Gov. Bobby Jindal opposed the annual attempt to repeal the creationism law because, his flack said, it is designed to “promote the discussion of different views.”
There wasn’t much discussion Wednesday before a Senate committee decided to let the law stand, but the margin was only one vote. It’s never been anywhere near that close before, and we may be sure the issue will come up again next year.
It behooves us, therefore, to keep an open mind about the different views Jindal is so keen to see debated in biology class. The scientists may adduce mountains of evidence for evolution, but there have been exhaustive reports in books and learned journals about that. A sense of fair play demands that we give equal time to the case against. Have you read Genesis lately? Take a look, and you might be convinced.
By all means remain intellectually rigorous and be on the look out just in case there are any holes in the biblical story. That, after all is the creationists’ approach. They will seize on any real or imaginary gap in the fossil record, and present it as proof that Darwin’s theory is a fraud. Given their devotion to an objective search for the truth, they will expect us to subject their version of events to similar scrutiny.
Scholars tell us Genesis was penned about 3,000 years ago by which time, according to creationist calculations, the earth was 3,000 years old. If it was not, therefore, a first-hand account, it was all the more reliable, because, leaving aside any unworthy suspicion that those primitive tribesmen made it all up, they had to be God’s own amanuenses. Genesis is thus literal truth.
The Genesis account is a refreshing change from all those abstruse tracts about the supposed evolution of species over millions of years. There is no need to wrestle with complicated data, or pore over dryasdust paleontological tomes, when all is revealed in little more than a nutshell.
It’s all quite simple. On day one, “the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.” By the end of the third day, the Lord had up and created light and darkness, the firmament, the land and the oceans, grasses and trees. Two days later, he had added marine life and “winged fowl.” Then came cattle and “every thing that creepeth upon the earth.” God followed up with his piece de resistance, the creation of “man in his own image.”
That was quite a lot to accomplish in six days, and God was clearly entitled to a day off. Indeed, he “rested from all his work,” Genesis reports.
Spot anything implausible so far? Me neither. “Presume not God to scan,” the poet adjures, but, in the spirit of inquiry that Jindal recommends, perhaps we are entitled to see whether the rest of the Genesis story holds water too.
It quickly explains exactly how man and woman came to be. After Adam was formed “of the dust of the ground,” God put him into a “deep sleep,” took one of his ribs and turned it into Eve. The story of how she then got conned into eating the forbidden fruit really puts Darwin to shame, for there is no indication that he even knew snakes could talk.
The only question left hanging is why God, in his omniscience, should have needed to ask whether Adam had raided “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” We can only assume he wanted to see if Adam would deny it. It turned out that Adam couldn’t tell a lie, although he was sufficiently unchivalrous to explain that Eve made him do it.
After Cain slew Abel, he found a wife in the land of Nod, although God knows how she came to be. Adam, meanwhile, produced a son called Seth to replace Abel. That might seem quite a feat, for Adam was 130 at the time, but he went on to live another 800 years, begetting sons and daughters. They didn’t need Viagra back then.
By now it should be obvious that the Family Forum is correct in arguing that academic freedom requires creationism to be treated as a rational alternative to evolution.
James Gill’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.