A Bombadier Beetle/Photo by Dolor Ipsum
A few weeks ago, an atheist and a Christian had a debate. The discussion covered a variety of different disciplines: philosophy, science, and history to name a few.
The title of the debate was, “Does a Good God Exist?”
I think the answer to the question is “yes.”
Since I’ve resolved the debate question in my own mind, I have another inquiry.
May we discuss all possibilities relating to the question of our origins in our institutions of higher learning? I’m sure these discussions happen in philosophy classes, but do they take place in science classes?
Was this debate sponsored by one of the thousands of colleges across our nation?
No, it was not.
If any of you are aware of a recent debate that considered the subject of Creationism or even Intelligent Design, that has occurred at a public institution of higher learning, I would like to know of it.
Not surprising to me, this debate took place in a church.
I have been curious about this for quite some time. Why are our colleges so afraid to discuss differing theories of our origins? Where is the academic freedom to discuss all possibilities?
Evidently, freedom of thought more greatly exists in certain churches than it does in our institutions of higher learning.
Giraffe/Photo by Tambako
The “There is no God” position in the debate – linked to at the bottom of this post – was defended by perhaps the best known atheist in the world, Christopher Hitchens. He is not a scientist, but he is convinced that Darwinian evolution is a fact and he is not afraid to defend it.
Mr. Hitchens was allowed to speak to many young students being educated in Christian schools. Some were as young as the 7th grade.
Mr. Hitchens was not only allowed to share his views, he was treated with respect.
Some Christians allowed their young learners to hear the position of one of the world’s most popular defenders of atheism. Yet, our public institutes of higher learning don’t want those with 20 years under their belts to be exposed to theories that differ from the Darwinian one.
If evolutionists are so certain of their views, what is the danger in other theories being presented?
In spite of the one-sided presentation of the Darwinian “theory” in public settings, it is not surprising to me that it hasn’t become generally accepted in America.
Woodpecker/Photo by Christine Leiser
I think there is a good reason that half of Americans don’t believe in evolution. The evidence has not been presented to the general public. The “overwhelming evidence” described by many in “scientific” circles must only exist there. The great teachers in our universities have not been able to communicate that evidence successfully to the public.
I think the lack of evidence presented to the public shows the weaknesses in the evolutionary theory.
I hold to a Creationist viewpoint. I believe that the first chapter of Genesis is literally accurate. I don’t think it’s a myth.
Scientists with evidence for a literal creation and a young earth have been silenced in public education. It seems to me that leaders in modern education have become like the church leaders of earlier ages. Those folks felt threatened by any information that might change the status quo.
I will also acknowledge that there has been an unnecessary amount of name calling by all parties in this debate: Creationists, Evolutionists, and the Intelligent Design folks. This type of behavior only hurts what should be an ongoing discussion.
Name calling aside; it is grossly unfair that only one theory is being taught in all of our public institutions.
Mr. Hitchens’ opening statement illustrates he has no problem with name calling.
Australian Brush Turkey/ Photo by Kookr
The origins debate is going in a number of directions.
There are folks who are unable to square current scientific information with a literal view of the first chapter in Genesis. They believe in God, however, and are generally called Theistic Evolutionists. They are mostly nothing like Mr. Hitchens except when it comes to the view of evolution.
Recently, geneticist Francis Collins, a famous Christian scientist and founder of Biologos (an organization devoted to reconciling the Christian faith with evolutionary theory), said that within one-hundred years evolutionary theory will be as solidly grounded in empirical science and as widely affirmed as heliocentrism (the view that the earth rotates around the sun).
Francis Collins is noted for his leadership of the Human Genome Project (HGP) and has been described as “one of the most accomplished scientists of our time”.  He currently serves as Director of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Collins has written a book about his Christian faith. He founded and was president of the BioLogos Foundation before accepting the nomination to lead the NIH.
