1. The Scientist: “Behavior Brief: A round-up of recent discoveries in behavior research

A “cold and calculating chimp,” canines catching yawns, and harmonious hyraxes—what doesn’t animal behavior tell us?

The Scientist recently summed up the latest studies of animal behavior, doubtless leaving some again asking what clever animal behavior tells us. In addition to a report on the hazardous flying conditions cell towers create for migratory fowl, the article provides several cases with clear anthropomorphic appeal.

A chimpanzee named Santino at Sweden’s Furuvik Zoo has been the subject of controversy since he first made headlines in 2009 for stockpiling rocks “to pelt zoo visitors who appeared to agitate him—strong evidence that nonhuman animals could plan ahead. But skeptics argued that Santino wasn’t necessarily planning ahead, and was instead repeating previously learned responses to the zoo visitors.”


After casually sauntering within range of zoo visitors while concealing pebbles in his left hand, Santino the chimp plucks an apple from the moat as he prepares to pelt his unsuspecting targets. He launched his missiles 15 seconds after the photo was taken.1

A new study describes “how Santino has now begun to conceal the stones under heaps of hay and behind logs, deliberately and deceptively concealing his ammunition so as to get a closer aim at his targets.” These new tactical abilities suggest “Santino anticipates and plans for a future situation rather than simply responding repetitively to a past one.”

“Do the results imply that the chimpanzee possesses a theory of mind?” the researchers ask. “Mind reading is characterized as reasoning about what is not overt in behavior,”2 seemingly anticipating future behavior by the visitors. In other words, does Santino have a concept that people are thinking about annoying him?

Concealments Concealments

Haystack (which was located at the “X”) and other concealments on the chimpanzee island where Santino hid his ammunition. Note the rock hidden under the haystack.3

The Lund University authors consider Santino’s premeditated deceptive skills an example of co-evolution since “It has been suggested that human planning skills evolved in response to an increasingly complex social environment.”2 Furthermore, the authors note, “In humans, foresight, memory, and the taking of others’ viewpoints all seem to be supported by a common brain network. The relevant brain structures appear to be largely shared with chimpanzees.”2

Another study in The Scientist’s behavior round-up includes a Portuguese study confirming dogs, like people, “catch” the yawns of others. Dogs don’t have to see their owners yawning. Just hearing its owner yawn is enough to set off a doggie yawn. “Canines yawned five times more often when they heard humans they knew yawning as opposed to control sounds, such as a stranger yawning or a computer-produced sound. Contagious yawning has also been observed in baboons, macaques, and chimpanzees.” The authors of the study published in Animal Cognition, noting that a 2011 study found humans catch yawns more easily from their friends,4 consider their findings evidence that dogs can emotionally empathize with their human owners.

Still another study shares the syntactical skills of the rock hyrax. The rock hyrax, also known as a coney or rock badger, is native to the Middle East and known to Bible readers from Proverbs 30:26, a verse describing its native habitat. The hyrax is a very musical animal, and analysis of its songs has shown a sophisticated syntax in which the order of the notes varies and seems to have meaning.

Dr. Arik Kershenbaum of Israel’s University of Haifa says, “A typical hyrax song can last for several minutes, and their songs are broken down into small bouts, with each bout lasting for maybe 10 to 20 seconds. Each bout is composed of a number of notes, which we call the syllables. There are only a very small number of syllables that make up a hyrax song, and each sound is very distinct. And out of these, you can make up a whole language and combine them in an infinite number of ways.”5 Different regions seemed to have regional dialects. Kershenbaum does not, however, ascribe the human ability to encode information to the hyrax. He simply considers the hyrax to be a social mammal that signals or advertises itself to other hyraxes as birds do with their songs. In fact, you can listen to a hyrax’s solo performance with a background bird concerto at the article.

