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Survey: U.S. Protestant pastors reject evolution, split on Earth's age
January 10th, 2012
04:18 PM ET

Survey: U.S. Protestant pastors reject evolution, split on Earth's age

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

America’s Protestant pastors overwhelmingly reject the theory of evolution and are evenly split on whether the earth is 6,000 years old, according to a survey released Monday by the Southern Baptist Convention.

When asked if “God used evolution to create people," 73% of pastors disagreed - 64% said they strongly disagreed - compared to 12% who said they agree.

Asked whether the earth is approximately 6,000 years old, 46% agreed, compared to 43% who disagreed.

A movement called Young Earth creationism promotes the 6,000-year-old figure, arguing that it is rooted in the Bible. Scientists say the earth is about 4.5 billion years old.

The Southern Baptist Convention survey, which queried 1,000 American Protestant pastors, also found that 74% believe the biblical Adam and Eve were literal people.

“Recently discussions have pointed to doubts about a literal Adam and Eve, the age of the earth and other origin issues," said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, a division of the Southern Baptist Convention, in a report on LifeWay’s site. “But Protestant pastors are overwhelmingly Creationists and believe in a literal Adam and Eve.”

The phone survey was conducted in May 2011, sampling ministers from randomly selected Protestant churches. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percent, LifeWay said.

A 2010 Gallup poll found that 40% of Americans believe God created humans in their present form, versus 54% who said humans developed over millions of years.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Science

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soundoff (6,504 Responses)
  1. Jesus>>Darwin

    momoya:

    You claim to be a recovering Bible reader, but that is NOT true. In my lifetime, I've never met anyone that has thoroughly read and understood the Bible and "fallen away" from God. NEVER. You are NOT being honest with the readers on this comment board. Please be honest and just admit that you simply don't understand the text.

    Part of your problem is that you are only considering the true historical reconstructive parts of the Biblical text. In reality, the Bible operates in many modes including actual historical events, allegory, parables, object lessons, hyperbole, but absolutely NOT myth. The purpose of these different modes is to illustrate truth in the physical and Spiritual realms. You've missed the boat by only looking at a surface level interpretation in all passages. You are actually in the same category as the literal fundamentalists, STUPID.

    February 21, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • wayne

      " I've never met anyone that has thoroughly read and understood the Bible and "fallen away" from God. NEVER. "

      So that means it's completely impossible? If anyone you know ever did fall away you'd just claim that didn't understand it, that way you'd never lose. Every single argument you bring forward is laughable

      February 21, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Jesus>>Darwin

      It is possible, but I've never met anyone that has "fallen away".

      Normal human sperm, the fertilization process and the alpha stages of embryonic development, are all counter examples to Darwin's idea that negate his theory.

      February 21, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • momoya

      I think that in a few years time you probably will know others who have been life-long christians but are no longer so. Give it some time. I do understand the text, though. I am a rather embarrassed old dame, because it took me so long, but I got it eventually. The bible is a collection of myths and various gods. Yes, some of its stories are historical and true, but it does not present a feasible god or promote a sensible morality.

      Your problem is you have a virus in your brain. That virus is keeping you from looking clearly at the text. You may not be able to do what I and other former christians have done. I don't know. When you can sit down with the bible and conceive of the possibility of it being wrong, and think that it may just be another myth book, you weaken the virus's hold. Do it enough, and with enough knowledge of other myths of the cultures that surrounded the people of the bible, and you can see it for what it really is.

      February 21, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Jesus>>Darwin

      momoya,

      Again, you are applying a surface level interpretation of the text (in almost a funny, but tragic comical way) to excuse yourself for hedonistic behavior. I agree that you may very well know better in not taking everything literally, but it is indeed tragic comical that you view the Bible in this way. This is essentially what literal fundamentalists do too, but in a more upright, righteous and earnest way.

      February 21, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      Well said, momoya. It may sound insensitive, but it's true.

      J>>D, I grew up as a Christian too, and never questioned it until I started really thinking about it. I have read the Bible cover-to-cover twice – at least once as a Christian, and then again as a non-believer. It sure was easier to understand it clearly the second time.

      February 21, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Ed

      Perhaps some of us misunderstand the Bible, but there is not a scintilla of doubt that you clearly have zero comprehension of the theory of evolution. Your arguments are laughable and ridiculous.

      February 21, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
  2. Jesus>>Darwin

    Why on earth does God have to prove to you that He created the Universe when He already told you directly in His written word?

    The Bible tells us who created the Universe and science explains how. It is up to us to endeavor to know about the details of His creation through quality scientific inquiry, and not broad sweeping statements about the process.

    February 21, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • momoya

      The bible is not a trustworthy text, and we do better science by ignoring it.

      February 21, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Jesus>>Darwin

      momoya:

      Well, let me tell you, if we can't trust the Bible, then nothing can be trusted. You've just made a broad sweep on the Bible and it is simply not true.

      Darwin spent some time studying theology, but didn't cut the mustard so he decided to apply religious thinking to science and make broad sweeping statements about living systems. Evolution as a generic concept it true, but does not apply in the Darwinian context.

      February 21, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      Science only started making rapid progress after people started to look beyond the bible. There was a time when people relied on religious supersti.tion and god for all explanations – we call it the Dark Ages and ignorance and oppression prevailed; then there came a time when people began looking to rational thinking and nature for explanations – we call it the Enlightenment. Science, human rights, and America itself are among the results of Enlightenment philosophy.

