BEING able to disagree without being disagreeable, and respecting another’s point of view without being abusive, is surely a mark of maturity? However, when it comes to discussing the origin of life, evolution and intelligent design, there is a good deal of intolerance, which often descends into verbal abuse.
One only has to take part in on-line discussions on origins issues, or comment on some news report or new scientific discovery, to discover that if you dare to dissent from the “party line” you will be on the receiving end of insults. It is not even necessary to mention God or creation: even to suggest there may be any purpose or design in nature guarantees a hostile response—and it’s usually not polite or respectful, but a torrent of anger and name-calling.
The same response greets scientists who write or publish books and articles which challenge Darwinism.1 The sudden appearance of complex animals in the Cambrian rocks, with no evidence they evolved from anything simpler, has been a serious problem for evolutionists ever since Darwin himself admitted it undermined his theory of gradual evolution. In a recent book, Darwin’s Doubt, Cambridge-trained philosopher of science Dr Stephen Meyer2 examined this problem in great depth. Sub-titled “The explosive origin of animal life and the case for intelligent design” the book—which reached No. 7 on the New York Times best-seller list—relates how evolutionists have been vainly searching for an explanation for the Cambrian Explosion, yet refusing to consider the design option.
Evolutionary scientists rushed to discredit Meyer, with comments such as "fool," "incompetent," guilty of "ignorance," etc. A review on Amazon.com accused Meyer of writing “deliberately provocative nonsense” that was “potentially dangerous”, and “fundamentalist religious rubbish… wrapped up in a shabby scientific suit.” Yet Meyer nowhere mentions God or the Bible!
In 2004 The Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, published an article by Stephen Meyer, entitled “The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories.” The reaction was immediate and shrill. The editor of the publication, Richard Sternberg, a Research Associate at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, faced retaliation, defamation, harassment, and attempts to have him sacked.3 This led to two Federal investigations which vidicated him. Yet no-one even attempted to refute any part of Dr Meyer’s article!
This kind of hostile reaction usually comes from scientists who are secular humanists, and reveals that their anger is based on philosophical, not scientific considerations. Any suggestion that naturalistic, evolutionary explanations are insufficient threatens their world-view. They fear the implications, since it would mean that they are accountable. As Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin admitted: “We have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism… we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”4
Those who oppose God will have no excuse (see Romans 1: 19-20). How tragic, then, that they prefer to run away from God. How much better to turn to Him in repentance and faith! If they did they would discover that “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.” (Psalm 145: 8).
1. See DVD “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed!” (Available from CRT).
2. Dr Meyer works at the Discovery Institute. See www.discovery.org
3. www.richardsternberg.com/smithsonian.php 4. January 9, 1997 New York Times Book Reviews