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