In April we reported on a conference where scientists focused on the need to find alternative explanations for apparent animal cognition. Many people just enjoy anthropomorphizing animal behavior. As Dr. Clive Wynne, a psychology professor from the University of Florida–Gainesville recently observed, “Human beings have a very natural tendency to project human agency into almost anything that moves. It’s very deeply ingrained into our ways of trying to understand the world around us.”6 But Dr. Wynne believes we are in error when we use these impressions in “trying to understand animal behaviour.”6

We believe those who attribute clever behavior in chimps like Santino to co-evolution with humans to be equally in error. The animal world is full of interesting observable behaviors, and we have a tendency sometimes to interpret those behaviors as if the animal were able to think and reason abstractly the way humans do. Particularly in the case of apes, however, reports of clever animal behavior are usually accompanied by a reminder of our supposed common evolutionary ancestry. To the credit of The Scientist journalist, there are no such assertions in her interesting article.

God created human beings and land animals on the sixth day of Creation Week. But He made only human beings in His own image. And while many animals are endowed with remarkably diverse and amazing abilities, human beings from the time of Creation possessed not only the ability to express and understand original abstract thoughts through language but also the ability to know their Creator. In fact, Adam and Eve’s behavior immediately after they sinned demonstrates the ability to obfuscate the truth, evade personal responsibility, and conceal personal guilt, none of which had to evolve but appeared as soon as man rebelled against God.

While man shares common designs with some animals, humans have unique attributes that enable us to communicate with God and with each other. It is important as we enjoy learning more about animal abilities to avoid seeing those abilities as evidence for an unverifiable evolutionary past. Evolutionary thinking pretends we humans are just animals, not accountable to God or responsible to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Creator and Redeemer.

2. Creation Conversations: “Ken Ham, Ray Comfort, & Hugh Ross debate on TBN

Hugh Ross claims proof for his ideas can be found on the moon.

Hugh Ross and Ken Ham recently faced off during a panel discussion on Trinity Broadcasting Network’s “Praise the Lord” program. (The program has already been replayed online over 34,000 times!)

They, along with others, were discussing biblical authority, creation, evolution, science, and God. Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, took an uncompromising stand on biblical authority. Hugh Ross, president of Reasons to Believe (RTB), continued to promote his ideas of progressive creationism, claiming those ideas are in agreement with Scripture. Ross suggests a return trip to the moon would uncover the proof for his views by finding microfossils of the original life on earth.

Progressive creation is Ross’s attempt to fit into Genesis the billions-of-years “history” imagined by evolutionary geologists and astrophysicists. (See What’s Wrong with “Progressive Creation?” to learn more about his model’s claims.) Ross claims that billions of years ago on the first day of Creation God’s Spirit hovered over an early earth’s dark waters and created complex unicellular microbial life. While Ross insists God “created life on Day One,” Ken Ham points out, according to Scripture, on Day One God said, “Let there be light,” not “Let there be life,” and then on Day Three God created plants.

Ross thus re-interprets Genesis 1:2 to depict God doing something the verse does not describe Him doing—creating life on Day One. Ross bases this claim, he says, on the Hebrew word for “hovering.” Because this word is used metaphorically in Deuteronomy 32:11 to compare God to “a female eagle hovering over her newly hatched eggs to bring life to them, and it can protect and care for them,” Ross alters the meaning of the second verse of the Bible. Ken Ham points out that this represents a misuse of Scripture, saying, “Deuteronomy is not an account of cosmology.” Creationist astronomer Dr. Danny Faulkner concurs, saying, “I fail to see how Genesis 1:2 demands the creation of complex single-celled organisms on Day One. This is a tremendous leap on Ross’s part.” Furthermore Deuteronomy 32:11 does not describe the eagle laying eggs or sitting on them to hatch them. The verse clearly indicates that the eaglets are already mature enough to start learning to fly. So the verse has absolutely no relevance to a proper interpretation of Genesis 1:2.

Ross contends that his “progressive creation” model is testable. “I’ll give you a quick example,” he says. “We can go to the moon and see who got it right.”

“The geology of the earth has destroyed earth’s first fossils,” Ross explains. “We do not have the fossils of earth’s first life. But we know at the time of the origin of life there was an efficient transport of earth life to the surface of the moon. There is literally about 20,000 tons of earth material on every 100 square kilometers on the moon. We can go to the moon, [and] recover fossils of earth’s first life.”

“You get earth’s material on the moon through meteoritic bombardment,” he explains. “If you get a big enough meteor hitting the earth it will cause earth material to leave the gravity of the earth. We will literally find the remains of life everywhere in our solar system.” Thus a return mission to the moon—the least expensive of possible destinations—could find these microfossils, proving, he claims, his interpretation of the Bible correct and disproving atheistic evolution altogether.

