The Fantastic Capacity for Believing the Incredible

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Creationism and Intelligent Design are primarily an Abrahamic-religion-created problem. They come, most often, out of white Evangelical Christianity, Protestant Christianity, followed by other Christian denominations and then in the form of some Islamic creationists and Intelligent Design advocates. There has been, recently, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), as one Intelligent Design promoting society based on the religious beliefs of the Hare Krishnas. Several organizations exist devoted to the movement for the pseudoscientific and genericized theological position: The Center for Science and Culture (formerly Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture) of the Discovery Institute, Access Research Network, the Foundation for Thought and Ethics, the Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center, and the Intelligent Design Network, while others specifically devote themselves to Creationism such as the Institute for Creation Research, Answers in Genesis, Creation Ministries International, and Creation Science Evangelism. Even societies emerged, for example, the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (ISCID) contains numerous individuals deeply involved, even as fellows, including Michael Behe, John Angus Campbell, Robin Collins, Bruce L. Gordon, Muzaffar Iqbal, William Lane Craig, William A. Dembski, Scott Minnich, Alvin Plantinga, Jonathan Wells, Jeffrey M. Schwartz, and lesser-known others. On home turf, in Canadian society, we come to the issues of Creationism and Intelligent Design, too, with a center of the storm in Langley, British Columbia, Canada, through Trinity Western University. All these can be drivers of public ignorance on the subject matter of evolution via natural selection.

Examination of the American context is informative for the Canadian environs. According to Marshall Berman in “Intelligent Design: The New Creationism Threatens All of Science and Society“ in APS News (APS Physics), circa 2001 via Gallup polls, 45% of Americans believe the following statement: “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.” It’s about half as many Canadians compared now. Only about 1/5 hold similar views. As noted in “Freethought for the Small Towns: A Case Study“[1], the heart of Evangelical Christianity in Canadian society, probably, comes in the form of the private Evangelical Christian university Trinity Western University and the surrounding communities with one found in Fort Langley, a lovely community village and a National Historic Site, which happens to exists on the periphery of Trinity Western University’s fundamentalist Evangelical community, higher education, and doctrinal mandates for community seen in their “Community Covenant“ and “Statement of Faith.” The “Community Covenant” stipulates:

The University’s mission, core values, curriculum and community life are formed by a firm commitment to the person and work of Jesus Christ as declared in the Bible… The University is an interrelated academic community rooted in the evangelical Protestant tradition; it is made up of Christian administrators (including the members of the Board of Governors), faculty and staff who covenant together to form a community that strives to live according to biblical precepts, believing that this will optimize the University’s capacity to fulfil its mission and achieve its aspirations. The community covenant is a solemn pledge in which members place themselves under obligations… By doing so, members accept reciprocal benefits and mutual responsibilities… It is vital that each person who accepts the invitation to become a member of the TWU community carefully considers and sincerely embraces this community covenant… The University’s acceptance of the Bible as the divinely inspired, authoritative guide for personal and community life1 is foundational to its affirmation that people flourish and most fully reach their potential when they delight in seeking God’s purposes, and when they renounce and resist the things that stand in the way of those purposes being fulfilled… TWU reserves the right to question, challenge or discipline any member in response to actions that impact personal or social welfaresexual intimacy is reserved for marriage between one man and one woman, and within that marriage bond it is God’s intention that it be enjoyed as a means for marital intimacy and procreation… This formal covenant applies to those that serve the TWU community, that is, administrators, faculty and staff employed by TWU and its affiliates. Unless specifically stated otherwise, expectations of this covenant apply to both on and off TWU’s campus and extension sites. Sincerely embracing every part of this covenant is a requirement for employment. Employees who sign this covenant also commit themselves to abide by campus policies published in their respective Faculty and Staff Handbooks. TWU welcomes all students who qualify for admission, recognizing that not all affirm the theological views that are vital to the University’s Christian identity. While students are not required to sign this covenant, they have chosen to be educated within a Christian university that unites reason and faith. [Emphasis added.]

