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A tale of two museums

A natural history museum in Washington offers Darwinism with no room for doubts, but one in New York offers a dose of refreshing honesty on what science cannot tell us about the past. Could that lead to bigger strides in intellectual honesty later?

A tale of two museums

National Museum of Natural History (Photo by Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images

American Museum of Natural History

Photo by Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Smithsonian visitors peruse skulls said to represent the various stages of human development.

Photo by Peter Rigaud/laif/Redux

The American Museum of Natural History

Photo by Marvin Olasky

American Museum of Natural History

Photo by Marvin Olasky

Smithsonian

WASHINGTON and NEW YORK—Most big cities have natural history museums that display dinosaur bones and sometimes much more. Christians, and particularly homeschooling Christians looking for an educational field trip, tend to view those museums in two ways: Stay away from them because they often offer up propaganda for Darwinism, or visit them and hope the kids ignore that teaching.

And yet, all such museums are not the same. I visited America’s two most famous ones, the National Museum of Natural History (I’ll refer to it as the Smithsonian) on the mall in Washington, D.C., and the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) adjacent to Central Park in New York City. They provide opposing senses of what scientists know and don’t know. Both provide teachable moments for parents who have done a little boning up on ancient bones. We can find better alternatives than avoidance or ignoring. This article shows how.

FIRST, LET’S EXAMINE SOME SPECIFIC DETAIL concerning the problem, which becomes apparent on a placard a few steps into the Smithsonian: “EVOLUTION TRAIL. … Shaped by natural selection, some species diverge from their ancestors and adapt to environmental change. … Evolution is at the heart of this museum. Follow the evolution trail to learn how, and let Iggy the Iguana be your guide along the way.” Soon, bright lights announce, “Welcome to the Mammal Family Reunion! Come meet your relatives.”

The evolution trail takes us by an exhibit celebrating Morganucodon oehleri, only four inches long: “A close relative of this tiny creature was the first mammal on earth. Its DNA was passed on to billions of descendants—including you.” The trail leads to the Evolution Theater, which features a film starring “Great-grandma Morgie, only four inches long. … A dragonfly for dinner. Mmm, mmm. Tasty. … The dinosaurs towered over our mammal family for a long time, until those dinosaurs had a really bad day.”

Yup, that’s when a meteorite slammed into earth, leading to a dust storm that shrouded the planet. All the dinosaurs died, “but not our family, no. We mammals survived … the meteorite was just the lucky break we needed.” The film’s avuncular narrator then gives one example of how mammal species evolved: The brown fur on brown bears works well as camouflage in the forest, but 150,000 years ago some brown bears became stranded in Alaska, and bears that survived “became lighter and lighter and lighter until voilá, a brand-new species, the polar bear.”

(If you’re familiar with the difference between macroevolution and microevolution, you may be noting that the film cheats. It purports to explain how one kind of animal gave way—via time plus chance—to other kinds. That’s the controversial theory of macroevolution, but the film’s one specific example is a micro one that both evolutionists and creationists accept: Sure, bear hair color can become lighter and bird beaks longer, but those changes prove nothing about the macro questions.)

The film concludes by stating that humans are a recent addition to the mammal family, yet we think we are “the life of the party. Truth is, we just arrived. … Life is constantly changing and evolving. Always has, always will. … We all belong to a family that is constantly changing and adapting. … If we’ve evolved this far from mammals like Morgie, what new mammals will Morgie find at the next reunion?”

THE SMITHSONIAN IN RECENT YEARS has clearly invested millions in creating light, bright rooms in which children can roam. A kindergarten teacher asks her young charges, “Imagine you’re right here and the dinosaur looks at you. What does the dinosaur want to do?” Kids squeal, “Eat you.” Middle-school children let their imaginations race as exhibits transport them to faraway places, fostering a yearning for plane takeoffs, train whistles, and caravans among some sick of their ABCs—alone, bored, or coddled.

But in exhibit after exhibit, the Smithsonian insists:  “Evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology. There is no scientific controversy about whether evolution occurred or whether it explains the history of life on earth.” That’s just wrong. At DissentfromDarwin.org, over 900 Ph.D. scientists have signed a statement agreeing that “we are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life.”

Many museum placards are propagandistic: “Since Darwin died in 1882, findings from many fields have confirmed and expanded on his ideas. We learned that Earth is old enough for all known species to have evolved.” That ignores all the research showing that even 4.5 billion years is not enough, given the multi-mutation features that require multiple components to kick in to provide some survival advantage.

According to Smithsonian sleight of hand, mankind has a clear line of descent from our ape ancestors. But two scientists recently writing in a prestigious 2015 Springer-Verlag book on Macroevolution lamented “the dearth of unambiguous evidence for ancestor-descendant lineages” within the hominin fossil record. The famous evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr acknowledged a “large, unbridged gap” between humanlike species in the fossil record and our supposed apelike australopithecine ancestors.

The Smithsonian notes that “societies worldwide tell diverse stories about how humans came into being,” but the museum claims immunity to that temptation: It “presents research and findings based on scientific methods that are distinct from these stories.” The Smithsonian refuses to admit that scientists engage in speculation and storytelling all the time—especially when it comes to human origins. As Mayr said, “Not having any fossils that can serve as missing links, we have to fall back on the time-honored method of historical science, the construction of a historical narrative.”

NEW YORK’S AMNH FACILITY, by comparison, seems old-fashioned. The darkness of the enormous diorama room focuses attention on brightly lit cabinets containing scenes from the Libyan desert, the Upper Nile region, and other exotic locales. The exhibits of taxidermied lions, buffalo, okapi, giant sables, giant elands, and more big game have changed little over the past six decades, according to an elderly volunteer, Terry. She stood in her red vest showing schoolchildren models of skulls, and explained that she comes once each week because her parents took her in the 1950s: “I loved the museum. When I retired, I wanted to come here and help these children to love it. We have kids who can name every dinosaur.”

The upper-floor dinosaur exhibits show some humility: “Because we cannot observe how carnosaurs searched for food, we cannot be sure whether they were hunters or scavengers.” One placard presents theories about the eye placement and skull bones of carnosaurs, and then states, “All these ideas are controversial, because they are based on scientists’ interpretations of fossil bones that are often incomplete, or that have become distorted over millions of years. We may never have all the evidence needed to support these ideas.”

AMNH shows a willingness to admit mistakes: “Bones thought to be those of juvenile Coelophysis were found inside the body cavities of some of the larger animals. They were used as evidence that Coelophysis was cannibalistic. However, these bones have been shown to be those of primitive crocodiles.” The museum acknowledges changes:

“Pterosaurs, or ‘flying reptiles,’ … were originally thought to be mammals related to bats. Today, pterosaurs are interpreted as archosaurs related to crocodiles.” AMNH is willing to admit disagreements: “How plesiosaurs and their relatives swam is in some dispute because their locomotion is not clearly similar to that of any living animal.”

When AMNH is sure that a particular dinosaur feature existed, it still admits our lack of knowledge. Regarding the horns on some dinosaurs, “Paleontologists have speculated that they may have provided a small measure of protection against large carnivorous enemies. Or they may have been used for sexual display, or in combat between competing males during the mating season.” They may also have been used to break off large pieces of vegetation, “but since no specimens of horned dinosaurs have been found that preserve the stomach contents, we can’t test this hypothesis.”

Contra numerous books with illustrations purporting to show dinosaur life, a typical AMNH exhibit asks, “What can the fossils really tell us, and what mysteries remain unsolved? Unfortunately, fossils of Barosaurus don’t tell us what color the animal was, what noises it made, or many other details about how it behaved. We can’t even be certain whether Barosaurus could really rear up on its hind legs to feed in the tops of trees or defend its young.”

G.K. Chesterton a century ago explained that he had “never read a line of Christian apologetics” on his road to belief in Christ, but agnostic evolutionists “sowed in my mind my first wild doubts of doubt.” AMNH exhibits could function that way regarding faith in Darwin. We learn about stegosaurs, “The vertical plates may have been used for defense, species identification, or radiation of heat, but these are guesses.” Some exhibits make universal statements that undercut pretensions: “We cannot be sure how pachycephalosaurs used their skull caps, because theories about the behavior of extinct animals cannot be tested.”

OF COURSE, AMNH DOES AN OBLIGATORY CURTSY TO THE RELIGION OF DARWINISM. One screen at AMNH runs a continuous loop with confessions of evolutionary faith from Francis Collins (“Without the framework of evolution to understand what we look at every day, it would make no sense”), biologist Kenneth Miller (“Without evolution to tie it together, biology is little more than stamp collecting”), and National Center for Science Education head Eugenie Scott (“Evolution is the glue that makes biology make sense”). Those views contrast strongly with the Bible’s proclamation that in Christ all things hold together.

AMNH also has life-size, lifelike statues of an ape-man and ape-woman. One Queens-accented mom stood before them with her two fourth-graders and said, “They’re your great-grandparents.” The kids laughed. “Want me to take a picture of you with the naked people?” The children were uncertain. The mom insisted: “Kids, this is part of life.” They reluctantly moved in for the photograph, but the mom seemed to change her mind: “What a memory. Lovely. That’s what they want pictures of? Imagine.” The kids moved away, at which point the mom started insisting again: “You want a picture with the naked people or not?” The kids got into position. The mom said, “Say cheese!”

