Darwinism Evolution Intelligent Design

Does understanding coerce belief?

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Paul Myers has a post at the Panda’s Thumb that points up a fundamental misconception of some evolutionists (go here for his post). The post is titled “American political conservatism impedes the understanding of science.” The point of the post is to chart the acceptance of evolution** among conservatives, moderates, and liberals against education, and the consistent finding is that conservatives, regardless of education, tend to “believe” evolution less than liberals and moderates (though believing evolution goes up across the board with education).

But why should disbelieving evolution reflect a lack of understanding of it? Alternatively, does understanding evolution automatically force one to believe it? I remember speaking at the University of Toronto in 2002 when a biologist challenged me about how holding to ID renders one a nonscientist. I asked him if that disqualified Isaac Newton from being a scientist. His instant response was, “but he didn’t know about evolution.”

Is it that ID proponents don’t understand evolution or that we understand it well enough and think it’s bogus?


**By evolution here I mean what Dawkins and Myers mean by it, namely, a purely material process that creates living forms apart from any overarching teleology or purpose.

47 Replies to “Does understanding coerce belief?

  1. 1
    dodgingcars says:

    I think there are plenty of intelligent, educated, people (such as yourself) who understand evolution and don’t accept it (sometimes because of how much they understand it). I know a lay person who reads just about every journal article, magazine article, and book he can get on evolution and he thinks it’s complete hooey.

    However, I have met many people who disbelieve evolution and have very little idea what it is. Even I’m a little rusty, but I’ve had to correct people’s “I didn’t come from no monkey” statements.

    With that said, I think there are quite a few people who accept evolution and don’t understand it. I’ve met some of them too.

    Oh.. and by the way.. Bachelor’s degree, politically liberal (well at least left of center), have read quite a bit about evolution (hey… even including my college biology and anthropology classes), and I don’t accept Darwinian evolution.

  2. 2
    Sladjo says:

    Well, first of all, is there any reasonable, scientific, proof for the kind of evolution Dawkins preaches ?… I mean, is there any experiment in which we can observe the matter organizing itself in a self feeding and self replicating organism ? No ?… OK, then let’s not talk anymore about science and “scientific theories”, let’s talk about “religious dogma”…

  3. 3
    Joseph says:

    My rejection of “evolution” (Myers, Mayr and Dawkins style) is because I understand it and the data.

    As geneticist Giuseppe Sermonti tells us in his book “Why is a Fly Not a Horse?”:

    Sexuality has brought joy to the world, to the world of the wild beasts, and to the world of flowers, but it has brought an end to evolution. In the lineages of living beings, whenever absent-minded Venus has taken the upper hand, forms have forgotten to make progress. It is only the husbandman that has improved strains, and he has done so by bullying, enslaving, and segregating. All these methods, of course, have made for sad, alienated animals, but they have not resulted in new species. Left to themselves, domesticated breeds would either die out or revert to the wild state—scarcely a commendable model for nature’s progress.

    (snip a few paragraphs on peppered moths)

    Natural Selection, which indeed occurs in nature (as Bishop Wilberforce, too, was perfectly aware), mainly has the effect of maintaining equilibrium and stability. It eliminates all those that dare depart from the type—the eccentrics and the adventurers and the marginal sort. It is ever adjusting populations, but it does so in each case by bringing them back to the norm. We read in the textbooks that, when environmental conditions change, the selection process may produce a shift in a population’s mean values, by a process known as adaptation. If the climate turns very cold, the cold-adapted beings are favored relative to others.; if it becomes windy, the wind blows away those that are most exposed; if an illness breaks out, those in questionable health will be lost. But all these artful guiles serve their purpose only until the clouds blow away. The species, in fact, is an organic entity, a typical form, which may deviate only to return to the furrow of its destiny; it may wander from the band only to find its proper place by returning to the gang.