Within this community framework built or constructed by the “Community Covenant,” by fear of inability to become employed at Trinity Western University, as in “embracing every part of this covenant is requirement for employment,” all facets of this theological and social covenant must be agreed to – without qualms. As was expressed to me, “If I don’t sign the covenant, I don’t get a [work] contract.” As I have heard, one individual who worked at Trinity Western University and got divorced while employed, but who, as an employee, signed the contract. Thus, she was given a time limit to leave the position because of breaking community standards for something in personal life, i.e., getting divorced. This is an anecdote, not a charge, but this does raise alarms about internal culture. Be mindful, students had to sign this in previous times, as early as 2018.

However, the mandatory status for students was removed once Trinity Western University lost the Supreme Court of Canada case for its proposed law school 7-2. It was seen as an overwhelming loss and embarrassment to the community, as much legitimacy and respectability hinged on its success as an institution representative of Evangelical Christian postsecondary liberal arts education in the nation. In addition to the “Community Covenant,” the “Statement of Faith” makes similar statements about the explicit faith-based nature of the enterprise:

God’s gospel originates in and expresses the wondrous perfections of the eternal, triune God… God’s gospel is authoritatively revealed in the Scriptures… God’s gospel alone addresses our deepest need… God’s gospel is made known supremely in the Person of Jesus Christ… God’s gospel is accomplished through the work of Christ… God’s gospel is applied by the power of the Holy Spirit… God’s gospel is now embodied in the new community called the church… God’s gospel compels us to Christ-like living and witness to the world… God’s gospel will be brought to fulfillment by the Lord Himself at the end of this age… God’s gospel requires a response that has eternal consequences.

Overall, the nature of the covenant and the statement make the coercive nature of the private religious, Evangelical, in particular, institution much clearer. The Canadian Association of University Teachers found much the same years ago. (We will explore this in future articles.)

Its surrounding environs in Langley, including Fort Langley may be undergoing a retitling – attempted – by some work of the Township of Langley Council[2] through naming of a larger “University District,” as part of an expansionist vision for the Evangelical post-secondary institution. Noting, of course, it’s a private religious university, not public. In this sense, private religious forces using public cachet and political efforts to drop an illegitimate curtain of religious and ideological association on the entire area if this happens. It’s unfair, unjust, and shouldn’t happen at all, in my opinion. The most comprehensive statement on creationism within Canadian society exists in “Canadians’ and Others’ Convictions to Divine Interventionism in the Matters of the Origins and Evolution“[3].

Now, to be clear, on Creationism and Intelligent Design as such, RationalWiki lists several scientific organizations, as a contrast to the creationist and intelligent design advocate organizations mentioned above, making explicit rejection of the claims of Creationism and Intelligent Design, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Association of University Professors, American Astronomical Society, American Chemical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Institute of Physics, American Psychological Association, American Society of Agronomy, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Botanical Society of America, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, National Association of Biology Teachers, National Center for Science Education, National Science Teachers Association, United States National Academy of Sciences, Kentucky Academy of Science, Kentucky Paleontological Society, Lehigh University Department of Biological Sciences, Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity Nobel Laureates Initiative, Council of Europe, Intelligent Design is not Science Initiative, Interacademy Panel Statement on the Teaching of Evolution, International Society for Science and Religion, Project Steve, Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, and the Royal Society. There’s no question. Intelligent Design and Creationism are pseudoscientific views, theological proposals, not scientific theories or even simple hypotheses. To quote one of the core intellectual founders of Intelligent Design – and a nice and intelligent man, Dr. William Dembski, “I believe God created the world for a purpose. The Designer of intelligent design is, ultimately, the Christian God.” [Emphasis added.] Thusly, for any higher education institution to so much as entertain that which is duly rejected as comical to the vast majority of practicing biologists and biology teachers is a disgrace to the value of “higher” in “higher education,” as I will present, these views have been encouraged unduly at Trinity Western University, and the community value statement and covenant prevent open speaking out against particular areas of academic silliness and prejudice because everyone is bound together in a coercive setup. No question about it.