Still, many AMNH exhibits display one small step for museum honesty today, and that could lead to one large leap for intellectual honesty tomorrow. Jane Goodall, now an 81-year-old Darwinist considered the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, said, “I was brought up to understand Darwin’s theory of evolution. I spent hours and hours in the Natural History Museum in London.” But what if the AMNH admission that we don’t have all the answers could lead children to understand what God tells Job: “Do you give the horse his might?… Do you clothe his neck with a mane? Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars and spreads his wings toward the south?”

Museums have consequences, and the New York and Washington giants do have one trait in common: They like to scare children. Parts of the Smithsonian are a horror film. One poster about oceans blares, “Pollution. Climate change. Invasive species. Overfishing. Habitat Destruction. Ocean Acidification.” Another placard shouts, “Global Vanishing Acts. Life can be relatively stable for ages and then—Wham! Mass extinction hits.” A third includes scare headlines: “Are We In ANOTHER MASS EXTINCTION?”

AMNH’s continuous loop of a film, The Evolution of Vertebrates, combines Darwinism with warnings of disaster. Narrator Meryl Streep intones, “Just one species of vertebrates, humans, has the ability to cause extinction perhaps on a scale greater than that of dinosaurs.” Cue the dramatic, threatening music. One woman with preschoolers sat down with them in three of the 150 seats, promising, “If you don’t like we don’t have to watch the whole thing.” Two minutes later they left: She told a waiting friend, “It was a little too intense for them.”

PARENTS VISITING NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUMS should make sure their children understand what AMNH admits in its display of Allosaurus bones: “Re-creating the behavior of extinct animals is very difficult, and can only be done by accepting certain assumptions.” Many exhibits offer speculation and then conclude, “These are all intriguing hypotheses, but the fossils do not give us enough evidence to test whether any of them are correct. The mystery remains unresolved.”

AMNH’s placard on a Hadrosaurus exhibit should flash on the computer screen of every Darwinist: “While it is important to make intelligent speculations about extinct animals, we are overstating the strength of the fossil evidence if we present these ideas as truth.”

Smithsonian visitors peruse skulls said to represent the various stages of human development. 

Become a WORLD museum scout

Journalists say a dog biting a person is not much of a story, but man-bites-dog is. Darwinist dominance in museums is sad and worth documenting, but unsurprising. What’s new and positive is the dash of humility evident at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH).

An intern and I looked at websites of many natural history museums across the country to see whether arrogance or humility dominated, but that was asking for more subtlety than the internet could provide. Clearly, Darwin is still a god, but are dissident curators raising insubordinate questions as hundreds of scientists are?

Want to be a WORLD scout? I took the photograph above on the fourth floor of AMNH. If you go to a big natural history museum near you, do you see any admission like that? Or do you see only exhibits like the one below at the Smithsonian, which cheerily welcomes us to minimize our humanity? —M.O.

Listen to Marvin Olasky discuss “A tale of two museums” on The World and Everything in It.

Marvin Olasky

Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. His latest book is Reforming Journalism. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

Comments

  • JohnJP
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    I know that I should not be surprised at how the PRIDE of too many scientists will not allow them to really look at the facts that there has NEVER been any evidence to show that one "creature" will evolve with ADDITIONAL DNA INFORMATION into another species. And yet, that is that garbage that they attempt to foist upon young impressionable students.

  • Dean from Ohio
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Scott B,Thank you for your replies. I have been busy for the last couple of weeks, and only now circled back 'round to see and read your reply.You are correct, in that the differences between our views on scripture and "science" could not be more profound. Here's my reply in short:The low view of scripture that you have is not stable. If my high view of scripture (verbal plenary inspiration, inerrant in every assertion, with allowance for figures of speech) is correct, the average person who holds your views will no longer believe the Bible at all in 20-30 years, and their children less so. The problem with cutting away parts of scripture, as Jefferson and many others have demonstrated, is that you don't know when to stop. So many verses speak to the correctness of every word (Prov 30:5, Ps 12:5, Is 55:11 and many others) that to pull out stitches here and there unravels not God's word, but us.As far as scientific evidences go, I just shake my head at how you and I look at the same pieces of evidences and come away with opposite conclusions. Polystrate fossils cutting through supposed millions of years, coal beds with no root intrusion, unreliability of C14 dating due to fluctuations in C12 in the atmosphere, the vast combinatorial space in the human genome that defy all attempts at anything being produced through random mutations and natural selection.... The list goes on and on. It's my belief that God has put the truth as near to us as we want it. If we first believe and obey, we will know the truth. In other words, God will give us the spiritual, moral, intellectual and social framework to find out what really happened, and what is reality. If we do not first believe and obey, we will wander in a hall of mirrors with no hope of finding our way. It seems to me you are retracing the steps of Charles Templeton (see https://credohouse.org/blog/billy-graham-and-charles-templeton-the-sad-tale-of-two-evangelists for one of many accounts), when you could and should be following in the footsteps of Billy Graham.The writer of Hebrews wrote (13:7-10): "Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat."We have no right to self-satisfaction in this life; we cannot and should not expect to have every question answered. We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. We are to believe, obey and speak. If we understand fully, great; if not, we are to put our hands in the hand of the Savior and endure the reproach and scorn of the world. God will make foolish the wisdom of the "wise," but not yet. Will you believe and obey these verses, or will you sit next to the altar, eating away for the benefit of your intellect and who knows what else? In the previous chapter, the author of Hebrews writes,"See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no 'root of bitterness' springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears."Esau has eaten quite enough, and so have you. Repent, brother, fall on God's grace and endure the reproach of the world. It is worthless and cannot compare with the riches that Christ offers. Consider the outcome of Billy Graham's life, and Charles Templeton's life. Imitate the first, and repent of the second.

  • RocketMan
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Fantastic article.  Let's take "question authority" another step.  Question all authority.  Question parents, teachers, pastors, elected officials, and bosses.  Appeal when necessary.  Teach children how to think, not act like minions.  Don't punish people who ask questions.  Leave that to the liberals.

  • Scott B
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Dean, Here I'll try to provide clarification of my views on Adam and Eve, and Noah's Flood. I have looked into the physical evidence regarding the earth's natural history, and found a number of features which show that the Genesis creation story does not match that evidence. Some simple, straightforward evidences are described here: https://letterstocreationists.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/some-simple-evidences-for-an-old-earth/
    These features include rock layers, lake sediment deposits, layers in glacier ice, and the presence of features like soils, animal burrows, and salt depositions in the middle of large sedimentary rock formations. For instance, in the sediments deposited at the bottom of Lake Suigetsu in Japan, every year there are alternating light and dark layers of sediment. Analyses of their composition (e.g. pollen from nearby terrestrial plants in bloom, and carbonate from tiny shelly organisms) establish that each pair of layers corresponds to the passage of the seasons of one year. These pairs of layers, called varves, have been counted back for more than 50,000 years. Had there been a year-long world-wide Flood anytime in that time period, we would see a big disruption in these layers. But there is no such disruption. Therefore, there was no such Flood. Likewise, we can drill into glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica and examine the annual layers resulting from the regular alternation of summer and winter conditions going back some 400,000 years. A year-long Flood of water covering these regions would have left a distinct signature. But there is no such signature, so there was no global Flood. For a scientist, this is pretty straightforward. The geologists of the early 1800's were mainly Christians, who assumed that the earth's surface had been sculpted by Noah's Flood. But after searching in vain for decades for any trace of such a Flood, they had to admit there was no such evidence. By 1840 (long before Darwin published On the Origin of Species) essentially all practicing geologists had concluded that the earth must be at least several million years old.
    Similarly, the physical evidence shows that humans descended from common ancestry with other primates. I discussed some of this evidence in comment # 33 to Lizzie above. Also, this series by Christian biologist Dennis Venema http://biologos.org/blog/series/adam-eve-and-human-population-genetics describes the evidence that at no point in the last 200,000 years did the human population drop below 10,000 individuals. Therefore, there was no single Adam and Eve couple as the progenitors of the whole human race, and there was no narrowing down of the human race to eight couples on an ark.
    Some Christians believe that, among all the thousands of people in the ancient Middle East, there was particular Adam-and-Eve couple whom God dealt with as special representatives of humankind or to whom He first revealed Himself. Some Christians believe there was an actual Noah, ark, and Flood, but the Flood was a local affair which did not kill all humans everywhere else on earth. There may be merit in these proposals; I don't claim to know.
    There are various ministries which collect millions of dollars each year by telling Christians what they want to hear, i.e. that there is sound evidence that the earth is young, that there was a recent world-wide Flood, and that macro-evolution is impossible. If they actually possessed such momentous evidence, this would be front-page news, worthy of a Nobel prize. But these organizations have yet to produce a single bit of such evidence capable of standing up to the scrutiny of the community of actual, practicing scientists.
    If someone chooses to downplay the evidences in God's creation as to the timing and manner of that creation in order to uphold a certain interpretation of Genesis, they are welcome to their opinion. It would be well to bear in mind, however, that what they are defending is not the infallible Word of God, but their fallible interpretation of that Word. I have tried to answer your questions as clearly as I could. We are not going to agree here, but as much as possible, "Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification" (Rom 14:19).

