To all Creationists: The Tobe Challenge
On several occasions recently, when debating with creationists, I have extended a challenge which is yet to be met. I would now like to circulate it as widely as possible, for reasons that I will explain later.
(A quick aside: this challenge, which is creatively [as it were] named after the author, also applies to those who call themselves advocates of Intelligent Design.)
Creationists love to appeal to science to argue their case. Rather than simply saying that they believe that creationism is true and evolution is false, based on faith, they love to claim that the scientific evidence is on their side. They like to create the illusion that the path leading to the Garden of Eden is a rational one. No sooner have they finished quoting some pseudo-scientific babble about the bacterial flagellum, than they are quoting verses straight from Genesis.
When debating with creationists, I often find them citing ‘scientists’ who reject evolution ‘based on the evidence’. We’ll leave aside, for now, the fact that most scientists who claim to support intelligent design have achieved their qualifications at unaccredited, known Bible Colleges, some of whom won’t even publish PhD theses for other students to research (as with Kent Hovind). Let’s just assume, for the sake of argument, that the credentials of all these scientists who reject evolution are sound. What concerns me, is that they all believe in a specific religious creation myth, indeed by far the majority of them are fundamentalist Christians. I am constantly told that these scientists reject evolution because of the evidence. I find it a remarkable coincidence that this tiny, miniscule fraction of the scientific community that isn’t convinced by the evidence for evolution, just happens to consist of the scientists who have a strong religious incentive to find, or appear to find, fault with the theory of evolution.
This, in itself, of course, is not evidence in favour of evolution, anymore than a sudden shift in power would be evidence against it. The fact that these scientists are in a minority and have questionable motives for the conclusions they reach does not make them wrong. It is, however, a remarkable coincidence, one that should concern creationists, and cause those who are undecided to think twice. It is the very reason that creationists work so hard to accuse evolution of being a religion itself, so as to exonerate the creation ‘scientists’ from this charge.
Now, the challenge. Find me a scientist who meets all of the following criteria.
- He must have achieved his qualifications in science, right up to PhD level, at an accredited, college/university without a religious theme or motive.
- He must reject the general theory of evolution by means of mutation and natural selection. He must believe that the scientific evidence does not support this theory.
- He must believe that the scientific evidence strongly indicates the intelligent design and active, spontaneous creation of all living things, exactly as we see them today.
- The most important point of all: he must not subscribe to any official creation myth. In fact, he must explicitly state that he does not accept the Genesis account of creation, or any other. He must hold the view that the ‘intelligent designer’ is not known to us through any religion, past or present, and that the details of the creation are not recorded in any holy scriptures.
The reason that I am posting this challenge so that it is more widely circulated, is that if such a scientist exists, I would genuinely love to hear what he has to say. Even though his existence per se would not count as evidence against evolution, I would be fascinated to learn how he had reached the conclusion that evolution is false without any religious motive for doing so. Please feel free to circulate this challenge to all creationists you know.
Author’s note: any comments on this thread must be relevant – that is, they must discuss the challenge I have set in some way. This means that anything discussing the nature of the challenge, its significance, its implications, any objections to its structure and any genuine attempts to meet it will be accepted. Please do not attempt to begin a general debate about evolution vs. creationism.