Tag Archive: Evolution

Questions: Bruce, Did Your High School Teach Evolution?

questions

I recently asked readers to submit questions to me they would like me to answer. If you would like to submit a question, please follow the instructions listed here.

ObstacleChick asked, “was evolution taught in the high school you attended?”

I actually attended four high schools in the 1970s:

I took biology in tenth grade. All that I remember about biology class at Rincon High was the labs; specifically dissecting a frog. Biology class at Findlay High dealt with the basics of biology, including evolution.

I was quite the Fundamentalist Baptist during my years at Findlay High School. I remember writing an English paper on the subject, Why I’m a Baptist. I received an A on the paper. My teacher’s only comment was the word interesting, written in red and underlined. In biology class, I was a royal pain in the ass, frequently injecting Biblical young-earth creationism into class discussions. When it came time to take tests, I would give the correct answers to the questions and then write what the Bible had to say on the matter. Here I was, sixteen years old, and my mind had already been ruined by Fundamentalism. As a result, the science I learned in public school didn’t stick. I was an unabashed, full-fledged, Bible-thumping, young-earth creationist. In my mind, every question could be answered with, the BIBLE says ______________.

As a pastor, on several occasions, I went after public school science teachers for teaching Darwinian evolution. When I got wind of church teens being taught evolution, I would march down to the local school and demand their religious beliefs be accommodated and respected. Usually, it was church parents, not students themselves, asking me to do something about evolution being taught. Teachers, not wanting conflict with a local preacher, accommodated my demands, often giving Christian students alternative work to do. In retrospect, I am sure the teens who attended my church were thoroughly embarrassed by being singled out.

In 1989, I started a private school for the children of the families who attended Somerset Baptist Church in Mt. Perry, Ohio. Creation science was taught in every grade. Evolution was only mentioned in passing, more of warning that its teachings were Satanic and contrary to the Word of God.

It was not until my post-Jesus days that I began to seriously study science. While I know a lot more than I did a decade ago, I am still, in every way, an ill-educated novice when it comes to the various scientific disciplines. I must, then, rely on experts to give me answers about this or that matter of science.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

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The Sounds of Fundamentalism: Unnamed Youth Evangelist Illustrates Evangelical Ignorance Concerning Evolution

evolution

This is the one hundred and seventieth installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section.  Let’s have some fun!

Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a video clip of an unnamed Evangelical youth evangelist “explaining” evolution to a group of teenagers. The video also shows the evangelist inappropriately touching a teen girl on the front row of the meeting place.

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Journalist Kurt Andersen Explains How Fundamentalist Christianity Has Made the United States Go Nuts

kurt andersen

What follows is a short video of journalist Kurt Andersen explaining how Fundamentalist Christianity has made the United States (especially the Republican Party) lose its marbles.

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Sacrilegious Humor: Evolution and Creationism by Dara O’Briain

dara o briain

This is the fifty-second installment in the Sacrilegious Humor series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a comedy bit that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please email me the name of the bit or a link to it.

 

Today’s comedy bit features comedian Dara O’Briain.

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Sacrilegious Humor: Creationism by Lewis Black

 

lewis black

This is the fifty-first installment in the Sacrilegious Humor series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a comedy bit that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please email me the name of the bit or a link to it.

Today’s comedy bit features comedian Lewis Black.

Video Link

Quote of the Day: There Are No Rules of the Universe That Say “People Can’t Rise From the Dead”

creationism vs science

Fundamentalist Christian:

Everything from the creation to the resurrection became possible once the sciences took on their true form and place, as mere human experience writ large.…Once the people built a tower to the sky; it did little for their spiritual well being. So my reading of the Bible is painfully literalistic. When I see it read that Jesus Christ has physically risen from the dead, I take it as teaching what it is saying. I don’t have a poetry that can carry that event without some real blood and asphyxiation. Without a real death and resurrection I could not be a Christian, the way some cannot be a Christian with it. I don’t, contrary to many, have any good reasons to think that something like that cannot happen, even if I have good reason to understand that it does not usually happen.

There are no rules of the universe that say, “people can’t rise from the dead.” Those kinds of rules are limitations drawn from the narrow breadth of human experience and common habit. There is no evidence for them.