  • Scott B
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Dean, You requested clarification of my views on inerrancy. I will try to do so. God declares, "My word...will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and will achieve the purpose for which I sent it. " (Isaiah 55:11) The Bible is authoritative and inerrant with respect to the purpose for which it was sent. But we need to be rigorously biblical in affirming what that purpose is.
    Jesus said that the function of the Old Testament was to testify about him and his saving work (John 5:40; Luke 24:44), and Peter (I Pet 1: 10-12) wrote that prophets spoke of the sufferings and glory of Christ. In I Cor 15:3 ff. Paul stated what is of "first importance", which is "that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve", etc. What is vitally important about the Old Testament is how it testifies to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But there is no such New Testament affirmation about the Old Testament teaching us geology or biology.
    II Tim 3:15-17 was written as advice to a young pastor, and calls attention to all the good teachings on faith and morals to be gleaned from the inspired Old Testament scriptures, so that Timothy might be equipped for every good work. Again, there is no affirmation about teaching science. The Bible never claims that all its statements about the physical world are true. Those who insist that every statement in the Bible about the physical world must be literally true are adding to the Word, and are merely promoting a tradition of men.
    The fact that the Bible is inerrant in its teaching on faith and morals does not absolve us from the omnipresent necessity of interpretation. It is not realistic for someone to claim, "I just believe what it says, cover to cover." Timothy could not simply open up the Old Testament and take whatever he read there as literal timeless truth to be taught and acted on. Much of the Old Testament is concerned with defining and affirming the Mosaic Law, which the church in Acts 15 swept aside nearly completely, so in fact Timothy would have to exercise discernment in how to interpret what he read in the inspired Scriptures. No more stoning of Sabbath-breakers, for instance.
    In the inspired revelation of his lordship and his covenants, God worked mainly within the limited physical understanding of the ancient Jews, even when that understanding was incorrect. We have mentioned already the verses which describes the earth as fixed, with the sun moving past it. On the basis of extrabiblical scientific knowledge, now we say that that was not meant to be taken literally, but all the ancient readers of those verses would have understood them to be literally true. In revealing His power and His purposes within the framework Genesis story, God worked within the people's existing physical framework (fixity of species, sky as solid dome with liquid water above it, etc.) without trying to correct it. Messing with their science would have just been a distraction from teaching this band of ancient Middle Eastern tribesmen that there is only one God, and all the physical world was created by Him and serves His purposes.
    Is it possible that God could tell or inspire the telling of stories that are not really true without impugning His righteousness? Well, that was Jesus's favorite mode of teaching. Also, there are a couple of instances in the OT where prophets presented as true a story which was actually not actually true (Nathan and David in II Sam 12, and the prophet who bandaged his head to confront Ahab in I Kings 20). So this is a well-established divine practice for communicating revelation, however much it may offend our Western sensibilities.
    The ancient Jews, including Jesus and Paul, would have been brought up being taught that the Genesis creation narrative was the way it actually happened. Paul obviously continued to believe that. Does that mean that we must, too? Or is it reasonable instead to hold that Paul was a man of his age, believing what others of his time believed, unless he received special revelation to the contrary?
    In I Cor. 11:2-16 Paul insists that women wear a covering (e.g. shawl or veil) on their heads in church. In his mind, this is a timeless, transcultural principle, since he claims that "nature itself" teaches it, and he brings in the Creation references ("man did not come from women, but women from man; neither was man created for women, but woman for man", vv. 8-9 and "as woman came from man, so also man in born of woman", v. 12) to support his points. This stricture does not apply only to the Corinthians: "If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice--nor do the churches of God" (v. 16). This apostolic command could not be any more clear and all-embracing, yet all evangelical churches I know of quietly set it aside. Why? Because Paul was a man of his age, moving within the beliefs of his time. If God did not grant him special revelation that head coverings were unique to certain cultures, or that the Genesis story was not literal truth, then of course he would believe what everyone else back then believed on these matters. Ditto for his beliefs on creation.
    Paul did receive some special revelation, but that was clearly circumscribed.  Its content was that Jesus is the Son of God (Gal 1:11-16) and that Christ in you is the hope of glory (Col. 1:27). The "mystery" that God revealed to Paul and the other apostles was God's eternal plan to "bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ" (Eph 1:10), and that Gentiles are included in the promise along with the Jews (Eph 3:4-6). This mystery of God boils down to "Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col 2: 3). Paul was not omniscient (see Acts 23:5; I Cor 13:12). He acknowledges that not everything he writes is an oracle of God; some is simply his opinion (I Cor 7:10-12). He does not claim that every statement in every letter is absolute truth. The fact that he was mistaken in believing in the literal Adam story does not obviate the authenticity of the revelation that he was given.
    Jesus appeared to likewise assume the historicity of the creation account, which we now know is not supported by the physical evidence. There are several ways to deal with this. One reasonable explanation is that, like Paul, Jesus was not omniscient in the days of his flesh. This goes to the heart of how much he emptied himself at his incarnation of divine privileges (Phil 2:7), such that (like ordinary humans) he had to grow in wisdom (Luke 2:52). It can be fairly argued that if he were to really experience the human condition as indicated throughout the book of Hebrews, he didn't walk around knowing everything all the time. "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin" (Heb 4:15).
    While he might receive words of knowledge from the Father as needed for ministry to others and to guide his critical decisions, Jesus did not automatically know everything. There is his clear statement in Mat. 24:36 that he did not know the timing of the Second Coming. Also, a straightforward reading of Mark 5:30-32 indicates that Jesus initially did not know who had touched him with faith in the crowd. The plain implication of Mark 11:13 is that he did not know that the fig tree with leaves had no figs until he went up close to look.
    If the Father did not reveal 21st century science to him, Jesus, like Paul, would be operating in the same ancient physical worldview as his hearers and would take Genesis as literally true. This intellectual limitation would not be sin, just as having his physical human limitations (getting hungry and tired; limited to one location) was not sin. Also, it would not compromise the authority of his teachings. He did not teach that Genesis was literally true, he merely assumed it. There is a big difference.
    Even if Jesus were omniscient and knew the Genesis account to not be literally true, it would not have been loving and productive for him to stand up and say, " I tell you that the order of the creation days in Genesis 1 is messed up, and there was no global flood 2500 years ago that killed all but 6 humans". Just as the original inspiration of Genesis worked within the pre-existing worldview of the Old Testament Israelites, so Jesus' discourse worked within the worldview of the New Testament Israelites. He didn't try to correct every wrong idea in their heads, just the crucial beliefs at the time. We should be impressed here by Jesus' wisdom and communication skills here, instead of disputing over "error."
    This is an example of accommodation of God's revelation to the limitations of the hearers. This pattern of accommodation is evidenced by the progressive nature of revelation and by Jesus's explanation for why he set aside the Mosaic permission for divorce: "It was because of your hardness of heart that he wrote you this law" (Mark 10:9, Matt.19:8). Jesus makes it clear that God's basic moral standard was no divorce for anything other than adultery, but that God in giving the Mosaic Law had accommodated to the limited moral character of the ancient Israelites. Paul Seely's book Inerrant Wisdom delves into all this, if you are interested in inquiring further.

