No fence to sit on

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Neutrality is impossible in the creation/evolution debate

The pastor addressing his large church congregation in Australia was holding two books. He lifted the first up for all to see, saying, “This is one extreme.”

It was a book by well-known atheist Richard Dawkins.

“And this is the other extreme,” he said, raising his other hand to show CMI’s The Creation Answers Book.

His subsequent words made it clear that he thought the best way is ‘somewhere in the middle’. The implication was that if you are a biblical creationist, believing in the Genesis account of six-day creation and a global Flood, then you are an extremist, as much as Richard Dawkins is an extremist. Far better to choose the moderate option.

But is there really such a thing as a ‘moderate’ option? Or similarly a ‘fence’ to sit on until the creation/evolution debate becomes clearer or (as some Christians have said to me) until ‘God tells us face-to-face how He really did it’? (I.e. after they’ve died.)

There’s no ‘moderate’ or ‘fence’ option according to Jesus, who made it clear that a person is either for or against Him.

There’s no ‘moderate’ or ‘fence’ option according to Jesus, who made it clear that a person is either for or against Him (Matthew 12:30, Luke 11:23). And via Moses and the other prophets, God has indeed already told us ‘how He really did it’ (Genesis 1ff.).

Jesus’ own words (which we are not to be ashamed of—Luke 9:26) showed He accepted the Genesis timeline of man’s origin. That is, man has indeed been around “from the beginning of creation” (Mark 10:6), cf. the evolutionary or other long-age view that humans have only existed for the ‘merest blink of a geological eye’, billions of years after the universe supposedly came into being.1

So there’s no ‘fence’ to sit on, but rather, dare I say it, the demarcation between believers and the godless is more like a ravine (Luke 16:26).

Flickr/Marty Stone

The fruit of Richard Dawkins’ books is doubt, unbelief, and even suicide—see ‘The God Delusion’ and evolutionary teaching linked to<br />
tragedies

The fruit of Richard Dawkins’ books is doubt, unbelief, and even suicide—see ‘The God Delusion’ and evolutionary teaching linked to tragedies.

Indeed, we are both amazed and dismayed that any believer in Christ would put rank-and-file biblical creationists and Christian ministries such as CMI on par with outspoken atheists such as Richard Dawkins. Jesus said, “He who is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:40) and “Do not hinder him, for he who is not against you is for you” (Luke 9:50). Even a superficial analysis of Dawkins’ outpourings against God, compared with the whole equipping-and-training-in-Christ thrust of CMI, would surely reveal that CMI is for the Church, for the people in the pews, and for the pastors of churches. CMI is here to help, not to hinder—yet when misguided pastors speak against CMI and its resources as being ‘extreme’, they are, in effect, hindering our work in Christ. By casting a slur on publications such as The Creation Answers Book, Christians who might otherwise have been helped by it, are in fact hindered from being strengthened in their faith (presuming the slur dissuaded them from obtaining the book).

Written By: David Catchpoole
continue to source article at creation.mobi

53 COMMENTS

  1. I wonder if the people who were so enthused by CMI’s “literature” have ever had the balls to read a book by Dawkins?  They probably wouldn’t want to test their faith that harshly – it’s so fragile it might break.

  2. I was a creationist, i was a fan of CMI style stuff, i did take the challenge to read the god delusion. my ( then) faith did survive, but richard raised more than enough questions to get me to enquire further. Short version : took about 30 books on evilution to fianlly accept it, and around the same on books questioning the gods.
    Now: good riddance to creationism delusions, same goes for the (imaginary) gods.
    Personal thanks to Richard ( and chrsitopher, Daniel, Sam, Michael, Tony, Victor et al )

  3. The
    pastor should have chosen books that concern the creation-evolution
    controversy, not the theism-atheism controversy; if he wanted an exemplary book
    by RD on the subject, almost any of his other books would be appropriate, and
    especially his more recent TGSOE.

     

    Can
    we think the Christian god exists but made the world by a method other than
    that which the Bible claims was used? Humans can *think* pretty much anything.
    True, it can be argued cherry-picking the Bible is irrational; but in fact trusting
    the Bible on *anything* is irrational, especially if it’s something science has
    proven wrong. So rationality doesn’t necessarily say an extremist position
    makes more sense than a moderate one. Catchpoole, of course, may not have
    rationality in mind when dismissing the moderate option. But couldn’t he at
    least have made a rational *case* for such a dismissal? I don’t mean a case
    which has rational criteria; I mean a case which constitutes an evidence-based
    argument. But no. It boils down to, “the Bible says you can’t be moderate, so
    you can’t be”. It also says you can’t eat shellfish; what’s your point? “Oh, but
    that was in the *Old* Testament.” But that response doesn’t work; Jesus reaffirmed
    the OT’s laws as much as its historical claims. (Not that a no-moderation
    Christian would use that argument anyway.)

