Forget subterfuge, how about creationist chutzpah? 5

JISHOU, HUNAN — A Christian group plans to hand out 1,000 copies of “The Charles Darwin Bible” to teachers attending the National Education Association (NEA) convention in San Diego this week.

The Charles Darwin Bible is a copy of the New Testament, with annotations referring to Christian and creationist beliefs. It’s the latest attempt by creationists to wiggle their religious non-science into the public schools.

There is also a creationist edition of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species available. Since the original text of 150 years ago is not copyrighted, evangelist Ray Comfort slapped a 50-page “special introduction” onto the work and is selling it for a mere 99 cents. Comfort’s plan is for fellow believers to hand the bastardized copies of Origin of Species to their teacher and professor friends.

The Charles Darwin Bible is another brainchild of Comfort’s. It’s being distributed by Holman Bible Outreach, which is selling the curiously named book for $3.99 (or $1.75 by the case). Someone ponied up the money to hand a thousand of them out to NEA members.

The NEA is one of two professional organizations that represent public school teachers. Its annual convention began June 26 and runs through Friday.

Here’s a description of the CDB:

Released in response to “Darwin Day” on Feb. 12th – observed worldwide by a growing number of people – this publication by best-selling author Ray Comfort is designed to help “pull the plug on the rising tide of atheism.” With both the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth in February and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species in October, 2009 promises to be a battleground year for evolution – and Christians need to be equipped to refute it.

Countless people have been deceived into dismissing God, believing that evolution is a proven scientific fact and that the Book of Genesis has been shown to be a fable. Even many churches have neglected the truths of Scripture for the claims of fallible man. This book will give Christians an effective tool to share with evolutionists in our schools, neighborhoods, workplaces, and churches–explaining the vital facts about our origins and the truth of our great Creator.

Covers why there is suffering, who made God, the Big Bang, the origin of life, DNA, irreducible complexity, mutations, transitional forms, the Cambrian Explosion, peppered moths, vestigial organs, “mistakes” in the Bible, and more.

Includes:

* Presentation Page
* In-text study notes written for atheists
* Plan of Salvation
* Concise Topical Concordance

Back cover copy:
“Merely having an open mind is nothing; the object of opening a mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.” ~ G. K. Chesterton

Darwinian evolution and the biblical account of creation are incompatible. Either God made man in His own image as morally accountable beings, male and female, reproducing after their own kind, or He didn’t. If the theory of evolution is a scientific fact, then the Bible should be discarded as mere mythology. But if the Bible is right, Charles Darwin single-handedly propagated a fantasy that has hoodwinked millions.

Determining which is true could impact your eternity. Take time to examine the evidence to make sure your beliefs – and your future – are based on something solid. This brief publication will help you to consider:

* Charles Darwin’s history and beliefs about God
* Why evolution versus creation is so important
* Evidence for evolution from top scientists
* “Contradictions” in the Book of Genesis
* Evolution’s difficult questions
* How to know God exists
* Commentary by best-selling author Ray Comfort

Reading this compact New Testament with an open heart will help you know for certain whether evolution is true and whether God is real.

Creationists have a particularly narrow interpretation of Scripture. Believers have to take every single word literally, and take the entire Bible in toto that way. They cannot consider Genesis, for example, as allegorical while also accepting 1 Kings as historical. So, in the creationist mind, it’s an either-or thing: either the Bible is all literally true, or none of it is.

[Needless to say, many Christian sects outgrew literalism centuries ago, partly out of necessity. Taking the Song of Songs literally, for example, turns it into an erotic poem. Making the woman a metaphor for belief in God or for the Church makes the poem more religious, however.]

We have these two telltale sentences in the above blurb.

If the theory of evolution is a scientific fact, then the Bible should be discarded as mere mythology. But if the Bible is right, Charles Darwin single-handedly propagated a fantasy that has hoodwinked millions.

False dichotomy. False science.

There are plenty of people, including scientists and the Roman Catholic Church, who can simultaneously accept evolution as valid and still believe in God and read the Bible. Many believers can simultaneously be Christians and accept Genesis as an ancient creation myth or allegory.

Additionally, the blurb reveals a notable lack of understanding (no surprise there!) about how science works.

First of all, evolution is a theory, and technically not a fact. (Actually, it would be more accurate to call it a collection of facts, but that would still miss the boat.) A scientific theory attempts to provide some order on and understanding of a multitude of observations. Scientists constantly test the theory with the observations, including new ones. If it stands the test of time, a theory is considered valid.

Valid does not necessarily mean accurate, or factual, though. All of science is an approximation of “reality.” Theories are constantly being refined as new evidence accumulates; sometimes they are completely discarded in favor of new, more accurate theories. You cannot refine facts. A fact is a fact. It is hard to refine the fact the sun rises in the east. It does or it doesn’t. You can, however, refine the explanation for why the sun rises in the east.

It’s the constant testing of scientific theories that makes the second sentence I highlighted complete nonsense. Darwin could not have possibly “hoodwinked” millions with a “fantasy.” [That prize should go to the creationists, I suggest.] If there was sufficient evidence against his theory, science would have thrown Darwin’s theory of evolution on the dustheap with the phlogiston theory and geocentrism ages ago. But there is no evidence that contradicts evolution. In fact, discoveries since Origin of Species was first published in 1859 have only corroborated Darwin’s theory.

Now, science teachers should be aware of such nuances, or at least I hope they are. (There is evidence to the contrary, I am sorry to say.) Whether teachers of other subjects are similarly aware of how science works is more doubtful. So, handing them copies of a New Testament with creationist folderol inside might sufficiently confuse some NEA members into wondering whether creationism might actually be true, or at least be a decent “competitor” for the theory of evolution. That’s the foot in the door that the creationists want. Introduce doubt in the scientific explanations, then replace doubt with religious certainty.

Mwua-hahahahaha!

Incidentally, the creationists use “evolution” as a catch-all phrase for any science that contradicts Genesis. So, to them, most of geology, paleontology, astronomy and cosmology are bogus, too, since all four also suggest the universe and the Earth are billions of years old, and constantly changing, not a few thousand years old and essentially static (except for occasional divine temper tantrums).

Handing out these “Bibles” is a clever ruse, but ruses are essentially dishonest behavior. I guess I missed those lessons that taught Christians it is OK to trick people into Christianity.

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5 thoughts on “Forget subterfuge, how about creationist chutzpah?

  1. Reply David Hochman Jun 29,2009 12:00 am

    John, given your current intense interest in creationism (understandable​ given your long investment in teaching *actual* science), in retrospect you should have been an HPS major along with Coopersmith and me! Did you ever get to take Kuhn's course?

  2. Reply David Hochman Jun 29,2009 9:21 pm

    John, given your current intense interest in creationism (understandable given your long investment in teaching *actual* science), in retrospect you should have been an HPS major along with Coopersmith and me! Did you ever get to take Kuhn's course?

  3. Reply John Wheaton Jun 29,2009 9:37 pm

    Ha. My interest in HPS came years after I left PU. I never took Kuhn's course, but I did study him in grad school. One of my teacher education profs managed to sneak an HPS course past the science and history departments as a "science education" course. It was one of the few worthwhile courses I took for my teacher preparation.

  4. Reply Danny Slaton Jun 30,2009 12:07 am

    What does HPS stand for?

  5. Reply John Wheaton Jul 5,2009 11:58 pm

    History and Philosophy of Science. David majored in it. I just dabble in it.

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