  • Scott B
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Lizzie, (continued) 3. Does macro-evolution preclude God's sovereignty? You wrote, "And this is where most Bible believing Christians are going to have an issue with current evolutionary theory because it directly conflicts with the biblical theology of creation as being a deliberate process by which God created the earth and all that inhabits it including man. If we are just an accident of the process of evolution then God didn't create us individually and yet He says that He did (and knew us when we were in our mother's womb)", and "Those theories don't admit that we have a Creator God Who lovingly created each man and woman from the very beginning of our (humans) time on earth and who even now knows the number of hairs on our heads." I think you have clearly articulated some common Christian concerns. I suggest re-examining some assumptions here. Just as a reminder, you started life as a fertilized egg, a sack of chemicals with a very complex, functional microstructure. We can peer as deep as we can in the egg cell, and it is all just ordinary chemicals, contained in a phospholipid membrane, reacting according to regular chemical laws as this initial cell divides and divides again; eventually that cluster of cells differentiates and ends up becoming a fetus with organs. Does all this chemical reality mean that God did not "lovingly create" you or "know you in your mother's womb"? Also, in the course of your parents' lives and the events of the egg fertilization, your genome acquired about a hundred random (as far as science knows) mutations compared to your parents' genomes, and thus about ten thousand random mutations compared to your ancestors of a hundred generations back. These mutations, together with other genomic shufflings, have a significant effect on your body and brain. Does all this mean you are merely an "accident of the process of evolution", such that God did not create you individually? I assume you would answer "no" to these questions. Jesus declared his Father's sovereignty over events like the death a sparrow or where the rain falls, events which seem largely random as far as the natural understanding.
    Why would the events of macro-evolution be more divorced from God's sovereignty than any other natural happenings? Yes, these mutation are largely random as far as the natural understanding, but no more random than the mutations you have received over the last few generations or the fall of the sparrow. The events of macro-evolution extend over millions of years, but that is no barrier to the One who is from everlasting. When we look at the many hundreds of years of salvation history prior to the coming of our Lord, with all the twists and turns of the Exodus and the good and bad kings, and the prophets and the Exile and Return, this portrays a God who is content to work over long periods of time and seemingly unlikely situations, most of which do not involve overt supernatural intervention. If we honor God with a consistent view of His sovereign providence, we find that macro-evolution is perfectly consistent with "a Creator God Who lovingly created each man and woman from the very beginning of our (humans) time on earth and who even now knows the number of hairs on our heads."
    It is worth noting that identical twins result when a fertilized egg splits, and each half then develops further into individual babies. Each twin has his or her own soul, so presumably the human soul is imparted after conception, not before. This suggests that God is able to impart the right soul to the right person, regardless of the physical lineage.
    I think that the church has been bamboozled by atheist spokesmen like Richard Dawkins who proclaim that the (natural) randomness of evolution somehow dethrones God and shows that we live in a universe of "blind, pitiless indifference." That is just bluster - Dawkins has no expertise in whether or not there is divine purpose behind the events of evolution, or the events of more recent history. However, the church's response toward evolution ("If evolution is true, the Bible is false") plays right into the atheists' hands. If that is what a Christian young person has been told, that sets him or her up for a loss of faith when they discover that evolution is true. I have seen it happen. Trying to avoid that tragedy something that motivates me to share what I can on these matters with my fellow Christians.
    4. You wrote, "And no Galileo's findings did not contradict scripture - the interpretation was literal when the passages you cited weren't meant to be". I of course agree with you. But I think that if we look at it closely, we find that the reason we so easily accept that these passages were not meant to be interpreted literally is not because of what we find in the Biblical text, but because the extra-biblical physical evidence has convinced us that they must be taken non-literally. Throughout the Old Testament, the earth is consistently portrayed as stationary. I listed some of the verses earlier. These include passages from the Psalms (a book which Jesus did not treat as merely poetic outpourings), Joshua (part of salvation history) and Ecclesiastes (closely-reasoned philosophy). The Catholic officials and scholars who grilled Galileo were not stupid, uneducated or ill-intentioned men. They had heard Galileo argue that these verses were not meant to be taken literally. Yet they felt strongly enough that these verses must be taken literally that they imprisoned the aging Galileo and forced him to sign a recantation, because he was "injuring our holy faith and making the sacred scripture false." It would seem that they felt at least as strongly about theological implications of geocentrism as you do about the implications of macro-evolution.
    Even today, there are Christians convinced that geocentrism is an essential doctrine for right-thinking believers, publishing books like "Galileo Was Right" and "The Earth Is Not Moving". For instance, the excerpt below from the statement of faith of the "Association for Biblical Astronomy" maintains that the Bible does teach a stationary earth, and that teaching heliocentrism has contributed to the general loss of faith. This is the same sort of accusation which is lodged against the teaching of evolution: "...the only absolutely trustworthy information about the origin and purpose of all that exists and happens is given by God, our Creator and Redeemer, in his infallible, preserved word, the Holy Bible....We believe that the creation was completed in six twenty-four hour days and that the world is not older than about six thousand years. We maintain that the Bible teaches us of an earth that neither rotates daily nor revolves yearly about the sun; that it is at rest with respect to the throne of him who called it into existence; and that hence it is absolutely at rest in the universe. ...Lastly, the reason why we deem a return to a geocentric astronomy a first apologetic necessity is that its rejection at the beginning of our Modern Age constitutes one very important, if not the most important, cause of the historical development of Bible criticism, now resulting in an increasingly anti-Christian world in which atheistic existentialism is preaching a life that is really meaningless." http://www.geocentricity.com/
    The home page of http://www.fixedearth.com/ also warns of the dire consequences of a non-literal interpretation of the verses about a fixed earth, lumping this compromise in with evolutionism: "The Earth is not rotating...nor is it going around the sun. Today's cosmology fulfills an anti-Bible religious plan disguised as "science". The whole scheme from Copernicanism to Big Bangism is a factless lie. Those lies have planted the Truth-killing virus of evolutionism in every aspect of man's "knowledge" about the Universe, the Earth, and Himself. "
    So I do think this is the same dynamic in play as with evolution: those who grasp the extra-biblical evidence showing a moving earth or showing common descent are open-minded on non-literal Bible interpretations, while those who do not understand that evidence are generally unwilling to be flexible on scriptural approaches. I will not monitor this WORLD article comment thread indefinitely, but if you have some question later on the science of evolution you can post a comment on any article at https://letterstocreationists.wordpress.com/ and hopefully I will see it and try to get you an answer. Your comments strike me as from someone who is really interested in the truth, not just in defending a position. Best wishes as you contemplate these matters.

  • Scott B
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Lizzy, You bring up many good points. I have been otherwise occupied, but now I'll offer some comments, and links to further resources if you are interested.

    ( 1 ) Evidence for macro-evolution. You wrote " No one has actually been able to prove that primordial soup turned into amphibians which then turned into various other creatures along the way, ultimately turning into man". That is true in the sense that you can never prove with 100% certainty that any events in the past actually happened. For instance, polls show that about 10% of Americans (and 25% of Brits) do not believe that astronauts landed on the moon. The more you try to prove it to them with grainy videos and moon rocks, the more they shake their heads sadly over how you have been taken in by the government plot. A determined skeptic can always find reasons to disbelieve. But that is not how we normally judge the past. A courtroom trial often involves the two sides trying to convince the jury that some past events did or did not happen, based on circumstantial evidence as well as eyewitness testimony. For a civil trial, the standard is to go with the "preponderance of the evidence". For a criminal trial, where the accused faces prison or execution if convicted, the judge instructs the jury to return a verdict of guilty if the case is proved "beyond reasonable doubt." Even with these high stakes, the standard is not "beyond all possible doubt".
    Common descent of today's organisms from much different ancestors implies macro-evolution. Most people who do not start with a religious prejudice against evolution and who look deeply into the genetic and other physical evidence find that that it establishes the case for common descent. That body of evidence is so vast it is not possible to do justice to it in a few paragraphs. An older but fairly complete on-line summary by Douglas Theobald is found here: 23+ http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/section4.html#retroviruses That article makes for dense reading if you don't have a scientific background. This article http://community.berea.edu/scienceandfaith/essay05.asp by a Berea College professor might be more accessible. The book I would recommend is Coming to Peace with Science by Darrell Falk. He covers a range of topics in a very understandable manner, and specifically addresses the concerns of evangelical Christians.
    I was skeptical about common descent/macro-evolution for many decades. I mainly read treatments by young earth creationists who told me what I wanted to hear, so I thought the fossil record militated against common descent -- just look at all those missing links! It wasn't until I learned more about population genetics that I realized the fossil record clearly comports with expectations from evolutionary theory. It turns out that new mutations are much more easily fixed in small populations than large populations. Thus, the transition from one species to a different species will likely occur in small, isolated populations which are unlikely to leave fossils. If a new species is successful and becomes numerous and widespread, it is more likely to leave fossils, but also more likely to be stable, not changing much with time. If we think of the evolutionary lineage like a tree, with the earliest life down at the root, and today's species at the tips of the highest branches, the basic arithmetic of genetics indicates that we should not (as a general rule) find fossils from along the trunk proper (i.e. the actual transitional organisms), but we should find fossils representing many of the side branches, from the bottom and all the way up the tree. It's not easy to convey this in words -- it's described with diagrams in this article https://letterstocreationists.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/realistic-expectations-for-transitional-fossils/ .
    Anyway, with expectations set properly, I found that the fossils strongly support common descent. "Primordial soup" doesn't leave much in the way of useful fossils, but starting from rocks about 500 million years old where there are hard body parts to leave impressions in the rocks, there is a clear progression visible. For instance, in the vertebrate lineage, we find a succession, over the past 500 million years, of jawless fishes, to jawed fishes, to fishes with some tetrapod-like features, to amphibians, to reptiles, to reptiles with some mammal-like features, to mammals with reptile-like features, to modern mammals. That "..realistic-expectations..." link above provides pictures of the many fossils of intermediate forms that bridge the transitions from fish to amphibians, from reptiles to mammals, and from little foxlike critters 50 million years ago to today's horses.
    I realize that that this does not constitute airtight 100% proof, as is true for anything - - if someone is simply determined that evolution can't be true, they can always devise some alternate explanation, e.g. that God supernaturally created species after species, thousands of them over millions of years, in an order that just happened to match evolutionary expectations or even (this has been proposed) that God or Satan put these fossils in the rocks to test, or to confuse, our faith in Genesis.
    What was even more impactful than fossils in changing my mind is the detailed information about genomes that became available in the past decade. Now we can peer into the full sequences of, for instance, both humans and chimpanzees, and find they share many features that point to common ancestry. Some of these features are described in the Theobald link above. I'll just pick out one here. Occasionally, genetic material from a virus gets inserted at some location in the DNA of a germ line cell of the host animal. The result is that that chunk of viral DNA shows up at that spot in the genomes of all the descendants of that animal. Some general types of zones in the genome, e.g. close to the promoter of a gene, can be preferred type of locations for viral DNA insertion, but the specific insertion site for any insertion is a random choice among thousands of possible sites. These insertions are known as endogenous retroviruses (ERV's). Humans and chimpanzees share tens of thousands of these distinguishable viral DNA insertions. In nearly all cases, each distinct ERV is located in the same location in the human genome as in the chimp genome. The only reasonable physical explanation for this is that chimps and humans descended from a common ancestor whose genome contained these insertions. (Side comment: over millions of years, further mutations in this genetic material can allow it to assume various functionalities in the host genome; that functionality is an independent issue from the locations of these viral insertions.) For an in-depth technical discussion see http://www.evolutionarymodel.com/ervs.htm#ERV_Predictions . ERV's furnish a rigorous test of common descent: for instance, there should be no viral DNA insertions shared by humans and mice that are not also shared by humans and chimps. And that turns out to be the case:
    The patterns of ERV [endogenous retrovirus] insertions observed in modern species exactly match the predictions made by the [common descent] model described above. Some insertions are shared between humans and mice and represent truly ancient viral infections. Others are found only in primates, and not in other species, obviously derived from an infection of the ancestral primate species after its divergence from other lineages. More modern insertions are found only in humans, while the youngest ERVs of all are found in some humans, but not in all. We do not find any examples of ERV insertions shared by, say, humans and mice, but not by chimps. Insertions are always shared by all species, and only by those species, that have a common ancestor. [from http://vwxynot.blogspot.com/2007/06/endogenous-retroviruses-and-evidence.html ]
    This all may be more information than you wanted. I was just trying to convey a sliver of the reasons why nearly all scientists find that common descent is proven beyond reasonable doubt. Those opposed to evolution of course try to dispute the significance of this evidence. I would suggest you read several articles on each side of an issue before making up your mind.
    2. You asked what might be the evolutionary advantage of sexual reproduction over asexual reproduction. This is an active area of scientific investigation. As with many things in biology, it's complicated. It is clear that sexual reproduction, which shuffles gene influence for each child, produces a wider range of variation among offspring, for each reproductive event. Instead of every child being an identical clone of a parent, a brood of children (unless they are identical twins) are different from each other and from their parents. This instant genetic variation (not having to wait around for defensive mutations to accumulate) can help us stay ahead of ever-mutating parasites, for instance. Some children may fall victim to the most recent parasite, but others, with different arrangements in their genomes, will survive.

