This week I learned of a college student at a large, local state university who told of a story about one of his professors. The student’s geology professor, on the first day of class. specifically took time to ridicule Genesis 1. What this has to do with teaching undergraduate geology is more than a bit questionable. Recent news reports included beheadings done in the name of Muhammad. I wonder what would happen if this geology professor went to a few select mideast countries and ridiculed the Quran on the first day of class. On second thought, I do not have to wonder.
But I do wonder whether this geology professor has taken the time to read Genesis 1, or any of the other 49 chapters of the book. Keep in mind that we live in an age where the leading scientists of our day tell us, with all seriousness, the absurd notion that absolute nothing can produce something, even everything (See here, and here, and here). Meanwhile, Genesis 1 is getting a bit of a new evaluation that should lead us to a new respect for the old story.
The folks over at Six Day Science have stated “Genesis 1 makes at least twenty-six statements about the creation of the universe and the development of life on Earth that can be tested against current scientific understanding.” These items are not only tested against cosmology, chemistry, physics, and yes, geology, but are found accurate. You can find the explanations here and here. Next, the folks over at Reasons To Believe have several resources on how science is compatible with Genesis (start here).
I am reminded of the introduction to logic course that a relative of mine took at a local public university. I saved their handouts and tests, and the examples used in class leaned heavily toward showing logical fallacies in conservative Christian positions. Some of the examples were straw man examples, but even if we considered the rest valid, the irony of such a class is blatant. The professor taught logic by using in-class examples that only showed fallacies in one viewpoint, a clear persuasion technique.
I am further reminded of the account of a Chinese scientist who was visiting the USA, doing a few lectures on particularly unusual fossils found in China. In the lectures and demonstration, the scientist questioned Darwinian evolution. One of the American scientists asked “Aren’t you afraid to question Darwin?” which hinted at a lack of academic freedom and pressure to toe the line on Darwinism. The response was telling: “In China, we can question Darwin, but not the government. In the US, you can question the government, but not Darwin.”
Respected scientist and researcher James Tour has said the following:
I do have scientific problems understanding macroevolution as it is usually presented. I simply can not accept it as unreservedly as many of my scientist colleagues do, although I sincerely respect them as scientists. Some of them seem to have little trouble embracing many of evolution’s proposals based upon (or in spite of) archeological, mathematical, biochemical and astrophysical suggestions and evidence, and yet few are experts in all of those areas, or even just two of them. Although most scientists leave few stones unturned in their quest to discern mechanisms before wholeheartedly accepting them, when it comes to the often gross extrapolations between observations and conclusions on macroevolution, scientists, it seems to me, permit unhealthy leeway. When hearing such extrapolations in the academy, when will we cry out, “The emperor has no clothes!”? (for the rest of this article, see here)
Here Tour touches on a subject that seems to me to be a significant issue within the modern scientific community. Any given area of science, even sub-sub areas of specialization, include so much published research that most scientists have trouble staying current in their own fields, yet alone being expert enough in other disciplines to understand the interdependent details of such a wide-ranging theory such as Darwinian evolution. (for more, see here)
In any case, it seems telling that a professor in a science class would spend time ridiculing a view that is not particularly relevant to the course. Such actions tell of motivations that are not based in education or a pursuit of truth, but are grounded in an emotional dislike for the viewpoint.