    Everything that disassembles, upsets proportions or becomes distorted in any way is sooner or later brought back to the type. There has been a tendency to confuse fleeting adjustments with grand destinies, minor shrewdness with signs of the times.

    It is true that species may lose something on the way—the mole its eyes, say, and the succulent plant its leaves, never to recover them again. But here we are dealing with unhappy, mutilated species, at the margins of their area of distribution—the extreme and the specialized. These are species with no future; they are not pioneers, but prisoners in nature’s penitentiary.

    The point being, that IF it were left to direct scientific observations, evolutionism fails miserably and all that is left is wishful thinking supported by speculation.

  4. 4
    GilDodgen says:

    I believed in “evolution” (i.e., Darwinian explanations for the origin of all life) only when my understanding of it was relatively shallow. Once I became more thoroughly educated about its claims and the evidence, I decided that it was mostly transparent hogwash.

  5. 5
    shaner74 says:

    PZ does have an good point here:
    “if you are saying you agree that humans evolved from earlier species of animals because your political views say you should, you may not be evaluating the evidence rationally”

    He recognizes that a large majority of liberals who accept evolution may do so for political reasons. I’d guess there is about the same on both sides who reject/accept evolution for political or religious (I include atheism as a religion) reasons. I did notice that the word “fundamentalist” is not really defined. He (don’t know what the study used) seems to be using a definition of “fundamentalist” that does not include him. With that said, I think it’s clear that ID proponents understand evolution very well and just don’t buy it. How much more difficult is it for a well-educated person to question evolution than one who blindly accepts it? We see what happens to professionals who do not accept evolution; there is just not enough incentive to reject it if you hadn’t looked at all the evidence and made an informed decision. We have in hand enormously complex self-replicating machines (for lack of better word) that are encoded with reels of information. I remember the late AE Wilder Smith would mention how all the complexity of the human body, all its neurons and veins and tissue and organs is all coded for on one sperm and one egg, and if you believe it “just happened” then as far as he was concerned, he “couldn’t help you” We know through experience of one place that information comes from. I don’t see any way that an intelligent person could be considered crazy for entertaining the notion that RM+NS is incapable of designing and building gradually upon such a thing that human intelligence can currently barely comprehend. I think it is much more correct to say that unless you are philosophically committed to NDE, the facts tend to sway you away from belief in it. Where is the physics that supports BWE (blind watchmaker evolution)? Where is the math that supports BWE? Where is the chemistry that supports BWE? Where are the engineering principles that support BWE? Where is the fossil record that supports BWE? We do know the philosophy that supports BWE. Dr. Dembski mentioned that biologist responding “but he didn’t know about evolution” referring to Newton, but if Darwin knew what we know today, would Darwin accept his own theory? I say heck no. ID is not an argument from incredulity, but rather simple common sense given what we know of the natural world. How many correct predictions has NDE made in its 150 years? What was that about “junk” DNA? And is it really crazy to deny the cooption argument that essentially says because motorcycles have tires, and cars have tires, then cars are not designed? Where any biologists at that talk that didn’t accept BWE, but were too frightened to speak up (and rightly so)? Those statistics mentioned in PZ’s post do not take into account those who deny BWE, but are fearful to say so, which I’d gamble on being a significant number.

  6. 6
    TerryL says:

    In order to equate acceptance of evolution with the understanding of it, you have to take as a given the very argument at hand–namely, that undirected, fully naturalistic evolution really works the way the Darwinists believe it does.

    This is the very sort of question-begging argumentation that Phillip Johnson describes so eloquently in Darwin on Trial (among other works). Thus, for the Darwinist, the argument is never whether Darwinism is true, but rather what is wrong with us heretics who don’t believe in it. So, for Myers, what is wrong with us is that we stand in the way of the juggernaut of science.

  7. 7
    Smidlee says:

    I remember when I went to college in electrons I was told that almost everything you learn in class you will never use. Of course I asked why go through the trouble in teaching it then. The reply was to help me to think a certain way. If you are an atheist wanting to preach your message where would you go? I doubt you get many to give you offering as the church so college would be the next best thing.

