Once again, the creationists are attempting to destroy people’s faith in God. There’s a “movie” (available on YouTube) titled Evolution Vs. God. I think the movie attempts to prove that evolution is a “plot” against God. In one of their promotional icons, it says “Shaking the foundations of faith.” They intended that to mean that evolution is shaking the foundations of faith, but maybe even they realize their movie will shake (and destroy) the foundations of faith of a lot of Christians. In an advertising campaign, it’s the alternate interpretations that you need to watch out for, especially if those alternate interpretations are accurate.
I say “I think” because I couldn’t make it past the first five minutes of the video. My tolerance for wrongheadedness has never been great, and today’s coffee didn’t help as much as I hoped. Please note: I’m deliberately not linking to the video so as to not give them any “hits.” (1)
Now, I’ll admit I have some biases on this topic, and it’s very much why I think this video will do terrible harm. My sophomore year in college, where I was a Chemistry and Biology double major, I was taking Dr. Moog‘s Vertebrate Structure and Development class. This class didn’t teach you evolutionary theory so much as let the facts pile up until evolutionary theory was the only possible rational choice to make sense of reality. At the same time, my friends in the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) group I attended were saying that to be a Christian, you have to be a creationist. (2)
Prior to this, I’d happily been an evolutionary Christian. I learned about evolution from the Time-Life Science series and breeding tropical fish in the 3rd grade. I learned about Christianity from my Mom’s church (that used a Bohr atom Celtic Cross as a logo on it’s newsletter) and my Dad-the-engineer’s Catholic church. I figured Genesis was what happened when God tried to explain how He created the universe to a sheep herder from the Bronze age.
Most of my IVCF friends were adamant: you could be a Christian or you could be an Evolutionist. They’d present me with poorly written tracts that would defend creationism and attack evolution by misrepresent the facts or even outright lie.
Jesus said He was “…the way, the truth and the life.” (3) I couldn’t force myself to lie to claim I believed in the Truth. They told me acceptance of evolution meant denying Jesus. Their goal was to strengthen my faith, but they were rapidly destroying it.
I would have become an agnostic had I not realized something: my friends were wrong. Acceptance of evolution did not mean denying God; it meant understanding how God created life on Earth. They’d complain “But you can’t believe God created life by evolution if evolution works by random chance!” I actually asked someone what it would be like to play an omniscient God at poker, but they didn’t follow the implications.
The thing is, I could have lost my faith because of creationism. Being lied to, seeing quotes pulled out of context, old information presented as current understanding, data compared improperly and Gish gallops (4) made me question if anything was correct about Christianity. I’m not the only one; I know a number of atheists and agnostics who lost their faith because they were sick of being lied to.
I doubt videos like Evolution vs. God brings many to faith. If you’re not already a “true believer” in creationism, the first five minutes will appear slimy with obvious tricks and really bad production values (5) It’s almost like the producers of Evolution vs. God were intent on destroying people’s faith.
The general public looks at creationists as “Westboro Baptist Lite.” If it simply meant that the creationists would fade away, I’d just sit back and shake my head as they promote their nonsense. But creationists are looking for publicity, and they get it. The general public is beginning to think all Christians are creationists. When they see the lies and misrepresentations, they think that’s what all Christians are like. Getting people to hate you doesn’t strike me as an effective tool for spreading your message.
- I’m also skipping over a lot of things in this article. Debunking the standard claims by creationists has been done elsewhere, and it wouldn’t be fun for me. I have what I believe are good reasons, probabilities and a couple of “Personal Data Points” for my faith, but I’m not discussing it on an Internet where the mantra has become “Don’t read the comments.” I believe what I believe. If you think I’m wrong, that’s nice. Einstein’s EPR experiment was supposed to disprove Quantum Mechanics. Fred Hoyle called it the “Big Bang” as a method of ridicule. Halton Arp is still looking for discordant redshifts. Linus Pauling became obsessed with Vitamin C. If great scientists can get weird on one topic, then a lower tier scientist like myself should consider himself lucky to be weird on only one topic. Pretty much everything else I think about science is mainstream. I play with a lot of ideas, but I know the difference between speculation and what we actually know. [↩]
- As far as I know, Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship was not promoting creationism. It was just some of my friends in our local chapter. [↩]
- John 14:6 [↩]
- The late Duane Gish of the Institute for Creation Research was famous for the debate trick of rapidly listing objections. When his opponent couldn’t counter all of them in the allotted time, Gish would point out all the unanswered ones and claim victory. [↩]
- OK, I’d be happy to produce a video that good, but I’m an utter hack who has trouble using Adobe Premier Elements. For something that’s being promoted nationally, the thing is terrible. [↩]