With emphasis, Ross repeated during the broadcast (which may be viewed online), “I’m saying earth’s first fossils are on the moon in pristine form.” He believes the presence of these microfossils would prove that young earth creationists (such as those at Answers in Genesis) are interpreting the Bible incorrectly. And he maintains that the complexity to be found in those fossils would prove evolutionary models are incorrect, since evolutionary abiogenesis demands the original life-forms be very simple.

Dr. Danny Faulkner, professor of astronomy at the University of South Carolina–Lancaster, confirms that young earth creationists (YEC) would make no such claims. Dr. Faulkner says, “Ross’s prediction differs from the YEC position in that we’d expect very few, if any, fossils on the moon.” Dr. Faulkner further explains, however, that such evidence is always subject to interpretation and, even if found, would not be accepted as proof of anything. He explains, “As with the reinterpretation that evolutionists make with blood and soft tissues found in dinosaur bones, if fossils of complex microbial life were found on the moon, evolutionists simply would claim that complex life originated much earlier than they had thought. Of course, Hugh is not likely to live long enough to see a significant number of rocks from the moon to disprove his prediction. In the future, RTB could claim that we just haven’t looked in the right places on the moon or that in retrospect Hugh was wrong about Genesis 1:2.” But the confidence with which Ross speaks about these things will lead many Christians to accept what he says because he is an astrophysicist.

Dr. Andrew Snelling, geologist at Answers in Genesis, disagrees with Ross’s contention that earth debris is on the moon. “The moon’s geology rules out debris of earth rocks, which has never been found, and therefore any contained microfossils,” Dr. Snelling explains. “It’s not just that we haven’t been looking in the right places on the moon. The moon’s geology itself totally rules out the possibility of finding any microfossils.” Therefore, the more expensive destination, Mars, makes sense. “NASA isn’t looking for microfossils on the moon because, based on the moon’s geology, there are simply none to be found,” Dr. Snelling adds. “That’s why NASA is focusing its search for life on Mars.”

There’s another problem here. Ross assumes that the dominant view on the origin of the moon (a huge asteroid, really a small planet, slammed into the earth to produce the debris that became the moon) is a proven scientific fact. But, that is simply not true. As Bob Yirka reported in March in Phys.org, new research shows that scientists “will all have to just keep on musing”7 about the moon’s origin.

During this panel discussion, Ken Ham warned that Satan has been using the same method he used on Eve in Genesis 3 to get people ever since to disbelieve the things of God. Satan, the father of lies, whispers, “Yea, hath God said?” (Genesis 3:1), ever questioning God’s Word. Today that attack often takes the form of adding millions of years to the Bible and then reinterpreting God’s Word, stretching it unnaturally to accommodate what man’s fallible ideas have added.

When Ken Ham challenged Ross for misinterpreting and misapplying Scripture early in this discussion, Ross, apparently suggesting we don’t really know what God’s Word says, replied, “The real issue is, ‘What does God’s Word say?’” He said, “We’re all human beings. We have different interpretations, which is why I believe we have to put our beliefs to the test. God gave us 66 books, not just one book. Let’s look at all 66 books. Let’s take it literally. Let’s take it consistently, and let’s put our beliefs to the test,” and then he proposed his return to the moon for proof. Ross’s desire to use the moon-proof to figure out what the Bible really says is an example of what he has called “the 67th book of the Bible.”8

Ross has long maintained—that the Bible itself is not the complete revelation of God. He has written, “The facts of nature may be likened to a sixty-seventh book of the Bible.”8 But his “facts” are actually interpretations based on his acceptance of the unverified, indeed unverifiable, naturalistic assumptions underlying big bang cosmology and radiometric dating methods. While claiming to accept all 66 books of the Bible, therefore, Ross places the secular worldview-based assumptions and interpretations above the plain reading of Scripture. Though Ross denies biological evolution per se, his old-earth position requires him to compromise and deny the clear truths of God’s Word regarding creation, the Fall and death, the Flood and the age of the creation even while claiming to defend many of the truths of God’s Word regarding the gospel.

