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Humanism vs. Christianity
~
The Polarization of America

by Patrick Vosse

Chapter 10

Of Friends and Foes


Humanism vs. Christianity
~
The Polarization of America

by Patrick Vosse


Part Two
Know the Foe


Chapter 10 - Of Friends and Foes


There are two points I would like to make in this chapter: 1) evolutionary scientists are not the enemies of Christians and, 2) Christians are not the enemies of evolution scientists. It may come as a surprise to these "opponents", but both are on the same side. The evolutionary scientist and the Christian have a common foe, Humanism, and the interests of the true scientist and the Christian need not overlap nor be in conflict. There is no need for the polarization between the scientific community and the Evangelical Christians.

A Word to the Evolutionary Scientist

The empirical scientist should consider several issues when the subject of evolution versus creation arises. The first is that creation, as a part of the Christian religion, is a revealed truth that is accepted by faith. It is not falsifiable; therefore, it is not a subject for the scientific method and empirical proof. As such, it is not a subject for consideration by the evolutionary scientist. The Creationism, i.e., creation activism, as discussed in Part 1 is poor theology and even worse science. It suffers from the same empirical arguments that plague Darwinism. It is not the role of the scientist to consider a point of faith; that is the realm of philosophers. The Evolutionist who comments on creation cannot make those comments as a scientist– only as a philosopher or, if he is not a philosopher, he is only offering his personal opinion. However, in either case, his observations cannot be considered science.

Second, it is important to make a clear distinction between the empirical evolutionary science and philosophical Evolutionism. Those gaps in the evolution hypothesis that challenge the empiricist are unknowns that still need to be resolved. While the Evolutionist would like to dismiss these in order to prematurely force the hypothesis along the process of the scientific method, the empiricist must deal with them. Perhaps some day these gaps will be filled; but, until then, they do exists and evolution is a hypothesis that will be worked and reworked– it is not a theory and it is not a fact.

Third, the science of evolution has been contaminated by philosophy and this is a dangerous road to travel. As in the case of eugenics, it can lead to pseudoscience. Currently it is being used as a tool to justify a Humanist agenda that is opposed to issues completely out of the realm of science. The process by which evolution is used by Humanists as a tool for advancing other Humanist issues is discussed in Chapter 13. The supporters of evolution want to suppress challenges to the evolution hypothesis in public schools. Is this good science education? It must be granted that creation cannot be taught in schools because of the recent court rulings. However, should that prevent a teacher from discussing the problems with the evolution hypothesis?

Fourth, how much academic freedom exists for the empirical scientist who wants to challenge the evolution hypothesis and point out the gaps? What kind of career path can he expect? And why do these barriers exist in the area of evolution science and not in other areas of science where such challenges are welcomed and even expected?

Fifth, consider the Christian response in context. The Humanists are expressly anti-Christian (see Appendix 3). They are challenging all the Christian traditions that have been part of our heritage for centuries. They have stated that religion, in all forms, should be eliminated from society, a type of spiritual genocide. Their implementation of this has been largely through the ACLU attacking the teaching of creation in the schools. The Humanists have cloaked their face with the mask of evolution and aimed their gun at the heart of Christianity. Most see only the mask, not the one behind it. It is not surprising that Christians associate evolutionary scientists (and, perhaps all scientists by association) with the attacks on their religion. But the attacks do not end with creation. As discussed in Part 3, Humanism is advancing on society in every area, at the expense of the Christian community.

Sixth, does it really matter if evolution is taught in public schools or not? Can a student dissect a frog, learn anatomy, understand the function of organs, and discuss the wonders of biology without a single word about evolution? Of course, they can. In fact, many of the older Evolutionists themselves got their basic understanding of biology without learning about evolution because, at the time, evolution was not taught in many schools. Evolution is, in fact, an eddy in the stream of scientific knowledge. It synthesizes elements from mainstream science: genetics, anthropology, statistics, and geology. Perhaps it is the mainstream subjects that should be taught in the public schools and evolution should be left for those biologists wishing to specialize in the "eddy" when they enter university.

