The Day the Scientists Voted
The scientists have voted. The ballots are in. The votes have been counted. The tally is complete. The results have been verified. It’s official, and final. The issue: the origin of the Universe and all that is in it, including man. The choices: creation (i.e., a supernatural origin at the hand of a divine Creator), or evolution (i.e., natural processes operating through genetic mutations and natural selection as a result of spontaneous generation from inorganic/nonliving to organic/living). The vote: evolution is the clear winner—if the following assertions are to be taken at face value.
“VOTING” EVOLUTION TO BE A FACT
In May 1966, the late geneticist and Nobel laureate, Hermann J. Muller, circulated a manifesto that stated:
There are no hypotheses, alternative to the principle of evolution with its “tree of life,” that any competent biologist of today takes seriously. Moreover, the principle is so important for an understanding of the world we live in and of ourselves that the public in general, including students taking biology in high school, should be made aware of it, and of the fact that it is firmly established, even as the rotundity of the earth is firmly established (see Bales, n.d., pp. 71-72, emp. added).
Dr. Muller’s manifesto was signed by 177 of the world’s most eminent evolutionary scientists, including, among others, George G. Simpson of Harvard, Carl Sagan of Cornell, John Tyler Bonner of Princeton, George Beadle, President of the University of Chicago, and Donald F. Kennedy of Stanford University, formerly head of the United States Food & Drug Administration (see Bales, n.d., pp. 73-77).
The American Association for the Advancement of Science, in a resolution stoutly opposing the teaching of creation as an alternative to evolution, stated:
Whereas the requirement that the theory of creation be included in textbooks as an alternative to evolutionary theory represents a constraint upon the freedom of the science teacher in the classroom...the American Association for the Advancement of Science strongly urges that reference to the theory of creation, which is neither scientifically grounded nor capable of performing the rules required of science theories, not be required in textbooks and other classroom materials intended for use in science curricula (see The American Biology Teacher, 1973, emp. added).
The prestigious National Academy of Sciences likewise produced a similar resolution:
Whereas we understand...a requirement that textbooks for use in public schools give parallel treatment to the theory of evolution and the belief in special creation; and Whereas the essential procedural foundations of science exclude appeal to supernatural causes as a concept not susceptible to validation by objective criteria; and Whereas religion and science are, therefore, separate and mutually exclusive realms of human thought whose presentation in the same context leads to misunderstanding of both scientific theory and religious belief,...we, the members of the National Academy of Sciences, assembled at the autumn 1972 meeting, urge that textbooks of the sciences utilized in the public schools of the nation, be limited to the exposition of scientific matter (see The American Biology Teacher, 1973, emp. added).
In June 1977, the National Association of Biology Teachers [NABT] produced a spiral-bound volume titled: A Compendium of Information on the Theory of Evolution and the Evolution-Creationism Controversy. In the Foreword, Jerry P. Lightner commented on the purpose of the compendium:
...by its actions, NABT has clearly revealed its position; i.e., there is neither scientific nor constitutional reason for inclusion of fundamentalist religious doctrine in biology curricula, and the Association actively opposes attempts to mandate such inclusion. This compendium, therefore, includes only presentations that are scientifically sound, and viewpoints that support the teaching of biology as a science (1977, emp. in orig.).
The American Humanist Association, in the January/February 1977 issue of its official organ, The Humanist, issued “A Statement Affirming Evolution as a Principle of Science.” The single-page document stated:
For many years it has been well established scientifically that all known forms of life, including human beings, have developed by a lengthy process of evolution.... There are no alternative theories to...evolution...that any competent biologist of today takes seriously.... Evolution is the only presently known strictly scientific and nonreligious explanation for the existence and diversity of living organisms. It is therefore the only view that should be expounded in public school courses on science... (pp. 4-6, emp. added).
The statement was signed by such heavyweights in science as Linus Pauling (who holds two Nobel Prizes), Isaac Asimov, George G. Simpson, N.H. Horowitz, Ernst Mayr, and others.
In November 1981, the governing board of the American Geological Institute (the “umbrella” organization for other geological societies) issued a statement on organic evolution that reads as follows:
Scientific evidence indicates beyond any doubt that life has existed on earth for billions of years. This life has evolved through time producing vast numbers of species of plants and animals, most of which are extinct. Although scientists debate the mechanism that produced this change, the evidence for the change is undeniable. Therefore, in the teaching of science we oppose any position that ignores this scientific reality, or that gives equal time to interpretations based on religious beliefs only (AAPG Explorer, 1982, emp. added).