      When you begin to understand that, you will understand why there are so many of us who so strongly resist your attempts to drag us backward.

      February 21, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • wayne

      God created the universe because it's in the bible and the bible is the word of God because the bible says it is?? Are you kidding me? Circular logic at it's best.

      Has it ever occurred to you that not everybody accepts that assertion that the bible is the word of God?

      "The Bible tells us who created the Universe and science explains how. It is up to us to endeavor to know about the details of His creation through quality scientific inquiry, and not broad sweeping statements about the process."

      The bible says who, but doesn't show any evidence that it's claim is actually correct. The bible does the same thing you do, give your God credit for something it evidently had nothing to do with. The bible says that man was made from dirt, not that man is an ape and shares ancestry with other apes and every other living thing on the planet. The bible pretty much has all of the creation story wrong when it's lined up against science.

      Since you can't provide any evidence supporting creation, you now beg us to just take the bible at it's word and not question it. What an ignorant sheep you are.

      February 21, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • momoya

      Who do you think you're arguing with when you make broad, sweeping comments about Darwin? Your chasing your own tail, there, and it's a testament to your stupidity that you continue.

      The bible is untrustworthy because it contains numerous inaccuracies and impossible contradictions concerning the nature of god. Just because the bible is as untrustworthy as other "holy texts" full of mashed-together myths doesn't mean that we can't trust other facts. In fact, it's easier to believe reality once you let go of the bible's "authority." Once you truly consider that you might be wrong, it's easy. Use evidence as your guide. Evolution is backed up by truckloads; it's true. The bible doesn't and isn't. Simple.

      February 21, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  3. False Dichotomy

    Wow, looks like not much has changed while I was gone. The evidence-based community is till trying to talk sense to the creationists, the creationists are still fighting hard to protect themselves from reality crashing in on their worldview, and Chad is still using the same questions that have been addressed over and over to try to lure new victims into inane circular debates (what's that definition of insanity? – doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?).

    At least now someone has introduced stork theory into the discussion! Seems like a fair comparison to me...

    February 21, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  4. Jesus>>Darwin

    There was a sudden, quiet, hot expansion out from the singularity. God pulled the trigger.

    February 21, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • wayne

      God pulled the trigger? Where is the verifible evidence for this assertion? You don't have any, because there is none. Wishful thinking at it's best.

      February 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • manda

      Even if you could prove somebody had to "pull the trigger" that doesn't go anywhere toward proving your god did it. There is still exactly the same amount of evidence that a magic stork did it. Storks at least have toes and beaks for trigger pulling. Your god is immaterial so he doesn't even have a finger. See, makes no sense. Must be storks.

      February 21, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • kenrick Benjamin

      That's funny Jesus>>Darwin.

      February 21, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • wayne

      The funny part about this Jesus>>Darwin is if God did indeed "pull the trigger", cosomology would still be correct and evolution would still be correct and creationsm would stil be 100% wrong. Your argument does not support magical creation by Jesus and his daddy who are the same person at all.

      February 21, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • J.W

      Maybe Jesus>Darwin is not a creationist.

      February 21, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Jesus>>Darwin

      @Wayne:

      Cosmology would (actually is) still be correct, evolution would be correct with major revisions that discredit Darwin's idea.

      Creationism as a statement (not a scientific theory) is correct too.

      February 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • momoya

      You cant get to correct cosmology and evolution from reading the bible; scientists had to go outside of the bible and assume that the creation accounts in Genesis are WRONG in order to get the correct views. Yahweh must like cruel jokes, eh Bumper?

      February 21, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • wayne

      @Jesus>>Darwin

      Well i'm glad to be corrected that you are not crack pot creationist. My original point still stands, you don't have any verfiable evidence to what "pulled the trigger" and all you are stuck with is baseless assertions and wishful thinking. All in the place of an honest answer of we don't know yet.

      February 21, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • J.W

      I dont know what cosmology has to do with any of that. If I wanted to learn about that I would go to beauty school.

      February 21, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • wayne

      @JW

      cosmology=Cosmology is the discipline that deals with the nature of the Universe as a whole. Cosmologists seek to understand the origin, evolution, structure, and ultimate fate of the Universe at large, as well as the natural laws that keep it in order. [1] Modern cosmology is dominated by the Big Bang theory, which brings together observational astronomy and particle physics.[2]

      Cosmetology=is the study and application of beauty treatment. Branches of specialty including hairstyling, skin care, cosmetics, manicures/pedicures, and electrology.

      If you don't know the difference between the two, you have no business in this discussion at all.

      February 21, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Jesus>>Darwin

      Why does God have to prove to you that He created the Universe when He already told you directly in His written word?

      The Bible tells us who created the Universe and science explains how. It is up to us to endeavor to know about the details of His creation through quality scientific inquiry, and not broad sweeping statements about the process.

      February 21, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • I heart circular reasoning

      The book says it, so it must be true! Thanks @Jesus>>Darwin!

      February 21, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      Indeed. The Bible is the inerrant word of God! How do you know? Because the Bible says so! How do you know the Bible is correct? Because it is the inerrant word of God! .... It's like a carnival ride.

      February 21, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  5. kayla

    Who told the ocean, you can only come this far?

    February 21, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • wayne

      You are trolling. I have to believe that. There is no way anyone is this stupid.

      February 21, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • momoya

      fluid dynamics, gravity, density and such.