A Word to the Creationist

As in the case of the evolutionary scientist, there are several issues for the Christian to think about when considering evolution. First, science is not the enemy and Christians need not be afraid of science. Scientists devote their life to discovery. What are they discovering? God's glorious creation. Science has opened new doors that show us more of God’s glory every day. Astronomers have shown us the vastness and beauty of the universe. Physicists have shown us the minute particles that are smaller than an atom but have the energy that fires stars. None of these discoveries denies the existence of God, they reveal his existence. It is not science that is the Christian’s foe, nor the scientist; it is the philosophers who use science as their tool. They do so inappropriately. They impose their philosophical beliefs on a science and make it their own. This lends credibility to their position. But it is a stolen credibility.

There are empirical scientists who also hold to the philosophy of Humanism, but when they speak, they speak as philosophers not scientists. Richard Dawkins is a foremost evolutionary biologist–an empirical scientist with excellent credentials. But he is also a Humanist in the strict and complete sense. When he uses evolution to deny or even challenge the existence of a divine influence, it is Richard Dawkins the philosopher/Humanist speaking, not Richard Dawkins the empirical scientist. He would, of course, deny the distinction but, as we have discussed above, issues of divinity are not within the purview of science and it is only the philosopher who speaks on the subject legitimately.

Second, the exact process of how God created the world is not clear and Christians are not united on this matter. As mentioned in Chapter 2, there are many takes on creation within the Christian community. One of the positions on creation, as we discussed, is Theistic Creationism that allows evolution to take place according to the laws of nature that are integral with created matter but provides for the direct intervention of God at certain points. Remember those "giant step" discussed in Chapter 6? They resulted in evolution being a 1 to 1 followed by 84 zeros long shot–virtually impossible by natural means alone. However, what if we allow that God intervened in those giant steps: life, eukaryotic cells, consciousness, and man? Intelligent Design is another position. Even though it suffers from the same difficulties as evolution scientifically, it points out the many possibilities where science and theology can have a basis for conversation and can merge without too much compromise.

Third, the science of genetics brought us closer to a workable hypothesis for evolution. As we learn more about God's creation, it is possible that the odds for evolution will be reduced. It is possible that, some day in the near future, a bright, young scientist will discover that one missing piece to the puzzle. Would that change anything in the theology of Christianity? It does not prove there is no God, so the atheists do not get anything from it (they already act as though the discovery happened). It would not change the Gospel one bit:  The message of man’s sin and restoration through Jesus and our personal relationship with Jesus would not change. In fact, the sermons of the most conservative Evangelicals would not change in any way because how God created the world and all the things in it is irrelevant. Christians believe that he did create everything and that is enough.

Fourth, Christians should not be caught in the same trap that the "Political", "Philosophical", and "Social" churches have (Chapter 4). God is so far above human understanding that he cannot be discovered by reason. That is why the terms "philosophy of religion" or "Christian philosophy" are oxymoronic. They are meaningless because the only way we can know God is through his revelation and through a personal relationship. Attempts to prove the existence of God are futile at best. As Jesus says, "God is spirit". The spiritual existence is not bound by the physical existence and not subject to discovery through the scientific method. If challenged by the Humanist to "prove there is a God", do not go through fruitless mental exercises to attempt to prove there is a God on the terms of human wisdom. God does not need your help. Each of us is called by the Holy Spirit, some respond and some do not. Those who respond do not need proof; and those who do not respond will not be convinced by any attempts to prove God’s existence in empirical terms. They will just search for alternative, physical, and empirical explanations. When challenged to "prove God exists", just respond with, "prove God does not exist, and please use the scientific method."

A Word to the Evolutionist and Humanist

By now, I hope the Reader will understand that I am not anti-evolution per se as far as this discussion is concerned. My difficulty is when someone presents it as something it is not. It is not a scientific theory or fact. It is a hypothesis in development. Evolution (as opposed to Evolutionism) is not a philosophy but a science and, as such, cannot address philosophical questions such as the existence or non-existence of God. In this regard, the Evolutionist might consider several issues in this conflict between Creationist and Evolutionist.