  • Lizzy's picture
    Lizzy
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Scott B,I appreciate that you think you are fighting the good fight to drag the church into the modern scientific era.  I actually don't think that you are doing so with a robust understanding of theology (not that I can claim to have one either), but it seems to me that you are cherry picking verses and then imputing meanings to them that they don't have when taken in context and allowing for the different literary styles used in the Bible.  The church is not anti-science in the way you seem to suggest.  I think you will find almost zero disagreement that micro-evolution exists.  The question is what to do with theories that are as yet unprovable and may never be provable.  If I understand the argument about macro-evolution it is dependent on some limiting factors that have yet to be shown to actually exist.  No one has actually been able to prove that primordial soup turned into amphibians which then turned into various other creatures along the way, ultimately turning into man and then for some reason stopping at that point (or are we still evolving to the next level of creation?).  And this is where most Bible believing Christians are going to have an issue with current evolutionary theory because it directly conflicts with the biblical theology of creation as being a deliberate process by which God created the earth and all that inhabits it including man.  If we are just an accident of the process of evolution then God didn't create us individually and yet He says that He did (and knew us when we were in our mother's womb).  And on the process of evolution - why would we have evolved into a species with two sexes when one would have been more efficient if it weren't for the fact that God chose to create male and female?  To me these are all sticking points that raise red flags about whole-heartedly embracing macro evolutionary theory.  You are correct that ultimately the Bible is about Jesus and God providing a way that we could be restored to the fellowship humans enjoyed with God prior to deliberately choosing to sin against Him.  But the Bible also tells the story of Who God is and about the relationship He wants with us.  The Bible isn't a scientific text, but scientific discoveries won't contradict Scripture.  And no Galileo's findings did not contradict scripture - the interpretation was literal when the passages you cited weren't meant to be.  Much of the unproven aspects of macro evolutionary theory on the other hand do contradict the Bible, stressing the idea that we evolved from nothing and that for those who even acknowledge the hand of a Creator, God's role was limited. Those theories don't admit that we have a Creator God Who lovingly created each man and woman from the very beginning of our (humans) time on earth and who even now knows the number of hairs on our heads.

  • Scott B
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Lizzy,
    What I was pointing out was the stated purpose of the Scripture. I'll try to clarify on this. Taking e.g. 2Timothy 3:15-17 - - if we look at the wording "... wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus...teaching... reproof... correction... for training in righteousness...equipped for every good work, " we see that these are matters of doctrine and conduct. There is nothing here about teaching us information about the physical world.
    God declares, "My word...will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and will achieve the purpose for which I sent it. " (Isaiah 55:11) The Bible is authoritative and inerrant with respect to the purpose for which it was sent. But it is well to be rigorously biblical in affirming what that purpose is. As noted earlier, Jesus said that the function of the Old Testament was to testify about him and his saving work (John 5:40; Luke 24:44), and Peter (I Pet 1: 10-12) wrote that prophets spoke of the sufferings and glory of Christ. In I Cor 15:3 ff Paul stated what is of "first importance", which is "that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve", etc. What is vitally important about the Old Testament is how it testifies to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But there is no such New Testament affirmation about the Old Testament teaching us geology or biology.
    Conservative Protestant churches are now fighting the same type of battle over evolution and the age of the earth that the Catholic Church fought over the moving earth. There were other political aspects to the Catholic Church jailing Galileo and forcing him to abjure his teachings about the earth moving around the sun, but at the heart of the matter was whether the statements in the Bible about the physical world were intended as timeless truths that all Christians must endorse, or not.
    Galileo's findings contradicted the literal, obvious meaning of Biblical passages such as Psalm 104:5 ("He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved"), as well as I Chron. 16:30, Isa. 66:1, Eccl.1:5, and Josh. 10:13. According to Cardinal Roberto Bellarmine (1615), "...to affirm that the sun is really fixed in the center of the heavens and the earth revolves swiftly around the sun is a dangerous thing, not only irritating the theologians and philosophers, but injuring our holy faith and making the sacred scripture false." This is the same sort of warning sounded now by those who are concerned over the findings of today's scientific community regarding human origins.
    Galileo did not dispute that the literal teaching of the Bible was of a stationary earth; he just argued that the Bible was not given with the intent of teaching about the physical world. As he put it, "The Bible shows the way to go to heaven, not the way the heavens go." That hits the key point here. The Catholics of the 1600's of course meant well in their efforts to uphold the authority of the Bible, but they erred by misunderstanding the purpose for which God sent the Bible. I am trying to help my fellow Protestants from making the same sort of mistake now. 

  • Scott B
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Dean,
    Re your #22, I still don't understand your argument against evolution based on the number of possible protein coding variants. If you are referring to the formation of the first cells, then I think you have a point. It is not at all clear how inorganic chemicals could have ended up assembled into the intricate molecular machines inside even the simplest cell.
    But that is the topic of abiogenesis. Evolution is a different subject. It starts with living things (cells, etc.) and studies the changes in a population over time. There are other factors (e.g. epigenetics, learned behaviors, etc.), but much of these changes in species are due to genetic mutations. I agree, that the chance of landing on a viable new protein is probably low if you start with an existing gene, and make four simultaneous changes in it. That is likely to land somewhere out in those 10^xx nonviable codes.
    But evolutionary theory does not demand that new, viable mutations necessarily consist of 3 or 4 simultaneous changes in a gene. To the extent that we can trace these out (which is often experimentally challenging), we see that stepwise, small mutations can achieve viable new proteins. In other words, it starts with a viable gene (in a functioning organism, i.e. the parent), and makes some small change. If the change is neutral or beneficial, the new form of the gene can get fixed in the population, such that yet another small change may be made to it in the next generation. And then on and on with more changes. I have not seen any stopping point demonstrated for this onward progression of evolution via mutations. On average, there are far more deleterious than beneficial mutations, but with an adequate population size, the deleterious ones get weeded out.
    For example, we inherit something like a hundred gene mutations compared to our parents' genomes. So we carry around on the order of a thousand mutations in our DNA compared to our ancestors ten generations back. Some of those mutations do result in different proteins. So all the healthy humans alive today are evidence that the space for variation of proteins and codes is not impossibly narrow.
    More on your other comment later...

  • Dean from Ohio
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Scott B,Thanks for your comment, except the repeated slur "science deniers." You may want to reconsider.In any event, please help me understand your view of "inerrant" and "integrity." Were there a real Adam and Eve who were made by God, male and female, ate the fruit in the garden and were cursed because of their sin?Was there a real Noah on a real ark in a real worldwide flood that covered the entire world and killed every living thing on land except for Noah and his family and the animals with him?I'll appreciate your clarification; thank you in advance.

  • Lizzy's picture
    Lizzy
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Scott B,You write "The Old Testament was at best a mere "shadow of the good things to come" (Heb. 10:1). The reality is in Jesus Christ. He has fully accomplished all we need, and as a result the Holy Spirit has been given to empower us to live lives pleasing to him. Fussing over things like genealogies is just a distraction from the work of God (I Tim 1:4)."  Yet in 2Timothy 3:16 we are told that "all Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."   And all Scripture would include the Old Testament.   

