In a recent publication titled “Evolution out of Eden” (Tellectual Press, 2013) a vigorous and not unreasonable argument was made for the incompatibility of theology and biological evolution. The idea of theistic evolution has been kicked around since Darwin first popularized a purely materialistic process of biological
origins and diversity via “descent with modification”, that is, evolution. Anyone even distantly familiar with biblical theology is aware that the only reasons the Genesis account is questioned is due to an irresistible need to acknowledge evolution as an intelligent argument for life’s origin and the very difficult biblical presentation of the fall of man. Let’s be honest, a talking serpent, a naked woman and a tree that bears fruit, which gives moral insight is more of a cartoon than the death of Jesus on a Roman cross. It is a difficult passage. However, I believe that acceptance of evolution and rejection of Genesis reflects a socio-pathological need for acceptance by intellectuals brought on by the cult-like devotion to humanism. In my opinion, evolution is neither intelligent nor irresistible, having no basis in either fact or in science and woefully inadequate, even
as a poor hypothesis, for explaining life’s origin or diversity. Though the garden scene is difficult it is not insurmountable given the nature of the initial created order and the spiritual resolution of sin by Christ. Someday I will write an article on this so that those embarrassed by this historical account can grasp the necessity of the very simple test by which God started the human race. In the meanwhile, I must say that this new book was a great terrible and unnecessary waste since an honest and orthodox understanding of the biblical creation account can never be harmonized with a godless commitment to materialistic explanations.
However, for those quick to abandon both orthodoxy and reason, compromise of the biblical account is not nearly so alarming when the goal is to pacify the materialistic paradigm of biological evolution from its obvious and aggressive denigration of Christian beliefs. (For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God Jn 12:43). Many modern theologians of repute have argued that this form of scientism is amenable to Judeo-Christian theology. Through their books and the vehicle of their seminaries they have incited these new authors to their
reprehensible but accurate rebuttal against such philosophical Christian pacifism. It is transparent to anyone informed in these attempts to blend modern materialism with supernatural revelation into a theistic evolution that both Christian doctrine and fundamental Neo-Darwinism are compromised. The result is fraught with problems and compromises; leaving no satisfactory answer to the problem of their incompatibility. The blend creates more confusion than clarity and Christianity is made void of any power while the cultural and social ramifications of biological evolution are ignored. In the hands of such theology the Bible is left a comic book and nothing more.
The authors of this book, Robert Price and Ed Suominen, admit they are not specialists in the area of biological evolution, though Bob obtained a liberal degree in theology and Ed read a lot of evolutionary dogma. The direction of Bob’s education in particular was a slow demise from fundamentalism to liberalism and even deism due to the failure of modern seminaries to engage in biblical
education; flirting instead with modern criticism and post-Darwinian humanism. In the case of Bob’s failed religious studies, which introduced him to a broad spectrum of ways to compromise the Bible, he went on to discover the rampant forms of compromise among theologians attempting to integrate Darwinian materialism into a theological paradigm. He discovered they don’t integrate in any meaningful form; that most of these attempts created a philosophical maze more blurred of any resolution and bordering on insanity if not pure irrationalism. Discouraged and bewildered, it is apparent that Bob bailed on God and took up a new cross, much harder to bear if he knew the facts of life.
Ed has a degree in electrical engineering and though indoctrinated into fundamentalist Christianity discovered a computer software had been designed to run a program written to imitate the evolutionary scenario of survival of the fittest. Intrigued by the power and value of a program, which could arrive at solutions based upon trial and error, Ed became captivated and soon enough questioned the biblical fundamentalist account of life’s beginning. His computer software proved to him that evolution is doable. Ed’s fascination with evolutionary computer programs failed to discern that the rules of software are not to be found in natural selection. These programs begin with data structure, the very thing that evolution is supposed to be solving, and by iterations of variations of this data will arrive at optimal structures that have a pre-designated “survival score”. Only by defining “a parameter for some widget you want designed” does the software approach a fitness metric that will survive through the iterations of testing the random input of variables. Through an algorithm of mating, the widgets re-combine randomly-shuffled, predefined variables (with a few mutant forms “sprinkled in”) to give offspring. The program is described in this way: “Things are set up so that only the fittest widgets from the first generation are likely to be parents of those in the next.” (p. 16). Ed, enamored by this man-made computer program, did not see that it was “designed” to imitate what cannot be scientifically studied in real time. He became quickly convinced that Darwin had come to his computer and that what he was seeing on his cathode ray tube was worthy of credible application to biological life. Maybe God didn’t make Adam and Eve after all. He read all he could on evolutionary theory and the mechanism of natural selection and arrived at a decision; Christianity was false.
