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Tuesday, 1 February 2011


Broadcaster John Humphrys has described Darwin's Theory of Evolution as 'a fact' and those who don't believe it as 'slightly bonkers' in the last five minutes of BBC Radio 4's Today programme, broadcast this morning. That'll be half the population of Britain, then, according to a poll carried out for the Guardian, 60% of the most prosperous nation on God's earth, America, and I should imagine virtually the whole of Asia and Africa.

Listen to the programme (until 7th February 2011).
Note: You need to drag the slider across to 2.55.00, near the very end of the programme.

You can write to Mr Humphrys at: Today Programme, BBC Radio 4, Room G630, Stage 6, Television Centre, Wood Lane, London, W12 7RJ or Email: today@bbc.co.uk

The elite seem to be having a bit of a pop at creationsists just now.  In an interview with Andrew Marr, Education Secretary Michael Gove said last year: 'To my mind you cannot have a school which teaches creationism and one thing that we will make absolutely clear is that you cannot have schools which are set up, which teach people things which are clearly at variance with what we know to be scientific fact.'

But evolution isn't a fact, Mr Gove, it's a theory.  (By the way, comments widely attributed to Mr Gove linking Islamic extremists with Christian creationsists were actually made by Michael Gapes (Labour) in a debate on 17th November 2010.)

Humphrys' remarks were made in an interview with Dr Anjali Goswami of University College London and Professor Scott Armbruster of Portsmouth University. Dr Goswami had said that if Darwin were alive today, he wouldn't get funding for his trip to Madagascar. Dr Goswami qualified her words by observing that it wouldn't have much mattered as Darwin was a man of independent means anyway.

But towards the end of the interview, Humphrys broke his own rule 'to be impartial, not to express our own convictions' by saying: 'a lot of people would say today wouldn't they, that he (Darwin) did it, we now know that evolution is a fact, well I mean there are some slightly bonkers people out there who don't believe that I suppose but nonetheless we do know that. What else is to answer?'

Well it turned out there was quite a lot.

Dr Goswami wanted to know, 'What actually drives morphological variation? How do we get the variety of forms that we see today? Why do we see those and not other forms?

Professor Scott Armbruster said there were 'So many things Darwin asked questions about we still don't have the answer to.' For example? 'How does natural selection operate in the wild? How does speciation occur? What created the patterns and diversity we see today? Natural selection as Darwin argued it is something that an organism can respond to if they have the genetic capacity to make that change,' he said.

But of course modern genetics and information theory both say they would not have that capacity. New information has to come in from somewhere.

The comments on speciation are especially interesting for me. I came to faith in God through seeing the ducks on a pond. It struck me that they were all doing a similar job, but had different plumage. Why was that? Why did the coot have a white beak and the moorhen a red one?

Being a hard-nosed engineer, I needed an explanation which worked and the evolutionary model seemed too far-fetched and needed too much faith! I mean, what could possibly be the evolutionary purpose on the bars on the hen mallard's wings, which can only be seen when she flies? Or the tuft on the head of the tufted duck? So I was drawn logically to see them as designed like that. I suppose I believed in an intelligent designer long before the idea became fashionable. So that left me as a sort of a deist.

But God gradually became more personal to me and I was drawn against all my adolescent atheist beliefs deeper and deeper over the years into faith in Jesus Christ. Two main things sustain my continued belief in God, or to go further, in God in the person of Jesus Christ. The first is the intellectual coherence of Scripture. As it would be humanly impossible to come up with a collection of different works by so many human authors over 15 or 16 centuries which agreed in so much detail the Bible must be inspired from outside the human realm. The second is the day-to-day experience of the love and grace of the miracle-working Lord Jesus.

Funnily enough, when John Humphrys chaired a debate in 2007 between atheist Lewis Wolpert and Christian Dr William Lane-Craig on this subject he was much more impartial (and dare one say more professional)!

Genesis 1:1: In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.
Isa 45:18  For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.
Mark 10:6: But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
John 1:3: All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Romans 1:20  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

LINKS embedded in the text above:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/contact_today/default.stm  (Contact page)


  1. The universe and the Earth in it is so vast, complex, and yet ordered, that only God is an adequate answer to create and to explain it.