  • Scott B
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Dean,
    Per your comment - - in Romans 1:19-20 ("because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse"), Paul is referring to aspects of the physical universe that are evident to all men in all ages. This would be things like the immensity and complex functioning of the natural order, which are direct evidence of the power and skill of the Creator. None of that is threatened by humans discovering through science the marvelous details of that natural order, including the processes over the past several billion years by which the present landscape and biosphere were shaped.
    In Romans 1:23 Paul is referring explicitly to the physical idols that were displayed everywhere in the Greco-Roman world. He is covering both the Greek idols, which focused on the human form, and Egyptian images of other animals. (cf. Jamieson Fausset Brown). You have put your own spin on this verse in order to accuse your brothers and sisters in Christ who are trying to handle with integrity God's revelation in both His word and His works. You might want to reconsider.
    If you look at verses like Mat 5:17 ("Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.") and Mat 23:2-3a ("The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. "), together with John 10:35 ("If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken)"), it seems that we should continue to obey the Mosaic Law. That would be treating "the entire Old Testament as truth to be believed and obeyed", as you put it.
    But we find in Acts 15 the apostles throwing out almost the entire Mosaic Law. So things aren't as simple here as you suggest. In fact, for both Jesus and Paul, it was men who treated "the entire Old Testament as truth to be believed and obeyed" who were the leading opponents of God's work. Zeal to defend the authority of the Old Testament without full-orbed knowledge of the related, nuancing issues is zeal "not according to knowledge" (Rom. 10:2), and is not commended.
    I suggest you consider what Jesus and Paul and Peter taught about the *purpose* of the Old Testament. All Scripture is inspired by God - but for what purpose? The Scripture is inerrant, but in respect to what, exactly? Paul spells it out very clearly in II Tim. 3:15-17:
    "...from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."
    Likewise, Jesus said that the function of the Old Testament was to testify about him and his saving work (John 5:40; Luke 24:44). Peter (I Pet 1: 10-12) wrote that prophets spoke of the sufferings and glory of Christ. This is all theology and morals. There is nothing here about authoritatively teaching geology or biology. This is a biblical view of the Bible's intent. Young earth creationists and other science-deniers are being unbiblical in claiming that the Bible's intent was to teach the physical history of the earth.
    The Old Testament was at best a mere "shadow of the good things to come" (Heb. 10:1). The reality is in Jesus Christ. He has fully accomplished all we need, and as a result the Holy Spirit has been given to empower us to live lives pleasing to him. Fussing over things like genealogies is just a distraction from the work of God (I Tim 1:4).
    Paul's treatment of a different controversial issue may be relevant here: "Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification." Rom 14:16-19

  • Lizzy's picture
    Lizzy
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Reading through the comments prompted me to look up Francis Collins BioLogos website as well as the Reasons to Believe website and compare the statements of faith.  Both elevate Scripture as inerrant and have evangelical statements of faith, so perhaps the quote the museum used is slightly misleading as to Collins belief.  I think all of the posturing over age of the earth is man trying to explain God and to declare the science settled is to fall into a trap.  God is so infinitely beyond the limited capability of even the most gifted minds that to declare that we can know Him apart from who He says He is in His word and what we can observe in the world He has given us seems to me to be supremely arrogant on our part.  Both BioLogos and RTB make a point of stating that the Bible is the framework through which all scientific discovery is vetted.  If that is true, then as God through the Bible explicitly states that man was created by God in His image and as both male and female, it does seem to me to be contrary to that Scripture to say that God let evolution work and then decided to step in and give us souls after the fact.  How can one say that lineage is so unimportant to God that we could have ancestors that weren't human when there are chapters in the Bible devoted to tracing the lineage of Jesus?  

  • Dean from Ohio
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Scott B,Prompted by the post of Trilobite, I went back and read your posts again. I do thank you for your post, but I found something very telling. You quoted Romans 1, but omitted the words that contradicted your teaching (that is what it is). I've quoted the full passage (Romans 1:18-23, with verse numbers)  from the New American Standard Bible (NASB), and used brackets [ ] to indicate what you've cut out. Paul's clear statements that the worlds were created and bear mute witness to truth to which every human is accountable, and that man has twin tendencies to assume in arrogance that he knows more than God's revealed truth, and to set up idols, have been suppressed before our very eyes!"18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, [19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.] 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, [but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.]"This exactly illustrates my point: the denial of special creation, the spiritual darkening of the mind, the suppression of the truth regarding creation and God, and the setting up idols in the place of the Creator--all are universal results of original sin. The lie of evolution over the past 150 years follows this exact path, and your own quotation illustrates it in each step! We've seen this pattern before, and it is not good: in Matthew 4:6, Satan quotes from Psalm 91 to tempt Jesus, but explicitly omits a phrase contrary to his purpose.Do you realize what you've done, and what you are doing? We can either submit to God's word, or try to make it submit to us. One ethic follows Jesus, who treated the entire Old Testament as truth to be believed and obeyed; the other ethic follows Satan, who picked pieces of the Word to serve an opposite and rebellious purpose. The first path leads to life; the other to death. Choose life, brother, and repent!

  • Trilobite
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Dean, you mention shared knowledge but nothing is being shared here. You ridicule a commenter for his wholehearted example of religious devotion but you show nothing but religious devotion. You write that "finding more truth, however, is contingent on our own faith in, and obedience to, the truth that God has already revealed to us." You clearly have infinite faith that your own interpretation of God's truth is the only one that matters and the only one possible, because you need that faith to reject any criticism. So when someone who understands biology posts multiple counterexamples and rebuttals of Olasky's original article, you wave it off as a red herring. And you offer a prayer which is more or less equivalent to Dear God, please go visit the other commenters and tell them that I am right and they are wrong. Doesn't sharing go in more than one direction? You talk about shared knowledge but you won't let anyone share knowledge with you. I hereby declare that a false teaching, so there.I'm pretty sure you forgot one piece of information I need to do the math: how many of the 10^50 combinations produce a living creature? Also, life at the bottom of the ocean survives at higher pressures where humans could not; maybe some herring down there? But no don't bother to answer, just say a prayer for me instead. God hasn't listened to all the people who have prayed for me in the past, but he always pays attention to you.

  • Trilobite
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Paraphrasing Buddy, if you pray for eyes that see you will find the marvelous engineering in the universe. Sound reasoning witnesses that most stars in the Milky Way galaxy are too far away for their light to have reached us in 6,000 years. The nearby satellite galaxies called the Magellanic Clouds are even farther way, and there are galaxies hundreds and even thousands of times farther away than that. I guarantee you 100%, the universe is far older than you imagine.

  • Dean from Ohio
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Scott B,Modern science and mathematics are based on the foundation of shared knowledge. Anyone who understands combinatorial math, knows the approximate number of known proteins (< 5,000) and the number of possible protein coding codes from the genome (in excess of 10^50, if memory serves) can do the math. I don't need more sources, and neither do you. Humans exist at 14.7 psi of atmospheric pressure and a range around that. No peer reviewed papers are needed to know that humans cannot exist at, say, 0.147 psi. No red herrings, please.I also find your points about Adam and Eve to be false teaching. Jesus himself affirmed the special creation of Adam and Eve, and the historicity of Noah and the great flood. Are you going to discard those too?Brother, repent of your unbelief and disobedience while there is still time!

  • Scott B
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Dean, re "Our eternal salvation rests squarely on the historical existence of Adam and Eve as the first man and first woman... This is the linchpin of our justification, writes the Apostle Paul in Romans chapter 5". If that is what you think, I can understand your abhorrence of evolution. But I submit to you that Paul writes no such thing. He makes a number of statements in Romans 5 that compare and contrast aspects of the Adam story with the work of Christ. But he never, ever, makes the truth of the Christ-statements dependent on the truth of the Adam-statements. He merely believes both sets of statements to be true, and proceeds on that basis to draw rational parallels between them. His teachings here about Christ's work of redemption stand on their own, being backed by dozens of related passages in the New Testament.
    Being a first-century Jew, of course Paul believed in a literal Adam and Eve. Paul never sets out to teach that the Adam and Eve story is literally true, he simply assumes it. There is a big difference. The references to Adam in Paul's letters are never essential to the teachings there; they are always add-ons, to illustrate or buttress a point being made on other grounds. In both Romans 1-8 and I Corinthians 15, Paul is motoring along with his arguments (e.g. on salvation by grace through faith, or on the reality of a bodily resurrection), and simply adds in the references to Adam as they seem to fit his discussion. If those Adam references had not been included in Romans or I Corinthians,we would not miss them - - we would not be wandering around in confusion, wondering why God sent His Son to die for us.
    Paul develops the universality of sin in Romans 1-3 with no mention of original sin. He moves from, "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness... although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him" (1:18-21) to "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (3:23) quite apart from Adam. In all the gospel proclamations to both Jews and Gentiles recorded in the Book of Acts, there is not a single reference to Adam's sin. The Fall is never mentioned in the sayings of Jesus. On the contrary, Jesus directed people away from religious speculations or blaming others, and towards a consciousness of their own shortcomings and their personal need for mercy. My hope for the forgiveness of my sins is based on the death and resurrection of Jesus, not on whether some ancestor thousands of years ago was derived from dust or from another primate.
    Best wishes....for more on this topic see https://letterstocreationists.wordpress.com/2011/08/21/adam-the-fall-and-evolution-christianity-today-and-world-get-it-wrong/

  • Scott B
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Dean, re "The combinatorial space is far, far, far too vast for random mutations and natural selection to search successfully for the tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of genetic sequences that permit the organism to live and reproduce. " - - I'd be interested if you would provide a reference to a research paper in a bona-fide academic journal that demonstrates this. I read this sort of claim all the time in second-handers like Stephen Meyer and Casey Luskin, but when I turn to the studies they cite, I find that those studies do not substantiate this claim.