Their publisher’s introduction is based on this bold assertion:
“It is beyond any scientific dispute that all life evolved by a natural process of random mutation and DNA crossover, genetic drift, horizontal gene transfer and natural selection. We are the highly refined but happenstance products of blind experimentation carried out in a design laboratory that has been running itself for billions of years. We are first cousins to the chimpanzees, descendants not of any biblical Adam but of lumbering hairy ancestors who were making fires and hand axes in Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago. Accepting this has been especially difficult for Christianity, because evolution challenges many foundational doctrines.
Concerned believers are walking a troubled middle path between Genesis and genetics, threatened with the loss of a cherished faith on the one hand or their intellectual integrity on the other. Numerous science-savvy theologians have emerged to help them on their way, a whole cottage industry of guides working to establish their own different trails through the hostile territory outside Eden’s comforting fairyland. Writing with the combination of high criticism and low humor that fans have come to love from Robert M. Price, he and co-author Edwin A. Suominen survey the apologetic landscape and offer their own frank reckoning of evolution’s significance for Christian belief.“
This is their position on biology and on Christianity and hence their need to “evolve out of Eden”; whatever that really means? Their position, as frail as it is popular, is the impetus for demonstrating an enormous volume of misinformation propagated by theologians unequipped to examine biological evolutionary theory and unfit to handle the Bible correctly. These are the ones who are “threatened with the loss of a cherished faith on the one hand or their intellectual integrity on the other” and not the average believer. Theologians, in their academic towers, who have bent the knee to a humanist manifesto egged on by academic scientists in their closeted laboratories, have surrendered the Genesis account to myth or allegory. In doing this they have robbed the entirety of the biblical record of any efficacy and certainly of any meaning. Bob and Ed labor at demonstrating how the theologians of our time, after destroying Eden, then race to rationalize the Bible stories and Bible characters as well as 1500 years of Jewish history as having some higher spiritual meaning of import to human existence. If Genesis is fraudulent then none of the Bible is relevant. If you can’t believe Genesis 1-11 then don’t bother with the rest of the book.
It should be noted that the theological rhetoric used by these armchair students of science and religion rely heavily on the philosophical precepts of organized religious bodies and textbook biology for their antidotes against Christianity. This is unfortunate but reveals a lack of commitment to comprehend the Bible personally.
Both men are heavily impregnated with the doctrines of religious creeds, decrees and council edicts as well as Papal Bulls and canon laws; as if these were the revealed will of God. They further assume that anything written by an evolutionist must be fact and swallowed the little blue pill without hesitation. With these two weak but sufficient tools, theistic evolution as a compromise was easily dismantled. What I did not enjoy was their ignorance of the facts of biology, of evolution and certainly of biblical doctrine
I will not recount Bob and Ed’s thorough and exhaustive work showing that every theistic approach to evolution is a failure. Read the book if you care. I will say that their understanding of evolution is superficial. They are uneducated in the facts of science but have adopted the materialistic fantasy of evolution as though it were much more than faith, when it is not. Their starting premise, which must be the
same premise of the theistic evolutionary theologians they have studied, is false. It says that evolution as a theory has accurately conceptualized the facts of life into an explanatory and interpretive structure that has proven to be true. But is this the case when we have no direct observable facts that life has or can arise from non living substances? Is this true when no fossilized intermediates of the 2 million animal forms and countless plant forms living today have ever been found? Is evolution proven true though molecular and cellular biology has demonstrated a level of complexity and specificity far beyond any results that have been obtained from chemical events directed in a lab, let alone the claim that random chemical events brought forth life? For, even human directed biochemical experiments have failed to provide an infinitesimal leaning towards the level of structure, control and information content found in the cellular world. Furthermore, studies in genomics have shown the tree of life to be a sham and continues to show that massive amounts of biological data are common to
completely discontinuous life forms; the very opposite of descent with modification! At every corner of biological research the theory of descent with modification crumbles and yet these fellows are conveniently oblivious to the data.