     

    The fruit of Richard Dawkins’
    books is doubt, unbelief, and even suicide—see ‘The God Delusion’ and evolutionary teaching linked to
    tragedies.

     

    Although the References claim that’s a paper from
    the same creationist source, the hyperlink to it underneath a photograph of RD –
    the only hyperlink to this suicide discussion provided – is a
    richarddawkins.net URL which, when you follow it, says it doesn’t exist. Claiming
    there is online proof of something, but only providing a non-functional URL, is
    highly dishonest.

     

    Catchpoole suggests the denigration of creationism
    by Biblical theists makes Christianity less likely to be adopted by infidels.
    Of course, such a hypothesis should stand or fall by evidence regarding who
    joins Christianity, not a “but surely” argument. Does anyone know about such
    data? Of course, “but surely” arguments to the contrary conclusion are ancient;
    Aquinas (or was it Augustine? I really don’t care) said Christians need to
    avoid contradicting science, or else they’ll look less knowledgeable than those
    scientifically well-informed whom they seek to convert, which will undermine
    the whole “our god is omniscient” idea.

     

    Jesus said, “By their fruit you
    will know them.” (Matthew 7:16–20) The tragic
    fruit of Dawkins’ books is *doubt*
    and *unbelief* (and worse, e.g.
    suicide).

     

    Firstly, you don’t need to cite chapter and verse
    for a phrase that famous; we all know Jesus says it in the NT, somewhere.
    Secondly, it’s ironic the chapter which starts by telling us not to judge
    others is the one from which he’s ticking us off. Thirdly, it’s pretty clear if
    you read that chapter that “fruits” are behavioural, not doctrinal; i.e., they
    are ethical, not religious. And I still want to see a *real* source for the “TGD
    caused suicides” BS.

     

    Note Kurt’s rejoicing because he
    “didn’t have to abandon reason to have faith in Christ”.
    Contrast that with Dawkins’ books, which result in Christians either coming to
    the *opposite* conclusion, or
    worse—abandoning Christ altogether.

     

    If this is so, the case made here ought to have
    made use of reason. By contrast, if TGD causes its readers to change their
    minds about things, that is suggestive of reasonable content therein; in
    particular, if Christian readers either reject Christianity or adopt fideism,
    they all concede Christianity is irrational, which means one *does* have to abandon
    reason to have such faith. (Indeed, that’s obvious if you know what “faith”
    means.) 

  4. Golden mean fallacy. The middle way is not always the right way. Also, they should realise that when there are 2 positions, the middle position is not a neutral ground, but just another position.

  5. Jos,
    I think your first comment is totally correct.  As a Christian, I get worried about some Creationist groups.  It depends on what someone means by “Creationist”.  The term generally refers (in Christian circles anyway) to “Young Earth Creationist” which I have no agreement with.  However, there are reckoned to be 8 main views on creation with Christians, ranging from YEC to “Theistic Evolutionists” (and others in between)…they are all creationist in the sense that they (we) believe that God made this word (somehow).  The YEC creations love to make this a black and white issue and imply that if you don’t agree with them…then you must fit into the other extreme.
    JBJ

  6. In the range of humans who live on Earth, like in other populations, statistics tells us there will be a “normal range” within which people will tend to have: an average life of “happiness versus tragedy”; obviously some will have a fantastic life though not one that can cheat death for them & theirs : some will have a life not worth the living – whether by accident or imposed by others lunacy and oppression (often guised in religious dogma)!

    So, statistical mathematics can tell us the above absent any scripture, just like it can about chances and  likelihoods you will win at gambling or at other life events dependent on the bias you are placed in the position of to start with plus any you can gain along the way.

    In fact I can easily see how being dominated by religious mentality could get you to want to choose suicide very easily, above the alternatives of living under such a totalitarian regime of mind slavery, just as I could having to live amongst a load of back stabbing nasty pond life turd-heads whom also constitute significant proportions of the human race due: arrogance, bigotry, class, affluence, jealousy, vengeance, tribal bullying and other self centered emotively biased games of life they partake of.

    Religion has no answers to the above apart from making itself an increasingly poisonous part of the problem – to the human brain per se!

