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Reasons not to trust the Creationist Reasons to Believe Website

In response to an article sharing news about the latest transitional fossil discovery (a four-legged snake from the ancient continent of Gondwana), creationist Paul Cawley left a comment recommending the website “Reasons to Believe” as a scientific resource regarding evolution:

Great science from a REAL group of scientists who just happen to be Christians too! The only thing I disagree with them about is the interpretation of Genesis. The scientists on this site are mostly DAY-AGE believers in Genesis, which suggests that each “day” of the Genesis account is explaining MILLIONS of years of earth’s history. It is absolutely INCORRECT exegesis of Genesis.

However, the rest of the science is ROCK SOLID!!!

http://www.reasons.org/

I can’t share Cawley’s recommendation of the website as a “ROCK SOLID!!!” scientific resource, for three reasons:

  1. Cawley’s depiction of the website as “great science from a REAL group of scientists who just happen to be Christians too!” does not accurately describe the website’s mission and approach.  The full title of the website reasons.org is “Reasons to Believe,” and the website avowedly embraces Christianity ministry first and foremost: “Reasons to Believe is a ministry devoted to integrating science and faith and to demonstrating how the latest science affirms our faith in the God of the Bible.”  The website’s “our mission” page lists the following three pillars under the heading “Our Beliefs”:The core beliefs of Reasons to Believe

    Reasons to Believe’s staff certainly has the right to its beliefs and to hold scripture as the supreme and final authority on truth, but its approach is as a result quite different from a scientific approach; a scientific approach does not pursue research in order to demonstrate that reality matches an unassailable faith, but rather pursues research in order to assess theoretical descriptions of the world.

  2. The leaders of Reasons to Believe are not scientists in the field of evolutionary biology.  There are four individuals identified as “Research Scholars” for Reasons to believe. Of these, Hugh Ross is a PhD in Astronomy, Kenneth Samples has a BA in Social Science and a MA in Theology, Jeff Zweernik has a PhD in Astrophysics, and Fazele Rana has a PhD in Chemistry.  Rana’s degree is the only one that has any relationship to a bearing on evolutionary biology, but he has published no peer-reviewed scientific papers in evolutionary biology.  Before the year 2000, he published some papers on the chemical structure of biological membranes.
  3. What Reasons to Believe says is just not accurate. Fazele Rana, who of the four comes closest to having any scientific relationship to evolutionary biology, declares baldly on this web page that “what we see when we look at the fossil record is an absence of transitional forms.” This is demonstrably false.

26 thoughts on “Reasons not to trust the Creationist Reasons to Believe Website”

  1. ella says:

    Okay Jim Cook, put it out there, give some demonstratively accurate evidence of your view. Prove that humans evolved from amoeba, to fish, to land animals, to chimps, monkeys, and then humans, but left out birds, cattle and reptiles. What did they evolve from?

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Transitional forms are what the creationists demand. I’ve supplied links to ample evidence on that count.

    2. Jim Cook says:

      What I believe isn’t the issue. The falsehoods of the creationist website are the issue — but if you want evidence, why not pick up a textbook in evolutionary biology?

      1. ella says:

        I would rather go outside where the “evidence’ came from. Textbooks tend to repeat the same platitude as nauseum. Before there were books, people were able to remember everything they needed to know. A persons’ interpretation for personal benefit of what was already in existence before that person came along, is not plausible. Especially textbooks are changed every year so that each class is taught something different. Ever wonder why that is?

        1. Jim Cook says:

          No, actually, I have to contradict you on this point. If you read textbooks in evolutionary biology, they don’t offer “platitudes” — they offer information with references to sources in published research in peer-reviewed scientific journals. That’s an important difference.

          The conclusions of science change, on occasion, because science as a process commits itself to questioning its prior conclusions in the light of new evidence — a very different approach to that of religion.

          1. ella says:

            You are right, the sciences build on the past findings and really are, from what I read, making discoveries that could, if so applied, benefit humanity greatly. The few who do no credit to the fields in which they have worked, should not reflect on the serious and dedicated men and women involved. Mathematicians, chemists, botanists, all of the lab sciences are more logical to me. There is more room for error in the others (in my opinion) simply because they are dealing with constantly changing subjects. But tell me, do they not repeat tirelessly the such and such is due to evolution? Once in a while it could be mentioned, but repeatedly is rote teaching. If a thing is so, then state it – leave it at that. Facts speak for themselves. If a causality is needed say, “we know what caused it”. OR if not, “it needs more investigation”. I have no problem with ‘it evolved’. I have a problem with the blanket statement that everything evolved from one seed. One string of DNA, yes, that has been proven. And it had an origin. Has anyone figured it out yet?

  2. DrRGP says:

    As I recall, Moses (presumably) wrote Genesis, but he doesn’t say where he got his information, that is, reveal his sources. I have often wondered, for example, how Moses knew the exact ages (at time of death) of so many of the people named in Genesis, for example, Methuselah, son of Enoch. And how did Moses, hundreds of years after the alleged event, know that Enoch never died because “God took him”?

