This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://biologos.org/blogs/ted-davis-reading-the-book-of-nature/creationism-apologetics-and-evangelism
It’s definitely a valid observation that anti-evolution is tightly linked to Evangelical apologetics. In 2012, Douglas Groothius’ book Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith was selected for a Christianity Today Award of Merit in their annual book awards. The book dedicates two chapters to anti-evolution apologetics; one specifically on anti-Darwinism, and one on pro-ID arguments.
Great article, Ted. It is good to see where we are from the viewpoint of where we have been, to get a good idea of where we are going.
I had the opportunity of attending a conference led by Lee Strobel of " The Case for Christ" apologetics ministry, and was pleased to see that while he leans heavily on ID, the presentations were open to evolutionary thought. Like much of what I have seen in apologetics, it seemed more geared to calming the doubts of believers than evangelism, as does the AIG program.
I really liked Douglas Groothius’ book “Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith” until I got to those two chapters. I then got into a discussion with him at http://christianapologeticsthebook.blogspot.com/2012/01/new-amazon-review-from-professor.html. After several back-and-forths, Dr. Groothius posted a discussion ending "I am very familiar with all the theistic evolution arguments and their attacks on ID. I find none of them compelling; and I do find the ID arguments compelling for the reasons I give in these two chapters. One must make up one’s own mind on this, " and did not publish my next response.
Those are perfectly reasonable and acceptable (in my mind) comments, Paul. I appreciate the effort.
Ted, I am looking forward to your next column. I was recently in an extended Amazon book review comment discussion with a YEC who repeatedly insisted that “theirs is the only acceptable interpretation of the Bible, and that any other view—especially Evolutionary Creation—is a dangerous “accommodation” or “compromise.”” I never did get through to him that the issue was intepretation of the Bible.
Wow, that Seminar Notebook is a familiar sight. I grew up with a copy of it, and it helped me to “learn” that evolution was a fairy tale that required belief, just like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.
Viewers are told that both scientists have the same evidence and use the same science to understand the bones and their environment. “However, because they have different starting points (one the Bible, the other evolution) they come to completely different conclusions about the fossil, such as how old it is and how it died.” Overall, the exhibit teaches “that we all have the same science and same facts, but our starting assumptions (Genesis v. Darwin) will determine how we interpret those facts and look at the world around us.”
This was definitely my framework too, growing up. It also helps to explain the general mistrust and paranoia that can accompany not only the YEC view but often “fundamentalism” in general. It allowed for an extremely selective use of facts. If we liked a fact, we used it… if we didn’t, well, it’s from a “secular source” anyway so that explains it. (I’m not sure we can really be said to have “the same facts” anyway, when AIG simply dismisses dating methods and other things out of hand.)
From the blog post: In recent years, however, an alternative approach to apologetics stressing the role of unproved and unprovable “presuppositions” in shaping both Christian and secular thought has come into prominence, especially (but hardly exclusively) among YECs. While some leading creationists of earlier generations liked to stress the evidence for creation and against evolution, in the past couple decades AIG has prioritized the crucial role of presuppositions in evaluating the evidence.
Funny, but AiG’s misuse of Van Til’s presuppositional apologetics actually turns it into a post-modern argument. In effect, it is saying that there is no truth or evidence worth considering outside the Bible, only interpretations predetermined by secular presuppositions.
Edit: Hence, all the “worldview” publications for youth groups and homeschoolers. Gotta inoculate those kiddos against stinkin’ (secular) thinkin’!
I appreciate the lively comments so far. Keep them coming! I’ll try to keep up with them, but for the next few days I will have only limited chances to do so. I’m taking the slow route to this event, which (perhaps) some Canadians reading this might be able to attend:
If you come to that, please introduce yourself.
For AiG, believing in “six literal days” is a “necessity.”
Looking at reality with presuppositions is not a problem. The problem is when the presupposition is not a hypothesis but a necessity.
YEC works like this: The Word of God says that the world was created in 6 days. Therefore evolution cannot be true.
However this leads to the counter argument: Evolution is true because the world was not created in 6 days, therefore the Word of God is false.
YEC makes one choose between evolution and the Word of God, however this means for most people that they must choose for evolution, because this a false choice.
The Bible is not the Word (Logos) of God, Jesus Christ is the Word (Logos) of God. (John 1:1)
The intent of Genesis 1 is not to define Creation as taking 144 hours.
Creation is true because only God can create a universe out of nothing.
Evolution is true because God creates and created in time and history over many more than six days.
YEC should know better than to think that the Mind of God can be reduced to a Book, no matter how sublime.
YEC should know that the Word of God is Jesus Christ Who came into the world to give eternal life, and not scientific knowledge.