Besides misapplying the written Word of God, as we have described here, we see that Ross also reaches for extra-bibilical information in nature. And he places “nature”—or rather his interpretation of it—on an equal footing with Scripture. Ken Ham explained, however, that nature has been perverted and cursed by sin. While Romans 1:19–20 make clear that the witness of Creation declares to all people that there is a God, only through God’s Word can we truly understand God’s character and the gospel. Hence, compromising Scripture can keep people from coming to Christ by teaching them that God’s Word cannot really be trusted.

Ross, in his closing remarks, makes clear that he believes we can only understand God’s truth by integrating our fallible interpretations of the Bible with the truth discoverable in nature by all the disciplines of science. He says, “God has given us two books. Let’s use both books in the fullest sense of the word. Let’s look at all 66 books of the Bible. Let’s look at all the disciplines in the record of nature—realize that we’re all worshiping a God that can’t lie, that can’t deceive. Everything He communicates to us is truth and nothing but truth. We do have our fallen human interpretations both in the book of Scripture and in the book of nature, but that’s the beauty of God giving us 66 books and all these disciplines [of science]. By integrating across all of them we can ferret out where we made our faulty human interpretation, figure out where our biases are, figure out where we need to learn more, and that’s the beauty of it all. God wants us to have the joy of discovering more and more truth.” He concludes, “We’ll know we’re on the pathway to truth when we see the consistency getting greater and greater as we learn more.”

But as Ken Ham points out, when people look at a sin-cursed degenerated world full of death and suffering, they are not looking at the 67th book of the Bible. The Apostle Paul, by saying, “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” (2 Timothy 3:16–17), informs us of the sufficiency of Scripture.

On the other hand, according to Romans 8:22, Ross’s “book of nature”—the whole creation—suffers under the curse of sin. His “book of nature” is also deeply affected by Satan, called “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11), the “prince of the power of the air,” (Ephesians 2:2), and the father of lies (John 8:44). Therefore, why would any Christian urge people to place the fallen “book of nature” and man’s fallible interpretations of it on equal par with the Bible? The Bible’s history enables us to understand what we see in the world, but the “nature” should never be used to compromise and reinterpret the Word of God.

Faith in Christ is built and strengthened through God’s Word. Romans 10:17 states, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” By thus undermining God’s Word, which clearly teaches that God created the earth about 6,000 years ago, and creatively re-interpreting it to fit man’s fallible ideas, those like Ross who compromise God’s Word create stumbling blocks that cause people to distrust the rest of the Bible and ultimately keep people from really trusting Jesus Christ and His gospel of salvation.

Be sure to watch the video (which has already been watched an amazing 34,000 times in the TBN web archives as we post this article) as Ken Ham takes a real stand for God’s Word on this and many other origins-related issues.

For more information:

3. The Guardian: “‘We don’t have to be afraid of the real evidence’—Creation Museum

Interviewer claims Creation Museum’s presentation of history and science is dangerous and delusional.

UK radio show host Neil Denny, producer of the Little Atoms radio show, is completing a month-long tour of the United States “to produce a series of podcasts which present a wide-ranging overview of science and skepticism from an American perspective.”9 Plans for the much-publicized road trip, according to the Little Atoms website, include visits to “some major scientific (and some not so scientific) sites of interest.”9 During his visit to the Creation Museum, Denny interviewed geologist Dr. Andrew Snelling, who told him the Creation Museum points people to Jesus Christ by depicting the details of biblical history, including our origins, and showing how that history explains scientific observations. Dr. Snelling explained the importance of starting assumptions in interpretation of the science relevant to origins issues, biblical history, and the age of the earth. Listen to the entire podcast. Despite this personal attention, Denny still says in his podcast that creation science is “oxymoronic” and writes that creation scientists are delusional and the Creation Museum’s message dangerous to children.

Denny likens his afternoon at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, to a “disorienting” tour of a parallel universe. He writes, “The Creation Museum bills itself as a natural history museum, but it’s one from a world in which we are certain that God created the Earth and everything in it, roughly 6,000 years ago, and all in six days.” Like many visitors committed to evolutionary presuppositions in their views of origins science, Denny was most troubled by issues involving the age of the earth.