    If God did not create the universe, then there can be no God. But only "the fool has said in his heart there is no God.

  2. The problem here is that people confuse the theory of evolution with that observed by Darwin. What Darwin observed is the fact that species adapt to their environment and those best suited to it survive.

    Evolution can be demonstrated and reproduced in a lab.

    It is fact.

    Transmutation of species on the other hand remains a theory but that does not detract from the obvious evolution of species to adapt to the environment in which they live.

    If we as Christians want to argue any point then let us do so from the basis of fact and not faulty interpretations of the facts and we need to know the difference between theory and fact.

    I am much much more concerned that people come to know God in a deeply personal way and to know that Jesus Christ is their saviour than to waste my time arguing with creationists who are in my opinion "bonkers"

    And yes I believe that the Bible is the Word of God. But creationism is a perversion of that truth and literalism likewise has its roots in the US in the 1840s and before that had never been heard of...... try studying the Church Fathers and Augustine to see the reality and truth of that statement.

    I have served the Lord faithfully now for 40 years and have given up everything to do so and know that he keeps his promises and that his word is true.

    This nonsense is a diversionary tactic from the main purpose of the spreading of the word of God and brings us in to disrepute.

  3. There has been no evidence of speciation,which is a prerequisite to validating the evolution theory. When random claims are made by the likes of David Attenborough et al that a cross species has been found that provides link between species the evolutionists profess validation of their theory; in fact, science repeatedly records a previously unrecorded distinct species and the media quietens down again. Contrast this with the absence in the fossil record of links between species. In fact, much to the disdain of evolutionists, the fossil record is not millions of years old it is the direct result of The Flood and rapid draining of water from the land that also created our huge canyons and valleys. There is too much evidence available to truth seekers who refuse to accept the unintelligent hypothesising of so-called atheists. By refusing to acknowledge God,this is their way of avoiding His Commandments, which so blight their preferred lifestyles.

  4. You wrote, 'But evolution isn't a fact, Mr Gove, it's a theory.'

    I have two things to say about this. First, evolution is a theory based on evidence and the evidence consists of observable facts that can be checked by anyone.

    Secondly, scientific theories are not just woolly conjectures. They have been carefully tested and have passed every test thrown at them. Consider the theory of relativity for example.

    Scientific theory is defined as 'an explanation that is so well tested and established that no new evidence is likely to alter it.' (That's the US Academy of Science's definition.)

    The theory of evolution is based on a massive amount of strong and scientifically documented evidence.

    I am a follower of Jesus Christ and a retired biologist. I find no conflict between faith and science. I am not alone in holding this position; many scientists are also believers and recognise no conflict.

  5. The problem is that the word 'evolution' is used in a number of different ways, ranging from a small adaptation to meet a new environmental challenge (moths darkening to blend in better with polluted tree trunks) to a whole scale 'explanation' of the development of man from the 'Big Bang' and the demolition of God.

    Likewise 'Creationism' is used to mean anything from believing in God as the Creator of everything, and believing in a literal seven days (which is a bit tough when some of the days precede the sun, which gives us the measure of a day...), and failing to recognise that within Genesis there are two distinct accounts of Creation.

    We need to be clear what we are talking about, and insist on clarity from those with whom we engage in this discussion.

  6. Whist I normally have a lot of time for Mr Humphreys' perception and open-mindedness, he has blotted his copy book by pacing evolution more of a fact than creationism.

    I am a creationist and a listener to 'Today' and have not found any increase in scientific knowledge that has disproved my beliefs. Rather the reverse.

  7. Stuart's Church history seems a bit ropey to me. What about Ussher's chronology which was broadly accepted in Protestant circles from the mid seventeenth to the mid nineteenth century, if the dates in the margins of old Bibles are anything to go by? Perhaps I am misunderstanding what he means by Creationism. But if he means the view that the universe was created in six days of roughly twenty-four hours, then this was not a mid-nineteenth century invention. I don't exactly know how old it is at the moment but I would be surprised if it wasn't the ordinary view among the Reformers.


