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Creation and Evolution, Science, Darwin, Scientific Method, Natural Selection
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Why Do Creationists Fear Evolution?

By Dawn Huxley and Tommy Huxley
Posted on: 4/20/2002

The Huxleys explore the basis of the Creationists' denials and disgust towards the theory of evolution.

Creationists fear evolution because they believe it attacks their most sacred Fundamentalist conviction — Biblical inerrancy. Yet most readers of the Bible, if they remain alert, will discover that this sacred text contains abundant contradictions, inconsistencies and errors.

Creationists also fear evolution because the same strategy they use to discredit evolution’s scientific base can be turned against them. If creationists spent one-tenth the effort to debunk the Bible with the same standard they use to debunk evolution, then they’d triumph by their own reasoning. And yet, creationists accuse evolutionists of waving away scientific problems while they themselves concoct preposterous rationalizations to explain away Biblical difficulties!

For example, Hank Hanegraaff, president of the Christian Research Institute (CRI), hosts a daily radio program called “The Bible-Answer Man,” and his public ranting against evolution remains constant. According to Hank (and many of his on-air guests), evolution doesn’t have a single solitary particle of scientific evidence to support it. He thinks all evolutionary scientists are secretly “covering-up the facts” because an honest admission of their deceit will invalidate their life’s work. (How this conspiracy could be maintained for over a century involving millions of scientists from different research fields across the globe stretches credulity if you stop and think about it, but Fundamentalists aren’t known for logical conspiracy theories.) Hank’s “scientific” criticisms of evolution are regularly untrue, too, but since he only consults other creationists for their opinions, that’s not surprising.

Yet Hank can be slick and disingenuous when confronted with the Bible’s own contradictions. On August 28, 1996, I called the Bible-Answer Man show to ask Hank if he could resolve what I thought was probably the most flagrant Biblical contradiction: God’s punishment of children for the sins of their parents.

In Deuteronomy 24:16, for example, God declares, “Father’s shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin.” Yahweh’s decree is repeated in 2 Kings 14:6, 2 Chronicles 25:4, and Ezekiel 18:20 where God says, “The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.” Yet in Exodus 20:5, Exodus 34:7, Numbers 14:18 and Deuteronomy 5:9-10, God declares that He will “punish the sins of the fathers on their children down to their third and fourth generations.”

But when I pointed out these discrepancies to the Bible-Answer Man, he was unfazed. Hank patiently explained that God was warning Israel about the “consequences” of sin. As an analogy, he said that if I were to drink too much alcohol before I climbed behind the steering wheel of my car while my children sat in the back seat, my children risked death because of my sin. They wouldn’t be victims of God’s judgment — just my negligence.

Okay, fair enough. But what about the following commandment from God to King Saul in 1 Samuel 15:2-3?
I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.
To put this tale in its proper historical perspective, God demanded that Saul destroy the Amalekites for what their ancestors did to Israel 450 years earlier! Granted, the Amalekites remained unpopular with Israel until the present, but notice God’s pretext for their extermination — retaliation for a 450 year-old offense. And not only was Saul to “totally destroy” the descendants of these transgressors, but he demanded that Saul “put to death… [their] children and infants,” too!

Obviously, God appears to violate one of his own edicts, but the Bible-Answer Man remained unruffled. Hank patiently insisted that the Amalekites only suffered the long-term “consequences” of their ancestors’ sin. He was unable to concede that maybe, just maybe, God might’ve punished innocent children, unjustly.

By now, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with “Why Creationists Fear Evolution,” but it’s important to understand the blatant double-standard many Fundamentalists impose upon the evidence for evolution. “Creation scientists” almost never do independent research to validate their doctrines. Instead, they scour the scientific literature published by evolutionists in search of mistakes or disagreements between specialists (which explains why so many lawyers now write creationist books).

But if you expose clear and plain Biblical discrepancies to them, their wobbly apologetics slam into overdrive, and they have the ability to resolve any intractable, complex argument with evasive serenity.

And exposing Biblical contradictions threatens “inerrancy” as much as evolution does. Many creationists will not tolerate a challenge to the Bible’s perfect historical accuracy. If evolution contradicts the first three chapters of Genesis, we could take the Garden of Eden story as metaphorical parable about the origin and consequences of human sin.

But most creationists believe this is a dangerous compromise. If the Bible isn’t the standard of absolute truth, then there is no literal truth! If the story of “The Fall” is allegorical, maybe the “Flood” story is, too. From there, the Bible’s entire historical record is open to scrutiny. If the Flood story is a Hebrew fable, maybe Jesus’ bodily resurrection from the dead is mythical, too. And the Apostle Paul warned us against that interpretation:
If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for THIS life we have hope in Christ, then we are to be pitied more than all men.
1 Corinthians 15:13-19
For creationists, that’s the ultimate nightmare the possibility that maybe heaven does not exist beyond the grave. Many creationists who preach about the consequences of evolution upon American society don’t usually discuss that fate. Instead, they claim that evolution destroys the fabric of American society in general by promoting racism, infanticide, slavery, self-indulgence, abortion, murder, and other scapegoats.

But that’s just a smoke screen. Human cruelty existed thousands of years before Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1860, but creationists still think that’s their most effective propaganda tool. Creationists fear evolution because they fear death, and acknowledging an ancestral relationship between humans and animals confirms a similar fear that King Solomon expressed in Ecclesiastes 3:19-22:
Man’s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both; As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same spirit; man has no advantage over the animals. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust and to dust all return. Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?

So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work; because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?

- NIV [emphasis added]

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