So, Langley comes inter-related with some of the other communities, including some of the fundamentalist communities in Abbotsford. Those fundamentalist communities of Abbotsford link to the creationist communities in the area. As Andres Michael McKinnon in “Civil Society, public spheres and the ecology of environmentalism in four Fraser Valley communities: Burnaby, Richmond, Langley and Abbotsford” (1997) stated, “Local issues have been even more shaped by conservative religion: the Abbotsford school board tried to mandate ‘Creationism’ being taught in public school classrooms; a Lower Mainland gay weekly, X-tra West was banned from Abbotsford Public Libraries in 1994; activism on “conservative” moral issues such as abortion, euthanasia and violence on television is significant; prayer in public schools continued in most District 34 public elementary school classrooms until very recently, despite a Supreme Court Injunction; and a play by a local high-school student which openly discussed sexuality was banned by the school board. If Abbotsford is a very religious community, it is also, as Elliott and Simpson suggest, “a town divided into a series of relatively insulated communities organised around religion and ethnicity.” Conservative religious communities in one region connect to another.

It should be noted. The history comes with individuals running for schools boards. For example, when Dr. Darrell Furgason (Ph.D., Religious Studies) ran for the Chilliwack, British Columbia, school board, he is known as a lecturer at Trinity Western University, involved in education for more than 35 years, and who expresses open belief in “Biblical creationism, often referred to as Young Earth creationism” to quote Paul Henderson in “Biblical creationist joins Chilliwack school board race“ (The Chilliwack Progress). In a post on Creation.Com, he stated, “Theistic evolution is a wrong view of Genesis, as well as history, and biology. Adam & Eve were real people….who lived in real history….around 6000 [sic] years ago.” A lot of the creationist controversies start in this Bible Belt as a center of Canadian versions of Creationism.

As stated by Chris Woods in “Big Bang versus a Big Being,” “Certainly, this is far from the collision between Christian and secular morality in a region widely considered to be British Columbia’s Bible Belt… the area’s dozens of evangelical and fundamentalist churches, Bible colleges and flourishing private Christian schools reinforce its reputation for deep religious faith. That image has been bolstered by previous controversies.” Woods spoke of the attempts (circa 1995) to “ban a weekly gay and lesbian-oriented newspaper published in Vancouver from its shelves.” He continued, “Observed Cindy Filipenko, editor of the since-reinstated X-tra West: “I think the religious right has an agenda that is, basically, freedom for themselves and not for anybody else.” It’s a fascinating article.

Further, he found 56% of people from Abbotsford (of the time) believed the Bible was the “literal record of God’s word” based on a CV Marketing Research of Abbotsford poll of 110 people taken in November of 1993. Vancouver MarketTrend Research discovered 55% of people in the Lower Mainland believed “government should do more to support basic Christian values.” These are theocratically minded sentiments with the idea of non-separation of government and religion, i.e., non-neutrality. At the time, John Sutherland was the dean of business management at Trinity Western University and the Chair of the Abbotsford school board. He gave Bible classes within the Mennonite religion. The Vice-Chairman of the School board was Paul Chamberlain, who was another evangelical-minded Trinity Western faculty member. One school trustee of the time, Gerda Fandrich – an Evangelical Christian, stated, “There is scientific evidence that will support creationist theory, and there is scientific evidence against the theory of evolution in its entirety. And it should be taught.” When is a school board obliged to vote out scientifically ignorant or incompetent people out of it? We’re talking about the educational health and scientific literacy of the region, as well as the preservation of freedom of religion via the separation of religion and government.

It comes out in the national commentary or the comments on the national happenings of the country. The Governor General a couple years ago spoke out, calmly, and with a tinge of humor against pseudoscience. Dr. John Neufeld in “Governor General Julie Payette of Canada Mocks Creationism“ from Back to the Bible Canada stated, “Julie Payette is Canada’s new Governor General. At a recent speech to scientists at an Ottawa convention, Ms. Payette was very clear about how she felt about religion. She mocked those who were still debating about whether life came about as a result of divine intervention rather than natural processes.” That’s the opening statement and a common ignorant statement throughout Canada. At least, 1/5 Canadians hold creationist views. These are anti-scientific. When a credentialed and respectable woman critiques Creationism, not the religious individuals who adhere to it, educated and articulate people, as with Neufeld, conflate the critique of Creationism with critical and condescending attitudes about religious people; this presents the reality of the individuals’ views of (their) religion in Canada, i.e., as intrinsically adherent to creationist accounts rather than evolutionary plus theistic perspectives. It is, tacitly, to admit of the anti-scientific attitudes and stances of many theists in the country, including Neufeld. It is to take offense rather than provide a defense, or to take on the persistent garb among some educated classes of anti-intellectualism.

