[Hat tip to my good friend Hiro for sending me the link to the Beliefnet article that inspired me to write this post.]
Dr. Steve McSwain looks like a nice guy with a friendly smile, if the picture I procured from his website serves as any indication.
Professor of communications at the University of Kentucky, Dr. McSwain is promoted as a former Baptist preacher, a spiritual teacher and motivational speaker with “respect [for] all spiritual traditions” at his website.
That courtesy has apparently not been extended to certain members of his own religion, in particular Ken Hamm and those Christians who advocate Young Earth Creationism, often referred to as YEC.
To be fair, I’m not particularly keen on Mr. Hamm’s apparent position that YEC beliefs are mandatory to be considered a “true” Christian.
But Dr. McSwain doesn’t even pretend to hide his scorn and disdain for these creationists.
He writes of “religious quackery” taught in Sunday School by “misinformed Christian zealots” blithering about like “a bunch of intellectually-bankrupt nitwits.”
Dr. McSwain is so embarrassed by the very idea of creationism that he wrote,
That there are still Christians promoting Creationism is actually more unbelievable than the illogical nonsense in Creationism they wish everyone would just believe.
I am reminded of the famous plea from Rodney King who asked, “Why can’t we all just get along?”
In the spirit of full disclosure, I should mention before going any further that I believe a form of supernatural intelligence called God is directly responsible for my existence.
Therefore, I should probably be labeled a creationist.
However, I do not personally gravitate toward YEC or require the earth to be only 6,000 years old. Instead, I have developed my own unique interpretation of the evidence, something I have coined “iterative creation” and described in some detail in my book Counterargument for God.
I can accept the scientific evidence for the Big Bang and an old earth and still think the catalyst, or First Cause of the extraordinary event was when God spoke and said, “Let there be light.”
And I am no more ashamed to think that some of my fellow Christians believe the earth is only six thousand years old than I am embarrassed to think some of my fellow humans believe that they are related to chimpanzees, bonobo apes and the bananas we all like to eat, and only by simple mutations naturally occurring through the process known as sexual reproduction, simply if given enough time.
My real issue with Dr. McSwain’s essay is that evolution theory has absolutely nothing to do with creation, except that it completely depends on two separate acts of creation to have occurred before anything can evolve. To explain this, I devised something I called my “Big Picture” argument, absolutely required for any serious attempt to answer one of our existential questions.
The problem is simple: life cannot evolve until it exists.
So if it floats your boat to believe as Darwin suggested, that “monkeys make men,” be my guest.
I promise not to imply that you’re an imbecile for thinking so.
Dr. McSwain erroneously titled his article “Creationism Versus Evolutionism: When Will this Debate Ever End?” in spite of the fact that evolution theory does not describe the true origin of anything.
The debate about whether evolution theory can compete with or replace creationism will never end at least not until the really intelligent people such as Dr. McSwain realize the debate he is describing is completely nonsensical, but not for his reasons.
The Big Bang is the popular name of the scientific theory attempting to explain the origin of this remarkably improbable universe, actually capable of supporting complex life forms. In other words, the Big Bang is our attempt using science to explain how the universe was created.
The evidence supporting the Big Bang theory is very strong. There is redshift, indicating the universe is still expanding, first observed by Edwin Hubble.
Additional confirmation of the Big Bang is found in something called cosmic background radiation. Robert Wilson and Arno Penzias shared the Nobel Prize in physics for their discovery.
In his article Dr. McSwain declared,
What the Genesis account is not is a historical account of the creation of the universe.
Dr. Wilson has been quoted as saying,
Certainly, if you are religious, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match with Genesis.
His partner Arno Penzias said,
Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing and delicately balanced to provide exactly the conditions required to support life. In the absence of an absurdly improbable accident, the observations of modern science seem to suggest an underlying, one might say, supernatural plan.
Physicist Sir Fred Hoyle added:
A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as the chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.
Life exists; about that particular fact, there should be no doubt.
However, abiogenesis doesn’t even rise to the level of scientific theory. It’s a weak hypothesis that currently offers nothing more than a feeble guess about how code as complex and elegant as DNA came to exist and became the building block for life.
The question is whether God or very improbable good luck deserves all the credit for the events that brought the basic raw materials essential for life into existence.
Curiously, in his article Dr. McSwain quoted Einstein as saying,
Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge will be shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods.
Before launching into a future diatribe about creationism, perhaps it would behoove Dr. McSwain to learn a lesson in humility, or at least learn what creationism really means. He should know that the only alternative to creationism in some form or fashion is not evolution, but enormously improbable good luck.
The origin of life was either planned and implemented on purpose, or nothing more a happy accident.
There really isn’t a third option. And evolution had nothing to do with it.