Double Helix Double Helix News Series

Britons reject creationism but some find evolutionary theory lacking, too

The evolution of man

LONDON (RNS) — The Bible says God created the world in six days and on the seventh day he rested. But less than 10 percent of people in the U.K., including those with religious beliefs, now accept the biblical account of Creation.

According to a new survey published this week, the majority of Britons, including adherents of the major faiths, now accept evolutionary theory.

Even so, 19 percent of religious people in Briton (and 29 percent in Canada) found it somewhat difficult, difficult or very difficult to accept evolutionary science.

Yet at the same time that a broad consensus has developed in the U.K. about evolutionary science, significant numbers of British people without religious beliefs and even atheists do not find that evolution provides a satisfactory explanation for the development of human consciousness and the origins of what can be called spiritual aspects of human nature.

The results of the survey by the Centre for Science, Knowledge and Belief in Society, based at Newman University in Birmingham, and the survey organization YouGov were revealed at the British Science Festival in Brighton, West Sussex, on Tuesday (Sept. 5). It was part of a wider international research project called Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum funded by the Templeton Religion Trust.

Over 4,000 adults in the U.K. and Canada were interviewed for the study, which found:

  • 71 percent of U.K. respondents and 60 percent of Canadian respondents accept evolutionary theory regarding the origin of species. These figures include those with religious beliefs.
  • Only 9 percent of Britons and 15 percent of Canadians accept the biblical Creation story. This is in stark contrast to a 2015 Pew Research survey that found 34 percent of Americans say humans have always existed in their present form.
  • Around 64 percent of adults in the U.K. found it easy to accept evolutionary science as compatible with their personal beliefs; it was lower for Canadian adults at 50 percent.
  • Somewhat fewer people with religious beliefs found evolution easy to square with their faith: 53 percent in the U.K. and 41 percent in Canada.
  • 1 in 5 U.K. atheists and more than 1 in 3 Canadian atheists were not satisfied with evolutionary theory. Specifically, they agreed that “evolutionary processes cannot explain the existence of human consciousness.”
  • A larger group – 10 percent of U.K. atheists and 31 percent of Canadian ones – also felt that evolution cannot explain the origins of human beings.

“What these surprising findings highlight for the first time is that concerns about evolutionary science aren’t necessarily based solely on individuals’ religious identity,” said Fern Elsdon-Baker, the study’s principal investigator and the director of the Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum project.

“We found a range of people are uncertain of evolutionary science-based explanations for the origin of humans and human consciousness. It appears rejection of or uncertainty about aspects of human evolution is not necessarily an issue of ‘religion versus evolutionary science,’ but an issue of universal questions around what it is to be human and about the human experience that affect all of us, across those of all faiths and none. This fundamentally challenges the way we tend to think about evolution and creationism.”

The survey also showed that individuals struggling to accept evolutionary science as an explanation for the origins of life do not have similar doubts about other fields of science. They overwhelmingly accept science as a reliable source of knowledge.

Those surveyed included Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs.

A previous survey of Britons, in 2014, indicated that 19 percent of people believed in the Creation story, suggesting a sizable drop of 10 percentage points in the past three years, although this could be due to different sampling methods.

Elsdon-Baker’s team also reported that the survey revealed many nonbelievers make assumptions about believers and tend to regard them as likely to be creationists.

A DNA strand next to the title of the series.

About the author

Catherine Pepinster


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  • I find it unsurprising that anyone (Athiests, etc.) find consciousness hard to explain using evolution. In fact, as an Atheist, I find it hard to explain *at all*. Of course, that in no way suggests the idea of (or evidence for) evolution is lacking, because nothing fully explains consciousness. In fact, evolution at least explains some of it, by explaining how our brains evolved – much better than the Christian “explanation” of consciousness, which isn’t an explanation at all – just a re-naming of the problem, used as a bait and switch to distract you from lack of an answer to the question of consciousness. Saying our consciousness is due to a “soul” only renames it, without giving any explanation as to why or how a fictional “soul” could be conscious. I may as well say we are conscious due to our having a flemaflabble, which resides in our left pinky fingers, and are magically poofed into our pinky fingers by Barney in his divine purpleness. After death, our flemaflabbles exit our pinky fingers and go to reside in the nearest dryer, where they eat socks. Silly? Yes – but just as well supported as the idea of a “soul”.

  • They have defined neither evolution nor creation but assume what people are thinking, so who would even answer the survey.
    People disagree with the Bible? What, Ken Ham’s Bible, or Augustine (of Hippo’s) Bible? The world was made in a week? Whose week? God’s or Man’s? “Are thy days as the days of man? are thy years as man’s days,” JOB 10:5.
    Evolution? You mean, something called “Common Descent” — which no-one bar an imbecile and not even an imbecile believes? Everyone, bar highly educated moonshiners on the far side of the moon, agrees with the Bible regarding “Common Descent”. (Unless, of course, you are paid to teach something someone has called ‘evolution’!) “Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs?” JAMES 3;12.
    Every honest person agrees with the Bible and gives a species its true, specific, meaning.

    More. Every science-minded modern person agrees with the Bible and makes a species to be information technology married with life. (Man being a species, plus .) So, “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,
    And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground……. ” GEN.2:4&5.
    The words, “…..every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew, ……. .”, immediately fulfills the modern (i.e., post- 19th Century Darwinistic) understanding of biotechnology.. …….. . A species, being information technology acting within living cells –a cell being a product of vivification and organization of originally inert chemicals — a species in fact can exist without being tangible at present whilst being certain to appear in the future. In God’s economy of evolution or staged revelation as it was carried out in the geologic past.
    Which certainly was not, “Common Descent”.

    The survey is worse than meaningless.

  • Hopefully those statistics will motivate British and Canadian Christians to prayerfully take action, and continue fighting back against all that no-good Monkey Business.