    1. ella says:

      Because knowledge was passed down from generation to generation and the brain was used back then so it was remembered. American Indians had to be taught to forget their past by forcing them to read textbooks. But even the American Indians had a form of writing, it was many times so that people who came from another nation or tribe could learn where or when something was or would be. They knew how to give directions. And then, after the arrival of so many strangers to their shores, they developed writing so they could communicate with them.

  3. J Clare Peteet says:

    Can we just consider that God orchestrates evolution throughout the universe?

    That’s right – orchestrates – present tense!!

    1. Mark says:

      Why would we need to consider God orchestrating evolution when, by all indications, it seems to work just fine without Him?

    2. J Clifford says:

      J. Claire, we could consider that, but we couldn’t consider it at much length, if we are to keep our considerations based in reality, because there’s absolutely no evidence of any such divine orchestration of the universe.

      It’s amazing to me that Creationists quibble about details in the definition of the term “transitional form” in paleontologists’ mountains of evidence for biological evolution through natural selection, but then expect everyone else to just take it for granted that guy sitting on a cloud in a big white beard is invisibly controlling the entire universe through his magical powers.

      1. DrRGP says:

        Mr. Clifford: It may take a sociologist (particularly one specializing in social psychology) to understand fully that an absolute lack of evidence for religious doctrines (of whatever variety) has not, does not, and never will completely negate (nullify) what the American philosopher William James called “the will to believe.” Reasoned arguments based on strictly empirical evidence will never carry the day with those having the irreducible “will to believe.”

        Do you agree or disagree?

        1. J Clifford says:

          DrRGP, I don’t care about what strange little worlds of fantasy the Creationists whip up for themselves. That’s their own private business, if they want to believe, despite the lack of any evidence, that the world was constructed 500 years ago by rainbow ponies.

          What bothers me is that Creationists try to force their weird fantasies onto others. They push their crazy beliefs into high school and middle school biology courses in public schools. Then they start ranting at children, telling them that they will burn in fire forever if they don’t share their conspiracy theories.

          That’s the line where all the nice distinctions of saying, “Golly, can’t we just agree to disagree?” fall apart. The “will to believe” in such nonsense does not arise out of nowhere. It’s taught to children by abusive adults. If people want to teach their own children about rainbow pony creation stories in their own private homes and churches, I suppose it’s not my place to try to stop their foolishness. When they try to slap their “will to believe” all over my kids, and try to hijack the government to make it happen, I’m not having any patience with that.

  4. J Clare Peteet says:

    J Clifford, science admits it cannot tell us what caused the Big Bang.

    Belief in a supreme Creator whose Big Bang set everything in motion, with no further guidance or interference needed, is not a refutation of evolution. My previous contribution to the discussion was intended to offer an acceptable resolution with which a creationist might be comfortable. It was not intended to convert non-believers and I did in no wise suggest that the Creator was “controlling the entire universe. . .”. The orchestration is inherent in all the laws of science.

    The famous astrophysical scientist, Stephen Hawking, says, “Anyone who chooses to believe in a Universal Creator is standing on ground as solid as a scientist who denies Creative Purpose as First Cause. Because of the laws these same scientists have discovered, there is absolutely no way to tell what made it happen. Whatever you choose is an act of pure faith.” *

    Creationists point to the book of Genesis in the Bible but seem to not venture past the printed words. Even the ancients seem to have understood the marine origin of life as evidenced by Genesis 1:20. The Q’ran 21:30 and 24:45 also teaches the same. Our planet’s oxygen was generated by the cyanobacteria in the oceans as evidenced by stromatolite formations. Surely these Reason to Believe “scientists” can see a connection.

    Therefore, my answer to the Creationists is as I stated previously: An ongoing Evolution orchestrated by a supreme Creator.

    Now, let’s talk about Chariots of the Gods ! LOL

    *could not find the source of the Hawking quote but it is found numerous times through Google in association with articles

    1. ella says:

      Not all Christians really believe that way J Clare, in fact those who actually read the book realize it is a blueprint and an extremely sketchy history of a very distant past. So much has happened since the first verse of Genesis. The sheet has been very nearly or completely wiped clean before. Genesis describes the evolving creation and that is what the originating scientists based there research biological/botanical on. Now they have each other to give credit to and many disregard the original source. Of course what they are doing is learning what went into the physical creation, what it is comprised of. As they are stimulated to learn more they come closer to understanding how to survive or make mistakes, like GMO, and learn how to destroy life. You know,one of the famous quotes is something like; unless time is shortened, nothing will be left alive. But on the bright side that won’t happen. I hope. 🙂 There is the one side that says humans should die, and the other that says we should live. The conflict goes on.

    2. Jim Cook says:

      J. Clare,

      The quote is fake, and Stephen Hawking actually believes the opposite. Please see http://irregulartimes.com/2015/08/04/did-stephen-hawking-really-say-that-believers-in-god-are-standing-on-ground-as-solid-as-scientists/ for documentation.