    To religion as any form of authority and especially its scriptures, I have one message in behalf of humanity and humanitarian education for all, ” Fuck off!”  

  7. This is not choosing a shade of lipstick or a length of hemline where you want to avoid extremes.  In arithmetic there are two views 2+2 = 4 and 2+2 = something else. Both are extreme. 2+2= 4.5 does not get you closer to the truth.

    There is evidence for what Professor Dawkins says and none at all for what the creationists say.  If even the predominance were 90:10 you might still have a debate, but the creationists still have yet to come up with their first piece of evidence to support their claims.

    Further the creationist cannot come up with any evidence against what Dawkins says, just straw men arguments.  They quote their bible as if it were evidence.They could just as well quote the Qur’an.  It is just an inconsistent book that makes claims at odds with other evidence. The bible has no inherent property to rate it as authorative.  The only reason it gets treated that way is repeated assertion.

    There is not one iota of history as we know it in the entire Bible!
    ~ Alvin Boyd Kuhn 1880-09-22 1963-09-14

  8. The YEC are taking what is written in the Bible at face value. The genuinely honest approach, even though it is batshit crazy. All the other ‘opinions’ are exercises in pretzelmania in order to forcefully hammer the square peg of myth into the round hole of scientific understanding, and so the gaps get ever smaller. 

    Why “eight main views”? Why not one? Why is the subject so ambiguous to the modern Christian? It wasn’t back in the day, the account in the not-so-good-book was the end all and be all before rational thought and science got involved.

    No true Scotsmen are everywhere. So many tartans to chose from. If you knew anything about the history of tartan by the way, it makes an excellent analogy to the manipulated development of Christianity. It’s origins are not even Scottish for goodness sake.

    Try learning the facts behind the myths and you’ll see the man behind the curtain operating the levers. Then the reality of the the facts of creation are even more mesmerising. It’s all about removing the blinkers and opening ones eyes….and mind. 

    As for the references in the OP as to Jesus saying this, and Jesus saying that, there is absolutely no evidence to support the existence of a fellow called Jesus as described in the NT, let alone what he is supposed to have said.

  9.  

    Golden mean fallacy. The middle way is not always the right way. Also,
    they should realise that when there are 2 positions, the middle position
    is not a neutral ground, but just another position.

    Applauding fallacies is just part of theist mental contortions to appear credible.  “Ignorant fudgist in the middle”, between two (alleged) extremes, is merely a vacuous con to appear “moderate”.

    If approaching a “T junction” in a car, with an argument as to if we should turn right or left, going ahead through the stone wall is NOT a moderate position.  It is a clueless idiot’s position.

    The passage from the preacher in the OP is just an example of the rambling verbosity pretend-reasoning, of a clueless fumble-brain!

  10. Welcome to the “rational side,” Retep57! Did you catch the Chicago Tribune article about the bus that crashed in Illinois, killing one and injuring many others? Every survivor interviewed thanked “god” for their survival. I just wanted to post a comment laughing at this idea that an all powerful deity would intercede on the behalf of some of the passengers but not others. Why don’t they blame their deity for allowing this tragedy to happen in the first pace? But I cooled off, figuring I shouldn’t rain on their parade. This ability to completely disregard the obvious questions and stick to the religious script is a testimony to the grip religion has on the American mind. I congratulate you on overcoming it.

  11. The term generally refers (in Christian circles anyway) to “Young Earth Creationist” which I have no agreement with.

    The idea that your particular god created the known Universe, the solar system, and planet Earth, billions of years ago, is just as nonsensical.

    Whether you believe the Earth is 10,000 years young, or 4.6 billion years old, is irrelevant if you believe your god-did-it, based upon a reading of Genesis.

    Repeat after me: “the Judeo-Christian bible is not a science book.”

  12. Hi retep57, I have a question, if you don’t mind.  Having been to both of what this article calls “the extremes” could you envision yourself in a situation where you would go the other way?  i.e. could you imagine reading a book (or bunch of them) that would convince you Creationism was right all along?

    I’m only curious because it seems that it takes childhood indoctrination to make a child (initially non-religious) into a theist and then great self-discovery to make them an atheist, but this seems to be a one-way trip: I never hear of an avowed atheist turning Christian again (although some “non-religious” people might convert for whatever reason suits them).
    If it is a one-way trip, then it would seem Richard, Christopher, Dan et al. are something of an inoculation against Creationism and once you get it, there’s no going back!

