Friday, January 31, 2014

Unraveling the Origins Controversy - What Difference Does a Worldview Make?

Welcome to Chapter 1! How better to start a chapter than with Alice in Wonderland?

Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don't much care where.
The Cat: Then it doesn't much matter which way you go.

The Cat definitely got Alice on that one! Anyway, back to DeWitt.

The chapter starts off with one of DeWitt's trips to DC. This is something he does on a regular basis, and which trip this is isn't particularly relevant, but this particular trip is from the spring of 2006.

In the spring of 2006, I took a group of college students on a field trip to visit this museum and its many exhibits. I wanted them to see their tax dollars at work and how the theory of evolution is promoted at the museum.

Of course, the museum in question is the National Museum of Natural History. DeWitt goes on for a couple pages making note of all the instances of evolution in the museum, and goes so far as making note of the titles of books/DVDs in the gift shop. Some of these books/DVDs have biblical sounding names, such as GENESIS: Fourteen billion years in the making and Evolving Eden. He does make it known that these are evolution materials with no mention of creation or God.

And why would there be?

This is the National Museum of Natural History, not the National Museum of Stuff We Believe But Can't Really Prove. That one is in Kentucky. Let's review some words here, just to make sure we're clear on this.

museum (mjuːˈzɪəm)
a place or building where objects of historical, artistic, or scientific interest are exhibited, preserved, or studied
That's the definition of "museum that seems most appropriate in this situation.

natural history

1. the sciences, as botany, mineralogy, or zoology, dealing with the study of all objects in nature: used especially in reference to the beginnings of these sciences in former times.
2. the study of these sciences.

I don't care what you believe, whether it's evolution or not, but creation can't be classified as "natural". If you disagree, I'd love to hear your reasoning. Where in that is God suppose to fit? Botany maybe?

I digress, moving on.

Evolution is a fact, fact, fact, and there is no place for religion or the divine.

I'm glad that he brought this up, because it shows (at least at this point in the book) a misunderstanding of evolution from the very base of what it is. Evolution? Yes, it's a fact. It happens. That's uncontested by any reasonable argument. We can see that happening. Evolution is not the same thing as the Theory of Evolution. In science, theories explain facts. Evolution is a fact, and the Theory of Evolution explains how that known process works.

After DeWitt is done with the National Museum of Natural History, he moves across the street to the National Archives.

First and foremost in DeWitt's book is the famous words of Thomas Jefferson.

We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights: life,liberty, and the pursuit of happiness....

DeWitt follows that with his own statement.

Jefferson recognized that if the crown, the government or society is the one who gives rights, then it can also take those rights away. However, if the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness come not from any human agency, but from the Creator, then those rights can never be taken away.

This is one of those fun times where DeWitt and I agree, but probably not like he'd like. The rights to life,liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are routinely taken away all over this world, and even in this country. If they were endowed by the "Creator", then that shouldn't be possible, but it is. What does that say about those rights to you? To me, it says plainly and for all to see that they come from humanity, not from an all powerful deity.

What happens in a society that completely adopts evolution and does not acknowledge a Creator at all?

Uh oh.

Germany serves as a good case study.

Who doesn't know where this is going? Bated breath!

The stage was set for Hitler and the Nazi holocaust decades before it took place.

And there it is.

I'd like to congratulate Dr. DeWitt for making it a full 6 pages into Chapter 1 before dropping to the Hitler references. Such remarkable restraint!

I'm being more than a little facetious here. The invocation of Hitler is a common practice among apologists, and has gotten quite tiring. Hitler didn't really base his ideals on evolution so much as a philosophy of "Divine Right", which seems very close to the American philosophy of "Manifest Destiny", which was used to march across the continent, stomping out Native American cultures as it went.

Further, Hitler often invoked God in his writings and speeches, and even referred to the Earth as being "thousands of years old". The Catholic church had "an agreement" with the Nazis, and they in turn started a campaign against the "godless movement" (them are Atheists!).

A case could easily be made that societies that embrace religion are prone to massacring people by the truck load. In fact, that argument would be easier to make and better supported than DeWitt's claims. Despite that, it would be just as fallacious. Hitler's ideas were a perversion, and they don't represent religion or biology.

DeWitt then digresses into abortion, which really has no relation to creationism or evolution. Really, what DeWitt is trying to say here is that Creationism is better, whether it's true or not.

Shakira famously said, "I pefer an ugly truth to a pretty lie." It seems as if DeWitt doesn't agree. 

I think that's the first time I've ever quoted Shakira. Ever.

DeWitt goes on for a couple more pages, but it's really all the same thing as above. A Biblical worldview is a better worldview.

It doesn't even matter if he's right. I would disagree, but it's irrelevant. Whether your worldview is Biblical or not, the facts remain the same.
Then God said: Let there be a dome in the middle of the waters, to separate one body of water from the other.
God made the dome, and it separated the water below the dome from the water above the dome. And so it happened.

God called the dome “sky.” Evening came, and morning followed—the second day.
The Bible might say that, but regardless of your "worldview", the sky is not made of water.

It seems to me at this early point in the book, that DeWitt is setting things up so that he can disregard facts because he feels as if his "worldview" presents a "better" option.

It remains to be seen if I'm correct in that guess. We'll just have to wait and see.

And I turn the page.