  8. 8
    Smidlee says:

    …electronics. I knew I should have taking those typing classes.

  9. 9
    JasonTheGreek says:

    I wonder how he equates the acceptance of a blind, unplanned, unguided, accidental process working to bring all of biology with “the understanding of science.”

    Darwinists have become so shrill that they actually believe that science as a whole= Darwinism!

    What of those scientists that have no use for NDE one way or another (those whose fields don’t really deal with NDE)- do they not understand science, since ol Pauly seems to think science itself equals Darwinism? Not only is it the cornerstone of all of biology, for PZ it’s the very whole of ALL science. (Maybe this is why they often seem to worship Darwin as if he were their God?)

  10. 10
    bFast says:

    JasonTheGeek, “this is why they often seem to worship Darwin as if he were their God?”

    You’ve got it all wrong, chance is their god, Darwin is merely the great prophet (with lesser prophets Dawkins, Dennett, etc.)

  11. 11
    paul says:

    As a christian and a scientist working in academic materials science, I find that neither my friends at church nor at work can really cite evidence for or against evolution. I have yet to meet a skeptic of evolution at work. At church people seem to be evenly divided between YEC, view two** (can detect design) and theistic evolution/Biologos (can’t detect design but God did it anyway).

    ** I find it interesting that I couldn’t come up with a label for view two. ID included YEC. Theistic Evolution as I have defined it above is a logical contradiction and those that resolve the contradiction and still hold to God doing something become ID advocates. I guess that view two are those that claim to not know the mechanism of design but ID is too broad a label for this group.

  12. 12
    tribune7 says:

    shaner74–but if Darwin knew what we know today, would Darwin accept his own theory?

    That’s a very good question.

  13. 13
    tribune7 says:

    Myers talks about an apparent political divide and I think the observation has merit, albeit if you consider the implications it doesn’t reflect well on his side.

    American conservatives are actually liberals in the traditional sense — i.e. people who believe in a society based on limited government, free markets and Christian ethics.

    They are hated by people who believe in a society based on management by elites, a category which they invariably place themselves.

    A stumbling block to their vision is the notion that rights are endowed by a creator. If there is no creator rights are conditional and subjective.

    Hence, it would be best to their way of the thinking, do away with the notion.

    Darwin, as one has infamously noted, allowed for intellectual fullment for the atheist.

    Threats to NDE are threats not just to their worldview, but to their status and even livlihood.

    Look at the number of NDE extremist whose jobs are funded to some degree by public money.

  14. 14
    jpark320 says:

    I don’t know what they are really trying to say by “don’t understand evolution.” Do they take that as concomitant with “believe in evolution.” After all, I have been tested enough on evolution and have done well on all my tests – is this not enough?

    Surely, the masses have no clue about the details of evolution and I’m willing to bet that people interested in ID know evolution better, because in order to know ID well, you must know evolution just as well a 2 for 1 which unfortunately doesn’t translate the other way.

  15. 15
    a5b01zerobone says:

    Why doe’s the website known as the Panda’s Thumb have more influence in our society than this one?

    The coalescent seems to be one of their hacks.

  16. 16
    a5b01zerobone says:

    Also. Just want to thank everyone here and Bill Dembski for making this a constructive and informative blog.

  17. 17
    dacook says:

    My experience and observation over the years has been that most believers in Darwinism equate “science” with “naturalistic philosophical worldview.” If you don’t have that, you don’t understand science.
    Of course real science (observation, hypothesizing, experimenting, theorizing, repeat) is a method for obtaining knowledge independent of philosophy. They don’t seem to get that.
    I have acquired and read, since I started seriously questioning the dogma I was taught in school, an extensive library of books on evolution and related topics (yes including several of Dawkins’).

