evolution; and
  • do science simply by dreaming things up.”

This, Zweerink says, is not at all the experience he has had when dialoging with Christians in science who accept evolution, and names multiple BioLogos leaders as examples of faithful scientists who do not fit this mold.

The bottom line, Zweerink writes, is no less than this: “In Matthew 7:12, Jesus commands His followers, `[T]reat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.’ It’s the classic Golden Rule. Atheists could easily produce a similar video making Christians look stupid. If, as a Christian, you would find such a video objectionable, then please do not promote Evolution vs. God.”   We couldn’t agree more.

We encourage you to read the full article here.

 



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Roger A. Sawtelle - #82401

August 9th 2013

As I have said many times there is too much dualism on all sides.

The bast way to attack the problem is to address the worldview which is at the base of the problem, western dualism, which also includes monism as its obverse.


Mark Dinsmore - #82430

August 12th 2013

Having viewed Ray Comfort’s DVD multiple times, I don’t detect any kind of “hostile” attitude as suggested by BioLogos and Zweerink. Mr. Comfort was completely professional and loving in his questioning of scientists and students.

In the video, Ray simply asked those being interviewed to provide a single example of a documented new “kind” of creature as a result of Evolution. This line of questioning is far from “cunning” and “contrived” as Zweerink suggests. It’s simple; it’s brilliant; it’s conclusive: No scientist or student being interviewed could give a single example of a change in biologic Kind.

As a result, I can see why this would make all evolutionists—Christian or non-Christian—uncomfortable. But Ray’s goal was not to make Evolutionists “look stupid” as Zweerink assumes; but rather to bring them to a knowledge of the truth. 

As a young Christian desiring to be “scientific” I once affirmed a belief in Evolution, until I discovered how true science and Scripture are actually fully compatible—not through compromise, but through a literal interpretation of Genesis and a historic, scientific examination and application of observable evidence.

As Ray’s video illustrates, there is not one single “link” which indicates a change in biological kind. My faith in God and His Word is so much stronger as a result of reality on which Ray’s love for others is based. I encourage every believer, skeptic, and atheist to view “Evolution vs. God.” 

Can Zweerink disprove it?

(Not by attacking Ray’s presentation as “hostile” and “cunning” but by simply answering the only question which no one answered: “Show me an example—just one—of a change in kind.”) This is indeed a crucial, foundational question (but hardly a hostile one) which should be asked by all who profess to have faith in Evolution as part of their belief system.


Chris Crawford - #82443

August 13th 2013

Do you feel the same when Richard Dawkins uses similar techniques to make Christians look silly?


mikitta - #82454

August 15th 2013

The thing is, it’s no so simple as that.  Species don’t change overnight, and they surely do not change automagically even in one human generation.  If you look at the world of bacteria, it is easier to see what is going on.

Take E-coli.  Everyone has it.  It’s in your guts.  The interesting thing about these bugs is they have some very predicatable ways their genomes change.  You can drive these changes with chemicals, radiation, tempurature variations and the like.

If you take a single E-coli and culture it up and keep that culture growing, given enough time (say 20 years) you might well witness a major change that makes the bacteria not so much E-Coli any more.  It changes into a bacteria that does something that E-coli as a species can NOT do.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14094-bacteria-make-major-evolutionary-shift-in-the-lab.html

In the case of the above long term experiment, a single bacterium might start metabolizing citrate.  Something no other E-coli can do.

Now, you might say “it’s still bacteria” but it is a false premise to say that.  In the microbial world, bacterial species are as different from each other as you and I are to a chimpanzee.
In fact, some bacterial species are more divergent, having less in common genetically with each other than you and I do with chimps.

The observation that one batch in the 12 original stock cultures changed in such a profound manner is significant.  THAT IS EVOLUTION - A random process that sometimes results in significant changes in a population over the course of MANY generations that create a new organism.  There AREN’T any other E-coli that eat citrate.  These are the first.

Now, if those researchers continue the experiment, using the Citrate+ bugs for another 20 years ... what other metabolic pathways will change?  How many generations till the bug can no longer reasonably be considered E-coli?  Maybe not all that many.

The point is, we CAN direct you to see evolution happening and one “kind” transitioning to another in the microbial world.  The really NEAT thing is that if there IS a God (and I know there is), He would have created the Universe so it WOULD produce life, and so it would go through these changes to produce diversity. That is exactly what we observe in nature.


mikitta - #82464

August 16th 2013

just edit to add - there aren’t any other E-coli that we know of that have develped naturally with the ability to metabolize citrate in an aerobic environment.


hanan-d - #82547

September 1st 2013

Thank you for that link Mikitta,

Since you believe in a God, can you possibly explain to me some things that are said from that link:

And because the species in question is a bacterium, scientists have been able to replay history to show how this evolutionary novelty grew from the accumulation of unpredictable, chance events.

...Instead, a chance event can sometimes open evolutionary doors for one population that remain forever closed to other populations with different histories.