    In fact, let’s begin with that worn-out monkey-to-man chart (“The Evolution of Man”), at the beginning of the RNS article. Here’s the honest truth:

    “There are only three ways to make an ape-man: 1) make an ape more human-like, 2) make a human more ape-like, or 3) fraudulently mix the two together.”

  • This news item was much better than I anticipated. The author pointed out that the Pew Trust survey of American adults had much different statistics. However even then, there was a statistically significant shift to accepting evolutionary biology. The 2014 data showed that the “undecided” were deciding in favor of science. This year’s data extended that observation to the fact that Americans have begun to leave the creationist camp as well. These numbers are just a snapshot in time, and could easily revert. (Trump’s election showed nothing is impossible).

    If I were to offer just one criticism it would be the cliche graphic of a gibbon to “human” progression. The original image was from a popular lecture given by Thomas Huxley well over a century ago. It does not age well. It neither reflects the predictions of evolutionary theory, nor the positive results of paleontology and genetics.

  • Templeton is a scam designed to muddy science in order to steal it. It’s like what Intelligent Design is to Creationism.

    And evolution is evidence-based. Fossils, genetics, and on and on. Religion is based on nothing but manmade tales and personal arrogance (while feigning humility).

    Religion’s death is long overdue, much like alchemy and astrology.

  • Proverbs 18:2
    A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

    Proverbs 29:11

    A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.

    Proverbs 1:7

    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

    Proverbs 18:6

    A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating.

    Proverbs 29:9

    If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.

  • A literal interpretation of the creation stories in Genesis is impossible, because the two creation stories are not only at variance, but they contradict each other. The two stories refer to the deity differently: God/gods and YHWH God. One story talks about the six days of creation; the other talks about the day of creation. The order of creation is also different in the two stories.

    The fact that these stories can’t be taken literally does not mean that they are worthless. Of course not! Aesop’s fables teach valuable lessons. So does the story of Beth Gelert and so does the story of Pandora . Ditto for all great literature. However, when it comes to the history of the earth, our best guess is based on science.

  • Ah, more of that religious humility on display.

    A fool cites scripture as if that scripture wasn’t invented by ignorant mammals. Got that, slave?

    I prefer Shakespeare: “Even the devil can cite scripture to serve his purpose.”

  • There are no answers in Genesis – it’s a story written in the Bronze Age and is scientifically inaccurate. The theory of evolution is the best explanation of the evidence and it has been fortified through the use of DNA.

  • Doesn’t matter. Not one iota of scientific evidence for creationism, overwhelming evidence for evolution. That’s why there is no controversy from the science community.

  • Umm, your last sentence was one of the points on which Ken Ham absolutely crushed Bill Nye, in the Big Debate.

    (Ultimately, the debate was a tie, in my opinion. Ham was strong in the first half; Nye made a comeback in the second half.)

    Anyway, Nye tried to say something to the effect of “there is no controversy from the science community”, whereupon Ham unexpectedly unleashed brand-new videos from full-blown professional scientists (including a PhD microbiologist and the PhD scientist who invented the MRI machine used in hospitals), who indeed said there was a controversy with evolution. Nye was trapped.

  • Just a quick note:
    Christian scholarship has eliminated — that’s right, eliminated — all three alleged “contradictions” in your first paragraph.

    Not one objection has been left standing, either in textbooks like Archer’s Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, or at online apologetics websites like and . Those three objections are wiped out. (Refs or Links available upon request).

    Why is this information important? Because part of the standard evolution sales-pitch is simply to attack the rational consistency of the Genesis texts, since Genesis makes clear historical claims that can never be reconciled with evolution. Evolutionists assert “contradictions” where none exist, in an attempt to sell Christians on disbelieving their own Bibles. Don’t buy into it.

  • That’s not too bad at all there, Catherine Pepinster. If “9 percent of Britons and 15 percent of Canadians accept the biblical Creation story”, as do “34 percent of Americans”, then God’s cool & chillin’ with that. No hot stuffs like fire & brimstone necessarily just yet. Recall, 10 was the magic number agreed to between Him and our broker, Avram of Ur. No, not 10% of an entire population, but just 10 individuals who, in our day and age, are just savvy enough in God not to buy into all that “evolutionary science” stuff in all its wisdom. Even around here alone I can already count 3 such individuals; so all God needs is 7 more to simmer down. I don’t count, but – AW SNAP – most certainly, neither do those “people [who] are [getting] uncertain of evolutionary science-based explanations for the origin of humans and human consciousness”! Serves them right, ya think?!

  • Aren’t you among those who’re now, as the writer reported, “uncertain of evolutionary science-based explanations for the origin of humans and human consciousness”? I don’t think you are. Certain, I mean. Possess “consciousness”, I mean. Nor “origin”. You are – wait for it – FD!

  • A fool believes in things without evidence.
    NoFun 22:3

    Circular thinking is believing bible quotations can prove what bible says.
    NoFun 1:10

  • There is always uncertainty. But the available evidence for evolution, collected over centuries, is strong, and should be accepted (yet always questioned): just as any other supported theory.

  • Hi Floydlee,

    Christian scholarship isn’t confined to the beliefs of ‘Answers in Genesis’ or ‘’ Trying to pass off a minority sectarian viewpoint as representative of ‘Christian Scholarship’ is a teensy bit questionable.

    1 Christian – and Jewish – scholarship acknowledges that the deity is referred to differently in different passages. Sometimes it is YHWH; sometimes it is God. There is no way of getting away from this fact.

    2 Genesis 1:31-2:3 says that God made the world in six days and then had a rest. Genesis 2:4 says, “in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.” – when it is translated literally. That’s just how it is.

    3 There is a different order of creation in the two accounts. In the first account, the animals are created before the humans (Genesis 1:24-27). In the second account the man – but not the woman – is created before the animals (Genesis 2:7, 18-23). And no amount of spin will change this.