      1. J Clare Peteet says:

        Yes, Jim Cook, I am well aware that Hawking seems to have waffled on the “creator” possibility several times in his career according to the numerous posts I encountered. However, taking the “fake” quote out of context and only posting part of it as your heading changes the entire tone. The sentence contains a great big modifier that you chose to omit. The ground is “. . . as solid as ANY SCIENTIST WHO DENIES CREATIVE PURPOSE . . .

        I was secretly hoping you or J Clifford would locate the source of the “quote”, but to my disappointment you didn’t. However, I have a theory as to how the non-quote it may have originated:

        The statement, while not a verbatim quote from Hawking, probably came from a writer summarizing Hawking’s earlier positions on creation. Somehow, when that writer was cited by yet another writer, it ended up in quotation marks and became attributable to Hawking himself.

        Regardless of who said it, the very well worded point is that the beginning will never be known because it cannot be proven any more than can a Creator.

        In 2010 Hawking actually re-stated his position on a Creator and First Cause, theorizing that gravity was the cause of the beginning or Big Bang. Whence gravity?

        1. Jim Cook says:

          Uh, follow the link I provided, please. It actually does contain a reference to the source of the fake quote, which was a Hollywood producer completely misreading Hawking and then those who copied him adding quotation marks to turn a poor paraphrase into a fake quotation. It’s all spelled out in the article I linked to above. You certainly can believe what you want to, but your belief doesn’t have the weight of a quote from Hawking behind it.

          1. J Clare Peteet says:

            I have read the information in the link you posted. I understand that the summary was accidentally put in quotation marks by others. That is what I stated. I still maintain that the statement makes a good point.

            However, it was misleading of you to leave out the modifying principle when you created your headline

            There was quite a time gap between Hawking’s early theories, as SUMMARIZED in that fake quote and his most recent 2010 denial of a First Cause. My question stands: Whence gravity? Is gravity a “creat

          2. Jim Cook says:

            1. His most recent assertion of atheism, one of many, came in 2015.

            2. The headline I wrote for the article has more than a dozen words in it — fairly long for a headline. I’ve also prominently posted the entirety of the fake Hawking quote. If you’re unsatisfied with that, I won’t be able to make you feel better about it.

            3. Where does gravity come from? The heck if I know. I’m not an astrophysicist. I’m ok with not knowing and don’t feel like I have to pretend I know.

  5. ella says:

    What did the originators of the Constitution do with out you, J Clifford? The ignorant masses of this planet who don’t see those ‘invisible little men sitting on clouds’ running everything, thank you for your generous assessment of the collective knowledge base. As many different versions as there are of creation, of God and gods, it is good that some have realized that other people are not gods and neither are graven images. But there are many who still stand before such. There are two side to it. Deceit and Fact. The Deceiver and the deceived. Many believe they know what is ‘right’ or ‘truth’ and some ‘fact’. Mean parents? Have you ever watched an animal family? There are cruel, emotionally sick, people parenting these days. Their teaching has not been Christian, maybe Satanic Temple, or they have been exposed to the ‘experimenting of psychological sociologists, like those in Chicago who created “Blender Kids” swap cards to put in bubblegum packs illustrating babies and small children in various poses in machines cutting them to pieces. For the sake of ‘learning how children learn’ and ‘how it will effect their minds’. Education has some pretty gruesome lessons not even taught in the social lessons of the Books.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Ella,

      1. What? Chicago social science experiments with cards in “Blender Kids” bubble gum packs showing kids getting cut to pieces? What? I’m literally at a loss to understand what you’re talking about. I can’t find any reference to such a thing happening on the internet, or even people talking about such a thing hapenning. Do you have any reputable source to document that such a thing happened?

      2. Do you have any reputable documentation of any widespread adoption of Satanic Temple teachings regarding parenting?

      I’m at a loss to understand where these notions came from. If you have reputable sources, please share them so I can look into them. If you don’t have reputable sources, why make these claims?

    2. Jim Cook says:

      Are you thinking perhaps of the old Garbage Pail Kids cards of the 1980s, which were the production of the Topps card company, not an experiment by psychologists or sociologists?

      1. ella says:

        No, the Garbage Pail Kids were put out, I believe later, a sort of slowing down of the Blender Kids cards. The publisher of the cards does not indicate who initiated the publication of them or for what purpose. It was not, of course, advertised to the public what they were published for.

  6. ella says:

    I can see why they would not be listed as ‘collectibles’. They were truly disgusting and only ran for a very short time. Too disgusting even for Chicago. I can still see images on cards that I will have to get out of my mind now.

  7. Handyortung says:

    Creationists read the Bible as history and fact, and have well-thought-through reasons to read it in this way. But this way of reading, which is one I used to employ, does an injustice to the kinds of writing that the Bible is. When it comes to Genesis, especially the chapters in question here, Genesis 1-3, what we are talking about is myth.

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