Lenski’s experiment is also yet another poke in the eye for anti-evolutionists, notes Jerry Coyne, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago. “The thing I like most is it says you can get these complex traits evolving by a combination of unlikely events,” he says.

 

The over arching theme is, evolution is a chance process. After all, did God intend for this citrate+ to happen? If not, then can one say humans were any sort of goal if the same chance mechanism occured in the bacteria, well, it also happened leading up to humans.


mikitta - #82614

September 15th 2013

I strongly believe that God created the rules so that diversity would happen.  He isn’t surprised by anything that comes up,  but an infinite number of variations are possible.

As for the E-Coli - I find it very interesting that we have NEVER seen in “in the wild” as it were.  If you consider how many generations of gut flora you go through in a lifetime and you never pop up with Aerobic Cit + bug?  That is intersting.  The point of the above described experiement is that we HAVE seen speciation. 

As for man kind being the goal - I don’t know the entire mind of God, but I don’t think we are here entirely randomly.  The right nudge in the right direction at the right time - like a researcher subjecting a colony of microbes to some UV radiation or a different substrate, or what have you - a nudge here, a nudge there and you get the critter to do what you want.

And even if God let creation run just to see what arose from the primordial soup - it’s HIS creation.  We humans think our place in it is an awful lot bigger than it is.  Random development through eons does not erase God from the picture.  I think, rather, it brings Him far more into perspective - that He was waiting for a creature like us to arise, becuase His rules for biology guarantee that a creature like us would come along at some point.

I seriously do not see any dichotomy between a loving God and an ancient creation, nor do I see any dichotomy between a Creator God and evolution as a random process.


Ronald Williams - #82556

September 4th 2013

Visit: Jesus Christ Visitation in person True Testimony Story on the world wide web. 

Jesus Christ Visitation: Nature and Bible Poems. Amen


Merv - #82476

August 16th 2013

Mark, the challenge you refer to (demonstration of a change in biological kind) is one that will never be met within the context of a Linnaean system.  This is a demonstration of our organizational procedures more than a demonstration of biological reality.  If I decide in advance that all living organisms are classified into immutable orders, families, genera, and species, then I will be taking care that any organism you present to me will either ...

A.  be a discovery of a new species if it cannot be shown to fit a prior known species

or

B.  fall into the category of an existing species because it is close enough in characteristics to that one.

Under this organizational scheme, any transitional evidence or “missing links” have already been ruled out.  No matter what anybody presents, the reply will always be given that will either match A or B above (e.g.  the fossil was really fully human, or really fully ape, or the archeopteryx is really completely a bird ... and so forth).  Unfortunately all this really reveals to us is the organizational scheme favored by the proponent.

To be a bit silly about it (and yet I think the comparison is real)—it would be as if we saw a photograph of a child, and then a photograph of an older child that was alleged to be the same person because of visible birth marks or other clues (genetic evidence).  But detractors doubting that evidence insist that no intermediate photos can be produced to show this alleged big change. Then when a photo is produced, they respond that it is yet a third person; or they may decide it is the same person as one of the two original photos, but not both.  And you can see how this plays out.  Eventually one realizes the original objection isn’t carrying water any more.


mikitta - #82483

August 17th 2013

That is a great way to think of it.  I hadn’t considered that argument before.  Thanks


Merv - #82486

August 18th 2013

You’re welcome!   That answer to the ‘missing link’ argument isn’t original with me, of course.  But I also thought it was helpful in my own turn when I read of it.

The newer scheme in contrast with the traditional Linnaean approach would be ‘cladistics’ which seeks to organize according to linneage. 

The reply may be given that this argument cuts both ways, and that they [evolutionists] too will just make evidence fit their favored scheme.   And it is true that the approach (either way) greatly affects one’s assessment of all evidence.  But it is also true that the great (and still growing) body of evidence is more easily assimilated into one scheme over the other.  And much of it is quite independent of this particular choice.


Ludwig Aspectweder - #82499

August 22nd 2013

When you write: “with an attack mindset and a goal to make scientists look stupid” is certainly not accurate. God tells us :

“The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that does good.

God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.

Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that does good, no, not one.”

They are already fools…they don´t need any help. You need to value the word of God. Some of the post explaining Evolution are just discredited by Evolutionist…terrible information on your site, quite out of date.


Roger A. Sawtelle - #82504

August 23rd 2013

Ludwig,

Thank you for your comment.

It seems to me that you assume that all people who think that the the universe has evolved are non-believers.  That is not true.

The Bible has two testaments, the Old and the New.  The New Testament Creation story is found in John 1. 

In the Beginning was the WORD (LOGOS), and the WORD was with God and the WORD was God.  He was in the Beginning with God.  All things came into being through Him.  

The question is not whether God created the world, but how God created it through God’s rational WORD.  Christians are called not only proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ, but to explain how God works to create His world and reconcile it unto Himself. 

 


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