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I commend the SB for publishing Rev. Clay Spronk’s recent article “The Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham Debate” (May 15, 2014, p. 370). Like Rev. Spronk, I watched the debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham with great interest, and came away with an appreciation for the way that Ham defended the importance of Scripture in interpreting science. It is the Bible that must be the “corrective lens” for logical interpretation of scientific evidence by a believing scientist, as it is the only means for obtaining a true vision of the natural world around us.

While I largely agreed with Rev. Spronk’s article, I wonder whether the word “silly” is a good way to characterize the conclusions of evolutionary science. My concern is that use of the word “silly” to describe the elaborate—and often convincing—constructs of modern evolutionism leaves believers with the impression that these scientific interpretations are shallow and easily defeated by any believer with a bit of good logic. My experience is that this is not the case. The lack of solid answers that Ham could provide for some of the questions raised by Nye clearly demonstrates the difficulty of interpreting all scientific observations in light of Scripture, even for an experienced believer with considerable scientific knowledge.

The problem with atheistic science is not its failure at logic, but rather its failure to comport with the truths of Scripture. In many—but certainly not all—ways, evolutionary interpretation of the natural world makes logical sense. But absent Scripture and the eyes of faith, these interpretations are prone to error since fallen man will naturally seek to “worship the creature more than the Creator,” even in his logic (Rom. 1:25). As the temptations of Satan are so often presented under the deceptive guise of “half-truths,” so the arguments of atheistic scientists are cloaked in remarkable logic and convincing interpretations of data, all intended to exclude God from the picture. As such these arguments are most certainly “foolish” in the biblical sense, but perhaps not “silly.”

Brendan Looyenga

Response:

In my article I mentioned that Ken Ham argued that creationists can be highly skilled scientists and that he illustrated this point by playing prerecorded clips of bril liant scientists who are creationists. Readers of the SB should know that Dr. Looyenga (although not mentioned by Ham) is an example of a creationist who is a highly skilled scientist. His knowledge of the arguments of atheistic scientists used to buttress the theory of evolution far exceeds my own. I appreciate Dr. Looyenga’s ability to respond intelligently to the arguments of evolutionists and have profited from his efforts to share his expertise with other Christians to help them understand and respond to the dangerous and evil theory of evolution.

Dr. Looyenga is right to emphasize that the main problem with modern evolutionism is unbelief. And his caution against thinking that the arguments of modern evolutionists are easy for Christians to answer with “a good bit of logic” is spot on. Therefore, I am willing to concede that my use of the word “silly” was not as careful as it should have been when I used the word to characterize “every…silly man-made belief that is part of the theory of evolution.” I can see that “foolish” would have been the better word to use when making such a broad generalization.

However, I am not ready to give up the word silly altogether. I can see, for example, the logic, though it is based on foolish unbelief, of the atheistic scientist’s argument that the world must be millions of years old because of the many layers of ice they observe in the Arctic. But there is no logic to the argument that consciousness developed from unconsciousness or that man developed from monkeys—even rocks! These are both foolish and silly arguments that scientists in their blind unbelief have put forth because in the hardness of their hearts they will not admit the existence of God.

Some evolutionists are even willing to admit that some of their constructs lack a logical foundation but are motivated by a determination to deny God. In an article published on the Institute for Creation Research website, Henry Morris III cited an example of such an admission (http://www.icr.org/article/7258/). He wrote,

Dr. Richard Lewontin, a Harvard University geneticist, biologist, and social commentator, wrote an article in The New York Review of Books entitled “Billions and Billions of Demons.” Written less than 20 years ago, ated” of the scientific world are well aware of the need to formulate and process data that will prevent creationist thinking—even though it is an obvious effort to stop a “divine foot” from getting in the door:

Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism…. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute for we cannot allow a divine foot in the door.

I agree with Dr. Looyenga that the reason all Christians, scientists or not, should sharply and confidently condemn the theory of evolution, even though it is taught by brilliant scientists, is that it is contrary to Scripture. But I think it is also possible and important for Christians, who are able to see the truth clearly because they are guided by the “corrective lens” of Scripture, to recognize the absurdity of some of the claims of evolutionism.

—Rev. C. Spronk