Sunday, November 01, 2015

Ben Carson's Creationism: Is Evolutionary Science Promoted by Satan?

As Dr. Ben Carson has risen in the opinion polls for the Republican presidential primaries, there has been increased scrutiny of his Seventh Day Adventist religion, his creationist attack on evolution, and the connection between the two.  A YouTube video of Carson's lecture at an Adventist creationist conference a few years ago illuminates some of this.

If you watch the whole video, you will notice that Carson begins and ends his lecture by claiming that Darwin's theory of evolution has been "encouraged by the Adversary."  Of course, "the Adversary" is Satan.  This and almost everything else he says comes from the founder of Seventh Day Adventism--Ellen White--and from George McCready Price, who defended White's creationist denial of evolution by developing a "flood geology" that interpreted the geological fossil record as showing the results of Noah's flood.  This became the basis for the "creation science" that was elaborated by Henry Morris in the 1960s.

White had many visions from God.  In one of them, God gave her a vision of the original creation of the world in six literal days, which showed that Darwinian evolution must be a false science designed by Satan to promote disbelief in the literal truth of the Bible.  She also believed that the Bible taught that the whole universe was no more than 6,000 years old.  Price and Morris claimed that the scientific evidence supported this creationist view as superior to Darwinian evolution.

From what Carson says in his lecture, he seems to accept all of this except for one point.  While he accepts the literal six-days-of-creation story, he does not accept the idea that the universe is no more than 6,000 years old.  He doesn't explain why he disagrees with White, Price, and Morris about this.

Carson agrees that the idea of evolution is Satanic because it is necessarily atheistic.  But then he describes joining with Francis Collins in debating Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett.  Collins is a theistic evolutionist who believes that God has used the evolutionary process to carry out His creative will.  Carson stresses that Collins is a great scientist who is also a Christian, but Carson passes over Collins' acceptance of evolution very casually by saying Collins is "an evolutionist of a sort."

Carson thus does not seriously confront the possibility that theism and evolution are compatible.  There is even some evidence that Darwin himself was a theistic evolutionist who used the theological idea of "dual causality" to argue that the Creator could be the "primary cause" who worked through the "secondary causes" of evolution.

Oddly, Carson himself comes close to this idea when he talks about the evolution of Darwin's finches in the Galapagos.  Carson accepts the fact that the finches have changed in an evolutionary process of adaptation to their environment, and he says that it shows more intelligence for God to have made finches capable of adaptive evolution without any need for God to miraculously intervene every few years to do this.  But if this is so, then why would it not show God's intelligence to have allowed the entire evolutionary process from the beginning to carry out His will, which is the thought of theistic evolutionists like Collins?  What reasons does Carson have for believing that God is unable or unwilling to work through evolution?

Darwin's finches pose another problem for Carson.  The finches and some other species on the Galapagos are unique to these islands, although they resemble species on the Latin American mainland.  Why?  According to the creation scientists, all species were created in six days at the beginning, and then all of these species were carried on Noah's Ark through the flood until the Ark landed in Turkey, and then the species migrated around the world.  If so, why did some species go the Galapagos and disappear from the rest of the world.  Darwin offered a biogeographical theory to explain this as superior to the theory of special creation.  Carson doesn't explain why he thinks the theory of special creation works better to explain this.

Carson also ignores Darwin's account of the evolution of human morality when Carson argues that "survival of the fittest" cannot explain morality.  According to Carson, "survival of the fittest" would mean that murder is good if the murderer is stronger that his victim.  The only source of morality is the Bible and the Biblical teaching that human beings are created in God's image.

Moreover, Carson insists, this Biblical morality has been adopted by the United States, beginning with the affirmation of the Creator in the Declaration of Independence.  As a result of America's becoming the Chosen People of God in 1776, America's influence in the world has brought over 200 years of progress--such as the landing of men on the Moon--that would not have been possible without God's intervention.  This is a remarkable claim.

Notice also that Carson claims that his famous neurosurgery in which he separated twins conjoined at the brain would not have been possible if God had not intervened miraculously.  I have no idea of whether the evidence supports this or not.

Some of my previous posts on these points can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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