      February 21, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • manda

      The storks did. Probably so they could stand knee-deep in the water without having to move. See how it all makes perfectly logical sense?

      February 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  6. wayne

    @jimtanker and manda

    Chad replied in the same thread about 3 hours after you guys responded to him. He read your repiles and ignored them. He knows he's intellectually dishonest and doesn't even care. He will continue to pretend that unknowns equal "goddidit" even when he knows it does not.

    -Jimtanker

    You’re an idiot “Chad”. As was stated above, it doesn’t matter if all of those things are untrue. Even if evolution were false (which it isn’t, it’s a fact) and even though we don’t know what happened to cause the Big Bang that has no bearing on whether or not creationism is true or not. There is NO evidence that your god exists, there is NO evidence that there ever was a person name Jesus, and there is NO evidence that creationism is true.

    -manda

    "Who told sperm and eggs to combine huh? Nobody knows. See, that proves it – storks!"

    I'm not obligated to spend time answering your questions. Neither is anyone else. Go look them up yourself, no one is hiding that information from you. It is only hidden from you by the blinders you wear.

    February 21, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  7. wayne

    @Chad

    What was the trigger for the Big Bang?
    Why does the universe obey laws?
    What was the origin of life? Spontaneous generation?

    You ask these questions as if you have an answer for them. No one does. Just because we don't know the answers to them does not in any way validate creation in anyway. Creation has to prove itself. It can't and you know it can't thats why you have to ask such dishonest questions.

    Not one time has anything every had a verfiable supernatural explanation in anything. Everything that we've discoved about the natural world that once had a supernatural explanation, turned out once we had the real answer to be a 100% natural one.

    There is no reason to place god in the gaps of

    What was the trigger for the Big Bang?
    Why does the universe obey laws?
    What was the origin of life? Spontaneous generation?

    When doing so in the past has led to a 100% failure rate.

    You moron creationists can't be happy with "we don't know" because you are susposed to know your God did everything, although you can't explain your magic in any verfable way at all. Then get upset when we don't accept your fairy tale explanations over natural phenomena.

    February 21, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  8. wayne

    Challenge to all you stupid creationists:

    There has never been one time that anyone has presented any verifiably accurate argument of evidence indicative of miraculous creation over biological evolution or any other avenue of actual science.

    Can you do it?

    February 21, 2012 at 8:46 am |
  9. manda

    Creationism is as valid an explanation for life as storks are for newborns. Any adult should be equally embarrassed to admit to belief in either.

    February 20, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Chad

      hmm..

      What was the trigger for the Big Bang?
      Why does the universe obey laws?
      What was the origin of life? Spontaneous generation?

      February 20, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • manda

      Hey look, there's a creationist now. Aint it cute how they try to talk like grownups?

      a more direct answer – one that I'm sure you've heard before – is that not knowing the exact answer for everything is not evidence at all for "God did it." I don't know exactly how cheese melts but I don't think that proves that Jesus is Lord. Don't be that guy.

      February 20, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • manda

      y una mas cosa, not one of your questions relates to evolution in any way. If you're going to take the time to memorize the questions your preacher promises will "stump a Darwinist" you should at least also take the time to find out what evolution actually is.

      February 20, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • Chad

      1. as always I'm happy to get Atheists to the point where they have to admit that they have no idea on those three questions
      2. if you want to talk "evolution" specifically, explain why the largest "gaps" in the fossil record correspond exactly to those organisms described in the Bible as direct creations of God (fish, birds, land animals, humans)

      Now, here's the hard part, in answering #2, do so with out one of the following
      a. fossil record is incomplete (obviously there are plenty of invertebrate fossils, and plenty of fish fossils, why then dont we have a plethora of interims?)
      b. "we know that mutation is possible little fish become big fish and big fish become little fish all the time, so there ya go!", you need to stick to the "evolution" of the detailed organisms (fish, birds, land animals, humans)
      c. "you're an idiot, you destroying the world" just stick to the discussion at hand

      February 21, 2012 at 8:12 am |
    • jimtanker

      You’re an idiot “Chad”. As was stated above, it doesn’t matter if all of those things are untrue. Even if evolution were false (which it isn’t, it’s a fact) and even though we don’t know what happened to cause the Big Bang that has no bearing on whether or not creationism is true or not. There is NO evidence that your god exists, there is NO evidence that there ever was a person name Jesus, and there is NO evidence that creationism is true.

      February 21, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • manda

      "Who told sperm and eggs to combine huh? Nobody knows. See, that proves it – storks!"

      I'm not obligated to spend time answering your questions. Neither is anyone else. Go look them up yourself, no one is hiding that information from you. It is only hidden from you by the blinders you wear.

      February 21, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • Chad

      The important thing to remember with respect to the first two questions, is that by definition they are outside the realm of the study of this universe to discern an answer.
      – The trigger for the big bang was outside the time and space of this universe, as all of the matter of the universe and time itself was created at the big bang.

      – The reason that the universe obeys laws is outside the ability of "science" to discern,
      "science starts with the existence of laws and can by definition never explain why the universe obeys them" leonard mlodinow, co-author with hawkings of "A Briefer History of Time"

      On the third question, we know enough now about the complexity and inter-relatedness of basic cellular structures to know that the odds of spontaneous generation/Abiogenesis. are laughably large, and there is no evidence for pre-cellular life on Earth.

