“I know that you here are in the front line trench against powerful forces of darkness,” encouraged the speaker on the creation-evolution debate. “I salute you. I sympathize with you. Fight the good fight.”
A quote from Dr. Henry Morris speaking to a symposium of Christian scientists? No. A motivational talk from Dr. Patti Nason to a gathering of Christian science teachers? No.
Actually, a quote from Dr. Richard Dawkins during a recent lecture at the University of Kansas. An ethologist—one who studies animal behavior—and an evolutionary theorist from Oxford University, Dawkins is a celebrated biologist touting his new book, The God Delusion.
A lightning rod for the Intelligent Design movement in the public schools, Kansas provided the perfect venue for an attack against anti-evolution forces. But not everyone attending the lecture appreciated Dawkins’ arguments. Darla Slipke of the Daily Kansan reported that one third of the audience remained seated during the standing ovation at the conclusion of his speech.
In a review of the scientist’s new book on Amazon.com, Publisher’s Weekly commented: “For a scientist who criticizes religion for its intolerance, Dawkins has written a surprisingly intolerant book, full of scorn for religion and those who believe.”
Interestingly, like the first quotation above, Dawkins borrowed terminology from creationists to help communicate his own anti-creation message. Intelligent Design, he stated, “thrives on gaps.” “Lucky chance (i.e. Intelligent Design) could never be enough to explain the lush diversity of life.” Was he reading his lecture notes upside-down?
Events like these highlight the fact that the battle over creation and the authority of Scripture is rapidly changing course. While scientists continue to report new discoveries of fossils and genes and stars that allegedly verify the theory of evolution, many more are shifting their arguments to the philosophical arena.
Scientists like Dawkins from Oxford and Edward Wilson from Harvard are garnering new energy for evolutionary science with overt attacks against people of faith, particularly Christians who believe in young earth creation. Much like the modern political scene, spokesmen like these play to audiences anyway they can get them; real science has little to do with the arguments anymore.
“Although the theory of evolution might seem highly improbable, it [is] not impossible,” Dawkins reportedly declared to his audience. Forget the science; let’s talk about those right-wing Christians who believe in God and creation.
But is the Christian community prepared to discuss these larger issues of philosophy and worldview? The Enemy has no plans to step aside just because we have better scientific facts than they. He is committed to getting his message out to anyone who will listen.