Gary:

If we follow this line of thinking, no claim, regardless of how fantastical, should be dismissed by modern, educated people if the claim comes from someone’s holy book. Anything is possible, so nothing can be ruled out. If the literal interpretation of a passage in the Christian Bible says that the universe was created in six days, it was created in six literal days, regardless of what science says on that issue.

Science states that the earth revolves around the sun, but that isn’t what Joshua seemed to believe in the Old Testament. If we follow our Christian’s thinking above, it is perfectly rational to believe that the sun DOES revolve around the earth; the apparent evidence suggesting heliocentricity is simply a mirage, created by God to humble and confuse the wise. So maybe we should force NASA and other governmental space and science agencies to abandon heliocentricity based on the literal reading of this biblical text.

How can a modern society function with such a mindset? Imagine if all US government agencies were forced to yield to those who hold a literal interpretation of every statement in the Old and New Testaments as historical fact. What a disaster! Life would be chaos! We would revert to a primitive people, afraid of our shadows for fear of conniving devils and demons.

No one can claim that science, and the scientific method used by science, is the one and only source of truth. But we can claim that the scientific method, to date, has proven to be the most reliable method of discovering how our universe operates; far better than the literal interpretation of the Bible or any other ancient holy book.

As for me and my house, we will stick with science!

— Gary, Escaping Christian Fundamentalism, Should Christians Believe Biblical Claims Which Contradict Scientific Evidence?, October 2, 2017

 

Songs of Sacrilege: The Great Debate by Randy Newman

randy newman

This is the one hundred and forty-eighth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is The Great Debate by Randy Newman.

Video Link

Lyrics

[Mediator:]
Welcome, welcome, welcome to this great arena! Durham, North Carolina, the heart of the Research Triangle! We’ve come to this particular place tonight, ’cause we gotta look at things from every angle. We need some answers to some complicated questions if we’re going to get it right.

To that end, we have here gathered some of the most expensive scientists in the world—eminent scientists, that is. We got biologists, biometricians, got a quantum mechanic and astrophysicians. Got a cosmologist and a cosmetician, got an astronaut, we got Astro Boy! We got he-doctors, she-doctors, knee doctors, tree doctors! We a got a lumberjack and a life coach!

On the other side, we have the true believers. We got the Baptists, the Methodists, Presbyterians. The Episcopalians are here, pass the hat! We got the Shakers, the Quakers, the anti-innoculators, the Big Boss Line from Madison Town! The Six Blind Boys, Five Tons of Joy, give ’em room, get out of the way! We got a Bible Belter from the Mississippi Delta. Have them all arranged.

Scientists, are you ready? First question: dark matter. Oh, dark matter. Give me someone knows somethin’ about space.

[The Scientists send a representative.]

Nice space music, Georgie. All right, what is it? Where is it? Can we get some? Stand up, sir, would you? You are standing, forgive me. Dark matter, go ahead.

[Georgie:]
Dark matter is out in space.
It’s seventy-five percent of everything…

[Mediator:]
Just a moment, sir. Do yourself a favor, use our music. People like it, and your music’s making people sick! All right. It’s a free country, go ahead. Dark matter, what is it?

[Georgie:]
We don’t know what it is, but we think it’s everywhere.

[Mediator:]
I’d like to take a look at it. Can we get some down here?

[Georgie:]
Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
Of course not!

[Mediator:]
Let me get this straight: you don’t know what it is, you don’t know where it is, and we can’t get any? Put that to the one side. Let’s put the Lord, faith, eternity and whatever on the other side! Show of hands?

[True Believers:]
I’ll take Jesus, I’ll take Jesus, I’ll take Jesus every time!
I’ll take Jesus, I’ll take Jesus, I’ll take Jesus every time!
Yes I will, yes I will, yes I will, yes I will!
I’ll take Jesus, I’ll take Jesus, I’ll take Jesus every time!

[Mediator:]
All right, one-nothing! Next one’s gonna be a hard one. It’s about the theory of evolution, and it’s about animals, also. So, give me someone knows somethin’ about evolution, and animals. Who you got?

