Cliff's Edge

My Cousin, the Turnip

Scripture should be Christianity’s best defense against every culture’s myths.

Clifford Goldstein

Though the public hasn’t yet caught on, most scientists understand the tentativeness of their conclusions: a theory, deemed correct today, could by the next generation be the stuff of myth. Most likely it will be.

With macroevolution, however, nothing is provisional about it, at least according to atheist fundamentalist Richard Dawkins.

“Evolution is a fact,” he wrote. “Beyond reasonable doubt, beyond serious doubt, beyond sane, informed, intelligent doubt, beyond doubt evolution is a fact. The evidence for evolution is at least as strong as the evidence for the Holocaust, even allowing for eyewitnesses to the Holocaust. It is the plain truth that we are cousins of chimpanzees, somewhat more distant cousins of monkeys, more distant cousins still of aardvarks and manatees, yet more distant cousins of bananas and turnips . . . continue the list as long as desired.”

So certain of evolution, Dawkins argued that allowing equal time for teaching creation in school would be like giving Holocaust deniers the opportunity to present their views as well.

“Imagine,” Dawkins wrote, “that as a teacher of European history, you are continually faced with belligerent demands to ‘teach the controversy,’ and to give ‘equal time’ to the ‘alternative theory’ that the Holocaust never happened but was invented by a bunch of Zionist fabricators.”

Meanwhile, during a TV interview, in the context of how the universe began, Dawkins said, “Lawrence Krauss, my colleague, we did a film together called The Unbelievers. And he has written a book called A Universe From Nothing. And he produces a physical theory, mathematically worked out, to show that you can get something from nothing. That nothing and nothing in some strange way cancels itself out to produce something. And quantum theory allows that to happen. Well, I’m humble enough to say I don’t understand it, and I am not arrogant enough to say that because I don’t understand it, it can’t be right.”

Scripture should be Christianity’s best defense against every culture’s myths.

Dawkins equates Holocaust deniers with those who don’t think humans are distant cousins of bananas and turnips; but sees no reason to question the theory, “mathematically worked out” (mind you), that “nothing and nothing in some strange way cancels itself out to produce something,” i.e., the universe?

Dawkins’ statements show that science has always been, and remains, a human endeavor, with all the subjectivity, prejudices, and cultural limits that humans bring to their endeavors, even those supposedly as objective as science. That Dawkins could espouse this silliness and get away with it (after all, “It’s science!”) proves that our age is blinded by the cultural architecture that dominates it, just as every age before us has been by the culture that dominated them.

Scripture should be Christians’ best defense against every culture’s myths. Unfortunately, look how quickly culture vanquished the biblical Sabbath for the myth of Sunday, a failure not in the Word but in those who failed to heed the Word. That’s why only strict adherence to Scripture can spare believers from the myths that our culture (now dominated by the narratives of science) espouses—including (but not limited to) belief that we’re the cousins of turnips and, yes, that everything came from nothing.

Clifford Goldstein is editor of the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide. His next book, Baptizing the Devil: Evolution and the Seduction of Christianity, is available from Pacific Press.

Clifford Goldstein