  13. Catchpoole is implying that it is reasonable to decide what to believe is true based on the outcome and because he’s so helpful, he breaks it down into the two extremes of one Truth leading you closer to Jesus and other Truth leading to suicide [citation needed].

    Even if evolution were such a depressing fact of life and Richard were a giant Debbie-Downer about life’s lack of inherent meaning, and even if everyone who read TGD committed suicide, it would not (as Catchpoole claims) speak to the veracity of evolution or atheism.

    Catchpoole is solidly in the camp of people who prefer to believe what makes them feel good and are terrified of truths which are unconcerned with their feelings.

  14. Sure there’s reason to argue with loons – all we need to do is plant the suggestion that their faith isn’t strong enough to withstand reading the God Delusion and The Greatest Show on Earth (and other literature).  If we succeed in planting that seed of doubt in their minds, they might eventually go out and read them, then our job is done!  Richard, Sam, Dan and Christopher will do the rest!

  15. I have been reading Richard Dawkins on The Guardian  about the reasons he in “all” (not for moral reasons) in favour of  an available version of King James bible at public schools, and it recalled me Hitchens and the importance he seems to have  given to the knowledge of the Bible, as far as people quote the bible for every reason (as the author of the article himself).
     
     I was myself also amazed as far as I don´t know what version of the Bible I had been reading as a child, but it is not difficult to know that the Bible  is available everywhere (like a “meme”, or just a disease).

    I do pity children myself  if they had to read the whole bible from a so cruel adult viewpoint
    (it reminds me the myth of Zeus eating his own children by the way, or a lion, or a babuin doing it, or, if I can compare, Abraham almost killing his son).

     I remember myself when I was 11 and begin to read the bible and didn´t read more than the first “chapiter”,  felt damned and decide to put it aside and, for psychological reasons I don´t like it.
    Perhaps Hitchens was used to find the reading useful, I prefer much more “The Magic of Reality” and the little encyclopedic books about all helenic myths that I could find available in children cereals When I was a child.
    I thought it would be nice to provide children  with The Magic of Reality, and think it would be nice that public schools could provide children with it.
    And yes, even Harry Potter too.
    It is a pitty that  doctor of the article´s author would have said him say to him: don´t take this antibiotic, it is not mentioned in the bible.
     Did God provided him with such an infertile imagination ?

  16.  Hi Brighterstill, I know that they do read Richard Dawkin’s books. They generally review them and they have written a response to his Greatest Show on Earth. I know too that they have a soft spot for Richard and he and his family are included in their regular prayer time.

  17. So apparently, of the millions who have read TGD, 2 felt suicidal. Think about this statistically. If this establishes any causal link whatsoever, it seems TGD *prevents* suicidal feelings.

  18. since TGD , I have read over 300 books, fwiw, I still read creationsist books. Actually I recommend reading them as a compare and contrast exercise, after reading a lot: astronomy,geology, evolution, biology, genetics, philosophy, comparative religions , etc, once critical thinking sets in, I can’t see any going back. Once you actually ask the question “is the six day creation story true?” i cannot unask it. As soon as the possibilty of biblical error was considered, there was no going back. The creationist idea /dogma that the sun was created after the earth on “day 3″ is nonsense. Ask them what was the light beofre the sun on day ine and two ? “oh God’s light was sufficient ” aha, was he sitting in the same place as the sun? did he turn pink at “sunset”? was his gravity “sufficient”? etc. the when younrealisemthat Adam and eve , creation is a myth , it also undermines thenwhoke Jesus myth as well. the redemption narrative Os silly when jesus “dies temporarily ” for a couple that never existed etc.

  19. One is debating that they have many parts of a machine and it appears to be a car. They think they know how it runs but aren’t sure about every piece. Some pieces are still missing. The other side is saying it is not a car, it is a horse, it goes this fast and it’s invisible. There is no fence, just delusion.

  20. as hitch asks  do snakes talk?  do virgins give birth? do dead men walk? 
    ask yourself these questions if you answer is no to anyone of them believer,your starting to question what you believe and thats not a bad thing 

  21. best get ready for the legal backlash! reminds me of the intro to The Dead Kennedy’s tune Triumph of the Swill: “We came home and found our son lying dead on his bed of a gun-shot wound. He had his headphones on, and there was an Ozzy record on the turn table.  So we called our lawyer!”

    if (mahoosive great IF) there is any causal link between reading TGD and suicide I’d say at best it’d be with someone already depressed and just realising that everyone they grew up to trust and respect has been lying to them all their life and they didn’t get to the bit where there are details of how to get help in time

  22. The author makes it sound like doubt and unbelief is bad. And the suicide claim is unsubstantiated. He got it right though that neutrality is just not possible in the creation/evolution debate. Too bad he took the wrong side.