    It has become very clear to me that Dr. Dembski and most others who are critical of Darwinism in fact understand it just as well if not better than Dawkins and his herd of independent thinkers.
    The “you don’t understand science” argument (#2 on their list after the creationist accusation) does not cut it. The best argument the Darwinists have left is that a majority of scientists still believe Darwinism. But I believe that is changing.

  18. 18
    crandaddy says:

    Of course real science (observation, hypothesizing, experimenting, theorizing, repeat) is a method for obtaining knowledge independent of philosophy. They don’t seem to get that.

    Don’t try to philosophize with these people. Their heads will explode.

  19. 19
    jb says:

    “Dawkins and his herd of independent thinkers.”

    LOL! This is beautiful poetic irony.

  20. 20
    russ says:

    Who is the professor who claims that mere understanding of evolution is insufficient grounds for the awarding of undergrad degrees? This professor argues that students should be required to also affirm BELIEF in the claims of NDE. His name has been mentioned on this blog but I can’t find it.

    He’s an anti-ID academic who is less in denial than PZ Myers.

  21. 21
    russ says:

    Oh, here it is. Michael Dini. And it’s not about awarding degrees, but writing letters of recommendation.

  22. 22
  23. 23
    Columbo says:

    jpark320 wrote:

    I don’t know what they are really trying to say by “don’t understand evolution.” Do they take that as concomitant with “believe in evolution.” After all, I have been tested enough on evolution and have done well on all my tests – is this not enough?
    I once recounted to Dr. Dembski an experience my son and I had while visiting the marine science labs at Scripps Institute in San Diego. http://www.uncommondescent.com/archives/18

    It was very clear to us that my son’s professor was acting as a “gatekeeper” in order to admit “believers” into the science program – in fact to mentor them – while excluding the “bad apples” like my son. Note: my son was homeschooled through high school. He came in 3rd out of a class of about 300 students at age 16, in this professor’s college course on Oceanography. This professor wrote the textbook on Oceanography that he (and many other professors/colleges) use for this subject.

    There is no doubt in my mind that RM + NS is the nature-ology of materialistic faith.

  24. 24
    DAISHI says:

    I’ve noted before that some of the more intensely technical genetics discussions are a little beyond my grasp at first, given my background. However I’ve spent the last year studying a lot of this material. Since my current master’s work is in theology I’ve tried to find anything that whole heartedly supported evolution, things that could reconcile it with faith, and things that were outright against it.

    I know that Collins pointed to Junk DNA at one point in “Language of God”, and used that to point to something that evolution could have predicted. But then we have articles like the one recently about Junk DNA’s actual usefulness.

    Discussions on the U-Paradox were also really interesting. The pure logistics and probabilities for some of these theories to occur are staggering.

    One thing that really bothered me about evolutionary theory was that every time I read a critique about it, a evolutionary proponent would claim that the mistakes had been updated and a new explanation devised. If not, then one would eventually come around. This was the first time I heard “Dawkins of the Gaps” as a counter to “God of the Gaps”. It also began to bother me because my basic question was how were a lot of these theories being modified if you can’t actually even test them? And yes, the hand waving act does nothing to reconcile me to the evolutionary cause as typically proposed.

  25. 25
    scordova says:

    Is it that ID proponents don’t understand evolution or that we understand it well enough and think it’s bogus?

    The answer for me is that I understand it well enough and think it’s bogus….I mean about as well as one tries to understand square circles, or as you put it in Design Inference, about as well as one will realize the following statement is logically bogus:

    “E = not-E”

    I recall studying Maxwell’s equations and going, WOW! I recall marvelling at the Nyquist Sampling theorem and going WOW! I recall studying introductory aerospace engineering and going WOW!

    Then I recall (with notable exception of the fine work of population geneticists and mathematicians like Fisher, Haldane, Kimura) reading books and papers on evolutionary biology and going, “what a load of self-contradictory, circularly argued bovine waste matter”

  26. 26
    bFast says:

    Russ, your post deserves its own thread. Scordova, any chance you can make it happen?

