Creationist Wisdom — Example Sixteen

ONCE AGAIN, dear reader, we bring you the view from Answers in Genesis (AIG), one of the major sources of creationist wisdom. They have posted a review of a book by Dr. Denis Alexander, titled Creation or Evolution: Do we have to choose? The book, about which your Curmudgeon expresses no opinion, is available at Amazon, where it is described as follows:

Dr Denis Alexander [the author] is a neuroscientist who believes passionately in both the biblical doctrine of creation and the coherence of evolutionary theory. … The author concludes that the question in the title is a false dichotomy: we do not need to choose, since both are true. ‘Nature is what God does’ – Augustine.

Observe that the book seems to end with a reference to Augustine. We’ll get back to him later in this article. Dr. Alexander appears to be in the admirable tradition of those who seek to reconcile science and religion; and that means his book is utter blasphemy to the full-blown creationist types. It is therefore not surprising to find that Answers in Genesis has posted an uncomplimentary review: Creation or Evolution: Yes, We Have to Choose. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

The trouble is that this apologetic for evolutionism fails to start from the primacy of Scripture, even though the first two chapters ostensibly tackle scriptural issues. However, they do so by using the classic arguments to “explain away” problems of harmonising evolution with Scripture, rather than face up to the incompatibility of the two philosophies.

A most interesting paragraph. First, notice their word — evolutionism. Why add the suffix “-ism”? Isn’t “evolution” already a noun? Well, we do the same thing with “creationism,” but that’s because the word “creation” doesn’t have any necessary association with the pseudo-science about Noah’s Ark and the rest of “creation science” doctrine. But “evolution” is quite sufficient as it is, especially in this context; so there’s no need to add the extra “-ism,” except to give the word a cultish connotation. Hey, two can play the noun-suffix game. How does this sound — creationism-ness-hood-dom?

But getting back to that paragraph, note how the reviewer insists on a scriptural interpretation that demands incompatibility with science. There, dear reader, is the core of the problem. Here’s some more:

For example, in chapter two, Alexander repeats the tired old bromide that “the biblical understanding of creation is not primarily concerned with how things began, but why they exist.” Yet, a plain reading of Genesis 1 gives no reason why God made the world. It simply tells us how He did it!

Again, the reviewer is insisting that Genesis should be read as a science text, or perhaps an engineering manual — a “how to” set of instructions for creating a world. Continuing:

… [B]iblical truth should not be just a starting point—our whole philosophy and worldview should be submitted to the acid test of biblical authority. That includes our interpretation of scientific data. His [Alexander’s] inability to submit his ideas to Scripture have led to his adoption of non-biblical misunderstandings.

There you have it — to a creationist, the test of science is solely its compatibility with a specific, and optional, interpretation of scripture. The verifiable facts of objective reality have no bearing on the issue.

One final excerpt:

There is little new in Alexander’s book. It consists of the usual diatribes against those who hold to biblical truth, while he tries to maintain that his is the biblical position. That is why his attitude toward biblical creationists comes out as so judgmental, yet he has himself undermined the very Bible he claims to uphold. Indeed, he has little time for those who disagree with him. “One of the deep mysteries of life . . . is why people spend their time going round churches telling people that they don’t believe evolutionary theory.” (p. 131). “Christians who make it their mission to attack evolution . . . are embarrassing and bring the gospel into disrepute.” (p. 352).

Indeed. Respected theologians have been making this point since Saint Augustine’s The Literal Meaning of Genesis, where he wrote: “Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian … talking nonsense …”

This is where we must leave Answers in Genesis. They are continuing to raise the walls around their self-made Ghetto of Faith, wherein their followers and their financial supporters reside, voluntarily segregated from the modern world. The tragedy is that the locks on the gates of their ghetto are all on the inside, and each resident has a key — his own mind. But they won’t use that key. They choose to be prisoners in a ghetto of their own making, in which they ceaselessly struggle to resist our open invitation to escape their peculiar confinement and join us in the beauty and grandeur of the real world.

Copyright © 2008. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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