Denny notes, “Anything that looks older—fossilised dinosaur bones, multiple strata of sedimentary rock, signs of ancient water erosion and the moving of the continents—were all caused by one catastrophic event, the flood that Noah and his family so adroitly survived by building a massive floating menagerie.”

Between the displays at the Museum and Dr. Snelling’s explanations, Denny learned that creation scientists point out that worldview-based starting assumptions determine the way a person views scientific evidence relevant to earth’s distant past. However, he maintains that this concept is a “creationist slant.” And his assertion that the Creation Museum “promotes the idea that not only is everything in Genesis chapters 1–11 true [right so far, by the way], but it can be proved . . . with science” demonstrates he still doesn’t understand the fundamental difference between origins/historical science and experimental/operational science.

As Dr. Snelling made clear, creation scientists, such as the professionals at Answers in Genesis, do not ignore science and scientific evidence. But neither do we claim to “prove” the events described in Genesis 1-11 happened using science. We instead point out that the Creation and global Flood described in Genesis are consistent explanations for scientific observations. The fact is, evolutionists cannot “prove” that life randomly evolved from non-living chemicals, that organisms evolved from other kinds of organisms, or that the earth has existed for billions of years either.

Experimental (operational) science deals with how things operate in the present, but origins science deals with what happened in the unobserved past to produce what we are observing in the present. Well-controlled, objective tests that can be replicated for confirmation are used to find answers in experimental science but are not truly possible in origins science. Evolutionary theories about the chemical origins of life from non-living matter or the evolution of life from microbes to man or how the Grand Canyon and the present continents formed are built on assumptions about unobservable, untestable, hypothetical, scientifically unverifiable processes, including the uniformitarian assumptions of evolutionary geologists.

Likewise, how a person views the fossil record depends on his starting assumptions. If his worldview rejects God’s eyewitness testimony about the timing and events of Creation and excludes the biblically documented catastrophe of the global Noah’s Flood, then he might view the geologic column as the record of billions of years of earth history and the evolutionary appearance of life-forms over millions of years. On the other hand, as Dr. Snelling explained, “We all have the same rocks, the same fossils, the same evidence. . . . We’re looking at the fossil record – instead of being the order of creatures living and dying and evolving over millions of years – as the burial order during the flood. In other words, dinosaurs were alive during the pre-flood Earth. So were trilobites, so were people.”

Understanding the difference between these fundamental forms of science is an important aspect of critical thinking. The Creation Museum’s many displays, videos, and presentations are geared to helping visitors—including children—understand that the choice of starting assumptions inevitably affects the interpretation of scientific evidence about origins. For this reason displays like the new Lucy exhibit show both the “evidence” and the way such evidence is interpreted.

Dr. Snelling explains during the brief audio clip attached to Denny’s article that Lucy was an extinct ape unrelated to humans. The sediments in which the Lucy-type fossils are found are most consistent with post-Flood deposition. Apes were on Noah’s Ark, and all the varieties of apes descended from those apes. From the Bible we know that at the end of the Flood, animals multiplied and dispersed through the world, but humans initially stayed in the Middle East. Thus, it is not surprising that fossils of apes like Lucy appear in deeper geologic strata than those of humans.

Be sure to listen to Dr. Snelling’s explanation of Lucy’s identity, correctly understood through a biblical perspective.

Though our visitor quotes from a display, “Although often viewed as an icon of evolution, Darwin’s finches serve as a perfect model of variation within a created kind [because in] Genesis 1:21 we learn that God created ‘every winged bird according to its kind,’” Denny still misrepresents the concept of biblically created kinds. He writes, “Those baraminologists interpret ‘kind’ to mean ‘species.’” Of course, neither the Creation Museum, nor Answers in Genesis materials, nor this website teach such a thing. Furthermore, Dr. Snelling personally clarified this important concept.

Dr. Snelling reports, “I specifically, carefully and emphatically pointed out to him over several minutes of the interview that we did not teach or say the kinds were species, but instead I emphasized we regard the kinds as equivalent to the family level, allowing for the variation we see between genuses and species that are known to hybridize. I told him about our Ark kinds research project, and the unfolding conclusion that only about 2,000–4,000 animals had to be on the Ark.” Because Dr. Snelling explained this concept so carefully, he concludes, “Denny clearly willfully misquoted and misrepresented our position.”