    I note a couple of quotes from the post:

    “How can someone who does not accept the most important theory in biology expect to properly practice in a field that is so heavily based on biology?” (emphasis mine.)


    “Dini has written letters for Christian students who demonstrated understanding of the scientific principle of evolution.”

    It seems reasonable to me that Dini require that students “demonstrate understanding …”, however this thread squarely addresses the question of whether an “understand” will automatically translate to “acceptance”.

    As a significant percentage of medical doctors do not buy into NDE, I would suggest that the nation would likely experience a shortage of doctors leading to a national crisis if Dini had his way and all nonbelievers were stripped of their licenses to practice.

  27. 27

    A letter of recommendations to Dr. Michael Dini:


  28. 28
    apollo230 says:

    More people would believe in evolution if evolutionary biologists had not deliberately inserted atheistic sentiments into the theory: i.e, that the evolutionary process is strictly “mindless”, “undirected” , etc. If science dropped the metaphysical naturalist garbage (which is unproven and hence unscientific anyways) theists would probably feel cosier with the theory.

  29. 29
    mentok says:

    What the findings of that survey tells us is that the longer people are in school then the more likely they are to accept evolution. The mistake in the interpretation of that data is to equate years of going to a school with education. There is a difference between indoctrination and education. Schools are not just about education, they are also about indoctrination. Since schools do not teach about evolution from a critical perspective, therefore they are indoctrinating people into a belief in evolution. Also in pretty much all of the sciences schools teach materialism uncritically. So what is called education by some can be shown to actually be indoctrination if looked at from another point of view.

    Also the survey shows that people who consider themselves “conservative” politically or socially are less likely to accept evolution. That is to be expected in America because of the large percentage of people who consider themselves to be “conservative”, a large percentage of those people are inspired by their religious beliefs in shaping their political and social views. For a large percentage of those people their religious beliefs also shape their views on evolution i.e they approach evolution critically with great skepticism. Therefore it is not political or social conservatism which inspires or hinders a belief in evolution, in fact conservative views are completely irrelevant. The fallacy invoked is “questionable cause” or confusing cause and effect. The cause of more conservatives rejecting evolution is because they are more likely to be skeptical of evolution because of their religious belief, not their political or social views.

    Now what the interpretation of that data can tell us is that “conservative” religious people approach evolution critically and they are therefore harder to indoctrinate. Whereas the non religious “liberals” are easier to indoctrinate because they are more likely to accept evolution uncritically. Those who approach evolution uncritically usually do so with fallacious mindsets (e.g. argumentum ad verecundiam, argumentum ad populum, genetic fallacy, guilt by association, etc)

    So who are more “scientific”? The people who accept indoctrination uncritically and for fallacious reasons, or those who approach indoctrination critically?

  30. 30
    Rude says:

    “Does understanding coerce belief?”

    Well if the understanding is true it should, and if it’s not true it shouldn’t. I say should and shouldn’t, not does and doesn’t, because there’s another powerful pressure—peer pressure. And intellectual peer pressure is strongest among intellectuals and thus the more educated one is the more vulnerable he is to that pressure. I know this anecdotally, having been employed not only in the university but also as cowherd, steeplejack, barn cleaner, truck driver, logger, day laborer … and I must say that the smoke shack in a sawmill—and a whole host of blue collar venues—are far more tolerant of ideological diversity than the faculty dining room.

    Why might that be?

    Well, I’d say that brain washing (洗腦—it’s a Communist term) is more a danger in the academy than in the barn. The totalitarian impulse, history shows, is far stronger among academics than laborers—for who was it that Marx tempted the most—farmers or scholars?

    They call it anti-intellectualism: “William F. Buckley, Jr., once remarked that he’d rather be governed by the first hundred names in the Boston phone book than by the faculty of Harvard University, and many other conservatives have displayed similar disdain for academia.”

