This church is doing a lecture each Sunday this month on what they are calling Mythbusters. Mythbusters is actually a popular show on the Discovery Channel that is dedicated to debunking real myths such as the paranormal and miracles. I am very certain this church did not have permission to use the copyrighted “Mythbusters” name for their sermons. The church has entitled their “myths”: “Evolution is a fact, not a theory, Humans can be moral without God and Science and Christianity are incompatible.” It takes me a moment to realize that those titles are what they are considering myths. This Sunday, I am here to watch the first one: Evolution is a fact, not a theory.
The leader of this church is interviewing Phillip Johnson who wrote such titles as “Darwin on Trial” and “Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds”. This man, an author and lawyer by trade, is very convinced that evolution poses a large threat to theism and must therefore be dismantled and we must build a monument to a Christian god in its place. He did not, of course, say this outright, but this is a very pat summary of some of his writings. I have not read his entire books as I honestly do not wish to spend my time reading about hypothesis that have already been not only taken seriously by, but also debunked repeatedly by the vast (and I mean vast) majority of the scientific community. The director of the National Center for Science Education, Eugenie Scott has a very insightful review of “Darwin on trial” on the NCSE website. Ms. Scott really knows science and I trust her review of this book. Johnson has a background in criminal law and none what-so-ever in philosophy, biology, psychology or any science, really. He claims he is an expert at debunking what he calls merely evolution because as a criminal lawyer he had to look at evidence and that is what he did with natural selection. That, however is tossed out the window when, within the first 5 minutes of his interview, he betrays his lack of understanding of natural selection by claiming that natural selection is an explanation of the origin of life. In fact, he bases much of his answers in the interview on the idea that we are not just the bits of matter that chanced into humans evolution supposedly says we are. I understand that while evolution never makes any sort of claim on the origin of life, it can only lead to the idea that life originated through random chance amino acids bumping into each other. This, however was not the idea addressed. Throughout the interview, Johnson is so vague, it is hard to tell just what he is trying to say. When he does say something somewhat straight forward it is either a lie or said to get a chuckle from the audience. He outright lies to all the people there, while pretending to be the expert when he says that scientists say they have evidence of what he calls mega-evolution (I think he means transitional fossils, but he is never clear what evidence he is talking about) but that the scientists won’t show us. This draws laughter from the crowd, in the “isn’t–that-just-like-them” sort of way. Perhaps if Johnson spent more time in a museum of natural history he would have heard of Neil Shubin’s discovery of a transitional fossil a couple of years ago, and the book published on it January 2008. Those tricky scientists even have a sneaky way of hiding the evidence by publishing it in a book and doing tours to promote it.
Johnson also claims that the “Intelligent Design movement” is not just in the US, but very strong worldwide, citing 5 meetings in Spain last year and 1 in Brazil. About those 5 in Spain, 2 were canceled due to the surrounding scientific community openly rebelling against it. The other 3 were held in hotel meeting rooms and had very poor attendance. He also fails to mention how intelligent design is actually causing a serious irritation of the government in England and the United States of America where it was decided that intelligent design is the same thing as creationism and does not belong in a science classroom.
Johnson gets applause and chuckles of laughter for saying things like, “I couldn’t sustain the mass amounts of faith needed to be agnostic” as he points to a lack of evidence for evolution. This is where it gets sad. These people are happy here. They feel good here. They are here to learn to be good people and now they are lied to. They are willing to accept any line thrown to them. It is little wonder our schools are having a hard time trying to educate these people’s children about basic biological realities. These people are primed to believe whatever their “worship leader” says. The worship leader came out with a stack of books (a few of which were not written my Mr. Johnson) that were meant to show Johnson’s expertise on the subject at hand. I suppose he forgot the peer reviewed paper published in science journals at home since those were nowhere to be found. Oh, wait, that is right, Mr. Johnson has no peer-reviewed scientific papers. If all it takes is books published to show your credentials, then perhaps we should be listening to the writers of romance novels for relationship advice. These people are set up to believe the lies and half-truths put forth by whoever is on the stage. These people must want to be duped.