Soil Disproves Evolution? Pbbt

A couple of posts ago I mentioned that I was going to write about a particular creationist text that I’d been given when I was a child. I’ve been flipping through the book and finding out that I remember all of this stuff really well because I frikin’ memorized this book and thought it was a coolest thing ever when I was a kid. It has also reminded me that I still have some lingering anger at some of the crap I was taught and believed because I thought Christians wouldn’t lie to me. So instead of spending a lot of time on this topic, I’m going to zoom in on the main argument in the book that I found convincing in my ignorance and even repeated to others, to my embarrassment.img_2282-1

Starting on page 50, the author argues that soil disproves the theory of evolution.

If we look at the surface of the Earth and ask what is necessary to support life, we have to give this answer. We need soil made of weathered rock, and we need the chemicals and water washed from the rocks. We need air and water. But soil must contain organic matter. And soil must have millions of tiny living organisms in it if anything is to grow.

This poses a difficult problem for those who believe in the slow evolution of Earth’s surface and of living things. Where did the soil that living things need in order to exist come from before there were living things to fill the soil with organic matter?

The only possible explanation is that Earth and life did not develop as scientists now think. When God created the world, he must have covered its continents with soil already filled with the living creatures that Earth must have in order to support life.

Seriously. Anyone who has even a casual knowledge of natural history knows that the first living things did not evolve in soil, and did not depend on preexisting organisms in soil (or anywhere else). It makes me think that the author was either writing in total ignorance — having no business writing a “science” book for children — or was deliberately lying. This is not even picking at the boundaries of our knowledge, like a discussion of where the laws of the universe come from and why they are the way they are. This is so easily upturned with only basic education. And the rest of the book is pretty much like this.

So why does he think that scientists are so dense as to not see the obvious proof of God in front of their faces?

The only option [for the beginning of the universe] we can imagine is God. But still, there are many people who don’t believe in God! Why?

Romans 1:18 says that men who do not believe “suppress the truth.” That is, they simply will not believe, whatever the evidence. And there is evidence!

Yep, child, there is a conspiracy of atheistic scientists who are suppressing the evidence for God. And I believed it. And that makes me angry. I think there is someone suppressing the truth here, but it’s not the scientists.

So for the preservation of my mental health, this is the last I have to say on this book.

7 thoughts on “Soil Disproves Evolution? Pbbt

  1. I’m not a scientist or an atheist, but I have a rudimentary knowledge of evolution and of God. I am happy that there are people who study these things and I am content to learn from them to the extent my intellect is capable. Nearly all religions have some story or stories about how the universe and life began. They all have one thing in common. They are all allegory. The problem occurs when people read an allegory as though it were literally true. The problem is further complicated when they attach dire consequences for not believing a literal meaning. The priest might say, “if you don’t believe this story, you will burn in hell for eternity”. If I am an ignorant peasant, even a skeptical one, I may look at the situation thusly, “I don’t know if it is true. I have neither the time nor the resources to study it for myself. If I believe it, and it turns out to be false, I have lost nothing. If I don’t believe it, and it turns out to be true, I am really fucked. It seems more advantageous to believe it.”

    The downside of mistaking allegory for literal truth is that, by doing so, you are certain to miss any spiritual truth which the allegory was meant to convey.

    • I agree that the forms of Christianity that accept the stories in the Bible as myth and allegory are a bit more true than the ones that insist the the stories are all literally true. But then you get into the issue of which parts of the Bible to be considered literal and which are not. I mean, is the Genesis creation story (or stories) literally true? If not, what about Adam and Eve? Noah’s Flood? The Tower of Babel? King David? The historical Jesus? The miracles of Jesus? The resurrection of Jesus? The miracles performed by Paul in Acts? How far would you want to take that?

      As for it being more advantageous to believe than to not believe … I’m sure you are aware that there are lots of different religions with competing truth claims that claim some form of punishment after death if you don’t choose them? And I think a person does lose something by choosing to live their life believing something that turns out to be false. Besides, I don’t think someone can simply choose to believe a thing that seems false to them anyway.

  2. This post isn’t really even about Christianity in general, but about a particular fundamentalist creationism that I was exposed to very young. However, stuff like this does have a way of bringing up questions about the whole system. If the claims of the religion that can be tested scientifically turn out to be generally wrong, then why should I give the time of day to the claims that cannot be tested?

  3. It doesn’t matter to me what is literally true and what is allegory. When I read ancient text, unless it is verifiable history, I always look for the wisdom or the spiritual enlightenment that is may contain. It’s funny that you raise the same question about myth vs. literal truth, as the folks who are literalists. Namely, where do you draw the line? My answer is the same in both cases. “I don’t care.”

    In my experience, literalist Christians are very difficult people with which to engage in a discussion. Years ago, I was kicked out of a discussion group for raising the possibility that Adam and Eve were not literal, historical figures.

    There are many things, both in science and in religion, which cannot, at present, be scientifically tested. I believe some of them to be true, some to be false, and some that I could not care less about. Creationism, as it has been termed, is, to me, obviously false. Even ludicrous. Yet you have obviously spent considerable time thinking and writing about it. If you are able to change the mind of even one literalist, who then goes on to be a great scientist, I suppose that your time was well spent.

    By the way, you and Ed certainly can make a cute baby. I have come to rely on your Facebook posts to supply a daily smile.

    • Right, it is a question asked by fundamentalists, but I think it’s a valid one. I know there are some Christians who believe even the resurrection of Jesus is allegory. It’s fine with me, but I don’t see what’s compelling about it. Perhaps being raised in a fundamentalist view has just ruined the whole thing for me.

  4. Also, I am not writing to try to convince literalists. I’m just telling the story of what they taught me growing up and how it affected me.

  5. Yes, I understand. I was raised in the same environment. And the likelihood of a fundamentalist changing their stripes is close to zero at any rate. I’m just glad to see you are writing again. I always enjoy your your blog posts.

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