    There’s no virtue in the politician or professor who puts his finger to the wind before focusing his thoughts. Not so those brave souls in academia who buck intellectual conformity in favor of fact and reason. In my opinion ID proponents actually understand evolution far better than your run-of-the-mill academic and, as suggested above, that’s why they think it’s bogus?

  31. 31
    Rude says:

    Hey! This is beautiful–this new look. Correction for Rude above: comment should end with an exclamation–not a question mark, e.g.,

    “… that’s why they think it’s bogus!”

  32. 32
    Robo says:

    New website looks good, but the fonts in the comments in particular are toooo small imho. Verdana is (imo) the divine font 😉

  33. 33
    Robo says:

    Regarding Newton not knowing about evolution … my understanding is that evolution in some form has been around since the ancient Greeks.

  34. 34
    Robo says:

    Whoops. I guess I should have said ***belief in*** evolution in some form has been around since the ancient Greeks.

  35. 35
    avocationist says:

    “You’ve got it all wrong, chance is their god,,,,”

    I like it!
    There is no God but Chance, and Darwin is his prophet!

    I think the real lesson here is to see that humans tend to follow dogma and perceived authorities. It is always the case that only a few think for themselves. Darwinism is just one among many false views held by groups. We should be very humble about this. We are afforded a view into human nature, our own nature, and it isn’t so pretty. A bit discouraging really.

    It would be nice to get the posts numbered again.

    As for me, I never went to high school, and I started reading about evolution in any depth from the ID side. So I learned about evolution in any detail while having it refuted. But I am very fair. While arguing over at ATBC I was told to read the Meyr book, and I bought it but it was so simplistic that it bored me and I couldn’t get very far. I have also read their best shots in the essay wars, i.e., the refutation by Miller of the flagellum, the refutations of the Meyer paper, and the Berlinski stuff. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like the ID side is winning to the degree that its embarrassing. The Miller paper, in particular, my response was, “Is that it?”

  36. 36
    mentok says:

    Almost all schools indoctrinate students into materialism rather then educate them by presenting critical pros and cons of materialistic viewpoints when it comes to the sciences. This is simply the fact of the matter. The teachers who would like to educate and present a critical examination of the holy writ of materialism are themselves fearful of teaching a critical examination of the materialistic ontology underpinning and inspiring the way the sciences are taught. For those teachers it’s likely to cost them their jobs and careers if they actually try to educate rather then indoctrinate into materialistic ontology. Some people may claim that “YES! Indoctrinating with facts from their FACT BASED AGENDA!” Funny thing about “facts”…how many times throughout the last few centuries have scientists and teachers proclaimed to have arrived at “the facts” only to have those facts thrown out a short while later by newer theories and newer discoveries and newer “facts”? If only “the facts” as they are perceived to be by a majority at any point in time are allowed to be presented, and only uncritically, then that is a sham education, indoctrination, not real education. The Peoples Commisars will tell us what is truth and that will be called education. If a comrade attempts to criticize that truth then he will be kicked out of the party and lose all his priviledges. Facts are then no longer arrived at through the result of research, instead facts become the dictats of the Peoples Representatives, the enforcers of facts.

  37. 37
    mentok says:

    Thats diktat, not dictat. Also misspelled privileges.

  38. 38
    Borne says:

    The public education system, being run by by secular humanists (who actually planned & engineered the take-over), is the answer to the OP.

    The more one is educated in this system the more materialism and it’s creation myth Darwinism is ingrained in the mind as a given.

    Humanist “prophet” Charles F. Potter wrote,

    “Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism, and every American school is a school of humanism. What can a theistic Sunday school’s meeting for an hour once a week and teaching only a fraction of the children do to stem the tide of the five-day program of humanistic teaching?”

    (Charles F. Potter, “Humanism: A New Religion,” Simon and Schuster 1930)

    John J. Dunphy, wrote in “The Humanist” (1983),

    “The battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: A religion of humanity — utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to carry humanist values into wherever they teach. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new — the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism.”