As seems reasonably clear, especially for individuals who read the first footnote (below) in detail, the connection between the lack of critical thinking in the places of worship, as in faith-based lectern lectures or homilies on the nature of reality and morality, and then the influence on the capacity for critical thought in the wider community. This seems to happen in the advanced industrial societies in which religion, traditional as such, maintains its large hold on the majority of the mind of the population. We can draw this back to the post-colonial context of Canada. According to Pew Research in “5 facts about religion in Canada,” Canadians continue to maintain their religious fervor as a population. More than half, about 55%, of Canadians, based on the Spring 2018 Global Attitudes Survey as reported by Pew Research, identify as Christian, while 29% adhere to the category of “religiously unaffiliated,” 14% identify as “Other,” and 2% don’t know. More precisely, “A declining share of Canadians identify as Christians, while an increasing share say they have no religion – similar to trends in the United States and Western Europe,”  “Our most recent survey in Canada, conducted in 2018, found that a slim majority of Canadian adults (55%) say they are Christian, including 29% who are Catholic and 18% who are Protestant. About three-in-ten Canadians say they are either atheist (8%), agnostic (5%) or “nothing in particular” (16%). Canadian census data indicate that the share of Canadians in this “religiously unaffiliated” category rose from 4% in 1971 to 24% in 2011, although it is lowest in Quebec.” With this decline in Christian religious affiliation in Canada, the number of Canadians who identify as Christian should collapse to below simple majority circa some time in 2020/2021.

These demographic declines may produce some forms of belligerent politico-religious identity. In fact, given the evidence, they have done so in the past. Bruce Myers in “Beware the rise of the ‘theo-cons’“ reviewed The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada by Marci McDonald. He warned about aspects of Evangelical Christians and Christian Nationalism. He stated:

For a long time disparate and unorganized, conservative-minded Christians in Canada found a single voice in the national debate over same-sex marriage. Their unified opposition galvanized them into a political force to be reckoned with, and one courted more and more by the federal Conservatives.

Inspired by successful examples in the U.S., efforts by so-called Christian nationalists to influence Canadian public policy have increased since Stephen Harper’s Tories took office, McDonald argues. Notably, a growing number of socially conservative Christian organizations have in recent years established a permanent presence in Ottawa. They include such groups as Focus on the Family Canada, the National House of Prayer, and Trinity Western University’s Laurentian Leadership Centre.

These efforts, McDonald says, are aimed at finding their fulfilment in what she calls the “Armageddon factor or the belief that Canada has some particularly significant role to play during the so-called ‘end times.’ “ For those who believe, fulfilling this destiny means transforming Canada into nothing less than a “Bible-based theocracy.”

However, this isn’t a unified trend. In fact, we come to the idea of pluralization of religion in Canadian society with the inclusion of other faiths in the demographic placement of the hole previously filled in the national demographic pie by Christianity. Pew Research reports this is largely due to immigration. Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and Buddhists, comprise 8% of Canadian adults. If the trends continue, or if the adult demographics are indicative of the youth bulge, then the freethought community, and the Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Jewish, and Buddhist communities take a larger portion of the upcoming young generations. “Most Canadians” see religion in public life as a waning influence in the country with 64% stipulating that it plays a less important role in the country than in years prior. Canadians are ambivalent as to whether it is a positive or negative net influence on society. In spite of this emotive ambiguity, there are “low levels of government restrictions on religion.” Also, even with these proclaimed religious individuals, or perceived levels of engagement in religious self-identification, few Canadians truly take part, frequently, in the traditional religious practices including prayer daily or worship once per week. Canadians probably can’t be seen, by and large, as a religious people, though can be seen as a largely religious identifying people in the nation. That’s all Pew Research. This can raise some intriguing side questions about the nature, not of religion per se, but, more precisely, of the nature of religious identity based on these demographic trends and the formulations of religious identification.

