Chris Matthews, like liberals in general, is about the “Gotcha questions.” The purpose,, of course, is to keep an opponent off balance so a candidate won’t bring up troubling aspects of liberal policies.
One such “Gotacha question” is the subject of evolution. Here’s what Matthews had to say on the subject as he was recalling the 2007 Reagan Library primary debate when John Harris of Politico asked a question on who among the candidates believes in evolution:
“A reasonable question. Because it gets to so many aspects of science and how you get to truth. And they get really mad at that because it exposed a couple of them to a particular point of view about science. So I would like to think that Fox is just brazen enough to ask some – what they call bizarre questions. Because it’s those bizarre questions that really tell you who you’re dealing with here. If a person doesn’t believe in science or evolution or the evidence of our life on this earth, that’s a bad start. Okay? If they don’t believe in Lucy, they think all those bones were planted out there, the whole thing was historically some sort of ruse. If they believe that, slow down before you make them President of the United States.”
Chris Matthews doesn’t seem to be aware of the numerous evolutionary hoaxes (“ruses”) that included planted “evidence.”
Consider this story about falsified evidence by an eminent evolutionary anthropologist:
“It appeared to be one of archaeology’s most sensational finds. The skull fragment discovered in a peat bog near Hamburg was more than 36,000 years old — and was the vital missing link between modern humans and Neanderthals.
“This, at least, is what Professor Reiner Protsch von Zieten — a distinguished, cigar-smoking German anthropologist — told his scientific colleagues, to global acclaim, after being invited to date the extremely rare skull.
“However, the professor’s 30-year-old academic career has now ended in disgrace after the revelation that he systematically falsified the dates on this and numerous other ‘stone age’ relics.
“An inquiry later established that he had also passed off fake fossils as real ones and had plagiarised other scientists’ work.”
Consider the ramifications of the professor’s fraud as it relates to other aspects of the field of evolutionary anthropology:
“‘Anthropology is going to have to completely revise its picture of modern man between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago,’ said Thomas Terberger, the archaeologist who discovered the hoax. ‘Prof Protsch’s work appeared to prove that anatomically modern humans and Neanderthals had co-existed, and perhaps even had children together. This now appears to be rubbish.’”
Are we to believe that this is an isolated case?
I would like to see a question about evolution. I suspect that many of the GOP candidates could not give a cogent answer. The same is true of Democrats, but they wouldn’t have to give a cogent answer. All they would need to say is, “Yes, I believe in evolution. Next question.” And that would be the end of it.
Here’s what I would have said:
By evolution, do you mean small changes within species, what is scientifically called “microevolution”? Or do you mean spontaneous generation where once there was nothing, and that nothing brought forth an expanding mass of super hot and lifeless matter that resulted in the rise of organic life that we see today?
If you mean small changes within species, then yes, I believe in evolution narrowly and specifically defined.
If you mean the unscientific theory that somehow lifeless matter gave rise to organic life with no purpose, design, or existing information to animate life forms, then no, I do not believe in evolution.
Microevolution, small changes within existing species, is science and was known and practiced among animal breeders long before Charles Darwin and Richard Dawkins ever took a breath.
Spontaneous generation is not science.
Chris Matthews mentions “Lucy” (Australopithecus afarensis), a partial skeleton of 47 bone fragments.
Before it can be determined if “Lucy” is a true evolutionary “missing link,” evolutionists have to answer the more fundamental question of how a batch of chemicals evolved into what “Lucy” actually is. This is something no scientist has ever done.
Evolutionists assume something-from nothing evolution, therefore, a find like “Lucy” must fit into the evolutionary paradigm. There is no other alternative. It’s the interpretation of the facts (the bone fragments of “Lucy”) that’s the issue. According to sculpture Doug Henderson, there is no “consensus of what evolutionists think Lucy looked like. . . .” There are “well over a hundred different interpretations, everything from perfectly ape-looking to almost human. Several were created following the very best methods of forensic reconstruction, but even they looked nothing like each other.”