      "RNA world hypothesis has been largely abandoned by proponents of abiogenesis in favor of other hypotheses, like the simultaneous development of both proteins and genetic templates or the development of life around undersea vents similar to those currently inhabited by today's extremophiles. But there is one criticism that any abiogenesis hypothesis has difficulty overcoming: time. DNA-based life is thought to have developed on Earth beginning around 3.8 billion years ago, giving pre-cellular life forms about 1 billion years to carry out random processes of encoding useful proteins and assembling them into the precursors of cellular life . Critics of abiogenesis say that simply isn't enough time for inorganic matter to become the theorized precellular life. One estimate suggests it would take 10^450 (10 to the 450th power) years for one useful protein to be randomly created .

      February 21, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Chad

      @jimtanker "There is NO evidence that your god exists, there is NO evidence that there ever was a person name Jesus, and there is NO evidence that creationism is true."

      => no on all three..
      – there is a need for a force external to our universe,see above
      – we have an entity claiming responsibility
      – I never both with arguments claiming that Jesus isnt real.. it's like arguing with someone that the earth isnt flat.
      see: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus
      or: http://www.atheists-for-jesus.com/

      February 21, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • manda

      Chad: I'll see your "no on all three" and raise it to "I call B.S. on all three"

      – there is a need for a force external to our universe,see above
      B.S., the only reason you need one is that you can't imagine it any other way. This is the typical argument from ignorance.

      – we have an entlty claiming responsibility
      Major B.S.! We most certainly do not. If we did there would be no debate. We only have PEOPLE claiming there is an entlty responsible.

      – I never both with arguments claiming that Jesus isnt real.. it's like arguing with someone that the earth isnt flat.
      also B. S., While the mythology surrounding Jesus may or may not have been based on a real person, that doesn't prove he was the son of god, and it is ridiculous to pretend that this is as clearcut as the shape of the earth. It is obviously debatable or there wouldn't be websites devoted to arguing for it. For example, there are lots of web sites about Ulysses S. Grant, but none that I know of are dedicated to trying to prove he actually existed. As for Jesus, the fact that it's an issue proves, well, that it is truly an issue.

      You can try again if you'd like.

      February 21, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Chad

      @manda "the only reason you need (a force external to the universe) is that you can't imagine it any other way. This is the typical argument from ignorance.
      @Chad: er.. no.
      1. the universe had an origin
      2. that trigger for that origin by definition had to have existed outside the universe (as the entire time and space of that universe was was created at that origin point).

      pretty straightforward..

      =================
      @manda "We most certainly do not(have an entity claiming responsibility). If we did there would be no debate. We only have PEOPLE claiming there is an entlty responsible.
      "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? " – Job
      etc.. etc..
      Gods statements that He created the world are recorded in the Bible.

      Attempts to discredit the authenticity of the bible are a separate issue, which fail as well... :-)

      ===============
      @manda "While the mythology surrounding Jesus may or may not have been based on a real person, that doesn't prove he was the son of god"
      @Chad "as you say, the only issue is whether or not Jesus is divine, that fact is demonstrated by the reality of the resurrection.

      If you're wondering what kind of a person would actually attempt to argue that Jesus wasnt a real person, here's a sample:
      http://theflatearthsociety.org/cms/

      February 21, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • manda

      Thanks for all the circular "proof" from your magic book, but your argument had already fallen apart at 1.

      1. The universe had an origin.
      Why do you state this as fact? How is it that you know this? You don't. You just need to try to slip in that assumption to prop up the rest of your B.S. You obviously believe things can be eternal (I'll bet you think your god is), so why are you so certain the universe isn't? And don't say because the bible says so. Quoting the bible doesn't prove spit. If you believe the Bible constltutes objective evidence, then you're pretty much disqualified from a logical discussion in the first place.

      February 21, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Chad

      @manda "The universe had an origin. Why do you state this as fact? "

      =>"The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model that explains the early development of the Universe.[1] According to the Big Bang theory, the Universe was once in an extremely hot and dense state which expanded rapidly. This rapid expansion caused the young Universe to cool and resulted in its present continuously expanding state. According to the most recent measurements and observations, this original state existed approximately 13.7 billion years ago,[2][3] which is considered the age of the Universe and the time the Big Bang occurred"
      The Big Bang is a well-tested scientific theory which is widely accepted within the scientific community because it is the most accurate and comprehensive explanation for the full range of phenomena astronomers observe. Since its conception, abundant evidence has arisen to further validate the model"

      February 22, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • manda

      Two points to make here:

      A. Your lifted Weak-ipedia quote states " the Universe was once in an extremely hot and dense state which expanded rapidly." Nowhere in that passage does it say anything along the lines of "At one time the universe never existed." It refers to development of the current state of the universe and a time when the current state of the universe was "young", but most scientists see the big bang as part of a cycle, a multiverse, or an unknown range of possibilities. So, you're stretching things here.

      B. Most importantly, your argument is that it is ridiculous not to accept your view because that it is the indisputable consensus of the vast majority of modern scientists. You are absolutely correct in this case. You assert that it must be true because it:

      "is a well-tested scientific theory which is widely accepted within the scientific community because it is the most accurate and comprehensive explanation for the full range of phenomena".

      Read that again.

      That is even more true of the theory of evolution so you have just talked yourself into a corner. You have just explained to yourself why it is downright ridiculous to deny evolution. Thanks for doing the heavy lifting for me – my work here is done.

      February 22, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • False Dichotomy

      Manda's right, Chad. Good for you for finally seeing the light. You have finally recognized that 99.8% of scientists are probably not simultaneously mistaken, and given that probability, it is absurd to deny biological evolution.