Sadly, Denny apparently misinterpreted yet another key concept portrayed at the Creation Museum. He writes that, according to the Bible, “all the bad stuff in the world, from murder to animals eating other animals, is a result of Eve’s choice of afternoon snack.” In fact, though, Satan’s deception of Eve and Adam’s decision to join her in disobedience to God’s clear command have nothing to do with snack choices. This historical event—so key to understanding the history of mankind and the mission of Jesus Christ—was about rebellion: rebellion against our Creator God.

Suffering and death entered the world God had made for mankind as a consequence of that rebellion. And Jesus Christ entered the world about 4,000 years later to redeem His rebellious creatures and restore us to fellowship with Himself. Thus, the message of the Cross is conveyed through the Museum’s portrayal of the events of Genesis 1–11. At the Creation Museum, we do not ignore evidence: we help people to understand how to interpret evidence. We encourage people to grow in their faith by seeing the world through a biblical worldview that accepts God’s eyewitness account in Scripture. The Creation Museum is about much more than evidence—it’s about evangelism.

4. Huffington Post: “Mythologizing Evolution

Evolutionist defends William Jennings Bryan against those who re-write history.

Evolutionist Karl Giberson has posted an article complaining of evolutionist Jerry Coyne’s recent articles “paying homage to the great journalist H. L. Mencken, best known for his coverage of the 1925 Scopes Trial.” Giberson writes, “The series represents ongoing efforts to enhance the mythology of evolution, efforts that have been particularly successful when it comes to the Scopes Trial.”

The Scopes mythology Giberson seeks to debunk involves Mencken’s bitterly satirical ridicule of William Jennings Bryan. Bryan was the prosecutor in the 1925 Scopes trial in which substitute schoolteacher John Scopes was tried in Dayton, Tennessee, for violation of a law prohibiting the teaching of human evolution from nonhuman ancestors. Mencken’s “hyperbolic and uncharitable rhetoric” portrayed Bryan as an inarticulate “great buffoon” and the local populace as “rustic ignoramuses.” Such Scopes mythology has perpetuated Mencken’s contention that “anyone who rejects evolution must be . . . an ignorant mangy buffoon” and Richard Dawkins’s characterization of evolution’s skeptics as “ignorant, stupid or insane.”

Bryan was actually an articulate, literate statesman who was concerned about the dangers of Social Darwinism, a problem Giberson concedes was real. Giberson, however, considers “the sordid tale of Social Darwinism” to be “a misapplication of Darwin’s ideas that died in the Nazi death camps along with those the Nazis perceived to be from a ‘low and degenerate race.’” Giberson quotes from the textbook used in Tennessee’s classrooms in 1925, highlighting this racist application of Darwinian evolution.

Because Bryan stood as an articulate critic of evolution in order to oppose these dangerous ideas, Giberson warns, “Such uncharitable caricatures of the critics of evolution make it easy to dismiss their concerns. If our critics are buffoons, we can ignore them.” He concludes, “We should listen more carefully to the critics of evolution today. Not all of them are stupid, wicked or insane.”

While it is commendable of Giberson to admit that an evolution skeptic can have legitimate concerns about the results of evolutionary belief, it is interesting that this charity extends to the reputation of a man whose concerns were proven correct by unspeakable evils recorded in history. As co-author of the book The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age, however, Giberson’s tolerance and respect for critics of evolution seems to have major limits. Giberson, a theistic evolutionist, assisted Dr. Frances Collins in founding and shaping The BioLogos Foundation, serving as its executive vice-president until stepping down to allow more time for writing.10 BioLogos is an organization devoted to searching for ways to wed God’s Word with evolution to make it acceptable to Christians. Giberson may be able to tolerate those who fear evolutionary belief’s racist applications, but in The Anointed he and co-author Randall Stephens write bitterly against those like the late Dr. Henry Morris, Ken Ham and the other biblical creationists who take a stand for the authority of God’s Word and point out the dangers of twisting God’s Word to accommodate evolutionary beliefs.

One could wonder just which evolutionary critics are those Giberson would still count as stupid, wicked, or insane. But there is nothing “stupid, wicked or insane” about standing on the authority of God’s Word not only to honor our Creator God but to lead people to faith in Jesus Christ through trust in His Word.