Contrary to Matthews, no one denies that the bone fragments of “Lucy” exist. Interpretation is the name of the game. Some scientists have concluded that there is a least one “baboon thoracic vertebra [that] washed or was otherwise transported in the mix of Lucy’s remains.” How does anyone know this about an event that supposedly happened around three million years ago?
As William Watkins writes, “Facts do not come with interpretation tags, telling us how to view them. . . . Both sides haggle over the facts. Both sides search for new facts to add to their arsenals. Both sides raise accusations, yet it’s a rare day indeed when both sides acknowledge that their differences stem from something much more basic than facts. Their differences are rooted in opposing worldviews, which in turn are permeated with philosophical assumptions and commitments.”1
The coldly objective, rationalistic, and materialistic field of science claims to be immune from presuppositional bias. At least that’s what scientists want us to believe. Science is not an objective field of study, and it doesn’t operate independent of certain non-empirical starting assumptions, as Paul Davies, Professor of Mathematical Physics, points out:
“However successful our scientific explanations may be, they always have certain starting assumptions built in. For example, an explanation of some phenomenon in terms of physics presupposes the validity of the laws of physics, which are taken as given. But one may ask where these laws come from in the first place. One could even question the origin of logic upon which all scientific reasoning is founded. Sooner or later we all have to accept something as given, whether is God, or logic, or a set of laws, or some other foundation for existence. Thus ‘ultimate’ questions will always lie beyond the scope of empirical science as it is usually defined.”2
Beyond these “ultimate” questions, there are certain presuppositions that prevail among materialist philosophers and scientists that color the facts. How is it possible to reason with Lawrence Lerner, professor emeritus at California State University in Long Beach, when he claims that “There are no alternatives to evolution that are science,” and that all the “alternatives are religious”?3 Any piece of evidence that is put forth that might contradict the evolutionary model will be dismissed out of hand as non-factual, creating an interpretive “Catch-22.” At the same time, Lerner and other evolutionists will claim that they are being scientifically objective when they evaluate the facts.
R. J. Rushdoony relates the following observation which dispels the widely held belief that science is not influenced by a set of unproven operating assumptions:
“Louis Leakey, director of Kenya’s Centre for Prehistory and Palaeontology in Nairobi, described his discovery, together with his wife Mary, of a bit of skull and two teeth, in these words: ‘We knelt together to examine the treasure . . . and almost cried with sheer joy. For years people had been telling us that we’d better stop looking, but I felt deep down that it had to be there. You must be patient about these things.’ The time was July 17, 1959. This scene is a curious one on two accounts. First, the scientist Leakey knew what he had found before he examined it: he worked by faith, and viewed his findings by faith. He was finding ‘proof’ for a theory already accepted, and he accepted his finding as ‘proof’ on sight. Second, the intense emotionalism and joy sound more like a revival experience than a scientific analysis.”4
Phillip E. Johnson, an advocate for the intelligent design theory of origins, makes a similar point: “If, for example, there is some process by which animals became human beings—apes or whatever—no one knows how this happened. And such documentation as there is for it is found only by people who are already completely convinced that the process happened and go looking for confirming evidence.”5
There is always the moral component to origins. If we are the product of organized chemicals, then where do we derive our morality? Who says we must be moral and it what ways?
- William D. Watkins, “Whose Facts Anyway?,” Christian Research Journal (24:2), 60. [↩]
- Paul Davies, The Mind of God: The Scientific Basis for a Rational World (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), 15. [↩]
- Mary MacDonald, “A textbook case in Cobb County,” Atlanta-Journal Constitution (April 14, 2002), F1. [↩]
- Rousas J. Rushdoony, The Mythology of Science (Nutley, NJ: The Craig Press, 1967), 85. [↩]
- Interview with Phillip E. Johnson, “Intelligent Design: “Natural selection has no creative power at all,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution (April 14, 2002), F3. [↩]