Thursday, 14 June 2012

On the Evolutionary Road to Damascus - 4

This is the fourth in my series of linked blog entries on my experience of being converted (or not) to intelligent design. I had intended to do much the same with the second book as I did with the first - give a quick summary of the book in a first post, then analyze the key points in the next, but in this case there will be only one post about the book, for reasons that I think will become obvious.

The second book intended to shift me into the intelligent design camp is The 10 things you should know about the Creation vs Evolution debate by Ron Rhodes. What I didn't realize when I started to read this is that it's one of a whole series Ron has written including The 10 most important things you can say to a mason and The 10 most important things you can say to a Catholic. I think this tells you where Ron is coming from. (I confess I would be fascinated to read both of these!)

As the other books in the series show, this title really doesn't contribute to my journey, because it's not a science book, it's a religious book. A fair amount of its arguments are based on biblical quotation - important to many, but irrelevant to this discussion.

All in all, the book left me feeling more than a little queasy. Perhaps the best example of how it got things horribly wrong is it gives three examples of the evil that 'darwinism' is responsible for. This came close to self parody, because in every single example you could change 'darwinism' to 'Christianity' and make as much sense. According to Ron:
  • Hitler was a 'Darwinian evolutionist' - the implication is that evil actions of the state are driven by a 'belief' in darwinism. Unfortunately, it's all too easy to say the same about many world religions. And Hitler also believed the world was not flat - does his support make that theory doubtful too?
  • Evolutionary theory has played a role in fostering racism - no, incorrect assumptions falsely citing evolutionary theory have done this, not evolutionary theory. And let's not forget the Ku Klux Klan, making exactly the same type of misuse of a Christian heritage.
  • Darwin argued that men had greater mental powers than women, so evolutionary theory is sexist - Darwin's beliefs on women are neither here nor there, and would certainly be of his time. And let's face it, some of the epistles in the Bible are not exactly lacking in sexist content if you're just going to take things out of context.
I really can't go on with the contents of this book, which has a 'young earth', world created less than 10,000 years ago in six literal days viewpoint. If its viewpoint were true, it seems to accept that we are dealing with a God who maliciously did things to fool us, like set light from the stars in motion part of the way here, so it appears to be coming from further back in time than it really is. (The author agrees this is an unacceptable picture, so it must be wrong, but doesn't provide an alternative explanation.)

I can only end with a quote from a review of one of Ron's other books: 'This is an uneducated author in biblical research and church history, not to mention a person with an already established agenda which will not be deterred by the facts.'

This book hasn't changed my opinions at all - but then it's not surprising, as it regards even Intelligent Design as suspect. This isn't a science book, full stop. So, in my next and final post on the subject, I come to the last of the evidence I've been presented with - a DVD.

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