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Readers' Views: Creationism is the real fairy tale, not evolution

Posted 2/19/13

I don’t normally weigh in on such matters, but I couldn’t let Andrew Burger’s letter in the Feb. 13 edition of the Press And Journal (“Evolution is a fairy tale for adults,” Viewpoints) go unchallenged. I suspect Mr. Burger is a sincere …

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Readers' Views: Creationism is the real fairy tale, not evolution

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I don’t normally weigh in on such matters, but I couldn’t let Andrew Burger’s letter in the Feb. 13 edition of the Press And Journal (“Evolution is a fairy tale for adults,” Viewpoints) go unchallenged. I suspect Mr. Burger is a sincere and dedicated Christian or Jew, and I believe his remarks to be well-intentioned, but I also believe him to be sadly misguided on a number of points.

First, he makes the statement that “Evolution certainly is a big lie,” but offers no real proof or argument in support of this assertion. Evolutionary theory may be many things, and on a larger scale may even be a hypothesis that is not provable, but calling it a lie is a bit harsh and rather extreme.

The “phylogenetic history” of life on the planet to which Mr. Burger’s letter refers may yet be incomplete and will likely remain so forever, but there is more than enough of it to support various scientific theories regarding the development of various species.

Further, Mr. Burger sets forth a definition of evolution that is definitely biased in favor of those who wish to do battle with science. His definition, whatever its source, ends with “. . . resulting in the development of a new species.” My Webster’s New World Dictionary defines evolution as “the theory . . . that all species of plants and animals developed from earlier forms by hereditary transmissions of slight variations in successive generations.” Note that while there is considerable room for interpretation there, there is no mention of any “new species.” That is an appendix added by creationists attempting to discredit Darwin in particular and science in general.

Mr. Burger also asserts that “. . . evolution isn’t even a theory” because “a theory has to have some scientific empirical evidence,” and that “Evolution is a postulate” because “. . . it accepts something is true with no observable scientific evidence.” While I don’t completely accept his definitions of “theory” and “postulate,” I submit that one can just as easily accuse Mr. Burger of doing with the book of Genesis exactly that of which he is accusing science, because he is accepting every word of the Genesis account of creation as literally true in spite of the lack of observable scientific evidence of truth.

Worse yet for Mr. Burger, there are several hundred years’ worth of solid forensic science in a number of disciplines not relating to evolutionary theory that provide empirical evidence pointing fairly conclusively to the untruth of much or most of the Genesis accounts of creation.

It would appear that Mr. Burger rejects the evidence of his own eyes when it conflicts with his assumed literal truth of every word in the Bible.

I would add that Mr. Burger should accept the fact that there are many different kinds of truth in the Bible, not all of them necessarily literal. He might also be surprised to learn that there are many well-known biblical scholars and clergy of various denominations other than his own who do not believe that the Genesis accounts of creation were ever meant to be interpreted any way but figuratively. A wider selection of reading material and a broader mind regarding matters of religion might be helpful to Mr. Burger in this regard.

As to Mr. Burger’s assertions that certain scientists are unable to accept the Big Bang Theory because it shows there is a Creator, and that “the vast majority of the scientific community knows there is no evolution but can’t admit there is a God,” he is sadly mistaken on both counts. I know many people who profess to be atheists and agnostics who can’t accept that there is a God precisely because of the Big Bang Theory.

Furthermore, there are numerous scientists of international repute who are religious and believe in God, and that is because of their work rather than in spite of it. Mr. Burger might know of such people if he were reading a variety of scientific works with an open mind rather than reading only those sources that attempt to discredit science in favor of religion.

As to the various quotations Mr. Burger cites in which scientists appear to condemn themselves out of their own mouths, these are anything but damning in their original texts; he has quoted them out of context in order to serve his own purpose, as many like Mr. Burger are wont to do with quotations from the Bible itself.

Mr. Burger ends his letter with a statement to the effect that it is sad that millions of young people worldwide renounce the sacred history in Genesis in favor of the “fairy tale” that is the Theory of Evolution. I would counter with this statement: What is sad is that millions of young people worldwide reject all of religion, not because of the theory of evolution, but precisely because people like him insist on the literal truth of the creation accounts in Genesis. Fortunately, these young people are aware of, and familiar with, the growing body of physical evidence to the contrary.

Like it or not, Mr. Burger, the reality is that the real “fairy tale” is the first five chapters of the book of Genesis, and the sooner you can come to grips with that, the sooner you might be able to win some of those young people to the faith.  

                                            

                                             Lawrence D. Smith
                                             Middletown