[Both sides send a representative.]

[True Believer:]
Wow, you’re a beautiful woman, aren’t you? Doesn’t matter, of course, but if this science thing doesn’t work out for you— oh, don’t boo me, don’t boo me! I’m just kiddin’ you, you know that. Here’s my question: explain me the giraffe. Go ahead.

[Scientist:]
Elaborate?

[True Believer:]
With pleasure, miss. The giraffe, to survive, must eat leaves high up on the Yabba Yabba tree. That’s true, isn’t it?

[Scientist:]
Of course it is. Everyone knows that!

[True Believer:]
But Mr. Darwin’s giraffe, the halfway-giraffe, with a halfway-giraffe neck, could never have reached the highest branches of the Yabba Yabba. Therefore, he could not have survived. It’s only common sense. Unfortunately for you, Mr. Charles Darwin didn’t have any common sense! Evolution is a theory, and we have just now, tonight, disproved it. Show of hands?

[True Believers:]
I’ll take Jesus, I’ll take Jesus, I’ll take Jesus every time!
I’ll take Jesus, I’ll take Jesus, I’ll take Jesus every time!
Yes I will, yes I will, yes I will, yes I will!
I’ll take Jesus every time!

[Applause from the gathered crowd.]

[Mediator:]
All right, two-nothing! Next question: global warming. Is it, and if so, so what— One of the true believers seeks to be recognized. Hand him a mic, Charles. Thank you.

[The True Believer taps the microphone.]

[True Believer:]
Sir, do you know what you are? You’re an idiot. You’re a strawman, a fabrication! You see, the author of this little vignette, Mr. Newman, self-described atheist and communist, creates characters, like you, as objects of ridicule! He doesn’t believe anything he has you say, nor does he want us to believe anything you say. Makes it easy for him to knock you down, hence, a strawman. I, myself, believe in Jesus. I believe in evolution, also. I believe in global warming, and in life everlasting. No one can knock me down.

[Mediator:]
Oh, we can knock you down, Mister! We can knock your communist friend down, too! Communist… You call me an idiot! We’ve been knocking people like Mr. Newman down for years and years! Like this: page 35, Georgie! Mrs. Dorothy, page 35…

[All:]
I know someone is watching me
Everywhere I go
Someone sees everything I see
Knows everything I know
When I’m in trouble, don’t have a friend
There’s still somebody on whom I can depend
Someone who’ll be there ’till the very end
Someone is watching me!

Someone is watching me!
Someone is watching me!
For so long, I was too blind to see
Someone is watching
Someone is watching
Someone is watching me!

[Mediator:]
Take a little break, ladies and gentlemen. Fifteen, maybe twenty-five minutes, depending on how the merchandise is moving. We’ll be right back!

[Applause.]

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Who Are the REAL Americans? by Bryan Fischer

bryan fischer

Considerable amounts of ink and pixels have been spilled in recent months over the question of who is an American, who is unAmerican, and who is anti-American. There is an easy way to tell: Use the Declaration of Independence as your guide.

The Declaration is the most quintessentially American document ever produced. It defines in unmistakable and unambiguous terms what America stands for. Simply put, someone who affirms the truth claims of the Declaration is a true American. Someone who is indifferent to its truth claims is un-American. And someone who is hostile to its truth claims is anti-American.

….

What, then, does it mean to be an “American?” 

First, Americans believe in absolute truth. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, … ” said the founders. There is such a thing as truth, an American would say, and we believe in it, and we defend it. An American believes, as did the founders, that certain things are true and other things are false. There is none of this business of everybody having his own truth. In fact, the founders observed that there are certain truths that are so obviously true on the very face of things that they do not even require proof; they are “self-evident.”

Thus someone who is indifferent to the question of truth is unAmerican because he does not care about this fundamental American ideal. And someone who is hostile to the idea of truth, or who is hostile to the self-evident truths the founders affirmed, is anti-American because he has pitted himself against a bedrock American principle.