      That's just good teaching when one allows the student to find their way to the answer on their own. Well done, manda.

      February 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Chad

      @Manda “Your lifted Weak-ipedia quote states " the Universe was once in an extremely hot and dense state which expanded rapidly." Nowhere in that passage does it say anything along the lines of "At one time the universe never existed." It refers to development of the current state of the universe and a time when the current state of the universe was "young", but most scientists see the big bang as part of a cycle, a multiverse, or an unknown range of possibilities. So, you're stretching things here.
      =>no…
      "The absolute origin of the universe, of all matter and energy, even of physical space and time themselves, in the Big Bang singularity contradicts the perennial naturalistic assumption that the universe has always existed. One after another, models designed to avert the initial cosmological singularity–the Steady State model, the Oscillating model, Vacuum Fluctuation models–have come and gone. Current quantum gravity models, such as the Hartle-Hawking model and the Vilenkin model, must appeal to the physically unintelligible and metaphysically dubious device of "imaginary time" to avoid the universe's beginning. The contingency implied by an absolute beginning ex nihilo points to a transcendent cause of the universe beyond space and time. Philosophical objections to a cause of the universe fail to carry conviction" william craig

      ==========================
      @Manda “You have just explained to yourself why it is downright ridiculous to deny evolution [since the majority of scientists believe it].
      => no and here’s why:
      Scientists have faith that genetic mutation and natural selection via entirely random naturalistic process has produced the organisms that the bible declares God created (fish, birds, land animals and humans). This faith is based not on fossil record evidence, but on the hope that these fossils will be found.
      As you are typing up your normal atheist response of “the fossil record is incomplete, and what are you talking about we have tons of stuff showing how fish evolved” remember that:
      a. Every year we find new fossils that reinforce the existing picture, further highlighting the gaps which correspond exactly to the genesis creation (fish, birds, land animals and humans)
      b. Try to provide some fossils demonstrating invertebrate—fish, there aren’t any.which is astonishing in that the vast majority of fossils are invertebrate.. We should have that transition clearly documented, right?

      February 22, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • manda

      Whatever. Too late to backpedal. Either scientific consensus is meaningful or it isn't. It clearly is, and even you recognized that and relied on it right up until the point that it became inconvenient to your agenda. Your approach is that any science that agrees with your worldview is ironclad, any thing that doesn't is bad science. That's the opposite of how knowledge is gained, but probably goes a long way toward explaining the crap you choose to believe.

      February 22, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Chad

      @manda "Either scientific consensus is meaningful or it isn't. It clearly is, and even you recognized that and relied on it right up until the point that it became inconvenient to your agenda. Your approach is that any science that agrees with your worldview is ironclad, any thing that doesn't is bad science. That's the opposite of how knowledge is gained, but probably goes a long way toward explaining the crap you choose to believe."

      =>not at all
      In any discussion data can be presented, if that data is in line with the majority of the scientific community then that can be noted. If the data presented is not in agreement with the majority, the data should be presented to support the statement. What the majority agree's on doesn't constrain a position, it just makes the data one is presenting all that more important (if you are in disagreement).

      That is what I have done in this case, it is a very common approach in any forum and within the scientific community itself.

      The majority of secular scientific thought is demonstrably biased against creationism, thats been established. That bias has in the past lead to willfully ignoring evidence that contradicts a preconceived belief, see Stephen Goulds excoriation of the community for blindly holding to Darwinian gradualism in the face of overwhelming fossil evidence to the contrary.
      One cant argue that anti-creation bias exists.

      February 22, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • manda

      "One cant argue that anti-creation bias exists."

      Okay then, I promise not to argue that anti-creation bias exists.

      But if I did, I would argue that it exists for the same reasons that anti-stork bias exists among obstetricians – that it is a simplistic and childish explanation that was thoroughly ruled out decades ago. Face it, arguing that any blind spot in our knowledge is positive evidence for magical creation is the same as arguing that any moment when you can't observe a prenatal infant is positive evidence that a stork put it there. Cloaking your silliness in polysyllabic terms doesn't make the essential idea any less childish. Grow up.

      February 22, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Chad

      @manda "I would argue that [anti-creation bias] exists for the same reasons that anti-stork bias exists among obstetricians – that it is a simplistic and childish explanation that was thoroughly ruled out decades ago."

      =>well, if you did you would be wrong..
      here's a good example of that bias caused scientists to willfully ignore evidence that contradicted their preconceptions.
      For 120 years darwins notion of gradualism held sway amongst the scientific community despite a fossil record that showed nary an example. Finally, in 1977 Gould and Eldridge published a paper on punctuated equilibrium and while doing so sharply criticized their colleagues for years of will full blindness.
      As you can see below, atheist scientists have engaged in willfull ignorance before. Cant be argued.

