A Taste Of Their Own Medicine
"It's [the Genesis story of creation is] not very satisfying. There is nothing in the way of explanation about how God does it and the order of creation is just plain weird. It doesn't match up with anything science tells us about the order of things appearing. There is no evidence. There is no experiment. There is no observation. He doesn't even cite a source, right? And there is absolutely no detail. ...as a way to understand the world, it is a flop. It's an attempt to impose a limited vision of reality on us and it has to be appreciated appropriately. This is not a science book." - P.Z. Myers, "The Humanist", November/December 2009, page 14.
Creationists commonly argue that those who accept evolution as the best scientific explanation for the diversity of life on earth are worshiping at the altar of the religion of "evolutionism." According to them, "evolutionism" is a religion based on the philosophy of Naturalism. In general, creationists do not have a high regard for those who do not wholeheartedly embrace their own religious worldview. They accuse adherents of evolutionary theory of proposing "silly and ludicrous explanations" and having "biased, closed minded, and militant anti-creationist attitudes." They claim that those who are proponents of evolution are "hostile toward those of faith" and are motivated by "religious commitment to a materialistic or naturalistic philosophy…not because of scientific evidence." (The quoted phrases are from Mr. Knapp's written commentaries on the subject.) In essence, the creationists are saying that evolutionary scientists are not involved in an honest quest for valid answers to questions about life's diversity. Instead, they maintain that those who speak in favor of evolutionary theory are doing so solely for the purpose of demeaning the beliefs of the True Believersä. In attempting to prove their point, they not only present some of the more blatant examples of "pot, kettle, black" argumentation, but they also reveal their lack of understanding naturalistic underpinnings of science. (See here.)
Most creationists openly acknowledge that their so-called "creationary theory" is grounded in the teachings of the Bible and that their acceptance of this "theory" derives from their belief that the Bible is authoritative in all such matters. Although some of them throw in a hodgepodge of pseudoscientific "proofs" in an attempt to lend an air of scientific respectability to their worldview, it is the message of the Bible that is the crux of their anti-evolution ideology. Some of the more crafty neo-creationists (such as those belonging to the intelligent design school of creationism) attempt to downplay their reliance on biblical authority in order to avoid running afoul of First Amendment restrictions. (However, as seen here, they are not always successful in that form of subterfuge.) Despite efforts to conceal their surreptitious religious agenda in statements they make for general public consumption, careful examination of their writings directed at the religious community reveals that, as far as intelligent design advocates are concerned, the intelligent designer can be none other than the Christian God. (See here.)
The creationists are right about one thing. The theory of evolution is incompatible with a literal interpretation of the creation story that is presented in the Bible. This is the reason that the theory of evolution is so adamantly rejected by the fundamentalist strain of Christians. And because the theory incorporates only natural causes and effects (as do all other scientific theories), it has drawn the ire of the intelligent designer brand of creationists as well. Creationists of all stripes view the concept of evolution as a serious threat to their fervently held religious beliefs. And it is for this reason that they are compelled to try to discredit one of the best-corroborated theories in all of science - even if they must falsely claim that it, like creationism, is based on religious belief.
In an attempt to undermine (what they claim to be) the "religious" theory of evolution, creationists comb the scientific literature searching for any perceived anomalies and/or unanswered questions that can be misconstrued to cast doubt on its validity. (As if there are any scientific theories that do not have anomalies and unanswered questions associated with them.) Since creationists have no real verifiable scientific evidence to support their own "theory," the "try to discredit the enemy" approach is basically all they can use in their defense. But why should creationism be immune to the same method of analysis? If it is acceptable for creationists to pick apart the scientific literature in an attempt to dismantle the foundation on which evolutionary theory is constructed, then why isn't it also acceptable for adherents of the theory of evolution to critically evaluate the core teachings of Bible that underlie the creationist worldview? If creationism and "evolutionism" are both religious concepts, as creationists insist, then why should the logical coherence of the biblical message not be subject to the same critical scrutiny that creationists apply to the scientific knowledge base that supports evolution? Turn about is fair play, is it not?
There will likely be those who will consider some of my comments about the Bible to be crass and disrespectful. I will simply remind them that, when religionists attack the work of dedicated evolutionary scientists (many of whom have devoted much of their lives to expanding knowledge in the biological sciences) and accuse them of being dishonest, prejudicial, bigoted, and uniformed, those scientists are likewise offended. Anti-evolutionists cannot have it both ways. They cannot (without being exposed as hypocrites) ridicule and belittle the foundational concepts of evolutionary theory and those who contribute to it and then whine about being treated unfairly when the tables are turned on them. It is in this spirit of "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" that I have written what follows.
[Disclaimer - My commentary in this section is directed specifically at those anti-evolutionists who contend that biblical teachings preclude acceptance of the theory of evolution. It is not intended for those Christians who interpret the creation stories (and much of the rest of the Bible) in a metaphorical/allegorical sense and who find no discrepancy between the scriptures and an acceptance of evolution. (See here and here.) Many evolutionary scientists, such as Dr. Kenneth Miller and Francis Collins, fall into this latter category.]