    These and other anomalies in the Bible gave Jean Astruc, an 18th Century French physician, the incentive to answer the skeptics and show that the difficulties could be put down to different documents that had been incorporated into our present biblical texts. See or for more detailed evidence, this article in the Jewish Encyclopedia:

    The documentary hypothesis that Astruc developed was enormously influential in both Christian and Jewish Biblical scholarship.

  • I mean, this was explained to you previously yet here we are, again ignoring the weight of mainstream biblical scholarship. How many encycloepedias would it take to get the simple facts. Yes, the Bible contains superficial contradictions. Yes, the Bible can be proved to be in (fiddling) technical ‘error’ in a thousand places. Read a mainstream bible commentary!
    No-one can prove any one human being wrote every word of the sacred text. Everyone with a personal knowledge of the Saviour and/or a standard level of intellectual acumen can prove to their personal satisfaction that one human being was the Author of every word in the sacred text. Jesus Christ, “in whom dwelleth the fullness of the godhead bodily.”

    As you well know, at GEN. 2:4 the time -sequence account of creation ceases and what follows is commentary, expansion, MODUS OPERANDI. As proved by the fact that the name of the Creator changes from (transliterationally), GOD, to, LORD GOD. Lord of all things — therefore, no new matter, energy, or information is imparted to the universe after GEN. 2: 4. As far as science need be concerned. Without going into technical fiddles.
    So, as the text implies, there is one account of creation in time sequence followed by explanations which may seemingly suggest contradiction but which on closer examination are in more than total harmony with the time sequence narrative.
    I repeat the information you were given previously and here is a repeat of the insects:
    Even learning by osmosis will overwhelm us with the number and variety of insect species. Makes the literal interpretation of GENESIS even more wonderful.
    We need the Authorized Version. It is the exact transliteration from the Hebrew. GENESIS 1:20. And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. 21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind:…….
    “Let the waters bring forth abundantly…. …..fowl that may fly…” Is an insect something that may fly? When squashed, is an insect earth or water? What does abundantly mean?
    So, the first meaning of the Hebrew includes abundant water-based creatures capable of flight. (Day 5, of course, is the Cambrian.) The Hebrew has the remarkable attribute of being able to make two equal statements concurrently. See ‘margin’. The equal (margin)concurrent of V. 20? “…..Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and let fowl fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.”
    So, the equal concurrent implies? Creatures capable of strong flight but not specified as being solely, repeat, solely, brought forth by the waters, abounded as part of this creative event. The Cambrian was when all the blueprints/patterns of complex organisms, man’s body perhaps included (?) sprang into existence. Fact of palaeontology. Fact of GENESIS.
    Birds, bats and flying reptiles are not water when squashed — they are more akin to? Try GEN. 2:19. “…out of the ground the Lord God formed ….. every fowl of the air……. .”
    So, there is the distinction — a preponderant kingdom of flying water if we like, pre-dating and overshadowing by volume the other classes of — flying — earth. But whereas the insects are solely water based, the birds, etc — ‘fowl of the air’ — the birds, bats, reptiles etc. are water based earth modified. My old palaeontology lecturer would love it. All complex life, back in the Cambrian. Vertebrae, brains, eyes, the lot. Not all instantly revealed, but implicit. Water based, subsequently modified to suit a purpose. Man being exceptional. Don’t worry. The Bible tells us the process involved.
    The Bible literally demands a staged revelation of already existing species. Line and verse. But it isn’t simplistic heathen hoo ha and it is a vast topic. There was (and is) a tree of life (from which we are now barred) and there is what is known as the Adamic curse – morphs and mutations, pain and human death, known to us now. The evolution pusher who ignores Scripture therefore becomes hopelessly confused.
    As may the ‘creationist’ who ignores the literal Bible.

  • Religion’s discreditation is accelerating daily.
    It’s last gasp at relevance is an attempt to latch-on to a trailing thread of Science’s cloak, as Science’s
    explanation of Nature and the Cosmos accelerates deeper into rational human consciousness.

    Evolution was once a theory.
    It has been a proven fact of Science for decades.
    And more evidence of it’s factuality is being discovered daily.

  • Evolution is still a theory and will always remain one. This is true of gravity, electro-magnetism and other things we hold as absolute. A theory has the potential of being proved false at some point. Theories vary in the amount of evidence that supports them. Evolution is well established and has been bolstered with the advent of DNA. Folks outside of science don’t realize that the word “theory” carries a different meaning.

  • Good answer. What is illogical is using a Bronze Age book of mythology as a source for answers to our origins. That is ludicrous.

  • Mglass,

    I’m currently taking a class on The Bible taught by a Jewish Rabbi. We are reading Genesis now, and on your 2nd and 3rd points, I’d like to say this:

    #2: In John Lennox’s book Seven Days that Divide the World, he explains there are actually four ways to understand “yom,” the Hebrew word for ‘day,’ in the opening section of Genesis. Lennox likens the usage of ‘day’ in Gen 2:4 as to when we would say ‘Back in my day…” Here ‘day’ does not mean a single 24-hour period, but it refers to an undefined length of time. Some translations translate this verse as “When God created…”

    #3: You are correct in noting that there is a different order of creation in the two accounts. What you are missing–and this is not spin–is that it’s simply reordered in the narrative, not in God’s chronological act of creating. My Jewish professor, who had told the class that, like your assertion, these were contradictory accounts, wound up affirming this position regarding Genesis 2:19, “Now out of the ground the Lord God *HAD FORMED* every beast…” This past tense usage implies that God created the animals before creating Adam. My prof agreed that this was a possible interpretation. Just because the author of Genesis rearranges the narrative, it doesn’t mean the animals were created after man, no more than the way a doctor would explain how a hospital was built would be different than the way an architect would explain the same process. In Hebrew literature, authors would use a recursive method to write about particular topics from different perspectives, so it’s no surprise that he would include more than one creation story–the first being God-centered; the second being man-centered.

    You obviously can reject these interpretations, but the fact remains my professor, a Jewish Rabbi, who asserted your same objections, affirmed these interpretations. So if they are possible interpretations, one cannot call them contradictions.