Dr. David Menton has extensively researched Bryan and the Scopes trial. He comments, “Giberson is correct. Bryan was not a buffoon. He was indeed very liberal for his day and championed nearly every liberal/progressive cause. This may go a long way toward explaining why Bryan, the ‘Great Commoner’ was never elected president in three attempts. He was very well read in the creation/evolution controversy much as an active creationist today is. He carried on a respectful correspondence with professional evolutionists of his day and was a member of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). If you read the Scopes trial transcript it is easily discerned that Bryan knew more about evolution and creation than Darrow did. Bryan for example had read Darwin’s Origin of Species 25 years before the Scopes trial. Nevertheless, Bryan definitely believed in an old earth and this compromise is precisely the petard Darrow used to defeat him.” Bryan’s compromise of Scripture backfired.

Bryan technically won his case when Darrow changed his client’s plea to guilty. However, when Bryan conceded the days in Genesis were not literal 24-hour days, he gave Darrow an opening to attack the rest of the Bible. Then as now, once a Christian surrenders the plain reading of God’s Word to accommodate man’s fallible ideas, he opens the door for attack on the rest of the Bible and ultimately on Jesus Christ who, according to Romans 5:12 and 5:15, died on the Cross to defeat the death that came into the world as a result of man’s sin. Sin and death’s entry into the world is described in Genesis chapter 3. Any position that attempts to plug millions of years into the Bible necessarily asserts that death and suffering—which are graphically depicted in the fossil record—are the result of God’s “very good” creative work in Genesis 1, rather than the result of man’s sin and God’s subsequent holy judgment. And that deadly compromise position undermines understanding why Jesus Christ came into the world and went to the Cross. Giberson promotes just such a dangerous position.

And Don’t Miss …

  • For Greater Glory, a film depicting an actual 1926–1929 struggle for religious freedom in Mexico, reportedly does a good job of exploring the not-so-simple problems that can arise when matters of conscience conflict with government-mandated religious persecution. According to a detailed analysis from the reviewer for the National Religious Broadcasters, the film reaches far beyond simplistic answers. The reviewer writes, “Clearly the Catholic faithful and their leaders are the heroes in the film, but the story doesn’t shirk from the difficult questions that arise when religious persecution raises its ugly head: Should persons of faith obey a corrupt law that criminalizes religious activity and expression—or should they passively resist, or even actively rebel? The movie shows how bad things can go when even well-intentioned armed resistance is mounted.” (“How bad things can go” required an “R” rating for the film’s violence.) The reviewer concludes: “Scripture gives the Christian guidelines on relationships with government, of course: the general rule of obedience is repeatedly emphasized (Romans 13:1–7; I Peter 2:13–17). Yet there are also occasional exceptions (Exodus 1:15–21; Daniel 3: 8–18; Acts 16:35–40). In the final analysis, For Greater Glory raises important questions for the follower of Christ, for the student of religious liberty, and for many Americans who sense a rising tide of intolerance against religious expression and observance within our own borders.”
  • South Korean professionals and creationists critical of the dogmatic acceptance of evolutionary ideas are making headway in the educational community. South Korea’s Ministry of Education has forwarded a petition from the Society for Textbook Revision to publishers who will now remove many evolutionary references from high school textbooks. Nature reports 40% of biology teachers surveyed in South Korea agreed that “much of the scientific community doubts if evolution occurs.” Fifty percent of those surveyed disagreed that “modern humans are the product of evolutionary processes.” Surveys of public opinion about evolution have mirrored the Gallup poll results in the United States. (See last week’s And Don’t Miss section if you did . . . miss it, that is.) And although an evolutionary psychologist at Kyung Hee University suggests Korean “antipathy to evolution” springs partly from “strong Christianity in the country,” survey results do not back up his opinion. An evolutionary scientist from Seoul National University says the “problem” stems from reluctance on the part of evolutionists to confront creationists. He says evolutionists fear such confrontations would give creationist ideas greater exposure. But he says that such silence is not working and is therefore organizing a campaign to oppose creationists in the schools and “in broader public life.” [Updated 6/14/12: Dr. Georgia Purdom has, since this article originally ran, published a response on her blog.]

For more information: Get Answers

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