  23. Did he really say the “fruit of dawkins book (science/evolution) causes SUICIDE”??
    This guy gives me more “huh?”s per sentence than… than, umm…
    (google search)
    …a japanese manga comic. Yea, how do you like that?

    You see, their comics are extremely confusing.

  24. I noticed today, for a while, Satan was representing Great Britain at the Olympics during a period when they had 6 Gold, 6 Silver and 6 Bronze medals. It was a timely reminder there is no fence sitter whom humans are made in the image of. No “god of the games”, or god of our species, looking on and delivering us all the good life or the bad life , a medal or a losers time, height, distance or trouser trophy! 

    The god of the human brain IS the human brain! Let’s listen to those who know and have the instruments to measure exactly what size is what before we let it into our http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/ 

    Religion and its scriptures has some kind of fossil fixed state of all thinking it tries to mould us in its image of. It ought to be in a museum or waxworks rather than walking represented around our streets in full period costume. Sad sight when I see it , but EVEN more dangerous to boot when I think what it wants of free thought and progress!

  25. I took the link to the article. Then found a “look inside” downloadable PDF of the creationist book. About three pages in, a paragraph dedicated to the debasing of humanist ideologies, it reads – “Atheism is the philosophy of death.”

    Here is the overview of Chapter 5, on the page of contents.

    “Chapter 5~How can we see distant stars in a young universe?
    If the universe is young and it take millions of years for light to get to us from many stars, how can we see them? Did God create light in transit? Was the speed of light faster in the past? Does this have anything to do with the big bang?” – The Creation Answers Book; usstore.creation.com/catalog/c…

    Created light in transit? There seems to be no difference between saying that and, “God just made it that way.”

    A cult that ritually eats symbols of flesh and blood to worship the death of their messiah is going to claim that the lack belief in god is a philosophy of death. If it wasn’t for the irony I would be slightly annoyed.

  26.  >I’d finally realised that I didn’t have to abandon reason to have faith in Christ, and that I could take my brain with me into church.

    Yes, but you have to check it at the coat closet.

  27.  There’s probably a little.  E.g Maccabees is probably a long winded propaganda stream about removing the selucids greeks, and genesis appears to have a lot in common with a parablised version of why they had been conquered by babylon (isn’t there an argument somewhere that a lot of the torah’d been reshuffled to put the important stories, such as the fall of their paradise of an independent kingdom, at the start and work on from there?)

  28. Anecdotal evidence is week but still for the record:

    Reading TGD was the end of my conversion to atheism, not the begining.  I was full of dounbt and confusion on the topic and TGD answered my questions.  Far from sucidal, I was quite relieved and satisfied. 

  29. “Neutrality is impossible in the creation/evolution debate”

    Such a statement is really very simplistic and assumes that there are only two possible ‘sides’ to the whole argument. I assume it is aimed at literal Biblical creationists…..and clearly the argument between Biblical creationists and evolutionists is won hands down by evolutionists.

    But….the spectrum of those who think some form of ‘design’ may exist ( I do emphasise the ‘may’ ) goes well beyond Yahweh and his 6 days. It’s barely even appreciated that the ‘top down’ cosmologies of those such as Hawking and Davies do indeed allow for a ‘retrospective’ form of causality. That does not amount to a priori design…and in fact is an argument that completely rules out any supernatural ‘god’…..but general teleolgical arguments are by no means based on ‘impossible’ science.

  30. If there are two extremes here then it is somehow the extremes between fact & religious lies.  Anyone who does not accept what Richard says regarding evolution is a god bothering nutter.

  31. There are also two ‘schools’ of thought regarding the shape of the earth.

    1.The Spherical theory

    2.The Flat Earth theory

    Both are EXTREMISTS.

    It is therefore far better to choose the ‘moderate’ position, and either sit on the fence or accept that it is a combination of the two.

  32. Being in the middle between sanity and insanity does not make one ‘moderate’, rather someone who needs to be closely watched and possibly medicated.

    Arguing that atheism leads people to commit suicide and must therefore be false is not only a non sequitur, to claim the first you must be dishonest and immoral to boot. 

    Until you provide any evidence against our claims about reality, or to support yours, keep your batshit to yourself and stop smearing it over the reputation of the good prof. Dawkins.

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