  • Just for fun, years ago, I made a small list of all the sources I had found, print or online, that addressed your objection #3 there. I found two textbooks (including Dr. Archer’s, which I have my own copy), and seven online sources, (including two non-fundie Catholic sources and others), for a total of 9 different references.

    Nine different established, scholarly sources all knocking out your #3 objection in their own words. Yet evolutionists continue preaching #3 as though NO source had refuted it. If somebody DOES bring up refutations, the evolutionists will back off for a while, but then preach the same objection later, when the heat’s off.

    Same thing for your other two objections. Same for the Documentary Hypothesis too (think Swiss Cheese, lots of big holes.) Evolution is far more concerned with sales-pitch than science.

  • I’m sorry FD, but if you look at the real evidence, you’ll find an incredible amount of ancient manuscripts confirming the accuracy of the Scriptures we have today. historically, the “bronze age” book is accurate. There is no other book of its kind that describes the real world as it really is. Actually 66 books, written over a period of 1500 years by 40 or so authors, most of whom did not know each other. Consistent theme of God reaching down to man, desiring a relationship with each man and woman. Answering the 3 haunting questions every human heart longs for…where did we come from? Why are we here? and What happens when we die? You should give it (God) a chance.

  • Sales-pitch there, folks. Don’t buy into it. Defective merchandise.

    Readers, ask if FD means “micro-evolution” or “macro-evolution”. Big difference. Micro is like butterfly wings changing color. “Macro” is some unproven ape-like “common ancestor” animal, magically turning into humans.

    “Macro” is where the evidence is **missing**, big-time. “Macro” is where evolution TOTALLY contradicts the Bible and its supernatural miracles. You already saw one poster say there was no Adam and Eve. That IS actually what the theory of evolution teaches.

    So your accepting or rejecting the supernatural historical claims of Genesis, does affect your accepting or rejecting the supernatural historical claims of the Four Gospels and Jesus. (Jesus fully accepted Genesis, Adam & Eve.)

    You cut yourself off from ANY evolutionary linkage to ANY past or present animal, merely by posting rational sentences in this forum. Unbridgeable chasm.

  • You’re dealing in petty semantics.The religious use the phrase ” theory of evolution ” as a method of giving ” creationism ” status.

    Your denial of the factuality of evolution only serves to provide the religious with an avenue to maintain their ignorance.

    Evolution has been a proven fact of science for decades – as well proven as the fact that we live in a Heliocentric solar system.

  • You bring morality to the texts; your morality does not derive from them. Moreover, the amount of internal inconsistencies and absurdities are too numerous to list, and all your justifications can be applied to any myth system. It’s unconvincing, to say the least. “Why” we are here is subjective, and if it isn’t then we’re slaves; when we die it’s likely we return to the non-existence from which we were born, and anything beyond that is make-believe by fearful mammals; and give the Flying Spaghetti Monster a chance.

  • Hypotheses border on opinion: theories are essentially fact (which can always be uprooted in light of new, insanely substantial evidence, which is often unlikely). And actually, semantics matter.

  • “Religion’s death is long overdue…”

    And yet religion persists. One of the dirty little secrets of evolutionary theorizing is that it has a real problem accounting for the persistence and pervasiveness of religion. If religion ever had an evolutionary purpose (and evolutionists have looked pretty hard trying to find one), it has long since out lived whatever it was: “The durability and near universality of religion is one of the most enduring conundrums of evolutionary thinking, one of Britain’s most eminent evolutionary psychologists acknowledged recently.”

  • There is effectively no controversy from the science community.

    As in all communities there are a few members whose fears/indoctrination/wishful thinking enables them to misunderstand/misinterpret/overlook the evidence.

    In a two horse race which would you put your net-worth on – the million to one odds-on favourite or the horse with three legs two of which are broken?

  • I see ad hominem but no counterargument. Very impressive, Patrick. Speaking with you is in no way a complete and pathetic waste of time.

  • I am not adding morality to it. Are you a moral being? Where do you think morals come from? How do you know right from wrong? Taught it? Some perhaps, but deep down you know there is a God and morality is engrained in man since we were created in his image. Look at the complexities of the universe, the human body, the flowers, earth and life all around. Come from nothing? Evolved? Come on, you know better. That what the article is about. You know that does not make sense. Design is all around. Read some micro biologists, like Michael Behe. DNA and the “little machines’ in our cells cannot possibly have evolved. The best explanation is an incredibly intelligent being … and He has communicated with men and women since the beginning of our time on earth. BTW, I hope this is not coming across as arrogant. I do not have all the answers, but I do know the One who does…personally…met Him 40 years ago and have never been disappointed.

  • People familiar with the issues in evolutionary thinking recognize that the persistence of religion constitutes a problem for them. “The durability and near universality of religion is one of the most enduring conundrums of evolutionary thinking, ONE OF BRITAIN’S MOST EMINENT EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGISTS acknowledged recently.” http://www.religionnewsblog
    What’s genuinely mindless is reducing disagreements to the mental inferiority of your opponents. Preaching to your choir while demonizing the opposition is the short route to cultural irrelevance.

  • An easy way to overturn the millions-of-years view is that the most common rock on the surface of the continents is fossiliferous sedimentary, as seen exposed in Grand Canyon, U.S.A. It was deposited by water: the sediment particles settle out of the water to make the flat layers we see covering the continents, often to great thicknesses. In those layers we find deer, dinosaurs, fish, etc., sometimes in huge graveyards. We are taught from grade school to graduate school, and from the museums and media, that the layers took millions of years to accumulate.
    Hold that thought a moment: what happens to the carcass of a deer that dies in the woods? It does not become a fossil, but as soon as it stinks the scavengers come and fight over it, scattering it around the woods. My point is the same would happen with a dinosaur, or any other creature. So it is not scientifically reasonable to interpret those layers as the result of a slow and gradual accumulation of sediment. It is much more reasonable to see them as the result of a rapid, catastrophic, water burial, as in the results of a flood but on a larger scale.
    For the sake of argument if you suppose that Noah’s flood occurred as recorded (after the continents rose and sea beds went down, and the waters flowed off the continents), what kind of evidence do you think it would leave? There would be billions of dead animals and plants buried in layers of sediment all over the continents, which is exactly what we find today. That would explain many geological features such as coal: the Flood would scrape the earth of its vegetation and bury it quickly in layers, which is why you find layers of coal under layers of solid rock. Plants don’t grow down there: some mechanism had to quickly deposit huge amounts of vegetation, then quickly bury it under more sediment to preserve it (peat beds are made differently). See for more.