Shortly after the above statement was issued, the board of directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, convened in Washington for its annual meeting, issued a resolution that called legislation requiring the teaching of creation science in public schools, “a real and present threat to the integrity of education and the teaching of science.” The board charged that, “whereas the Association respects the right of people to hold diverse beliefs about creation that do not come within the definition of science,” creationist groups are actually imposing their beliefs “disguised as science...to the detriment and distortion of public education in the United States” (see Raloff, 1982, p. 20). And, of course, there are even more radical statements, such as those in the October l980 issue of Discover magazine, where staff writer Ben Bova asserted:
Evolution...is the cornerstone of the biological sciences. No serious scientists dispute this.... So far not one shred of evidence has ever been found to support the Creationist view. Not a fingerbone, not a leaf, not a shard of evidence exists. We may have been created by some deity or other unfathomable force, but there is no evidence whatsoever that it happened in this way (p. 35, emp. added).
So, the ballots are in. The votes have been counted. The tally is complete. It’s official, and final. It’s “the day the scientists voted.” If the statements from these “learned men” and their “learned societies” are taken at face value, creation, quite simply, has lost.
SCIENCE AND THE DETERMINATION OF TRUTH
Or has it? The fact of the matter is that truth never is determined by popular opinion or majority vote. Just because “learned men” in “learned societies” vote on an issue and decide on a priori grounds to “dispense with God” does not somehow cause God to “roll over and play dead,” or the creation (filled with its many glaring evidences of His existence—Acts 14:17; Romans 1:20-21; Psalm 19:1; Hebrews 3:4, et al.) to simply disappear.
This is a common ploy on the part of the evolutionist. In logic, it is termed the argumentum ad populum—the “appeal to the people” (also known as “playing to the gallery”). It is an “attempt to win popular assent to a conclusion by arousing the emotion and enthusiasm of the multitude, rather than by appeal to the relevant facts” (Copi, 1978, p. 93). This kind of “everyone’s doing it” attitude (“all reputable biologists accept evolution,” “no serious scientists doubt the fact of evolution,” etc.) is intended to win people’s allegiance—not by an examination of the facts, but by peer pressure of the worst sort. Suffice it to say that if the facts alone were to speak, many people would quickly see the paucity of evolution, and the weight of the evidence that supports the biblical account of creation.
Consider, for example, the bedrock upon which the whole of evolution is based—spontaneous generation. It is admittedly an unproven assumption (see Kerkut, 1960, p. 7), yet evolutionists make the assumption and then call the system based on that assumption a “fact” of science as well documented as the rotundity of the Earth. One can hardly help but be amused at how evolutionists complain that creationists have “a miracle in the camp,” when they are the ones who believe that nonliving gave rise to living, inorganic gave rise to organic, amoral gave rise to moral, unconscious gave rise to conscious, and that which had no rational thought gave rise to that which has rational thought. Yet it is the creationists who believe in miracles?
Consider also the many scientific and philosophical evidences supporting the concept of creation. For example, the Law of Biogenesis is the most fundamental of all biological laws. It states specifically that life comes only from preceding life of its kind. That is exactly what creation teaches (see Genesis 1-2; Leviticus 11), but stands in direct contradistinction to what evolution suggests. The First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics, plainly indicate a beginning and an ending for the Universe (see Jastrow, 1978, pp. 11-16,47-49,105-116). Creation teaches exactly the same thing (cf. Genesis 2:1; Hebrews 1:11; 1:3). Further, the evidence from the fossil record does not show the “inconceivably great” numbers of transitional forms which Darwin said must be there if evolution is true, but rather gaps, missing links, and abruptly appearing and disappearing species of animals. Consider also the philosophical/biblical implications of the cosmological and teleological arguments for God’s existence, especially as they deal with contingency and purposeful design in the Universe. When the facts are allowed to speak—apart from “prestige jargon” and pseudo-scientific claptrap—the unprejudiced, unbiased Truth seeker will find plenty of good, solid, incontrovertible evidence that proves God does exist, and that the concept of creation is defensible.
However, consider also the lessons from history. Let us not fail to remember, especially in the light of such impressive verbiage from “learned men,” that the shelves of libraries are filled to overflowing with outmoded, discarded, and yes, even wrong concepts, theories, and “facts” which were once “voted” to be correct by the “learned scientists” of the day. Who was it, for example, that laughed physician Ignaz Phillip Semmelweis (Austria, 1844) to his grave when he insisted that sterility and cleanliness in hospitals would prevent contamination by microorganisms, which he said were causing much disease and death? That’s right—it was the “learned scientists.” Ten years later in Scotland, Joseph Lister would prove them wrong.
