I do not usually waste my time on the BioLogos website. Much of what they produce is either philosophically useless, Biblically wrong, or factually inaccurate so other than scan the headlines, I usually don’t bother with the articles. However, their recent attempt to debunk a video put out by Genesis Apologetics (a great group you should check out on YouTube), which played the classic student vrs teacher card to debunk evolution. Written by Dr. Jim Stump, this article was so full of logical errors I thought we should respond.
Stump opens the article by gently critiquing the video for promoting an “us vrs them” mentality, presenting claims without evidence and not promoting an open discussion of the issues. In fairness to the video, its hard to debunk evolution in the three minutes, thirty seconds the video in question takes to watch. Further, if Stump had bothered to look, Genesis Apologetics has other videos which do present documented evidence. Undoubtedly if presented with those videos, Stump would move the goalposts from evidence being presented to “acceptable” evidence being presented.
The first claim Stump objects to is the student debunking the origin of life. According to Stump, evolution has nothing to do with the origin of life. He calls such a statement a red herring. However, this is classic evolutionary misdirection. They do not want to talk about the origin of life because they have no explanation for it. In making this claim, Stump echos the professional evolutionary science class. He neglects to point out, unsurprisingly, that evolutionists themselves use the term “evolution” for the origin of life. In fact the late great evolutionary paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould published an article in 1994 entitled “The Evolution of Life on Earth”. Other authors published an article entitled “Submarine hydrothermal vents and associated gradient environments as sites for the origin and evolution of life.” in the 1980s. It’s almost like Stump didn’t do the ten seconds of research it took me to find those articles.
Stump’s next objection is to the student saying that mutations only lose information not gain it. Stump admits that mutations result in information loss, but then pivots to claim that they also gain information simultaneously. He uses as his proof-text for this the mutation that causes sickle cell anemia. This mutation causes a potentially deadly situation where the blood cannot carry oxygen efficiently. However, people who only carry one gene for the mutation rather than two, while still deleteriously affected, are less likely to contract malaria. While this is positive, it is completely situational. A person with sickle cell in the United States, where malaria is almost non-existent is crippled compared to the rest of the population. Even in a location where malaria is prevalent, sickle cell anemia is still negative. So using it as an example of gain of information is purely spurious. There are no truly beneficial mutations.
Stump’s next two objections go together. He objects to the student complaining that there are no transitional creatures today nor in the fossil record. The students claims that all the transitional fossil possibilities would fit in the back of her Prius. Stump immediately points to whale evolution and claims fossils from that alone would require more than a Prius. He’s correct they would…if you allow that those are transitional fossils. They aren’t. Pakicetus and Rhodocetus, in particular, have been presented to the public as being transitional but, when you actually look at the fossils, you find that there are a ton of problems with them, beginning with the fact that they do not have flippers. Dr. Terry Mortenson has done an excellent article debunking whale evolution. So has Dr. Jonathan Sarfati. So again, Stump has either been misinformed or is misinforming his readers.
Stump closes his critique by taking issue with the statement that it takes more faith to believe in evolution than creation. While I think I understand what he is getting at when he says faith should be encouraged, it should not be encouraged in the face of facts and evidence. Christianity is an evidential faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen the Bible tells us. In other words, yes, there are things we take by faith, but God has not left us without evidence. He has given us His Word which tells us what He did in creation. I wish BioLogos would actually take Him at His Word, rather than twisting it to fit their preferred scientific interpretation.
Stump closes by lamenting echo-chamber thinking. In this instance, I agree. Most evolutionists are never exposed to anything other than a straw man of creationist arguments. By writing this article the way he did, ironically enough, Stump helped perpetuate the echo chamber. Instead of dealing factually with the evidence, Stump repeats tired old evolutionary tropes which fall apart at a touch. So I have to ask….is he really interested in dialogue, or is his intent only to push his own agenda? Saying you are interested in dialogue makes you look good, but saying it isn’t enough. Actually following through, encouraging people to view both sides and make an informed decision would mean a lot more than his words.