First, would it not be more honorable to be honest about the Evolutionist agenda and acknowledge the mix of science and philosophy that comprises Evolutionism? Richard Dawkins should at least be given credit for doing just that in his The God Delusion. There is no doubt about the philosophical flavor of his thesis. And there is no doubt about his use of evolution to support his philosophy and visa versa. This violates the process of the scientific method by subverting rigorous scientific investigation with popular opinion, and reasoned explanations instead of empirical experimentation. But at least he is honest enough to use "truth in advertising."

Second, why not admit that the evolution hypothesis is a working concept, constantly changing, and not yet fully developed because there are gaps that cannot be explained by it? These gaps in the explanation, such as eukaryotic cells development and animal consciousness, cannot be dismissed as "happening by luck" – that is not scientific. Would it hurt to admit that more work has to be done? A scientist would answer, no. A Humanist with an agenda that needs to use evolution as a tool would answer, yes.

Third, why not open the subject of evolution to close examination and challenges by peers. If they are wrong, that can be worked out in the journals. If they are right, this can only help to strengthen the scientific process and point research to a more productive direction. The fact that those scientists who find difficulties with the evolution hypothesis are silenced has the definite aroma of rotting fish about it. And it causes the scientist to adapt his work to the "accepted position," a position that will not jeopardize his career. Stefan Bengtson gives us an example:

Paleontologists are traditionally famous (or infamous) for reconstructing whole animals from the debris of death. Mostly they cheat. ...If any event in life's history resembles man's creation myths, it is this sudden diversification of marine life when multicellular organisms took over as the dominant actors in ecology and evolution. Baffling (and embarrassing) to Darwin, this event still dazzles us and stands as a major biological revolution on a par with the invention of self-replication and the origin of the eukaryotic cell. The animal phyla emerged out of the Precambrian mists with most of the attributes of their modern descendants.[1]

If they do not cheat, their work is ignored. Consider the following:

Paleontologists have paid an enormous price for Darwin's argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life's history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we almost never see the very process we profess to study.[2]

Is this a case of altering the observations to agree with a faulty hypothesis? I guess truth is in the eye of the beholder. Has the objectivity of the evolutionary scientist been compromised by the philosophical agenda of the Humanists?

Let us consider one more example of erroneous (to be kind) observations. In the 1890’s Ernst Haekel produced drawings of the human embryo in various stages of development. Haeckel proposed what is called the "recapitulation theory." He claimed that each successive stage in the development of an individual represents one of the adult forms that appeared in its evolutionary history. His drawings overemphasized the similarities of the stages human embryos with lower orders of organism. It was a fraud and modern embryologists have discounted his theory. However, as late as 1986, the Reader’s Digest Book of Facts contained an article that confirmed the erroneous theory of Haekel. Today it is still lives as an urban legend.

It should be noted that some Evolutionists-Humanists still use embryonic replication as a justification for abortion. Their argument goes something like this:

Since the embryo replicates human evolution, it does not start out as human and embryonically evolves into a human. Therefore, the undeveloped embryo is not yet a human and there is no moral inconsistency in killing it.

The bias and fraud in this argument is obvious when one considers that embryonic evolutionary recapitulation has been rejected by scientists for decades.

Strange Bedfellows?

Is it possible that evolutionary scientists, Christians, and Evolutionists could unite in a common cause? I suppose stranger things have happened, but I cannot think of any. I would like to propose a Plan of Action to end the conflict between Evolutionists and Creationists and bring a bit of rationality into the mix. It will take some compromise, and a bit of tongue biting on everyone’s part–but here goes.

1. Abandon the activism of Creationism.

I said there would be some compromise required, but this is not as bad as it might first appear. The direct battle to have creation in any form taught in public schools has been lost in the liberal courts. Of all the issues regarding a public school curriculum than might be offensive to Christians, Creationism is probably the least important. What about encouraging safe premarital sex, "celebrating" homosexuality, prohibiting prayer groups on campus even if not a part of the official school program, etc. Step back and look at the broad picture, the foe is Humanism and it is only using evolution as a tool and as a distraction. Its complete agenda is detailed in Appendix 3 and is gradually creeping into the public schools – and society in general. If, somehow, Creationists were successful in getting creation into school curricula, would it make any difference? It is not the job of teachers to bring their students to Christ – and correctly so. That is the job of the Christian community.