  8. Well said Stuart.

    'I am much much more concerned that people come to know God in a deeply personal way and to know that Jesus Christ is their saviour than to waste my time arguing with creationists.' - I agree absolutely.

    'I believe that the Bible is the Word of God. But creationism is a perversion of that truth.' - Again, I agree with all my heart.

    Sadly, views have become polarised. It's always difficult to find common ground once that happens but find it we must. Facts will not go away, truth is always truth, as a believer I must accept that my faith will never require me to deny the truth.

  9. Sorry lads, the Bible says ' in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth etc etc' thats enough for me, I know and love my Lord Jesus, Im not interested in theories and counter theories, one says this, one says that, Im not a professor, nor a scientist simply a working class comprehensive lad from county durham so I cant argue about mutations and osmosis and all that scientific stuff, all I know is that my God created all things by the power of Hs word, he said 'let there be ' and there was , I have no doubts in Him nor His power,Mr Hawkings, Mr Hitchens etc can claim this and that but the word of the Lord stands forever whilst they die and kneel before th eone whom formed them in their mothers tummy, All the best fellow bloggers, grace and peace be with you.

  10. No Douglas my Church History is not ropey.
    I was referring to literalism / fundamentalism

    Augustine (354-430 AD) took the view that the Biblical text should not be interpreted literally if it contradicts what we know from science and our God-given reason. Moreover, he is recognized as one of the Church Fathers and Doctor of the Church, by just about all Christendom.

    Usher is distraction not evidence of anything except an attempt to do the impossible.

    The creationist, literal, fundamentalism is a protestant aberration dare I say even a heresy that as I said had its roots in the in the US in the 1840 try reading for example The Roots of Fundamentalism.

    I should declare myself to have been trained as scientist, studied Ecclesiastical History at Glasgow University as my second degree and have been a clergyman since 1979.

    The Bible is the Word of God, God is the creator but creationism is bonkers as Humphries said. My faith is not in the least bit troubled by the theories and postulations of science.

    If reality is in fact a multiverse or a hologram from the edge of the universe (both current theoretical possibilities) then it doesn't bother me in the least i just stand in awe of the creator God.

    The fact that MATHS seems to be at the root of all things that shape our world is even more amazing.

  11. I cannot understand how believers can debunk anyone who comes under the label of a creationist.
    I believe in the Creator and therefore I am a 'creationist'. I don't know how He did it;I doubt very much my finite mind could comprehend such glory,nor for that matter Einstein,Hawking,Dawkins and Attenborough et'al.
    The Holy Bible has revealed to me that the Lord Jesus Christ is the creator. He is NOT some new improved God who came out of nowhere 2000 years ago. He is the fulfillment of the Word of God as He said in Matthew 5.17. Throughout the Old Testament He is revealed to those to whom have recieved the revelation.
    The gospel of Jesus Christ does NOT start in Matthew but in Genesis 1.1.
    Evolution and theistic evolution are teachings from the pits of hell.

  12. creationists are not bonkers scientists are. what has science ever done for us good christians? our lord died to save us from satan and i know i will go to heaven to be with Jesus. scientists that experiment on rabbits and abort fetuses to get stem cells will go to hell just like all those evil nazi scientists in the war.

  13. Well said Tommy 3 Lions.
    I don't know how anyone can say they are a Christian and in the same breath say or indicate that they disbelieve the Bible. Our faith is based on God's word and we can't just ignore bits and pieces because it suits us to do so.
    Yes, things can be demonstrated and reproduced (to an extent) in a lab, but that isn't proof of much. Lab conditions are controlled and do NOT reflect real life where (many) external variables come into play and will dramatically alter results.
    Many scientists do now believe in God but the ones I have read about also believe in Creation NOT evolution.
    For anyone interested there is a series made in 2000 called 'incredible creatures that defy evolution', the facts shown make evolution a joke.
    I also believe that the very nature of 'science' (must have proof of everything, no matter how we get it)causes a conflict between Faith and science. Science cannot explain/proove why I have faith in something or someone that can't be seen. Science cannot prove/disprove God though they have done their best to disprove God for centuries.
    Needing to disect the Bible isn't Faith, without faith what do you have??
    Finally, I was a nurse for 23 yrs and I can tell you now that the vast majority of athiests suddenly start believing in God if they think/know that their life may be at an end.
    Thank you Tommy 3 Lions for putting exactly how I feel into words.