I know that Mr. Collins is a very smart man. For him to make a statement, however, that evolution will be as much a fact as the earth rotating around the sun is, well, part of the problem in this debate. Too many evolutionists are calling Darwinian evolution a fact before it is one. A person in Mr. Collins’ position should be very careful about such statements.
Ken Ham is well-known for his position on origins. He thinks, as I do, that the earth is younger than the evolutionists claim and he holds to a literal view of the Genesis account.
Mr. Ham is the President/CEO and founder of Answers in Genesis. Some very good literature has come out of AiG.
Mr. Ham is planning a multimillion dollar amusement park, centered around the Creation theme.
I think the multimillion dollar theme park is an awful idea. At a time when tent cities are being erected at a pace not seen since the great depression, my reaction to the theme park is, “What???.” America is sending fewer missionaries “into all the world” than it has in years and a Young Earth Creation group is choosing to compete with Disneyland? I think this is very poor judgment, and I think it will do more damage than good.
Mr. Collins and Mr. Ham are at the forefront of this debate and, frankly, these kinds of things don’t help their causes.
(It is September of 2012 and I must add a comment. First, Mr. Hitchens has passed. As far as anyone knows, he kept the views he held for most of his life until his last breath. And I’m rethinking this position on Mr. Ham’s theme park. With 23 million Americans looking for work, maybe Mr. Ham can “create” a few jobs.)
Quail eggs/Photo by Ahisgett/All of the critters featured above in the video featured just below
I have heard some Theistic Evolutionists make the statement that evolution holds a certain sense of wonder.
I don’t understand how evolution fits into the creation story in the first chapter of Genesis. I think the text, as it stands, holds great wonder.
Here’s the opinion of a man, much smarter than I, who discusses the wonder of a literal creation (and the critters depicted).
In 1987, Dr. Robert Gentry presented evidence for Creationism at the University of Tennessee. It may have been one of the last Creationist lectures given in American University.
Mr. Gentry’s evidences for Creationism had been, even at that time, dismissed as a “tiny mystery.” The implications of Mr. Gentry’s findings are huge. The following links show his 1987 presentation in full.
The question and answer period at the end are indicative of the way Creationism had, even at that time, been discarded as a possible explanation for our existence.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7p_4s2ZkN0 Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paaCeNZQ_XY&feature=related Part 2
The information that Mr. Gentry presented in 1987 (and in peer reviewed scientific publications prior to that) has still received no explanatory rebuttal.
I think that the Evolution/Intelligent Design/Creationism subject requires more than silence on the part of educators. As an educator, I think students should be able to discuss all sides of the issue and allowed to come to their own conclusions.
Our public school students are having their minds made up for them. Isn’t that intellectual censorship?
The leaders in this church know their young people will be confronted with all sides of the origins issue. I know not all churches are this open, but they and our public schools need to be.
Before you click on the following link, I had no idea the Christian School that hosted the debate would be charging folks to watch it. This charge must have been added recently since I watched the debate for free a few days afterward. Maybe the charge will eventually be removed. You may try it if you wish, but I hope you don’t spend 3 dollars to watch the debate. The better debate took place last year and is posted below.
I’m very disappointed that a church/school with such a fancy setting couldn’t afford to make the debate available at no cost. -CR
An even more interesting debate from 2009 called, “Does God Exist?”
(By the way, I haven’t been able to find part 1 of the 14 you will see here. I think Biola University had it removed)
Afterward (only a few days later):
Well, It didn’t take long. Apologies to the Geological Society of America. It (GSA) is the largest and oldest association of professional geologists in North America. There is an intellectual freedom at the GSA to discuss all scientific possibilities. This is certainly not the case in public education settings.
I found a surprising article after going to Garrett League’s fine blog, called “The Face of the Deep” at:
From Garrett’s blog, I linked to:
There, I found mention of this article:
The article makes it clear that Scientists from the ICR (Institute for Creation Research) are allowed to participate in the GSA annual meetings.
What a breath of fresh air.