The place for Creationism is in Sunday schools, not public schools. As mentioned earlier, there are many versions of creation among the Christian community. Which one would you put in the public schools? It is far better to teach about creation in the individual churches with their own interpretation of Genesis.

And this brings us to the real job of the Christian – getting people to the Sunday school to hear the message in the proper environment. If the energy, money and other resources spent on trying to fight the Evolutionists were spent on evangelism, the objectives would be reached without the confrontation that has caused some to be "immunized" against Christianity.

2. Accept that evolution is a hypothesis, as defined by the scientific method, and not a scientific theory or fact.

OK, now it is the authentic evolutionary scientist's turn to compromise. But is this really a compromise? Isn’t this just admitting the truth? And as it says in the Bible, "The truth shall set you free." Such an admission really does not change anything except that if frees the scientist to be honest. Scientists will continue to make their iterations on the evolution hypothesis to get closer to solving the gaps that currently exist. Evolution will continue to be taught in public schools and universities. All this does is bring the study of evolution in line with the scientific method, something that should have occurred all along.

3. Separate the science of evolution from the philosophical agendas that are using evolution as a tool for promotion.

Now it is the Humanist and Evolutionist's turn to compromise and this one may be a bit more difficult to accept. Is it science or pseudo-science if science is mixed with opinion, philosophy, or urban myth then offered as an established scientific principle? How would the Evolutionist’s position on evolution change if all references to the Humanistic agenda were removed? How would the current status of evolution in the scientific community change if all references to atheism were omitted?

It is not proposed here that the Evolutionist change any opinions, only to avoid mixing apples and oranges. Keep the science of evolution pure and separate from philosophical opinions. If a philosophy cannot stand up to scrutiny without warping science to support it, perhaps the philosophy needs to be reevaluated.

4. Teach evolution in schools in an honest way – warts and all.

I hope the Evolutionist understands that the Christian objection to evolution is only partially because of the atheistic spin given to it–the philosophy added. There is also an objection to the fact that evolution is taught contrary to the principle of the scientific method. Here is a proposal that will require compromise on the part of everyone.

  • Teach evolution as a hypothesis and clearly state the "Giant Steps" and the fact that, at this time, natural selection has a very low probability of satisfactorily explaining these gaps.
  • Avoid all speculative reference to how the gaps can be explained. Say nothing about a divine influence and say nothing about a physical world that is self-existing and self-guiding (for which there is no proof). This is philosophy not science – keep it out of the science classroom.
  • Challenge the students to think about evolution in the light of the scientific method and how they might solve the problem. Whether their solution involves a divine influence or not is their choice and should not be prohibited by the school system.

A Place for Everyone and Everyone in Their Place

I am a scientist and an engineer and I am a "born again" Christian. I love science. I love mathematics. I love philosophy. And I love Jesus. All my loves coexist without conflict and without jealousy. It is possible for a Christian to appreciate science. In fact, many scientists are Christian. The Christian who explores the world of science can see the manifestation of God in ways that he would otherwise miss. Science can show us more about creation so that we can appreciate the glory of the Creator all the more. The Christian should respect and accept science and the scientists.

As a scientist and an engineer, I am aware of the discipline necessary in these professions. They are concerned with the nuts and bolts of the physical world and how it works. The spiritual is not part of that venue and not subject to discovery by scientific means. There are "scientists" who attempt to find that part of our conscience where "God" resides or try to explain away biblical miracles by natural phenomena. That is a misuse of science– Flatland equations to explain Spaceland (or Spiritland). However, although the spiritual is not subject to scientific analysis, it does exist. And even if it is not part of one’s professional life, it can be part of one’s personal life.

When I was in university, I had the opportunity to dissect a human cadaver. My laboratory team consisted of three students beside myself. The day we were to begin actual cutting is one I will never forget. As the first incision was made, we all stopped and just looked at the person on the table. What struck all of us was the humanity of that person. He was not just a living organism. Not just some inert biological tissue. Nor was he just an animal with a consciousness. We had all dissected other animals in previous courses but this was different. He was a human being who had a spirit. Throughout the semester that thought never left us. It has never left me to this day. Darwin was wrong in his unsubstantiated opinion that human intelligence is different from animal in quantity not quality. There is something very unique about human intelligence, emotion, and awareness that is not present in any other animal. Some might say that difference is the human spirit.