  14. It seems to me that trying to prove that God does not exist is wrecking the planet. It reminds me of a little lid taking a watch apart to see how it is made, and crying when it is all smashed into little bits. Our race has done that, and oh how we need God to put everything right again!

  15. @Mark well without science I would be dead. There would be no control over my diabetes or asthma etc....

    @Colin I think you misunderstand the term creationist.

    @Christine Creation and Evolution are not mutually exclusive terms.
    And you confuse evolution with with transmutation of species
    And fact and theory as it appears you have no idea how science operates not does being a scientist in anyway preclude being a christian.

    I have have sat at many death beds fro many years ad have never seen an atheist start believing in God I have sen agnostics ask for prayers. There is a difference.

    You would have no preachers of the Word of God if we didn't daily explore and ask questions. Why did men lap water like dogs in the story of Gideon? You see you have to explore to find the answer to that.

    Really this is all such a waste of time when the real business is bringing people to a saving faith and all these silly distractions are the product of the American originated heresy of the literalism and fundamentalism.

    If you examine the Hebrew text of Genesis not only are there three different words in use for God but two different words for creation and the concept of the 24 hour days of creation is not upheld by the Hebrew. It is only when you try to read the AV as though it was given to us in that form from God that you get screwed up and fail to understand.

    For example there is used for creation a word that means ex nihilio ie from nothing - that idea is upheld by scientific theory.

    And one that is about creation from that which already exists - also an idea upheld by science.

    If anything science proves the Bible to be true not debunks it.

  16. I'm always saddened by the artificial rift that's opened between believers who do not reject science and those who do. Let's be clear - this argument is not about rejecting the Bible. It's about rejecting science.

    I can live with that; walking with Jesus means far more to me than science does. But I cannot accept the inaccuracies and inconsistencies spread by so-called creationists or their arguments with so-called evolutionists.

    I want to live in peaceful, loving fellowship with ALL believers as Jesus requires. 'Love one another as I have loved you.'

    Is it so hard to accept me despite my views on science? I am happy to accept you even if we disagree about the validity of scientific research.

    Mark wonders what science has done for him. Do you ever travel by plane, or drive a car, Mark? Have you ever taken antibiotics or visited the dentist? Do you enjoy family photos or watch TV. Do you use electricity or treated mains water or a mobile phone? Do you read a printed Bible? All these technologies and thousands more are based on discoveries made by scientists.

  17. True science is always pursued under the canopy of a fear of God (Prov 1:9)- after all science is about true knowledge. We should therefore be very slow to accept any 'discoveries', 'theories' or even claimed 'facts' that seem to contradict God's own Words. Where the Bible is clear I would much rather take my stand with God rather than take my stand with a radio broadcaster! (or with any so called experts).

    True science (=true knowledge) will never contradict what God has said since God is truth.
    The problem comes when people want to take God out of science.

    I would also want to affirm that God can do absolutely anything he likes, irrespective of whether or not he chooses to reveal all the detail, evidence or mechanism to us. I say this because some people seem to think that God has to be constrained by our current level of technology. For example, how could Jesus change water into mature wine instantly? It is clearly inexplicable from a scientific point of view, but nonetheless true. Some would claim that since it is scientifically impossible then it must be a false claim.

    Six day creation is not just recorded in the manner of an historical account in Genesis it is also recorded as God's spoken Word's within the 10 commandments (Exodus 20:1,11) and of course these words were also written on tablets of stone by the finger of God (Deut 9:10)

    Also, from a theological point of view, if God made everything 'good' then I cannot see any room for millions of years of evolutionary trial and error, blood, death and mutation before sin enters the world. It was the sin of man that brought frustration, decay and death into the world.

    Where does the fall of man fit into the understanding of theistic evolution?

