As recently reported on Mere Comments, a new Gallup poll shows that many Americans still believe in God’s involvement in the creation of mankind. The largest proportion of Americans, 42 percent, believe that God created human beings in their present form. Additionally, 31 percent believe mankind evolved, but with God guiding the process. Finally, 19 percent believe that man evolved without any involvement by God. The Gallup survey results are available here: http://www.gallup.com/poll/170822/believe-creationist-view-human-origins.aspx. Interestingly, despite many decades of “education” regarding evolutionary theory in government schools, the proportion of Americans subscribing to a creationist worldview that God made humans in their present form has never dropped below 40 percent since the question was first asked in 1982.
Non-theistic evolutionary theory has, of course, a myriad of problems. There is the obvious irrationality that a pool of contaminated water struck by lightning is the source of all present life, after having replicated trillions and trillions of times successfully. Fred Hoyle, the late English astronomer and atheist, famously observed regarding the likelihood of evolution of cellular life, “It would be easier for a tornado to go through a junkyard and create a 747.″ Moreover, if evolutionary theory were true, we would have expected to find by now millions of fossils of “transitional forms.” For example, if birds evolved from reptiles or dinosaurs, as is often speculated, we could expect to find fossils showing various forms of stunted wings covered in scales. But numerous evolutionary paleontologists have observed that no fossil has ever been found that can be identified as a transitional form.
What is to be done by this so-called scientific ignorance of so many Americans? This is particularly important as the new Common Core educational standards have not issued their “science” standards, even though the Common Core standards will be first tested on the College Board Scholastic Aptitude Test in 2016. (I suspect that issuance of new Common Core science standards may not be well received by the general public, and their release is awaiting a very slow news day.) However, at the very least, we can reasonably anticipate that the new Common Core science standards will begin teaching evolutionary theory in the earliest school grades, as compared with the high school years now. Alison Kopnik, writing recently in the Wall Street Journal, observed:
A new study in Psychological Science by Deborah Kelemen of Boston University and colleagues helps to explain why evolution is hard to grasp. It also suggests that we should teach children the theory of natural selection while they are still in kindergarten instead of waiting, as we do now, until they are teenagers. . . Even babies understand that human actions are that preschoolers begin to apply this kind of design thinking more generally, an attitude she calls “promiscuous teleology.” By elementary-school age, children start to invoke an ultimate God- like designer to explain the complexity of the world around them—even children brought up as atheists. Kids aged 6 to 10 have developed their own coherent “folk biological” theories. Dr. Kelemen and her colleagues thought that they might be able to get young children to understand the mechanism of natural selection before the alternative intentional-design theory had become too entrenched. They gave 5- to 8-year-olds 10-page picture books that illustrated an example of natural selection. The “pilosas,” for example, are fictional mammals who eat insects. Some of them had thick trunks, and some had thin ones. A sudden change in the climate drove the insects into narrow underground tunnels. The thin-trunked pilosas could still eat the insects, but the ones with thick trunks died. So the next generation all had thin trunks. . . . One picture book, of course, won’t solve all the problems of science education. But these results do suggest that simple story books like these could be powerful intellectual tools. The secret may be to reach children with the right theory before the wrong one is too firmly in place.
So we see that children intuitively perceive life as reflecting “intentional design.” So the answer, according to the learned evolutionists, is to catch them very early and “train” them to understand things from a Darwinian perspective. Of course, the example of the pilosas is fictional, which is, in and of itself, quite telling. Moreover, the extrapolation from such a trivial example into the origin of all species and all biological complexity by unguided natural processes is dishonest, and particularly so, in a children’s book. Personally, I am skeptical about the origin of all species through evolution. In my thinking, it takes far more faith to believe in an ex nihilo creation that does not involve God than to believe in God’s direct involvement with Creation. In fact, according to Professor Hoyle’s analysis, he estimated the probability of cellular life evolving to be one-in-1040,000. He also observed, “Life as we know it, is, among other things, dependent on at least 2,000 different enzymes. How could the blind forces of the primal sea manage to put together the correct chemical elements to build enzymes?” An excellent question, I think. In the Holy Gospels, the Lord Jesus Christ spoke of the reality of God’s direct involvement in Creation and the creation of mankind. Well, He would know, wouldn’t He?