I took my first degree at a Jesuit university and all students, no matter what their major area of study, had to minor in philosophy and theology. I have loved analytical thinking ever since. However, in spite of the conservative philosophical background I spent much of my youth exploring "Liberalland". Winston Churchill once said, "If a man is not a liberal when he is young, he has no heart. If a man is not a conservative when he is older, he has no head." And so it has been with me. The thing about philosophy is that it is not dealing with absolute truth and so tends to be a bit unstable, a moving target. As Mark Twain once observed,

"When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years."

Any philosophy is based on a few assumptions and assumptions are not absolute. Over time, the assumptions that form the basis of any philosophy may change– and usually do. As a result, there are many philosophies, all well reasoned, and some are diametrically opposed. One man’s truth can be another man’s heresy. Such is the realm of reasoned knowledge. So difficult is the discovery of knowledge by reason, some philosophers have said we can only know what we can experience in the physical world– no truth can be known by reason alone.

Philosophies are not usually comprehensive. A particular philosophy may be correct in one circumstance or application, but invalid in another. As a result, we tend to have more than one philosophy at any given time. As Shakespeare put it, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."[3] It is for these reasons that I oppose the imposition of one’s philosophy on others. In the area of philosophy, one size does not fit all.

As Secular Humanism grows in influence, its proponents are increasingly inclined to impose their philosophy on all society. Liberal courts stretch the interpretation of the Constitution prohibiting Congress from "establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof", to prohibit extracurricular prayer in schools and any discussion that includes "God". A small businessman can be forced to hire a homosexual even though his customers may object and he will loose business. Traditional values are being prohibited, not so much though persuasion of the society to accept Humanism, but through imposition by sympathetic courts. The problem with courts that have an agenda is well stated by Aristotle, "Law is mind without reason."

As long as Humanists are compelled to impose their philosophy on society, it will be difficult for the conflict between evolution and creation in schools to be resolved…or the war between Humanism and Christianity. Aristotle’s observation is as correct today as it was 2500 years ago, "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." How better to teach our students than to give them a variety of ideas and guide them in critical thinking for themselves. Albert Einstein once said, "Few people are capable of expressing, with equanimity, opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions." What better way to correct that deficiency that to remove the restrictions the courts have imposed regarding evolution and creation.

Let us open the schoolroom windows and let unfettered knowledge blow in.

~

As I completed writing this book, I was compelled to revisit this chapter. When I wrote the chapter, I had done considerable research and had experience with the evolution-creation debate. I thought the conflict could be resolved reasonably and compromise was possible. I was wrong. If the issue was simply evolution vs. creation, compromise, as discussed in this chapter might be possible; however, the problem is much bigger than evolution and creation.

I debated whether to omit this chapter entirely. Then I reconsidered. We need to see the reasonable side of the argument and the fact that a civil solution is possible. As you will see as we progress through the following chapters, reason and civility might be a "bridge too far." The reason, as discussed in Parts 3 and 4, is that evolution is merely a part of the Humanist agenda; an important part, but not the entirely. It is a tool for the advancement of the other issues described in the Humanist Manifesto. To compromise, as discussed in this chapter would defeat the ultimate objective.

I invite the Reader to consider this while progressing through the remainder of the book. If compromise based on common sense is not possible--Why not? I propose that Humanists cannot compromise because to do so would mean the abandonment of their philosophy. Christians cannot compromise without turning away from their faith. Humanists who soften their position usually move completely toward Christianity. Christians who compromise their faith end up with "collective salvation," a religion without God.



[1] Bengtson, Stefan, "The Solution to a Jigsaw Puzzle," Nature, vol. 345 (June 28, 1990), p. 765-766.

[2] Gould, Stephen J. The Panda's Thumb, 1980, p. 181-182.

[3] Hamlet Act 1, scene 5, 159–167.


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