      “The picture of phyletic gradualism is poorly documented indeed, and most analysis purporting to illustrate it directly from the fossil record are interpretations based on a preconceived idea. “ – Gould/Eldridge

      “the expectations of theory color perception to such a degree that new notions seldom arise from facts collected under the influence of old pictures of the world.” – Gould/Eldridge

      “Paleontology’s view of speciation has been dominated by the picture of “phyletic gradualism.” It holds that new species arise from the slow and steady transformation of entire populations. Under its influence, we seek unbroken fossil series linking two forms by insensible gradation as the only complete mirror of Darwinian processes; we ascribe all breaks to imperfections in the record. “ Gould/Eldridge

      “This is, in fact, the situation in most cases of postulated gradualism: the “gradualism” is represented by dashed lines connecting known samples. This procedure provides an excellent example of the role of preconceived pictures in “objectively documented" cases. One of the early “classics" of phyletic gradualism” – Gould/Eldridge

      February 22, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      AND THERE IT IS!!! BOOM!! The Eldridge and Gould dishonest quote-mining fest has officially begun. Please tell us the story again, Chad! Tell us about those atheist scientists being SAVA.GED. Remember not to make it sound like the normal scientific process of new ideas being introduced in contrast to existing ideas – make it sound like those willfully ignorant atheist scientists were viciously mauled by rabid hyenas!

      February 22, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Chad

      well, you asked for it.

      Here is the first few pages of the original paper, with "mined quotes" bolded.. lol

      as you can see, the intent of the author was indeed to savage the scientific community..

      question: it really never bothers you to repeatedly make un-investigated assertions? you never really stop and think to do a bit of homework to see if what you are so confidently claiming has any basis in fact at all? I would find that pretty embarrassing..

      PUNCTUATED EQUILIBRIA:AN ALTERNATIVE TO PHYLETIC GRADUALISM
      Moving from populations to species, we recall that the process of speciation as seen through the hyperopic eyes of the paleontologist is an old and venerable theme. But the significance of “gaps” in the fossil record has been a recurrent “difficulty,” used on the one hand to show that spontaneous generation is a “fact,” and on the other hand to illustrate the “incompleteness” of the Fossil record. Some have expressed a third interpretation, which views such gaps as the logical and expected result of the allopalric model of speciation.

      Bernard’s Eléments de Paléontologie (1395) discusses the existence of gaps in the fossil record as follows, p. 25, English edition:

      Still it remains an indisputable fact that in the most thoroughly explored regions, those where the fauna is best known, as, for instance, the Tertiary of the Paris basin, the species of one bed often differ widely from those of the preceding, even where no stratigraphic gap appears between them. This is easily explained. The production of new forms usually takes place within narrowly limited regions. It may happen in reality that one form evolves in the same manner in localities widely separated from each other, and farther on we shall see examples of this; but this is not generally the case, the area of the appearance of species is usually very circumscribed. This fact has been established in the case of certain butterflies and plants. The diversity having once occurred, the new types spread often to great distances, and may be found near the present form without crossing with it or presenting any trace of transition.

      The same phenomenon must have taken place in former epochs. It is then only by the rnerest chance that geologists are able to locate the origin of the species they have under consideration; if, furthermore, the phenomena of erosion or rnetarnorphism have destroyed or changed the locality in question, direct observation will not furnish any means of supplying the missing links of the chain.

      Although this has been pointed out nicely by Bernard-and moreover, any number of paleontologists will tell you that this is what they teach-comprehension and application are two different things. And indeed, the fossil record has been interpreted by many to show just the opposite. J. B. S. Haldane’s classical The Cause of Evolurŕon, published in 1932, contains the following passage (p, 213):

      But [Sewall] Wright’s theory [that evolution is most rapid in populations large enough to be reasonably variable, but small enough to permit large changes in gene frequencies due to random drift] certainly supports the view taken in this book that the evolution in large random­nating populations, which is recorded by paleontology, is not representative of evolution in general, and perhaps gives a false impression of the events occurring in less numerous species.

      Thus an extremely eminent student of the evolutionary process considered that the known fossil record supported the view of evolution proceeding as a stately unfolding of changes in large populations.

      The interpretation supported by Eldredge and Gould is that allopatric speciation in small, peripheral populations automatically results in “gaps” in the fossil record. Throughout their essay, however, runs a larger and more important lesson: a-priori theorems often determine the results of emperical studies, before the first shred of evidence is collected. This idea, that theory dictates what one sees, cannot be stated too strongly.

      Statement In this paper we shall argue:

      (1) The expectations of theory color perception to such a degree that new notions seldom arise from facts collected under the influence of old pictures of the world. New pictures must cast their influence before facts can be seen in different perspective.

      (2) Paleontology’s view ol` speciation has been dominated by the picture of “phyletic gradualism.” It holds that new species arise from the slow and steady transformation of entire populations. Under its influence, we seek unbroken fossil series linking two forms by insensible gradation as the only complete mirror of Darwinian processes; we ascribe all breaks to imperfections in the record.

      (3) The theory of allopatric (or geographic) speciation suggests a different interpretation of palontological data. If new species arise very rapidly in small, peripherally isolated local populations, then the great expectation of insensibly graded fossil sequences is a chimera. A new species does not evolve in the area of its ancestors; it does not arise from the slow translbrntation of all its forbears. Many breaks in the fossil record are real,

      (4) The history of life is more adequately represented by 21 picture of “punctuated equilibria” than by the notion of phyletic gradualism. The history of evolution is not one of stately unfolding, but a story of homeostatic equilibria, disturbed only “rarely” (i.e., rather Often in the fullness of time) by rapid and episodic events of speciation.

      The Cloven Hoofprint of Theory

      Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Chad

      Just in case you were wondering, "The cloven hoofprint of theory" refers to the structuring of all supposedly objective observation by expectations of prevailing general views.

      it's called bias..

      February 23, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • GodPot

      "theorems often determine the results of emperical studies, before the first shred of evidence is collected. This idea, that theory dictates what one sees, cannot be stated too strongly."