Who was it that said the Earth was flat (a common scientific “fact” of the day)? It was the “learned scientists” who had “voted” on the subject, but who were later to discover that just the opposite was true. [Some have suggested that early scientists believed the Earth was flat because of misinformation in the Bible. However, that is incorrect on two counts. First, the Bible nowhere states or implies that the Earth is flat. Instead, it states exactly the opposite in Isaiah 40:22. Second, scientists had the concept of a flat Earth long before any misinterpretation of the Bible can be blamed for it.]
Who was it that said Edward Jenner, M.D. (Berkeley, England, 1775) was wrong when he advocated vaccination against smallpox using serum from cattle infected with cowpox? Yes, it was the “learned scientists” of his day. The members of the Royal Society of England even instructed him not to tell anyone his ideas, lest his reputation be ruined. Thanks, however, to Jenner’s work, the World Health Organization eventually was able to announce that smallpox had been eradicated worldwide.
Who was it that said Louis Pasteur was wrong when he stated that spontaneous generation did not occur? Again, it was the “learned scientists” of his day. Yet he was to prove them (and their false concept of spontaneous generation) wrong, and win 100,000 French francs from the French Academy of Sciences for doing so. And what about all of the other totally false concepts of science in years gone by (the concept of phlogiston, the concept of ether, etc.) which were once taught as “fact,” but which are now known to be wrong?
Today’s scientific “fact” that was “voted” to be correct, is just as likely to become tomorrow’s “superstition.” Dethroning God with His divine, inerrant revelation and enthroning science with its “here today, gone tomorrow” facts is a dangerous and deadly business. And no amount of playing to the gallery will ever change that. In fact, in Romans 12:2 Paul warned men about this very attitude when he said: “And be not conformed to this world....” In an editorial in the Gospel Advocate, Guy N. Woods commented as follows on Paul’s statement:
This familiar affirmation of the great apostle (Romans 12:2) was designed to guard the Lord’s people from the corrupting influences of an evil environment as well as from the powerful appeals of mob psychology to which so many in every generation succumb.... Man may, and often does, imbibe the evil characteristics of those about him as readily, and often more so, than the good ones. All history, as well as the testimony of our own hearts, bears witness to the fact that custom, fashion, and example often wield a more powerful influence on people than reason, reflection and good judgment; to multitudes of people today the habits and practices of those around them exercise an almost irresistible appeal.... Timid souls are often prompted to do that which is in violation of their concepts of right and wrong from fear of being regarded as old-fashioned, out-moded, out of step with the times. The cliché, “Everybody’s doing it,” has lulled countless thousands into a false sense of security from which they will never awake and has caused them to live a manner of life which otherwise they never would. It is dangerous to follow the multitude because the majority is almost always on the wrong side in this world.... It must never be forgotten that the broad way is the way of the world. Those who go in thereat do so to their own destruction (1982, pp. 3,23, emp. in italics in orig.; emp. in bold type added).
Yes, the scientists have “voted.” But their vote has not cancelled the instructions of Moses to the people of his day, and ours: “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exodus 23:2). Let us keep that thought in our hearts and minds forever, lest we stray from the right to both do and accept that which is wrong. Truth is not determined by popular opinion or majority vote!
AAPG Explorer (1982), January.
American Biology Teacher (1973), January.
Bales, James D. (no date), Forty-Two Years on the Firing Line (Shreveport, LA: Lambert).
Bova, Ben (1980) “The Creationists’ ‘Equal Time,’ ” Discover, October.
Copi, I.M. (1978), Introduction to Logic (New York: MacMillan).
The Humanist (1977), “A Statement Affirming Evolution as a Principle of Science,” January/February.
Jastrow, Robert (1978), God and the Astronomers (New York: W.W. Norton).
Kerkut, G.A. (1960), The Implications of Evolution, (London: Pergamon Press,).
National Association of Biology Teachers (1977), A Compendium of Information on the Theory of Evolution and the Evolution-Creationism Controversy (Reston, VA: NABT).
Raloff, J. (1982), “ ‘Creation-Science’ Law Is Struck Down,” Science News, 121:20, January 9.
Woods, Guy N. (1982), “ ‘And Be Not Conformed To This World...,’ ” Gospel Advocate, 124:2,23, January 7.