  • The distinction between “macro” and “micro” evolution is false but necessary if you refuse to accept the reality of a 4.5bn year old earth.

    The scientific theory of evolution does not teach that there was an historic Adam or an historic Eve. There is good evidence from DNA that most (not all) humans are descended from a single male and a single female but that they lived some (from memory) 50,000 years apart – real, evidenced likelihood which again is incompatible with the unsubstantiated nonsense of a young earth.

    Of course, for some, the rejection of a literal Genesis refutes the whole simplistic Christian hypothesis that justifies the whole caboodle.

    If the Bible is wrong about one thing it is possibly wrong about everything.

    No Adam and Eve, no fall
    No fall, no need for redemption
    No need for redemption, no need for a blood sacrifice.
    No need for a blood sacrifice, no need for a Christ
    No need for a Christ, no possibility of Christianity being valid.

    I get it

    The problem is not the logic – it’s is the desperation with which some who call themselves Christians cling to the demonstrably false sequence. Most Christians in the developed world have no such hang-ups and accept the evolutionary reality – they have to perform some rather iffy mental gymnastics to do so but that’s the price they have to pay to retain their hope of heaven.

    As you might guess – since no-one has ever offered me either valid evidence or rational need for the existence of the supernatural I have to reject all claims based upon its presumed existence.

  • Decision, decision, innit?

    On the one hand: “evidence” + “theory” + (from original post of yours) “science” + “accepted (yet always questioned)” = (you honorably admitted it, thanks) “uncertainty”

    On the other hand, “nothing but … tales” + “humility” = certainty

    Dead Charles Darwin and Dying Neo- and Post-Darwinists give you “uncertainty”. The crucified, buried and resurrected Christ Jesus give me certainty.

    That’s the only difference. (Un)Certainty.

    I’m an Ivy Leaguer, and I appreciate that difference. Science has its place, but can’t re-place. It’s most powerful when it rejects Christ Jesus without replacing Him with certainty and when it, therefore, makes everyone believe the lie that there’s no certainty in Him.

  • It’s ironically evolutionary in-group/out-group, wanting to belong in a psychological sense, finding comfort that all the answers exist and that whispering to oneself in private magically communicates with an all-powerful being who can intercede and help (and funnily enough, often does not: maybe ’cause no one is there). None of that of course is evidence of anything. The persistence of religion is not a problem for such people: religion has held sway over humans for millennia, and science only a handful of centuries. The deck is rigged.

  • Thanks for telling me what I think. Again, more of that pious humility on display. Behe is a fraud and has been debunked repeatedly, partly why he lost in court (read the judge’s decision on Intelligent Manure, I mean Design). And you can’t explain everything therefore God exists, and a specific one at that. Got it. Really convincing. Tell me: if Nature is so complicated that it requires a creator, then surely that creator is even more complicated and….guess what…requires a creator itself. It’s a fallacy of infinite regress. Any other dead-ends you’d like to serve up as evidence.

  • Hi Andy,

    I read your comment with great interest!

    Yes, the word for day in Hebrew doesn’t have to be taken literally. (It doesn’t have to be taken literally in English, either.) And yes, I’m aware that many translations render the “day” in Genesis 2:4 as “when.” Some might regard that as a fair translation but others might suspect a touch of pious fraud. After all, when choosing between versions, one is supposed to prefer the more difficult reading.

    Your second point is far more interesting. Your Rabbi pointed out that Genesis 2:19 could imply that YHWH had already made the animals. So let’s have a look at what the New JPS translation says – in context.

    ’18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for man to be alone; I will make a fitting helper for him,” 19 And the LORD God formed out of the earth all the wild beasts and all the birds of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. ….”

    Notice how the passage flows. The deity expresses a concern and then he takes action. One action follow from another in a logical sequence.
    The phrase “I will make” in Genesis 2:18 is inconsistent with the notion that the animals and birds had already been made. So are the two verbs “formed” and “brought” that are linked with an “and” in Genesis 2:19.”

    Now you might well argue that this is just one translation, but it is backed up again and again by other translations including the King James Bible and its derivatives (RSV, NRSV ), the Jerusalem Bible, the New English Bible and the Good News Bible.

    So though it is possible to interpret the passage differently, I have simply interpreted the passage the way it has been translated by all these translations. And, yes, that would mean that there is a different order of creation in the two creation stories.

  • It doesn’t matter what scientists believe: it matters what the science says. Newton was an alchemist, Einstein believed in the steady-state theory: both were wrong.

  • Wow! that’s quite a wall of text, and you make some very interesting points. However, most of it has no relevance to the questions that I raised. Either the two creation stories are consistent or they are not.

  • The question I raised isn’t about evolution, but about the two creation stories in the book of Genesis. By all means quote your authorities, but ask yourself why virtually all the Bible translations confirm the point that I made about the difference in the order of creation in the two creation stories. Please see my reply to Andy, below.

  • I’m sure that for amateur evolutionists (who of course have all the answers), “the persistence of religion is not a problem for such people.” For the professionals, however, who know what’s really going on in their field, their inability to find an evolutionary explanation for the phenomenon is a major failure of understanding — and they know it.