    It is more than evident that the humanist accomplished their goal in the edu. system in America.

    Interstingly Sir Arthur Keith, a famous British evolutionary anthropologist and anatomist, said,

    “Evolution is unproved and unprovable. We believe it only because the only alternative is special creation, and that is unthinkable.”

    George Wald, Evolutionist (Harvard University biochemist and Nobel Laureate), wrote,

    “When it comes to the Origin of Life there are only two possibilities: creation or spontaneous generation. There is no third way. Spontaneous generation was disproved one hundred years ago, but that leads us to only one other conclusion, that of supernatural creation. We cannot accept that on philosophical grounds; therefore, we choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance!”

    (“The Origin of Life,” Scientific American, 191:48, May 1954).

    see: http://www.secular-humanism.com/

    Therefore being educated in a secular humanist designed and run system merely means being indoctrinated, brain-washed and deceived. THAT is the only real reason why there are so many atheist Darwhiners in academias upper ranks! An intelligently designed purpose full deception.

    Humanism is a religion; “FAITH IN MAN, that is my creed, in three words. And that, my friends, is the very core of the new religion called) Humanism.” – CF Potter 1933

    And so, I submit, that is the fundamental reason for so many atheists/Darwinists in America today. Europe followed a different route but the same type of plan was clearly stated for them as well – way back when.

    This is all a fascinating study in Hegelian dialectic process. But no room for it here. And it is hardly “conspiracy paranoia”, just facts.

    Makes me want to say with Agatha Christies Miss Marple, “How clever. How wicked!”

  39. 39
    Borne says:

    In light of what I wrote in my 1st response : “Does understanding coerce belief?”

    Absolutely not. It ought rather intellectually coerce unbelief in NDT.

    Especially once the background system is clearly exposed to the mind.

  40. 40
    bFast says:

    Borne, I very much agree with your analysis of our education system. I would argue, however, that one other issue has allowed education to be so successful. That being the view by many in the religious community that they know with Biblical certainty that the creation happened in 144 hours about 6000 years ago. The evidence against this view is rich. However, when one is taught such a view, then one discovers that it is in error, the logical conclusion to make is that very much of what you are taught is in error — to throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak. I personally believe that the very determined view of a few has done significant harm to many, causing them to exchange one error for another.

  41. 41
    russ says:

    Great post, Borne. Here’s an article from The Economist about the growth of homeschooling in the U.S. There are currently about 2 million kids being homeschooled in the U.S., and there’s even a college that arose out of, and caters to the homeschooling movement (Patrick Henry College).

    “Yet the Praetorian Guard of the home-schooling movement are social conservatives. They turned to home-schooling in the 1970s in response to what they saw as the school system’s lurch to the secular left…”

    According to the piece, homeschooled kids tend to become politically-conservative adults and tend to reach higher levels of education than the general population. They also tend to vote and give more time and money to political campaigns. And since political conservatives in the U.S. also tend to have more kids, and since kids tend to adopt the values of their parents, things don’t look that great in the long term for university brainwashers!

  42. 42
    tribune7 says:

    Great posts, Borne. I think as somebody pointed out it isn’t understanding that coerces belief but brainwashing.

    bfast, I don’t agree with you about the dangers posed by YEC and education. As long as the YECer understands the methodology for his or her belief and understands it’s a matter of faith, that YECer can be quite fulfilled and, in fact, better able to deal with the dishonesty that soaks the NDE-controlled academic establishment than one who has little knowledge of or faith in the Bible.

    I think the big danger to YECers comes if they grant too much authority to dubious scientific arguments backing their belief,hence if/when they are conclusively disproved they have a crisis of faith. This is why I think many atheists/skeptics seem to come from a YEC background.

    And I really don’t see any liklihood of a YEC dogma being imposed in this nation akin to the NDE dogma now existing.