  18. Hi Robin,

    You and I disagree on some matters but it's good to know we can disagree in a brotherly way. I will highlight a couple of points and comment on them. There's no room here to comment on every point you raise.

    - You wrote, 'True science is always pursued under the canopy of a fear of God (Prov 1:9)- after all science is about true knowledge.'

    Proverbs 1:9 doesn't refer to science, it follows verse 1:8 and refers to a good upbringing by a Mum and Dad. Science restricts itself to observing, testing, and drawing conclusions about the physical world; the results are what they are. The purpose of the Bible is to provide spiritual truth. Father reveals his holy nature, our fallen nature, the broken relationship between us, and the opportunity Jesus offers for restoration. Spiritual truth never requires us to deny what is evidently true about the physical world. Neither does science require us to deny spiritual truth.

    - 'The problem comes when people want to take God out of science.' I would suggest that the problem comes when people want to take the observations and conclusions out of science. Science is not a matter of opinion, it's a matter of understanding the physical world. If we base science on anything other than observation then it is no longer science. That's why creationism is sometimes called pseudo-scientific - it looks like science but isn't.

    - 'Six day creation is not just recorded in the manner of an historical account in Genesis it is also recorded as God's spoken Word's within the 10 commandments.' When I read the Bible I am always looking for spiritual truth, truth about the nature of Yahweh. The Genesis accounts tell me that the universe didn't come into existence all by itself. There is a first cause! Praise him, HalleluYah! And of course it tells us much more about his nature and that he was pleased with what he made.

    I would argue that regarding the Bible as a book of history, poetry, music, law, geography, literaturem, science etc is to seriously devalue it. It contains elements of these of course, but they are very much subordinate to its primary purpose - to reveal his nature and our relationship with him.

  19. Chris - thank you for your gracious tone and brotherly love. I do appreciate the opportunity to consider this topic without the ranting that often comes with it!

    Firstly, apologies for my incorrect reference. 'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge' is from Proverbs 1:7 (not v9). It is part (a summary?) of the introduction to the book of Proverbs (1:1-7)and to the whole concept of wisdom, right living and true knowledge. If we are to be wise then we have a starting point - the fear of the LORD.

    What do you think that it means to 'fear the LORD'? And why does this have a bearing on knowledge?

    It seems to me that our pursuit of 'knowledge' is intimately linked to our relationship with God. They are linked here in Prov 1:7 and should be linked in our lives. All truth is God's truth.

    I commend your focus upon a relationship with God, and the fact that you seem to agree that the Bible is authoritative in this regard. But why do you feel that it is therefore necessary to disregard the authority of other parts of the Bible that contain references to subjects that we might classify in other ways? 2 Tim 3:16 says that ALL scripture is God breathed.

    Do you believe that God inspired the words "for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth" (Exodus 20:11)? Are you suggesting that God inspired words which are not true?

    To hold a scientific theory (which in my understanding is not even observable) above the inspired Word of God is a dangerous thing to do if we believe that the 'fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge'.

    I suspect that our understanding of the inerrancy and authority of the Scriptures is really at the root of our differences. But then again, I may have misunderstood your comments.

    I would be interested to hear your comments on the theological issue mentioned in my first posting. How does the theory of evolution line up with the Bibles teaching about the fall? This is absolutely crucial in the matter of understanding the possibility of a relationship with God.

    Scientific observations need to be interpreted - and it is these interpretations and the assumptions that they are based on that would be my first port of call if I were looking to explain the differences between some scientific theories and God's words. For example, my son just did an experiment where he dropped a stone and a sheet of paper at the same time. He observed that the paper took longer to fall and concluded that the heavier objects fall quicker than light ones. As you know, this was an incorrect interpretation of the the observations. He didn't know about air resistance. Now scientists are able to correct themselves when they realise that false assumptions have been made. Scientific conclusions are never declared 'facts' as there is always the possibility that a false assumption or an incorrect interpretation will be discovered.

    I wonder if you place too much faith in scientists and your own ability to judge the matter and not enough in the God who has revealed the truth. Just a thought!

    Scientists often get it wrong, but God never gets anything wrong!

    Every Blessing