  • Scott B
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Hawaiicharles, re : "If mutations really could create new information, why don't programmers purposefully copy their programs over buggy connections over and over again, to see if better code would result?" - - The reason they don't do that is that there is no mechanism in buggy connections that would weed out deleterious alterations to their code and preserve beneficial alterations to their code.
    But programmers do do something like that when there IS a mechanism to weed out deleterious alterations and preserve beneficial alterations, akin to the natural selection mechanism which can be commonly observed in plant and animal populations. For instance, a designer might sketch out a trial profile for an airplane wing, say a plain skinny oval, and then let a program run which makes small random alterations in the design. Each new variation is tested for "fitness" by an aerodynamic simulation, and any variation which gives improved lift and drag characteristics is retained as the new basis. This will normally converge to good airfoil. In recognition to the similarity to evolution, this is called a "genetic algorithm." Creationists may try to find some reason to disagree, but by most standards the non-symmetric airfoil is more informationally complex than a plain oval.

  • Scott B
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Hawaiicharles, aloha! re "mutations...are nearly always harmful to the organism and are at best neutral". The misunderstands how biologists regard harmful and beneficial mutations. These are defined in terms of the organism's present environment. What is beneficial in one environment may be harmful in another. So if a bacterial population is put in a new environment, and acquires genetic mutations to make it more fit there, it is not reasonable to demand that it retain its original fitness in its orginal environment. That is no requirement of evolutionary theory. You are right, that when faced with antibiotics which target their vital metabolism bacteria usually mutate in ways which make them less fit in the wild. But those mutations in their new environment are beneficial. Also, some bacteria retain their wild fitness even as they mutate to acquire anti-biotic resistance - for one of several examples, see Luo, et al. "Enhanced in vivo fitness of fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter jejuni in the absence of antibiotic selection pressure", PNAS January 18, 2005 vol. 102 no. 3 541-546. From the abstract: "When coinoculated into chickens, the FQ-resistant Campylobacter isolates outcompeted the majority of the FQ-susceptible strains, indicating that the resistant Campylobacter was biologically fit in the chicken host. ..."
    And there are beneficial mutations that take the form of gene duplications, e.g. Brown, et al. [ "Multiple Duplications of Yeast Hexose Transport Genes in Response to Selection in a Glucose-Limited Environment," Molecular Biology and Evolution, Vol 15, 931-942 (1998) ] let baker's yeast evolve for 450 generations under glucose-limited conditions. Multiple gene duplications became fixed in the population, enabling it to thrive in the low-glucose environment. The mutated yeast species remained competitive at the original conditions, so this is yet another example that disproves the notion that all mutations represent degeneration relative to the earlier or "wild" strain. The duplicated genes are chimeric: they combine the coding sequence of one parent gene with the promoter sequence of a different gene. Hence, the new genes are not completely identical to either of the parent genes. This gives some novelty, expanding the information in the genome, and provides additional opportunity for modification of these genes.
    Even if you grant that these mutations are indeed beneficial, I understand that you might say that all this is just expressing the hidden potential of pre-existing genes. Because evolution is a very slow process (as inferred from current rates of mutation and from morphological changes in the fossil record), it will be hard to differentiate your viewpoint from mainstream science just by looking at genetic changes observable, say, in one human lifetime. Evolutionists do not propose that altered genes expressed in different physical function appear out of nowhere. Rather, they typically occur as alterations in pre-existing genes, or in duplicated genes. But we find no intrinsic barrier to continued accumulation of mutations over time.

  • Dean from Ohio
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Alex Curry writes, "The two best museums in America are right. 'Evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology. There is no scientific controversy about whether evolution occurred or whether it explains the history of life on earth.' They are not making this up. A biologist would have to be a biology denier to deny the established truth of evolution."This is the most wholehearted example of religious devotion I can remember in years and years. The idol of scientism has been insulted, and Mr. Curry takes it upon himself to defend it. May God open Mr. Curry's eyes and deliver him from this lie.

  • Alex Curry
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    "Many museum placards are propagandistic: 'Since Darwin died in 1882, findings from many fields have confirmed and expanded on his ideas. We learned that Earth is old enough for all known species to have evolved.' That ignores all the research showing that even 4.5 billion years is not enough, given the multi-mutation features that require multiple components to kick in to provide some survival advantage."If Mr. Olasky knew what he was talking about he would have known the first simple living cells did not get a foothold on Earth until about 3.5 billion years ago, not 4.5 billion years."That ignores all the research showing that even 4.5 billion years is not enough"What research shows more than 3 billion years is not enough? Mr. Olasky does not provide a link because he knows he just made that up. 3.5 billion years is an extremely vast amount of time. For example it took only about 7.5 million years for our species to develop from our ancient ape ancestors.The countless thousands of evidences for macroevolution from DNA sequencing are more powerful than Darwin could have imagined possible. In the 21st century evolution by natural selection (macro, micro) has become the strongest fact of science. Mr. Olasky (who obviously knows next to nothing about science) is wrong. The two best museums in America are right. "Evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology. There is no scientific controversy about whether evolution occurred or whether it explains the history of life on earth." They are not making this up. A biologist would have to be a biology denier to deny the established truth of evolution.At DissentfromDarwin.org, over 900 Ph.D. scientists have signed a statement agreeing that "we are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life."Virtually none of those science deniers are biologists. Many people on that list are dead. Many people on that list are not even scientists. And these incompetent people are an extremely tiny fraction of the scientific community.But of course science is not a democracy. Scientists don't vote on what is right and what is wrong. The only thing that matters is the evidence which for evolution is overwhelming. I have read 5 books about the evidence for evolution. To give you an idea of how much evidence there is, there was virtually no overlap in the 5 books. They all discussed different evidences, and still there is more evidence none of books talked about. Every day new evidence from DNA sequencing is making macroevolution stronger. It has become ridiculous to be an evolution denier.

  • Dean from Ohio
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Scott B wrote, "I see no reason to worry that if humans developed from some other species many thousands of years ago that that would impair God's gift of a soul to us today."There is indeed a reason to worry. If there was no first Adam, there is no second Adam. If there was no man created by the direct act of God from the dust of the earth, there is no man resurrected from the dead after bearing our sins. Our eternal salvation rests squarely on the historical existence of Adam and Eve as the first man and first woman, created by the direct act of God from non-living materials that he had already created. Apart from this we are lost and without hope. This is the linchpin of our justification, writes the Apostle Paul in Romans chapter 5.Truth is as near to us, or as far from us, as we want it. Finding more truth, however, is contingent on our own faith in, and obedience to, the truth that God has already revealed to us. Truth is not, to use the words of C.S. Lewis's Prince Caspian, to be had for a song. It takes a whole-life commitment to trust in and obey the truth that God has already revealed to us, and a willingness to endure scorn, misunderstanding and even hatred for that commitment. As I see it, theistic evolution falls short on all of these counts, and is thus an unworthy pursuit for a Christian.

  • theedwards6
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    The Perot Museum has evolution as a theme throughout most of its exhibits, with one room especially dedicated to Darwinian evolution (my teenage son called it "the propaganda room").  We enjoyed the museum, but also spent time talking about the assumptions being made and some of the logical inconsistencies being made, some on signs not more than a few feet away from each other.  In particular, there was a sign about how the climate of the earth fluctuates over time between relatively hotter and colder average temperatures, but on the other side of the room was a big exhibit warning about global warning.

  • Dean from Ohio
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Scott B, thanks for your comment. It doesn't matter if 99%+ scientists accept evolution. It not only did not happen; it could not have happened. The combinatorial space is far, far, far too vast for random mutations and natural selection to search successfully for the tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of genetic sequences that permit the organism to live and reproduce. It would be like traveling on foot from Los Angeles to Boston, stepping only on buildings that are 1000 feet high or higher, except infinitely more difficult.

  • Char's picture
    Char
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Such a good distinction in your article, Marvin! It's an important part of education to be able to identify propaganda. When evolution fundamentalists put a gloss of uniform consensus over their claims, students of any stripe should ask a lot of questions.

  • hawaiicharles
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Quote from Scott B: "Well, micro-evolution has mainly to do with accumulating genetic mutations (plus some epigenetic changes)."No, it doesn't.  It has to do mainly with different expressions of genes that are already present within a created kind.  In the creationist viewpoint, God instilled every kind of creature with a robust set of genetic code, capable of being expressed in a myriad of ways.  Thousands of years of empirical observation shows us that information never springs from random, undirected processes.  It only comes from the mind of an intelligent being working with a purpose.  If a certain population of creatures begins to express a heretofore unseen trait, it's because the genes to express that trait were already present in their gene pool but not necessarily active.  It's not because a random mutation magically created a new gene (or set of genes).  Darwinists like to point to cases in which certain one-celled pathogenic organisms (germs) gain immunity to certain drugs because of mutations.  However, it can be easily demonstrated that this happens because the germ *lost* the ability to bind to a certain protein, not because it gained previously non-existent information. Experiment after experiment show that mutations degrade genetic information.  They are nearly always harmful to the organism, and at best neutral.There's a good reason that computer programmers build robust checks into data transmission systems, in order to guarantee faithful delivery of data.  It's because a flipped bit (a 1 turning into a 0, or vice-versa) is *always* harmful to the data.  In something like a JPEG image, it might show up as a pixel being the wrong color.  In the case of executable code, it could render the entire program inoperable.  If mutations really could create new information, why don't programmers purposefully copy their programs over buggy connections over and over again, to see if better code would result?