Second, Americans believe man is a created being, not an evolved one. The very first self-evident truth the founders embraced is that “all men are created equal,” and that there is a “Creator” with a capital “C” who has granted them certain fundamental, non-negotiable rights. In other words, an American does not believe that man emerged from the primordial glop with some kind of ancestral connection to baboons and chimpanzees. No, an American believes, as the founders did, that man has been created in the image of God and is distinct and far above members of the animal kingdom in worth, value, and dignity. Man is not just a “trousered ape” but is an entirely different order of being altogether—a being who has not just a soul but also a spirit.

….

So an American believes man is a created being. Someone who is indifferent to the question of whether man is created or evolved is unAmerican. And someone who actively opposes the concept of a Creator and the concept of man as created in God’s image is anti-American.

Third, an American believes our rights come to us from God, not from government. An American believes that such rights are “unalienable,” which means that no earthly power has the moral authority to deprive us of any single one of these rights because they are a gift to us from God.

….

So an American believes that our rights come to us from a Creator God. An unAmerican is indifferent to the question. And an anti-American vigorously contests that idea and believes that rights are a gift to us from a beneficent government rather than the Creator.

Fourth, an American believes that babies have a right to be born. An American believes that no earthly power—not Congress, not the Supreme Court, not Planned Parenthood, nor a hospital in England—has any moral or legal right whatsoever to deprive a baby in the womb or a disabled newborn of its right to live. An anti-American is someone who supports the killing of babies in the womb and tries to lock up the Americans who expose this evil. Thus they seek to deprive babies of their right to life and undercover investigators of their right to liberty.

Fifth, an American believes that bakers, florists and photographers have a God-given right to liberty, a God-given right to manage their business affairs according to the dictates of their own conscience. An American believes that he should not be required by government to do work against his will, which is slavery, or to do work that violates his own conscience, which is tyranny. An American in name only believes that such artisans should be punished, fined, put out of business or sued for everything they own. And someone who is indifferent to this issue is not a bad person; he is just an unAmerican one.

Sixth, an American believes that the right to private property is a sacred right, a gift from God, and that government is not allowed to deprive homeowners of their property or deny farmers and ranchers the use of their property (apart, of course, from the proper use of eminent domain or as a consequence of the commission of a crime). The founders would be appalled at the way in which the abuse of eminent domain and the use of environmental regulations have shredded this unalienable right. An American believes the right to private property is a gift from God. An anti-American despises this right and treats it as something that government can readily dispose of if it will serve the progressive agenda.

— Bryan Fischer, American Family Association, The Declaration Exposes Americans in Name Only, July 10, 2017

The Sounds of Fundamentalism: Evolution is to Blame for Everything from Racism to Murder Says David Whitney

pastor david whitney

This is the one hundred and fifty-fourth installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section.  Let’s have some fun!

Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a video clip of David Whitney, affiliated with the Institute on the Constitution, blaming everything from racism to murder on evolution.

In a sermon preached at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Pasadena, Maryland, Whitney stated:

“As in all public schools, evolution is inculcated and it teaches that there is no Creator God and that everything in the universe came into existence by chance and mistake, accident and is wholly without purpose and without meaning of any kind,” Whitney preached. “[Urbanski] was taught that mankind, including himself, was nothing more than a long compilation of mistakes and mutations and chance occurrences.”

“We should not be surprised then if Sean, with that background and education, concluded that life is meaningless, without any purpose at all,” he continued. “Or, if there is a purpose in life, it would be to advance and further the process of evolution; a process in which the strong destroy the weak and indeed, ultimately, that is the purpose for existence. Survival of the fittest therefore has some rather dastardly consequences which we see in the murder committed by a secular humanist of a Christian young man.”

“Evolution is also the basis of racism, [and] many assert that racism played a role in the motivation for this murder,” Whitney said. “You see, evolution is essentially racist. So where did Sean Urbanski learn racism? He learned it in his classes on evolution at the local public high school that his parents sent him to and his parents funded that school by the payment of their property taxes.”