  • If it were pseudoscience you could easily expose it with one or two physical evidences, but please see that resort to name calling reveals a weak position.
    Three more examples of why the sediment should be understood as rapidly deposited: polystrate fossils (e.g. trees) that protrude through several layers of sediment, abrupt bending of multiple sediment layers (once the sediment is lithified it would break rather than bend, showing the layers must have been bent while still in a ‘plastic’ condition), and multiple extensive, even regional, planation surfaces without evidence of erosion.

  • The pious have all the answers; the “evolutionists” have tangible evidence, from fossils to genetics, demonstrating the relatedness of all life. You sound like an Area 51 charlatan: “I know people who know people who said there’s something going on.”

  • “significant numbers of British people without religious beliefs and even atheists do not find that evolution provides a satisfactory explanation for the development of human consciousness and the origins of what can be called spiritual aspects of human nature.”

    Spiritual is a nonsense word. Normal people don’t use it. There is nothing spiritual in the universe.

    “even atheists” These would be fake atheists, uneducated atheists, extremely dense atheists. Real atheists accept the established truth of evolution which explains everything about the diversity of life.

    “A larger group – 10 percent of U.K. atheists and 31 percent of Canadian ones – also felt that evolution cannot explain the origins of human beings.”

    These fake atheists don’t know what an atheist is.

  • The facts of Behe’s and other MB’s research and discoveries stand on their own. You can ignore them if you want to but that does not change the facts…evolution (slime evolving into life, animals and mankind) is impossible. And if creation and the universe are not from God, them what? Gas? Where did it come from? You can deny God all you want, but the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament (the earth and all on it) shows his handiwork. No other explanation makes sense. And again, you can deny it all you want but that does not change truth. Deep down, you know He is, and one day you will meet God. He’ll point out to you (if you don’t discover it before your life ends) that He loved you…enough to provide a way you can know Him and be sure of spending eternity with Him. But that must take place before your life on earth ends. Sorry, but that’s just how it is. Not my idea, His. “The fear (reverence, acknowledgement of who He is) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Should you come to know Him, your “eyes” will not believe the riches available in your spirit and soul. There is nothing so life changing as coming into a living relationship with the only true and living God. Have a nice weekend.

  • Its not an either/or thing. Creationism has no reasonable support whatsoever. It isn’t science. It isn’t even religion. Its an argument for trying to browbeat people into a specific sectarian religious belief. You can’t even call it support for religion in general. Virtually all religions reject Creationism. Most of Christianity does as well. It is only an idea among a small subset of Protestant Christianity.

    Attacks on Evolutionary Theory do not translate directly into support of Creationism. Where evolutionary theory does not explain some aspect of the world, it is not automatic support for a Scripture based creation story.

  • I think what you mean is that Christian apologists have offered midrashic (!) explanations for the obvious textual difficulties, such as God changing his name midway through Gen. 2 and a new narrative beginning. That’s fine of course but they are not eliminated.

  • Wow. That’s certainly a lot better than America. Stories like this always make me wonder if we really did the right thing by declaring independence from those guys…

  • I take it your rabbi’s class is a non-critical, general audience type of thing. She is giving you correct dictionary definitions, but it’s not a final answer.
    It is true that “yom” CAN mean periods of time other than a 24-hour day. But that doesn’t mean that’s how Gen. 1 is using “yom.” We know it means a standard day because it emphasizes “and there was evening, and there was morning.” And if it didn’t mean six days, the Sabbath would be meaningless. Also, when the Torah does use “yom” to mean something else, there is always a special linguistic connection, like a prepositional phrase or genitive construction (fancy way of saying possessive). Just look a few pages later to Gen. 6:3. When God caps the human age at 120, he says, “v’hayu yamav” — and HIS days shall be — 120 years. The days in Gen. 1 are cardinal days. Notice how no one is clamoring to argue that when the Torah says in Gen. 22:4, “bayom hashlishi,” on the third day, cf. Gen. 1:13, when Abraham sees the place on Moriah where he is expected to sacrifice Isaac, it really means the third “epoch” or “era”? All the more so we should argue this, due to the difficulties the text presents with determining Isaac’s age. But that doesn’t happen, because unlike “creationism vs. evolution,” very little is at stake.
    Similarly, Biblical Hebrew does not have a true pluperfect tense. So it’s not technically wrong to say that “Vayitzer YHVH Elohim” could mean “And God YHVH had formed” as opposed to just “formed” in simple past tense. The problem is that you’re only doing so to harmonize two different creation accounts. Nothing in the Gen. 2 text indicates that the animals came first. The only thing that does is Gen. 1. That’s why even Orthodox Jewish proselytization/outreach groups like Chabad (Lubavitch Hasidism) translate it as formed. And before the era of evangelical apologetic translations like the New International Version, that’s what Christians did too.
    None of this should dissuade you from studying, nor should it dissuade you from believing in the truth, literal or not, of the Bible. It actually has less to do with creationism than with the idea, as Mglass mentioned, that there is more than one author and more than one creation account.

  • Thank God we have you to define atheism to all us morons. Why, I was under the impression that atheism is simply a lack of belief in God. I was also under the impression that about 23 million Americans (Pew 2012) describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious” (don’t trust my math, I’m not as smart as you). That’s a lot of abnormal people. Good thing you have computer chess to keep you occupied and not deal with us proles.
    Atheists don’t have to be scientists. They don’t have to be educated. They don’t have to have an opinion on evolutionary theory. Btw, stating that evolutionary theory hasn’t provided an explanation of consciousness doesn’t mean that one doubts evolution as a whole.

  • If you have some physical evidence for your position it would be a stronger response. To call names instead is like saying ‘you’re wrong’ and has no more force of argument, no reason to favor your thinking.

  • Shoot Arbustin, you beat me to it. The chronological combo platter of “Yom (day) + Ordinal Number (first, second, etc) + the ‘Evening and Morning’ phrase”), is a unique and unforgettable chronological marker in the Bible. It’s not only unique to Gen. chapter 1, it’s also unique and separate from any and all non-biblical religious texts AFAIK (at least the texts I was exposed to in college).