      And what would you call being indoctrinated in unverified religious theories of the origins of the universe and then expecting ANY unbiased conclusion to result? All you are saying is that scientists conclusions are biased, just like your Christian conclusions are. Or does having a bias make it inherrantly false? If so please look back in the mirror and try to tell yourself with a straight face that in you have an unbiased opinion and you KNOW who created the universe, and not only that, the Creator of the universe knows you...

      February 23, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • manda

      A creationist trying to give a lecture on bias. I do feel saveged.....by overwhelming irony. If only I had the desperate emotional need to prove god exists and that he made everything by magic, maybe then I could overcome my biases? Give me a break.

      February 23, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Chad

      More? ok.. if you really want it..additional slamming from Gould

      =========================
      Moreover, the pictures influence has many subtle extensions. For instance:
      (1) It colors our language. We are compelled to talk of “morphological breaks” in order to be understood. But the term is not a neutral descriptor; it presupposes the truth of phyletic gradualisrn, For at “break" is an interruption of something Continuous. (Under at clevriesian picture, for example, “breaks"`. are “saltations”; they are real and expressive of evolutionary processes.) .

      (2) It prescribes the Cases that are worthy of study. if breaks are artificial, the sequences in which they abound become, ipso facto, po or objects for evolutionary investigation. But surely there is something insidious here: if breaks are real and stand against the picture of phyletic gradualism, then the picture itself excludes an investigation of the very case that could place it in jeopardy. .

      Although phyletic gradualism prevails as a picture for the origin of new species in paleontology, very few “classic” examples purport to docu ment it. A few authors (MaeGi11avry, 1968, Eldredge, 1971) have offered a simple and literal interpretation of this situation: in situ, gradual, progressive evolutionary change is a rare phenomenon. But we usually explain the paucity of cases by u nearly-ritualized invocation of the inadequacy of the fossil record. lt is valid to point out the rarity of thick, undisturbed, highly folossililferous rock sections in which one or more species occur continuously throughout the sequence. Nevertheless, if most species evolved according to the tenets of phyletic gradualism, then, no matter how discontinuous a species’ occurrence in thick sections, there should be a shift in one or more variables from sample to sample up the section. This is, in fact, the situation in most cases of postulated gradualism: the “gradualism” is represented by dashed lines connecting known samples. This procedure provides an excellent example of the role of preconceived pictures in “objectively docu mented" cases.

      February 23, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Chad

      @manda "A creationist trying to give a lecture on bias. I do feel saveged.....by overwhelming irony. "

      =>er..
      I guess you missed the fact that those accusations of bias were from Stephen Gould (evolutionary biologist), the author of "Punctuated Equilibrium".
      I merely provided them

      February 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • manda

      No Chad, I didn't miss that at all. I'm familiar with Gould and Eldridge and the model of Punctuated Equilibria. I'm familiar with both it's actual meaning and the way you creationists have been taught to twist it to your own supposed benefit. As I'm sure you secretly know,i f Gould were alive he would probably punch you in the nose for your petty misuse of his work.

      But please, continue with your lecture if it makes you feel good.

      February 23, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Chad

      Still with the accusations of quote mining..

      ok, here ya go. let me know when you've had enough.

      ===============

      The inductivist view forces us into a vicious circle. A theory often compels us to see the world in its light and support. Yet, we think we see objectively and therefore interpret each new datum as an independent confirmation of our theory. Although our theory may be wrong, we cannot confute it. To extract ourselves from this dilemma, we must bring in a more adequate theory; it will not arise from facts collected in the old way. Paleontology supported creationism in continuing comfort, yet the imposition of Darwinism forced a new, and surely more adequate, interpretation upon old facts. Science progresses more by the introduction to new world-views or “pictures"* than by the steady accumulation of information

      This issue is central to the study of speciation in paleontology. We believe that an inadequate picture has been guiding our thoughts on speciation for 100 years. We hold that its influence has been all the more tenacious because paleontologists, in claiming that they see objectively, have not recognized its guiding sway. We contend that a notion developed elsewhere, the theory of allopatric speciation, supplies a more satisfactory picture for the ordering of paleontological data. Charles Darwin viewed the fossil record more as an embarrassment than as an aid to his theory. Why, he asked (1859, p, 3l0), do we not find the “infinitely numerous transitional links” that would illustrate the slow and steady operation of natural selection? “Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the gravest objection which can be urged against my theory” (1859, p. 280). Darwin resolved this dilemma by invoking the great inadequacy of surviving evidence (1859, p. 342): “The geological record is extremely imperfect and this fact will to a large extent explain why we do not find interminable varieties, connecting together all the extinct and existing forms of life by the finest graduated steps. He who rejects these views on the nature of the geological record, will rightly reject my whole theory."

      February 23, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • manda

      When Eldridge and Gould rhetorically ask "Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links?" their answer is that evolution often occurs in quick bursts.

      You're insinuating that they mean evolutionary science is all wrong and that god created new species by performing miracles. You know and I both know that's where you're going with this, and it's misleading B.S.

      February 23, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Chad

      @manda "When Eldridge and Gould rhetorically ask "Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links?" their answer is that evolution often occurs in quick bursts.You're insinuating that they mean evolutionary science is all wrong and that god created new species by performing miracles. You know and I both know that's where you're going with this, and it's misleading B.S."

      =>I was?..
      I thought that this whole thing started with me saying that anti-creation bias is a fact in the scientific community, then I proceeded to provide an excellent example of it.

      you might be thinking of some other thread?