Video Link

 

Vice President Candidate Mike Pence Denies Evolution, Wants Public School Students Taught Creationism

seth-macfarlane-mike-pence-evolution

Here’s a 2002 video of  U.S. Representative from Indiana Mike Pence denying evolution on the House floor. Pence quickly reveals that he, like many creationists, doesn’t understand the meaning of the word theory. Pence does on to ask that other “theories” of beginnings be taught — you know like Biblical creationism. Pence is being disingenuous here when he says he want creationism to be taught alongside evolution. He wants no such thing, as he makes clear towards the end of his speech. Pence believes Genesis 1-3 is scientific fact, not just one theory of origins among many.  His grand hope is that everyone will one day know that evolution is false and creationism is true.

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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Is Man Getting Smarter? by Bodie Hodge

neanderthal

Our secularized culture teaches a strange history. We are told that we were once dumb brutes in an evolutionary past—no different from animals—but over the millennia we got a little smarter and came out of Africa and learned how to be farmers instead of hunters and gatherers.

Then we began building basic settlements and then civilizations and finally empires. So here we are sitting on top of the food chain because, unlike “other animals,” we have become smarter and smarter to become masters of our domain.

Okay, so this is a bunch of hogwash—man is made unique from animals and created in the image of God! But people believe these lies because this is what has been imposed upon them in secular schools, secular media, secular museums, and so on. Do you realize this alleged evolutionary history is not recorded by ancient historians in any culture? It is a modern fairly tale. It is a story that comes out of religions like secularism (including atheism and so on).

But as a result, kids of the next generation look at technology today and misunderstand it. They presume that, since we have more technology, we are “getting smarter” just like the evolutionary story says.
….
After the Flood, a godly worldview dominated. As cultures deviated at Babel and down through the ages, man abandoned a godly and biblical worldview (of what had been revealed from Adam down through Noah) in favor of man’s flawed ideas (i.e., forms of humanism). As they began worshipping ancestors and false gods, their general worldview deteriorated into many various paths of paganism.

This affected science and innovation in a general pattern. It caused technology to remain nearly stagnant—with a few exceptions of course. A mind and culture with little hope has little desire to grow in the knowledge of God’s world (albeit sin-cursed and broken). Many worldviews even deter science and technology because of their very nature (e.g., animism). Animism, for example, has spirit beings that help or harm human interests in the physical world. Thus causality, which is the basis for observable and repeatable science, is meaningless because aspects of nature are controlled by the spirits rather than by a God who has promised to uphold things in a consistent fashion. (For more on world religions read World Religions and Cults Volumes 1–2.)

As Christianity began to explode in Europe prior to AD 1400, people began returning to a godly, biblical worldview leading up to the early modern period. This gave them the proper understanding of the world around them. Acknowledging that our all-knowing (Psalm 147:5) and all-powerful (e.g., Jeremiah 32:27) God upholds the world (Hebrews 1:3) and that He has promised to do so in the future until the end (e.g., Genesis 8:22) gives us the basis for doing observable and repeatable science. This presupposition is vital to make science possible.

As a result Christians began systematically studying the world and how it works (operational science). Most fields of science were developed by Bible believers—even the scientific method was developed by a young-earth creationist, Sir Francis Bacon!6

As Biblically based science erupted, technology, knowledge, inventions, and innovation built one on top of the other. This brings us to the world in which we live, built on centuries of technology.
….
I humbly suggest that as the culture moves away from a biblical understanding of the world, so will they also miss out on certain scientific advancements—or at least delay them. Consider the unbiblical worldview of millions of years: researchers never thought oil could be produced quickly because they had been indoctrinated with the idea that oil production took vast ages. Yet oil can be made in 30 minutes from algae.12

Imagine if researchers in the 1960s had been thinking correctly (i.e., a younger age of the earth and thus rapid oil production at the time of the Flood) and had developed technology based on that truth. It could have revolutionized the oil industry in our current age! Instead, researchers only recently figured it out.

I want to encourage you to think biblically. The Bible makes sense of the world and makes sense of science and technology. Even so, we are in a world where the Bible comes under increasing attack, and secular scientists want to divorce science from the Bible (see “Is Science Secular?”). Science exists because the Bible is true. There is no reason to suppress this knowledge (Romans 1:18–21).

According to the Bible, man has always been brilliant—both in the past and in the present. The difference today is that we have more accumulated knowledge and technologies.

— Bodie Hodge, Answers in Genesis, Is Man Getting “Smarter”?, October, 2016