    This specific combo platter doesn’t appear in Gen. chap. 2 or anywhere else in the Bible, which is how we know that it’s only Gen. chapter 1 that’s giving us the chronological order of creation, as well as specifying in a unique, unforgettable way that each day of Creation Week was indeed a literal 24-hour day.

    It’s as if God knew that someday His side of the story would come under extreme attack from devotees of materialism, and so He slipped a little something special into the Bible text, that could never be eliminated.

    I can’t speak for Judaism, but on the Christian side, I’ve found NO refutations on this one. So there are NO “two creation stories in the Bibles.” Just one. There are NO “contradictory creation accounts.” NO “difference in order of creation.”

  • No, I mean Christians (though obviously not just Christians alone) have pointed out some biblical facts (like the combo-platter thing with “yom” above) that the evolutionists — even the theistic evolutionists — have NO Scriptural refutations or comebacks for.

    This is why evolutionists usually try to keep the debate AWAY from discussing the Genesis texts or other scriptures. The professionals among them, already know exactly what the Bible is saying, and how very strongly the Bible is saying it. They don’t want YOU to know about it, though.

    Take the “God’s name” thing. I’ve already heard the sales-pitch “God has two different names in Genesis, so that means two different contradictory creation stories.” I already know it’s been totally shot down, but again, evolutionists just wait till the heat’s off and then bring the same-ole same-ole.

    But in THIS forum, check this out:

  • It’s very strange that you would say “The distinction between “macro” and “micro” evolution is false”, under ANY conditions.

    You are now in direct opposition to the nationally taught, pro-evolution high-school / college textbook “Campbell-Reece, Biology“, as well as the university-level “Freeman-Herron, Evolutionary Analysis.”

    Both textbooks give distinct, non-synonymous definitions of microevolution and macroevolution, respectively. So why would evolutionists teach and publish a “false but necessary” distinction between evolutionary definitions? Is “false but necessary” how Science Education works these days? Very strange statement you offered.

    On the other hand, I appreciated your perceptive and exact summary of how the evolutionists’ attack on “a literal Genesis” impacts the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You spelled it out very clearly. The theory of evolution “puts Jesus on the unemployment line”, as atheist Frank Zindler pointed out.

  • Quickie philosophy note: If you combine the Cosmological Argument with the Design Argument, you wind up destroying “the fallacy of infinite regress”, and then you atheists are, umm, left totally defenseless again. So sorry.

    (hat tip to William L. Rowe and other philosophers)

  • “a lack of belief in God”

    This idea comes from wimpy fake atheists. The wimpy atheists are not much better than the Christian bible thumpers and the Muslim terrorists.

    Is supernatural magic real or not? Wimpy fake atheists don’t want to answer this question.

    “Btw, stating that evolutionary theory hasn’t provided an explanation of consciousness doesn’t mean that one doubts evolution as a whole.”

    It just means the uneducated brain-dead wimpy atheists don’t know anything about science.

    “23 million Americans (Pew 2012) describe themselves as ‘spiritual but not religious’ (don’t trust my math, I’m not as smart as you). That’s a lot of abnormal people.”

    That is a lot of idiots and it’s disgraceful. This the 21st century. We don’t need ridiculous words like “spiritual”.

    You disagree because you’re part of the problem. Nobody cares. Normal people don’t need your kind.

    You’re just an annoying pest. Being a pest makes you happy. Attacking people who are not superstitious idiots is fun for you.

    Go away and play with your toys. I’m not going to have a conversation with a fake atheist.

  • I know neither the texts nor the authors you quote but the general response to the attempt to muddy the clear waters of the scientific theory of evolution with “macro” and “micro” evolution is to point out that they are the same thing but that the more major advances require a time period that Bishop Ussher’s conclusions don’t permit.

    The consequence of preferring dogma to evidence-based rationality is a need to reject the evidence in an attempt to maintain the purity of a much translated creation myth. A myth which originated in Babylon and was adapted by bronze age tribesmen to fit their particular unevidenced monotheistic belief system.

    As I see it, it isn’t evolutionists who attack a literal Genesis – it’s the facts. Evidence and logic combine to provide an explanation that differs from all the many creation myths that humanity has invented. If that rational and evidence-based explanation destroys a belief there’s a very high likelihood that the belief is wrong. It really is that simple.

  • The bottom line is that Genesis is a story and has absolutely nothing to contribute to the understanding of our universe.

  • C-689 created your god. Without C-689 (praise to her twenty kneecaps) your god could not have been made. You think “God” just came from nothing? Imposssible! Why do you deny C-689???? She loves you!

  • The history provided by fossils and the ubiquity of DNA are a good start. There are a few, only a few, articles and books on how evolution works. Very difficult to find, which is why you need me to explain. You don’t have to explain your pseudoscience though: It’s stunningly transparent.

  • Cute! Great imagination! Wonder where C-689 came from or for that matter your ability to think and imagine? Evolved? Hardly. God is Spirit and has always been. Hard to imagine and believe I know, but that is what He has communicated throughout history. The complexity of everything we see testifies to His wisdom and intelligence. Just think about the ability to read this, interpret it and think through and type a response. Incredible intelligence and ability we possess. I was at the dentist last week, grateful for the size of hands…able to fit in a mouth and clean teeth, among all the other things they are so perfectly designed to do. Again…evolved? Unlikely. God knew what He was doing for sure.

  • Agreed. Child’s mature. Not Adult Mom.

    In the movie the child catches her POINT-ing her middle finger to another parent instead of presenting her POINTS of disagreement on the issues the 2 adults are going through. She didn’t say, “Word vomit”. You did. And I’m the dumb child here, obviously.

  • There is nothing complicated about the persistence of religion. Humans don’t like feeling powerless. Other humans like power and money. So one group says “Do what I say and send money and I will make the hurricane go away. See it’s been downgraded to a Cat 2 because of me.” Toss in a human propensity for cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias, and voila, religion.