As the ongoing polarization of the communities of the United States continue apace, some of the similar trends continue in Canadian society with the collapse of Christianity as a significant majority piece of the religious and non-religious demographic pie. What’s the relevance to all of this to Creationism and Intelligent Design? Quite simply, it’s the association betwixt the two and the Evangelical religious universities; as a Canadian, and as a local, these become relevant subject matters. How is, dear reader, there encouragement of Creationism in higher education? Why should it stop? The latter is easier to answer than the former, “It’s wrong, not science, and catastrophically embarrassing on the grounds of any post-secondary institution, private or public, in Canadian society, to many Christians, other faithful people, and the freethought communities (specially so).” To the former, let’s sit down and chat a while, the answers exist, though. Would invitations for talks by creationists or teaching courses friendly to the content make the point? These shouldn’t happen at a respectable institution. In fact, most of the presentations and lectures by creationists happen at churches more than anywhere else based on a national analysis in previous research.

Intelligent Design is rooted in religion. As R.N. Carmona in “The Evidence for Evolution: A Succinct Introduction for Denialists“ said, “The lack of success of these views is literally the tip of the iceberg. That they’re not successful isn’t what determines that they’re pseudoscience. Pick any of the demarcation theories put forth by philosophers of science and you’ll find that creationism and ID don’t meet the requirements to pass as science. Take, for example, Popper’s falsification. Can we falsify the intelligent designer who, according to many ID advocates, is the Judeo-Christian god? What matters here is not whether a naturalist or an atheist can falsify him. What matters is whether ID advocates are willing to attempt falsification of the intelligent designer. Since their view is rooted in religion, we can be reasonably certain that they’re not going to attempt to falsify the intelligent designer.”

It impacts education. Frederika Oosterhoff expressed concern in “Teaching Evolution At Our Schools – Why and How“ about interpretations of Scripture and teaching evolution in Reformed Academic (Canadian Reformed Church). Oosterhoof said, “Evolution can be taught and evaluated in a straightforward manner as a well-established biological theory that has weaknesses as well as strengths. It can also be taught and then explained away – and I am afraid this is done at some of our schools – as lie and deception, the devil’s own work. Related to this second approach is enlisting the help of certain videos and other material provided by young-earth-creationism. As one principal told me, these ‘creation-science’ products are quite popular in our schools. Indeed, young-earth creationism is widely upheld as ‘Reformed doctrine.’ Often, the principal wrote, schools use the material to make evolution look “stupid,” something we can chuckle about…” It’s a sad state of affairs and a depressing commentary of the status of the churches and Christian religious communities in North America.

On March 9 2019 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm, Trinity Western University hosted “EVOLUTIONARY AND YOUNG-EARTH CREATIONISM: TWO SEPARATE LECTURES.” It stated, “All are welcome to attend, Public Lecture, hosted by TWU’s ‘Science, Faith, and Human Flourishing: Conversations in Community Initiative,’ supported by Fuller Seminary, Faculty of Natural and Applied Sciences, and the Canadian Scientific & Christian Affiliation, “Evolutionary and Young-Earth Creationism: Two Separate Lectures” (Darrel Falk[4], “Evolution, Creation and the God Who is Love” and Todd Wood, “The Quest: Understanding God’s Creation in Science and Scripture”).” Todd C. Wood is the Founding President of the Core Academic of Science, and a young earth creationist. Darrel R. Falk is an Emeritus Professor of Biology at Point Loma Nazarene University, and an evolutionary creationist. Two creationists invited to ‘educate’ about their ‘theories,’ more theological argument than anything else. Several events with them including “Evolutionary Creation & Young-Earth Creationism.” It stated:

If humans and all forms of life were created through the evolutionary process—and the evidence for this is very strong—it presents a potential dilemma for Christians. Why would the God who taught us to love the weak and feed the hungry, the God who told us that the meek shall inherit the earth seemingly create humankind through the seemingly heartless process sometimes referred to as “survival of the fittest?”