      February 23, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • manda

      So you're saying that's not the reason you are so well-versed in Eldridge and Gould? Should I assume you promote other academic papers by paleontologists with such zeal and obsession?

      February 23, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • manda

      Wait, I never said there wasn't an anti-creation bias in science. Why would we be arguing that? Of course there is. You will find there is an anti-creationism bias, anti-astrology bias, an anti-alchemy bias, an anti-smurfs bias and yes an anti-stork bias. It's because these ideas are ridiculous and don't even begin to qualify as science.

      You are convinced that life on earth is best explained by magical spells performed by a supernatural being, and worse, that this outrageously childish perspective qualifies as a rational and scientifically defensible position, and thus this discussion is an absolute waste of time. You are an idiot. Moving on...

      February 23, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Chad

      @manda "You are convinced that life on earth is best explained by magical spells performed by a supernatural being, and worse, that this outrageously childish perspective qualifies as a rational and scientifically defensible position"

      @Chad "The existence of the earth and life on that earth have only one explanation, namely a force external to the universe itself.
      Science acknowledges this by stating that the universe has a beginning and that all of the matter in the universe was created at that point. Science by definition goes back only to that starting point, and has not now, nor will ever have, by definition, an answer for the trigger.

      February 23, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • manda

      Therefore........(wait for it)........magic!

      You're an idiot.

      February 23, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  10. momoya

    Dumper...Smart enough to troll, stupid enough to think it matters.

    February 20, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
  11. Faith

    Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.
    C.S Lewis

    February 20, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Cool

      That important comment made it to 6000 :)

      February 20, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Eagle Eye

      Congrats, Bumper... fitting, since you had so much input and control over raising the numbers!

      February 20, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • momoya

      Christianity is important; it shows how gullible and fearful humans can be to believe in such a nonsensical and outdated myth.

      February 20, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Chad

      @Faith "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important." C.S Lewis

      =>His story in short:
      Lewis was raised in a church-going family in the Church of Ireland. He became an atheist at 15, though he later described his young self as being paradoxically "very angry with God for not existing".[25]
      His early separation from Christianity began when he started to view his religion as a chore and as a duty; around this time, he also gained an interest in the occult, as his studies expanded to include such topics.[26] Lewis quoted Lucretius (De rerum natura, 5.198–9) as having one of the strongest arguments for atheism:[27]
      Lewis's interest in the works of George MacDonald was part of what turned him from atheism. This can be seen particularly well through this passage in Lewis's The Great Divorce, chapter nine, when the semi-autobiographical main character meets MacDonald in Heaven:
      ...I tried, trembling, to tell this man all that his writings had done for me. I tried to tell how a certain frosty afternoon at Leatherhead Station when I had first bought a copy of Phantastes (being then about sixteen years old) had been to me what the first sight of Beatrice had been to Dante: Here begins the new life. I started to confess how long that Life had delayed in the region of imagination merely: how slowly and reluctantly I had come to admit that his Christendom had more than an accidental connexion with it, how hard I had tried not to see the true name of the quality which first met me in his books is Holiness.[28]
      He slowly re-embraced Christianity, influenced by arguments with his Oxford colleague and friend J. R. R. Tolkien, whom he seems to have met for the first time on 11 May 1926, and by the book The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton. He fought greatly up to the moment of his conversion, noting that he was brought into Christianity like a prodigal, "kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance to escape."[29] He described his last struggle in Surprised by Joy:
      You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.[30]
      After his conversion to theism in 1929, Lewis converted to Christianity in 1931, following a long discussion and late-night walk with his close friends Tolkien and Hugo Dyson. He records making a specific commitment to Christian belief while on his way to the zoo with his brother. He became a member of the Church of England – somewhat to the disappointment of Tolkien, who had hoped that he would convert to Roman Catholicism.[31]

      February 20, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Faith

      Thanks Chad for that great post. I have admired C.S Lewis for his faith!

      February 21, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
  12. The Grand Design

    A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell. C.S Lewis

    February 20, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  13. D Letter

    What we should be teaching are the problems and holes and I think there are legitimate problems and holes in the theory of evolution. And what we need to do is to present those fairly from a scientific point of view. And we should lay out areas in which the evidence supports evolution and the areas in the evidence that does not-Rick Santorum

    February 20, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • manda

      Santorum as a science commentator...ha HA ha HA ha HA ha HA ha HA!!!! (laughing laughing laughing, crying...crying..oh my god what has this country come to? crying)

      February 20, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
  14. J Len

    The proof of evolution lies in those adaptations that arise from improbable foundations – Stephen J Gould

    February 20, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  15. 5

    The first and most important reason for its elimination is the unquestioned fact that evolution is not a science; it is a hypothesis only, a speculation. W B Riley

    February 20, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • manda

      Who the heII is W B Riley and what qualifies him as an expert on the methodology of science?

      February 20, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  16. Fleming

    Evolution is baseless and quite incredible. J.A Fleming

    February 20, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  17. F Jacob

    Evolution is a tinkerer.

    February 20, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  18. W Lang

    Essential to the theory of evolution is the premise that everything has come into being by itself. W. Lang

    February 20, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
  19. To Ed Stetzer

    What have you done to educate those remaining pastors(3 out of 10) who are clueless?

    February 20, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
  20. ????

    Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up. Ish, religion is really something. God gave man reason. Man gave man religion.

    February 20, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.