    Religion began when the first conman met the first fool. Why do you think evangelicals hate financial disclosure and education?

  • Most evolutionary biologists mock attempts to find an evolutionary basis for social phenomena.

    And when scientists don’t have an explanation for something, their response is “let’s gather evidence” not “OMG. It must be magic.”

  • There is no difference between micro evolution and macro evolution except time and scale.

    It is the same process.

    It makes as much sense to say 2×3=6 is true because it is “micro math” but 2 billion x 3 billion is not 6 bilion because that’s “macro math, and besides, nobody had that many fingers.”

    Scientists have multiple lines of evidence supporting every aspect of evolution and every major branch of life. That species evolve is fact. The Theory of Evolution is the explanation of the facts and is supported by evidence.

  • Quibble. Evolution is fact AND theory. Theories are explanations of facts that account for all the evidence and are not contradicted by any evidence. Theories are the best of the best. Theories do not become facts.

    Gravity is a fact. The Theory of Gravity is the comprehensive explanation of the facts.

    That species evolve is fact. The evidence for evolution is extensive and comes from genetics, paleontology, embryology, physiology, geodiversity and more. The Theory of Evolution is the comprehensive explanation of all facts.

  • I’m sure we’re all quaking in the presence of your superior intellect. May I suggest the Global Religions channel on Disqus? Not because it’s an intellectual discussion, far from it, but you’ll find a lot more “geniuses” like you there than you will on RNS.

  • In Judaism it has always been the practice, even in ancient and medieval times, to harmonize any contradictions in the text. Historical criticism is one way to look at it. Not so much that there are two contradictory creation accounts, but that there is one creation account, told in two different ways.
    What I have never understood is: it is not just undisputed, but it is a matter of faith, that the four canonical Gospels were written by four different individuals. They wrote at separate times, in separate locations, for separate audiences. So why would it be a problem for there to be two separate authors of Genesis?

  • Because the four Gospels, right in the texts, are clearly written by separate individuals. As you said, no dispute there.

    But various verses in the Pentateuch (Torah), plus other places of the Hebrew Bible, plus some of the words of Jesus and also in the NT, all claim with one voice that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible, including Genesis.

    So it’s no small attack on the reliability and historicity of the Bible to claim two authors for Genesis. But the Documentary Hypothesis doesn’t stop at two. Skeptics, following the DH, preach at least FOUR different who-dat authors, spread way out over centuries haphazardly, clearly never on the same page. Divine inspiration is out of the question of course.

    Which leaves a Genesis that’s totally eviscerated as actual history (if you don’t challenge those skeptizoids), and thus three major world religions whose foundational claims, even about God and humanity, are all based on fake news, fake history.

  • Well, no. As evolutionists Freeman & Herron wrote in their textbook, you have to see some “large change, usually in morphology” if you want to call it macroevolution.

    Butterfly wings merely changing color is not it (Volpe & Rosenbaum, Understanding Evolution). That’s just microevolution. Evolutionists don’t want readers to know the difference, because the evidence is honestly lacking for the macro stuff.

    Even if you offer 100 billion years for mindless evolution to keep on trial-&-erroring, the apes & primates can NEVER acquire all the different biological, physical, and mental tools, systems, and abilities that you have now. Haven’t you waited on evolutionist promissory notes long enough?

  • Divine inspiration is not out of the question if you engage in the Documentary Hypothesis or related hypotheses. It doesn’t have to be an either-or thing. Similarly, Mosaic authorship is not a universal concept in Judaism. Although Maimonides categorically defined belief in Mosaic authorship as an article of faith, the Pentateuch itself does not identify Moses as its entire author. It was only in late antiquity that Judaism began ascribing that authorship to Moses. Even then, it was necessary to explain the many contra-indications to Mosaic authorship, such as him describing his own death and burial.

  • Alleged “contra-indications” should be examined but never assumed. The news of Moses’ death and burial at the end of Deut (the last book of the Torah), doesn’t mean Moses didn’t write Deut and the Torah before he died.

    Even today, you may see a TV movie that says in the opening credits, “Directed by Bob Smith”, and then says in the end credits, “In loving memory of Bob Smith.”
    Smith got the job done for sure, but simply passed away before the release date.

  • You’ve certainly memorized the standard spin job.

    Unfortunately, some of us folks know how & where the standard spin job isn’t saving evolution’s bacon anymore.

  • I am content to state, as a Scripturally defensible and demonstrable fact, that Moses wrote the entire Torah with the
    exception of his own obituary in the last book of the Torah.

    Nowhere does Scripture say that Moses wrote his own obituary, so the obituary cannot be exploited to allege a biblical contradiction, nor to give any support to the false, multi-author Documentary Hypothesis.

  • Mr. Brain-Dead Pest, it doesn’t take much to be brighter than you, a know-nothing weirdo who thinks “spiritual” is a good thing.

    Go play with your toys.

  • You must be a joy at cocktail parties. Everyone loves people who tell everyone how much smarter they are than everyone else. I really hope you’re single, as being married to you probably would constitute domestic abuse per se.

  • Unfortunately, you start off with a true statement about 6 days, but a mis-interpretation of the original Hebrew: the word, “yom” can mean an unspecified length of time, thus making the Genesis creation report fully consistent with present scientific interpretation. Regrettably many have chosen a strict, narrow interpretation of 24 hours, radically diverging from the scriptural General Revelation of other scriptural passages and placing Christianity at odds with what science has discovered. This science, the invention of God, founded on Christian principles, successful only in Christian cultures, and invented to allow humans the opportunity to observe, test and gain knowledge of God’s creation as well as develop systems technologies, products and cures to benefit God’s creation. This information is presently repressed and not well communicated.

  • Not understanding the development of human consciousness is not an attack on evolutionary theory. There is much that science has not yet discovered. Most brain scientists (neuroscientists bioligists philosophers etc.) consider this the “Hard Problem”. Because we don’t yet know something doesn’t mean it has a divine answer.