These are interesting times in evolutionary biology. The discipline has itself been evolving and many of its leaders are recognizing the significance sometimes of cooperation as a dynamic and important component of the evolutionary process. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly clear that a key driving component in the change that has taken place in our lineage—the hominin lineage—for at least three million years has been the importance of individuals being able to work together as a communal unit within small groups. Some scholars would even go so far as to say it is the “Secret of Our Success.” Perhaps—this talk will suggest—biological fitness in our lineage is not that different than the qualities that Jesus laid out as being central to the Christian life. We’ll explore the evidence for this. But more than that, we’ll also explore the question of the nature of divine action in the ongoing history of creation. As Christians we believe that God is an active, even personal presence in our lives through the Holy Spirit. Is there some form of consistency between the God we believe we experience in our individual lives, and the activity of the God who was present and active hundreds of thousand to millions of years ago? This is a key question for Christians to think about and this talk will explore possible answers.

Another event entitled “Science and Faith: A Conversation in Community, With Darrel Falk & Todd Wood,” with the last event entitled “The Fool, the Heretic, and the God Whose Standard is Love.” It, the last one, stated:

Discussions of the science and theology of creation has been the source of strenuous conflicts among Christians.  Darrel Falk and Todd Wood are Christians who hold different positions on creation, and hold them strongly.  However, with a shared bond in Christ, through a series of conversations facilitated by The Colossian Forum, they have developed an ability to communicate well, care for one another, and pursue truth and love in edifying ways.

More on Their Co-Authored Book:

In a brief, memoir-like narrative, The Fool and the Heretic tracks the improbable relationship between two scientists who not only hold opposing views on their deeply held views of origins, but believe each is doing serious damage to the church. The book is a deeply personal story told by two respected scientists who hold opposing views on the topic of origins, share a common faith in Jesus Christ, and began a sometimes-painful journey to explore how they can remain in Christian fellowship when each thinks the other is harming the church. To some in the church, anyone who accepts the theory of evolution has rejected biblical teaching and is therefore thought of as a heretic. To many outside the church as well as a growing number of evangelicals, anyone who accepts the view that God created the earth in six days a few thousand years ago must be poorly educated and ignorant–a fool. Todd Wood and Darrel Falk know what it’s like to be thought of, respectively, as a fool and a heretic. This book shares their pain in wearing those labels, but more important, provides a model for how faithful Christians can hold opposing views on deeply divisive issues yet grow deeper in their relationship to each other and to God. (source)

Wood provided some post-event commentary in “Further thoughts from Trinity Western University.” If this isn’t too much, even more, they have a stipulated course, SCS 691 – Creationism Field Trip, i.e., an upper-level course devoted, specifically, to Creationism. Trinity Western University has another course entitled “SCS 503 – Creationism & Christainity [sic] (Korean)” Both are 3-credit courses. There are exceptions, though, outstanding people.

One of my favourite people, Professor Dennis Venema, works at the institution and gives talks entitled “Why I Accept Evolution (and Why You Probably Should As Well).” Stuff like this is great, and should be commended. It’s a difficult balance. To some respectable degree, he pulls it off. The abstract states:

Evolution is both a well-attested scientific theory and an area of science commonly disputed by Christians. Is it “compromise” or “capitulation” for a believer to accept the findings of evolutionary biology? Should Christians fight against evolutionary theory using “creationism” or “Intelligent Design”? Do the arguments of ID proponents such as Michael Behe, Stephen Meyer, and William Lane Craig stand up to scrutiny? Is an evolutionary understanding of creation in conflict with scripture? This talk will address these questions and argue that Christians are better served by adopting evolutionary creationism as a model for human origins.