Furthermore, the Darwinian theory itself does not rest on a single unified conceptual framework but like Play Dough it yields to the needs of the interpreter of scientific facts, always and forever accounting for every anomaly, discordance, incongruity of predicted and the anticipated expectations of biologists who thought they understood the theory. Evolution is a philosophical treaty committed to materialism, having no basis in empirical studies, yet is supported by an academic consensus view that what cannot be proven by obvious scientific rigor is the very substance of belief in evolution. This, my friend, is faith. And while faith is an acceptable proposal of those things bearing substance in fact, it has no place in the exactness of measurement and observation that by very definition is science.
Ergo, it is not surprising that Bob and Ed are so successful at the destruction of theistic evolution for the theologians of this generation are “…like children in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates, “”We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.””(Matt. 11:16-17). It is not sufficient to seduce evolutionists to theology by compromise; evolutionists will not dance to the tune nor mourn to the dirge.
Rest assured that the ease with which theistic evolution is crushed in no way elevates Darwinism to a credible hypothesis. Nothing that Darwin had supposed, except for what was already known about artificial breeding of domesticated organisms, has
proven to be scientifically valid to this date. Geology has accepted catastrophism as the means by which fossilization and sedimentary rock formations have arisen. Biology has established laws of both heredity and reproduction; making any evolutionary theory incredible beyond belief. Genomics has demonstrated indisputable proof that descent with modification is a failed hypothesis, relying instead on inexplicable mechanisms of horizontal gene transfer; allowing us, however, the complete rejection of the “evolutionary tree of life” hypothesis.
We still have no known chemistry to explain how nonliving materials transcend to living substances and have come to rely on meteors for answers to Darwin’s “warm little pond” of life giving chemicals. Mutation theory has failed to account for any novel gain of function for any gene or trait. And embryological development has shown itself reliant on a hierarchy of genetic networks that govern both temporal and spatial expression of the blueprints for body plan; a much more sophisticated plan than any city engineer or rocket scientist has ever attempted let alone conceived. Paleontology is aware that flood catastrophes are responsible for the mass extinctions found repeatedly in the fossil record and that a much greater diversity of living forms existed in the past than are alive today – the planet is devolving.
Regardless of these facts, Darwinist still invoke the metaphysical powers of evolution to explain whatever real science cannot explain of the innovative features of living systems. If new body plans are found, then natural selection must be responsible. If old body plans remain for 200 million years, then natural selection must have stabilized that form through the eons. If organisms survive mass extinctions, it is because natural selection made these beings more resistant to change than the less fit.
And where is God in the mix? He isn’t. Evolution specifically ruled out God at the publication of the “Origin” and Neo-Darwinism is antithetical to such admissions. In fact, science has been redefined in modern times to rule out anything but material explanations for what can be known, no matter how counter intuitive to the findings. Approaching science from a purely materialistic stance was the commitment of early naturalists, who developed the scientific method of empiricism but recognized God when their findings made it apparent that creativity, intelligence, choice and genius demanded a metaphysical presence – an intelligent designer.
I would applaud the authors of “Evolving out of Eden” for their superb arguments
against theistic evolution except for the fact that a bitter rancor of disgust and a deep seated belligerence against the Christian God and his human disciples permeate every several pages of their book. Had they been less prejudice, I might even believe they intended to be objective and honest in their views, even in their ignorance of understanding science and of biblical theology. But their hostility towards Christianity is unwarranted; and may reveal a deep seated loss to the meaning they once had in their lives. Furthermore, a great deal is lacking in their understanding of scientific facts versus philosophical pandering. This has led them both to the illusion that they are masters in the understanding of evolutionary biology. Like many others, they can regurgitate the textbook icons for evolution, but they “… do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.”
I remain unimpressed.