Why Evolutionists are Afraid to Debate Creationists
The upcoming Bill Nye the Science Guy versus Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis debate is upsetting some evolutionists. Dan Arel writing at RichardDawkins.net is one of them:
“Scientists should not debate creationists. Period.”
Mr. Arel begins by claiming that there are a number of topics that are worth debating but Creationism vs. evolution “is not worth debating” since “there is nothing to debate. . . . Evolution is a scientific fact, backed by mountains of evidence, peer-reviewed papers you could stack to the moon and an incredible scientific community consensus.”
Really? It’s the claim that evolution is “backed by mountains of evidence” that’s spurious. Much of this assertion comes down to what we mean by “evolution” and what constitutes evidence. Are there changes in species over time? Of course there are. Long before Darwin people believed this. Breeding dogs and cattle was a studied practice going back millennia. No amount of directed breeding resulted in a new species.
Where evidence is lacking is the contention that one species has evolved into another species. There is no empirical evidence for this. Experiments with fruit flies, viruses, and bacteria show that they remain fruit flies, viruses, and bacteria generation after generation.
Then there’s the fossil record that does not show what the textbook charts purport to show. Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge acknowledged that the fossil record does not demonstrate evolutionary gradualism. “Eldredge and Gould proposed that the degree of gradualism commonly attributed to Charles Darwin is virtually nonexistent in the fossil record, and that stasis dominates the history of most fossil species.”
Creationists were pointing out this truth long before Gould and Eldredge developed their alternative theory of “punctuated equilibria.” Their new theory undercut one of the pillars of evolution. The fossil record is still a debatable topic that Mr. Arel does not want raised by creationists because it undermines the entire theory.
But there are more fundamental problems with the evolutionary worldview. Accounting for changes in species over long periods of time is one thing. But how does an evolutionist account for the original stuff that supposedly evolved either gradually or in fits and starts? There is no empirical evidence that shows how nothing became something and how that something gained intelligence or where the organized information (DNA) came from that makes us what we are.
If there are mountains of evidence for the claim of spontaneous generation, I would like to see more than “peer-reviewed papers” on the subject that offer theories. I want to see Bill Nye, Dan Arel, Niles Eldredge, Richard Dawkins, and the “incredible scientific community consensus” produce the “nothing-to-something” mountain of evidence.
If evolutionists could produce any of this evidence, then Mr. Arel would be right, “there would be nothing to debate.” Bill Nye will not bring such evidence to the debate that he’s having with Ken Ham because there is no evidence. Period.
So I don’t blame Mr. Arel for being upset that this debate is taking place. Why give any anti-evolutionist a national platform that has the potential of having people question the thinly supported theory of evolution? The nation’s government schools teach more than 90 percent of American children every year that Mr. Arel’s view of origins is true. Evolutionists have a near monopoly on the subject, and Mr. Arel wants to keep it that way. They are afraid of that Wizard of Oz moment when the curtain is pulled away and all they can say is “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”
American evolutionary biologist and geneticist Richard Lewontin explains what’s at stake once any part of the evolutionary dogmatism is questioned:
“Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”1
Evolution is not really about science. If it were, people like Arel would welcome a debate about how we really got here and what it all means.
- Richard Lewontin, “Billions and billions of demons,” The New York Review (January 9, 1997), 31. [↩]