Venema does a tremendous service in the community because of the presentation of the reality of evolution via natural selection in an environment in which Creationism – young and old – and Intelligent Design have become seen as differing base perspectives on the fundamental nature of biological reality. Each directing attention to the divine hand of God in some form or another. In Christian Week, Venema stated, “Evolution is so well supported, and the evidence for it so compelling, that one cannot reject evolution and claim to have an up-to-date view of science.” Now,  You can get obtuse comparisons, as with Michael Gohen in “Science and Scripture: What do we do with conflict?”, who made the explicit claim of the equivalency of validity of the evidence for God in the Bible and in the geological sciences. He concluded in the presentation, “Evolutionary theory is damaging to church’s life especially as it assumes the status of full-blown worldview… Absorption of Scripture into scientific worldview (Scripture must remain final authority!)…”

Unfortunately, as with many Christian perspectives on these matters, they’re simply wrong solely for the fact of infusion of theology as the explanatory gap in which the ‘gap’ does not amount to a gap at all. Evolution via natural selection filled several mechanism gaps previously handed to God on High as the explanatory filter. Yet, as an Evangelical institution, as part of the same event with Professor Venema, there was the inclusion of a response by Dr. Paul Brown “from an Intelligent Design perspective“ to the presentation by Professor Venema. Here’s the problem, to present an Intelligent Design view gives the illusion of a ‘debate’ in which no debate exists, there’s only one game in the scientific town: evolution via natural selection. It’s a disservice to community and a misrepresentation of the state of the science. Venema is intelligent, conscientious, soft-spoken, and aware.

“As a Christian and a scientist, I have long been perplexed by the desire that many Christians have for apologetics arguments made by those without training or expertise in the area under discussion. Unfortunately, most Christians don’t know enough about evolutionary biology or population genetics to know if the apologetics they are reading is sound,” Professor Venema in BioLogos stated, “One of the reasons for this series . . . is to try to help reverse that trend. Once one understands the relevant science, one is in a much better position to evaluate an apologetics argument as helpful or misguided.”

Venema was announced as the 2019 Scientist in Residence at the Canadian Mennonite University (CMU). In his announcement of the position, he stated, “‘I’m thrilled to be invited to be the Scientist in Residence at CMU for 2019. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for students, and I am honoured to join a prestigious group of prior participants,’ he says. ‘I hope that these conversations can help students along the path to embracing both God’s word and God’s world as a source of reliable revelation to us.’”

Venema ruffled many feathers, too. John Blanton in “The Years of Living Stupidly” stated, “the background is fascinating, but the intent of Evolution News is to demonstrate that Venema is wrong—genetic similarity does not indicate common descent. Evolution News sometime ago quit identifying authors, but whoever posted this item failed to get the message. Traditionally, Intelligent Design, a concoction of the Discovery Institute, does not rule out common ancestry. These people tend to allow for that, but they also want us to know that natural, and especially random, process are not at work.” They threw Venema over the cliff for attempting modern reconciliation with the science and the updated readings of his scriptures.

Even the Ethics & Public Policy Center’s Michael Cromartie in “Jeff Hardin at the November 2014 Faith Angle Forum” took note of Venema, he stated, “Now, there are challenges with Young Earth creationism, of course… This is Paul Nelson, who is a Young Earth creationist.  He is also associated with the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Washington.  He says it this way; this is succinctly put: ‘Natural science seems to overwhelmingly point to an old cosmos.  It is safe to say that most recent creationists are motivated by religious concerns.’  That’s absolutely true.  So the evidence, even for a young Earth creationist like Paul, seems to point against it. People who are trying educate Christian students about this encounter an interesting phenomenon.  Take Dennis Venema, who is a professor of biology at Trinity Western University up in British Columbia. He said it this way: ‘I’ve seen students willing to discard nearly the entirety of modern science in order to maintain a particular view.’  So one of the challenges from denying the scientific evidence is that you kind of have to walk away from those things that science seems to be telling us.” That which science appears to tell, or, perhaps, explicitly and overwhelmingly supports.