    I strongly object to attempts to remove that YEC book from the Grand Canyon souvenir shop but I’d be even more upset if there was an attempt to remove a book based on standard geological assumptions

  43. 43
    tribune7 says:

    and there’s even a college that arose out of, and caters to the homeschooling movement (Patrick Henry College).

    Ayn Rand is rolling in her grave 🙂

  44. 44
    Borne says:

    I would say you’re right to a certain extent – least as I understand your point. Personally I have nothing against YEC per se. I see a lot of evidence against and a some for. It seems almost inevitable that this would be the case though.

    So my own view, at this time, is that the jury is still out on that one though leaning to OEC.

    My reason for that is not evidence per se, but my distrust of modern science’s elitist “know it all” attitude on these things.

    We’ve been very wrong in the past and may end up being very wrong again. So I’m watching it unfold and calculating my own position as it goes along.

    So much damage has been done through trumpet blowing scientists touting the latest theories – and the universe consequently gets older and older and older as they go. Where will it end?

    Maybe it is that old, maybe it isn’t and just looks like it because we’re not measuring it correctly. Or our techniques assume too much. Maybe we’re missing some key factor?

    IOW, I still keep an open mind on the whole age thing.

    I also think that being raised with a YEC view is still light years better than Darwinism. At least the YEC view, right or wrong, will keep one wary of evolutionist “voodoo natural selection” and fairy tales.

    At least that has been my bservation.

    I know a lot of die hard YECers. 😉

    But I also see how the time between Gen. 1:1 and Gen 1:2 could support some sort of “gap theory” wherein the old earth was largely remade.

    I’ve even come up with my own little theory. “Rapid decay theory” or “exponential decay” if you will. (I’m not a physicist so… :-))

    Think of the usual – water leaking out of a barrel through a hole in the bottom – example. Pressure initially forces the water out rapidly. As the water level descends the pressure also lessens and the rate of “decay” of H2O in the barrel gradually slows down.

    In this view the whole universe was subjected to very rapid decay in a short time, then the decay curve flattens out to reach a constant rate – also in a short time – to what is is today.

    This of course implies that, what we now view as “constants” of radioactive decay rates, were once max to min rates – subjected to a smoothing “algorithm” at the end.

    Any evidence for this? Hmmm…

    I think a case could be made using many of the current YEC evidence + OEC evidence.

    So, instead of opposing these 2 theories, you rather combine them to get to what is true in both – then work from there.

    I could be way off on this as I said – I’m not a physicist so…

    Truth is what matters. It is ALL that really matters.

    If we’ve defined science such that it cannot get to the true answer, we’ve got a pretty lame definition of science.” – Douglas Axe

  45. 45
    Jason Rennie says:

    I think the main problem with the surveys and things that ask questions like “do you believe in evolution” is as you note that they are using the term ambiguously.

    After all, I could be said to “believe in evolution” unless you define it in the explictly a-teleological way that Dawkins et al. insist on defining it.

    And frankly given some of the strange ideas the far political left advocate in many instances, especially among the “most educated” members of the community, I don’t think “increased acceptance of evolution among liberals and more educated people” (especially where they intersect) is much of a boast at all. Marxism is equally popular among that group.

  46. 46
    Srdjan says:

    Jason Rennie, good point!

    By constantly switching definitions, Darwinists don’t contribute to better understanding of evolution.

    “…and the consistent finding is that conservatives, regardless of education, tend to “believe” evolution less than liberals and moderates (though believing evolution goes up across the board with education)”.

    We can also conclude that “liberals and moderates” believe in evolution because they don’t understand it. Why should be other way around? In any case PZ Myers made a nice propaganda piece.

  47. 47
    Reality001 says:

    I don’t understand why God couldn’t have used a process like evolution to bring about his designs, the results themselves reveal a sophisticated designer (we could call that Glory I guess). Why not a sophisticated process to go with it. In real life, the Bible, the salvation process, Christian growth, and in nature, God rarely provides instant solutions, it’s always a process with Him, why should creation be any different?

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