The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Ray Comfort at The Way of the Master released a new video – put it up on YouTube and made it available for purchase just after midnight Wednesday morning. The provocative title? Evolution vs. God. This trailer should give a bit of an idea what the video is like:

You can find the entire video (some 38 minutes) on YouTube if interested. I’ve watched it a couple of times and have to say that it contains a rather interesting mix of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The video starts with a popular quote from Richard Dawkins that is splattered across a broad range of websites (try Google for a wide selection).

Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. — Richard Dawkins

In many sources the quote is followed by an even stronger statement not included in the opening: “Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.

And another quote.

“Live Science” says of Darwinian evolution: “It can turn dinosaurs into birds, apes into humans and amphibious mammals into whales.”

You can find the quote in What is Darwin’s Theory of Evolution? published Dec. 7, 2012, although the full quote is a bit longer.

Natural selection can change a species in small ways, causing a population to change color or size over the course of several generations. This is called “microevolution.”

But natural selection is also capable of much more. Given enough time and enough accumulated changes, natural selection can create entirely new species. It can turn dinosaurs into birds, apes into humans and amphibious mammals into whales.

The bit about given enough time is rather important, it really shouldn’t have been left out.

Finally:

A scientific method is based on “the collection of data through observation and experimentation …” – Science Daily

In this case the quote comes from a reference article Scientific Method. Again the quote does not quite do justice to the whole.

These quotes set up the approach Evolution vs. God takes to debunk evolution. I am not going to try to put together a piece by piece rebuttal of the video. It isn’t worth the effort. But there are a few points worth making concerning the Good, the Bad, and what can only be described as the Ugly.

First, the video makes the point that most of those interviewed take evolution on faith because they trust the expert scientists, not on the basis of personal knowledge and understanding. Authority and community play a big role. We can explain, make plausible arguments, go through the data – but most people will still take it on faith and intermingle language of fact and belief. Ok, this can be categorized with “the Good” – anything that makes people think about why they accept any position is good.

Darwin's_finchesSecond, the video claims to have debunked evolution because the experts could not give observable evidence on the time scale of a human life. No one could provide observable evidence of change from one kind to another that didn’t have to be accepted on faith. Fossil evidence requires faith. Richard Lenski’s experiments only show bacteria becoming … bacteria. Not good enough by the criteria required. Speciation is not a change of kind – the only acceptable evidence would be change of one “kind” into another “kind” on the time scale of a human life. A finch becoming another species of finch is not a change of kind. A finch becoming an eagle might be a change of kind. A finch becoming a bat would certainly be a change in kind. This is an impossible question – and thus the argument falls squarely into the realm of “the Bad.” Step back a bit and the fallacy becomes rather clear. This isn’t a valid way to try to debunk evolutionary biology.

Third, the video connects evolution with Hitler, atheism with suicide, and both with moral relativism. Rape is not always wrong – it is wrong in our culture. If Hitler made the rules, his rules would be moral. It all comes down to survival of the fittest. Now we venture into the realm of “the Ugly.”

Fourth, the video requires those questioned to think about the consequences of a purely naturalistic view of the world. Suppose your pet dog and your rotten number neighbor are drowning, who would you save? The neighbor as a human being is neither greater nor less than the dog. Humans are not special in creation. Now even most who hold to ontological naturalism will not go this far – but forcing people to consider the question and think through the implications of ontological naturalism falls once more in the realm of “the Good” although equating evolution with ontological naturalism veers back toward “the Bad.”

Fifth, the video turns to the gospel – a four spiritual laws form of the gospel, but there isn’t really space for much more in a video like this. The aim of the film’s makers is to bring people to a serious consideration of God and the Christian faith. This would be “the Good,” except for the connection with the arguments in the early part of the video, and for the explicit statement that people only accept evolution to avoid moral accountability. This is something of a mix – some great points combined with a conviction that the battle line is Evolution vs. God, either one or the other. There is no place for both evolution and God. I fear that the framing of the argument in this fashion will ultimately lose more than it wins. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

What do you think of the arguments and points raised by this video?

Does it do more harm than good?

If you wish to contact me directly, you may do so at rjs4mail[at]att.net

If you would like to comment please see The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly at Jesus Creed.

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