  • Chelsey McNeil's picture
    Chelsey McNeil
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    I'm another homeschooler who visited the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago many times growing up and my family did not shy away from grappling with the exhibits' bold claims on the orthodoxy of Macroevolution.  We read a lot of books and worked through these issues as a family, seeking out and reading science books from a Christian (young earth creation) perspective, as well as secular, pro-evolution texts to see where the differences are. When we consider the arguments of of those who believe in Deist Evolution and macrovolution in general, we need to take God at His word. Genesis is very clear about creation taking place in six literal earth days and sophisticated attempts to dissuade us away from our confidence that it really was six earth days is akin the serpent's challenge "Did God really say...?"

  • Scott B
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    First, I'd like to state how much I appreciate most of Dr. Olasky's articles. He is a consistent voice for intelligent, compassionate Christian values. Second, I agree with him that scaring children with eco-disaster is inappropriate (if there truly is eco-disaster in the offing, let us adults debate and respond to it, not confront small children with frightening, sketchy scenarios which they have no control over).That said, there are some matters in this article which bear correction. To keep this short, I will limit my remarks to page 34 of the article.
    It is claimed that a film in a museum "cheats" by presenting evidence for micro-evolution as though it were relevant to macro-evolution. Well, micro-evolution has mainly to do with accumulating genetic mutations (plus some epigenetic changes). And so does macro-evolution. There is no reason that mutations cannot continue to accumulate with time, and continue to lead to morphological changes. Opponents of evolution claim that there is some barrier beyond which mutational changes cannot occur, but they cannot demonstrate the existence of such a barrier. ( Michael Behe tried to demonstrate such a barrier with his "Edge of Evolution", but was unsuccessful - see https://letterstocreationists.wordpress.com/stan-4/ ).
    The article states:
    ....the Smithsonian insists:  "Evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology. There is no scientific controversy about whether evolution occurred or whether it explains the history of life on earth." That's just wrong. At DissentfromDarwin.org, over 900 Ph.D. scientists have signed a statement agreeing that "we are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life." ...

    OK, let's just say there is no SIGNIFICANT scientific controversy about whether evolution occurred or whether it explains the history of life on earth. First, the 1000 or so Ph.D. scientists that signed that statement amount to less than 0.04% of all the research scientists in the world. You can find people to sign almost anything. Only a few dozen of the signatories have actually done relevant published research in biology or geology.
    Second, the statement itself has nothing to do with "whether evolution occurred or whether it explains the history of life on earth." All it deals with is whether a certain sub-set ("random mutation and natural selection") of evolutionary mechanisms is sufficient to account for the whole "complexity of life". People can and have signed it who fully accept macro-evolution and common descent, but who recognize that recent findings show that the original Darwinian proposal of natural selection must be supplemented by additional factors such as fixation of neutral mutations.

    The article makes reference to "all the research showing that even 4.5 billion years is not enough, given the multi-mutation features that require multiple components to kick in to provide some survival advantage." But there is no such research. There are some attempts by Intelligent Design advocates to show that "even 4.5 billion years is not enough", but they do not succeed. Christian biologist Steve Matheson has explained the fundamental errors in the work of Michael Behe
    http://sfmatheson.blogspot.com/2008/08/why-im-not-behe-fan-part-iib-abusing.html and of Douglas Axe http://darwinsdoubtreviews.blogspot.com/2013/09/exploring-protein-universe-response-to.html.
    The Christian fretting over evolution is misplaced, and just plays into the hands of our opponents. Each of us starts life as a fertilized egg. I see no reason to worry that if humans developed from some other species many thousands of years ago that that would impair God's gift of a soul to us today.

  • hawaiicharles
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Regarding polar bears:  The film was cheating because it conflated 2 separate and distinct ideas: macro-evolution and micro-evolution.  This is a strategy very often used by Darwinists to mislead people.  They'll point to a well-documented example of micro-evolution, meaning change *within* a kind.  Then they'll offer that as proof that macro-evolution happens.  It's a slight-of-hand trick that they use all the time.To further explain:  If a population of bears has brown fur, and then some of their descendants have white fur, that is an observable change over time, which you can label as evolution (meaning simply, "change").  However, what you started with and what you ended up with are still bears - not some other kind of animal.  You don't get bears giving rise to cats or dogs, for example.  Bears can only produce other bears.  If some of them have white fur and some have brown fur, it simply means that all of that variation was already present in their genome from the beginning.  Once you are wise to this bait-and-switch tactic though, you will see it literally everywhere.

  • Buddy's picture
    Buddy
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    In Gen 1:26 God says "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness". This is a directive or order to be carried out. I like to think of heaven has departments of creation (we won't be just setting on clouds playing harps). Fish are made after their kind, birds after their kind, cats after their kind and I think you get the idea. One so called dinosaur of our own making is the Edsel car. Their distinctive grill let you know what brand of car it was without need of knowing the model, but it's a car with the same function as other cars. In many ways the Edsel was ahead of its time. A fighter jet is different than a cargo plane and we have many types of each. A finished product is the reason they can't find the evolutionary progressive fossil record.
    Evolution is the satan's apple for today. The many highly technical life forms around us witness strongly for creation. One little grain of wheat has more programming built in than all of mans greatest creations. If you pray for eyes that see you will find the marvelous, engineering in just our human bodies. Sound reasoning witnesses that our internal organs were by design. The programming of human conception, birth and growth to maturity cannot just happen without being designed and this goes for the many other life forms around us. I guarantee you 100%, we are created.
    John 14:1-3 says Jesus is preparing many mansions for us. Might there not be many departments of creation also. What department would like to please God by being assigned to?
    1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:1-3 (KJV)

  • Katie
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Also, the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum in Glendive, MT, and others like it, are excellent, faith-affirming resources where fossils and history are interpreted through the lens of Scripture. The museum in Glendive has similar items on display as the museums from this article, but offers far different explanations and I learn a ton every time I visit there. If you go, sign up for the guided tour...it's worth it.

  • Katie
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    I am a homeschooling mom and neither I, nor any other homeschool family I know, has ever ignored or avoided museums such as this. Believe it or not, we are well informed about this debate and teach our children accordingly.

  • imjustsaying's picture
    imjustsaying
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    Thank you Mr. Olasky.

  • Trilobite
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    I know that Olasky and most readers are aware that Francis Collins is a founder of BioLogos and a Christian, although I'm not sure if he is Christian enough for Olasky. What Olasky calls Collins's statement of evolutionary faith might instead be a statement that "the Bible's proclamation that in Christ all thing hold together" explains less than evolutionary theory about the diversity of plants and animals around us.About the polar bears: if you concede that a population of bears can evolve lighter fur over generations, which you seem to, was the film cheating because polar bears and brown bears aren't really different species, or was it cheating because that's not the only difference between them?Olasky gives credit to the New York museum for portraying science that doesn't have all the answers, but he hopes that visitors will reject what it does explain because the explanations are incomplete. The scientist part of me sees him using my scientific mistake to reject everything I got right. How can I possibly concede error in such a debate? If I try to explain that evolutionary theory isn't a description of how humans should live together or what heaven is like, I'm told that the mere use of evolution as a framework to understand biology gives aid and comfort to those who would turn human society into a survival of the fittest.On the other hand if a scientist says that you have to be careful about using science and technology because it could harm the environment in ways that ultimately cause harm to people and society (ocean acidification, overfishing, etc.), well that's just horror fiction.Olasky can believe that the theory of evolution is an infection that has corrupted 97% of biologists, yet science and technology can't possibly cause any environmental problems that could harm future generations or the planet. On the other hand Collins is ridiculed for holding the apparently contradictory views that evolution explains something about biology and that Jesus Christ died for his sins.

  • Dean from Ohio
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    William F. Buckley famously said that he would rather be governed by the first 400 people in the Boston telephone directory than by the faculty of Harvard University. The Smithsonian world via is the same as that of the Harvard faculty, but surprisingly, New York still has some down to earth common sense and humility left. Another reason to despise the culture of Washington D.C. and to give a second look at the flawed but no-nonsense culture of New York.

  • DakotaLutheran
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 11:49 am

    I am no anthropologist, but I have been trained as a physicist. For long time I have been amazed by the kind of detail that anthropologists claim. This is even more astonishing when it comes to their descriptions of human evolution. It has always seemed to me a highly speculative exercise, one that is welcomed because their audience already knows what they ought to be finding. It is quite rare (almost unheard of) for scientists of any ilk to publicly exhibit signs of humility, allowing us to take a brief look under the hood. So I am quite impressed by the public admission at the AMNH. BTW, I grew up in NYC. I think I went to this museum once as a kid in the 50's. I seem to remember the stuffed animals. On infrequent visits to NYC to visit relatives, I have always avoided this museum. Maybe next time I won't.