As Amos Young in “Adam and the Genome: Reading Scripture after Genetic Science” observes, “He exposes the challenges that population genetics and research on the genome present to both young earth creationist and intelligent design advocates, addressing specifically the arguments of Michael Behe (whose ideas Venema embraced at one point in his studies as a young and aspiring biologist) and Stephen Meyer, both of whom represent God-of-the-gaps approaches that have waylaid prior apologetic endeavors. Some of the terrain is dense, but evangelical Christians interested in understanding better the science of evolutionary genomics will be richly rewarded for their patience.” Venema is one of my favourite people because of the deeper involvement in the more sophisticated creationist communities, as seen in Intelligent Design, while rejecting them and becoming a science educator and theological bridge divider in the process, where he functions in this capacity in the heart of Evangelicalism in Canada. It’s impressive.

It should be noted. As John Farrell of Forbes in “‘Adam And The Genome’ Offers A New Approach To Counter Creationism” states, Dennis Venema grew up in a conservative religious home, where the Bible was considered the literal truth of the creator of the human species. So, Venema is coming out of this steep involvement in Christianity. A formulation of Christian doctrine and faith, which he would, eventually, reject and/or adapt to modern biological science. Farrell quotes Venema, “Put most simply, DNA evidence indicates that humans descend from a large population because we, as a species, are so genetically diverse in the present day that a large ancestral population is needed to transmit that diversity to us. To date, every genetic analysis estimating ancestral population sizes has agreed that we descend from a population of thousands, not a single ancestral couple. Even though many of these methods are independent of one another, all methods employed to date agree that the human lineage has not dipped below several thousand individuals for the last three million years or more—long before our lineage was even remotely close to what we would call ‘human.’”

Colleagues argue for a framework incorporating a “secular science” ideational divide with, by logical derivation, the idea of theological science on the other side, at times, which doesn’t hold water. For example, R. Scott Clark in “Revisiting the URC Creation Decision“ talks about the Bylogos commentary of Professor of Mathematics, Dr. John Byl, of Trinity Western University. He presents an intelligent, articulate, and engaging commentary on the subject matter. Yet, when reviewing Byl’s commentary in “The Framework Hypothesis and Church Unity,” all this seems as if a huge waste of time and space. These wouldn’t have to be major issues to tackle, except in the light of fundamentalist theology, as such, usually irreconcilable with evolutionary theory or modern biological science. As Byl, in the original article, states, “Church unity should be based on mutual faithfulness to Scripture. The Framework Hypothesis denies the plain sense of Scripture (cf. Gen.1, Ex.20:11, Ex.31:17) and introduces a new hermeneutic that interprets the Bible in light of secular science,” which is – ahem – unfortunate. There’s no secular science; unless, your religion is anti-science, where the implication is the religion incorporates anti-scientific ideas (forms of Creationism and Intelligent Design) leading to the clear irreconcilability.

Sometimes, the waters are so muddy, mixed, and confused as to leave one baffled at otherwise intelligent and thoughtful commentary dip into the heady waters of parsing further non-sense from the first non-sense. Derivative non-sense is still non-sense. Robert Stackpole presents part of the fundamental issue, not by statement but, by the implication of the statement about evolution and Creationism, and Intelligent Design. He, in “Reflecting on Creation and the Cross with our Evangelical Friends,” states:

Well, in a nutshell, I agree that Young-Earth Creationism, well-intentioned as it is, is indeed biblically unnecessary and scientifically very problematic — and I am afraid that pursuing this position is one of the things that has tarnished the reputation of Evangelicals as being anti-science (or at least, failing to take science very seriously). But what the Catholic Evolutionist party-line rarely adds is that Young Earth Creationism is not the only other option. There are other forms of creationism which I found to be far more convincing, both on biblical and on scientific grounds — such as Old Earth or Progressive Creationism — positions which have been explored and developed in depth and detail by some Evangelical scholars, and that actually fit remarkably well with the findings of the new “Intelligent Design” movement in science and philosophy. As a result, I spent a couple of years researching this option, and co-authored a book on the subject with an Evangelical biochemist from Trinity Western University, Dr. Paul Brown. Entitled More Than Myth: seeking the full truth about Genesis, Creation and Evolution (Chartwell Press, 2014). Our book is an ecumenical milestone, as far as we know: the first ever collaboration on this subject by Catholic and Evangelical scholars.

He looks at all the wrong ideas, fervently, including “Young-Earth Creationism,” ‘Old Earth Creationism,’ “Progressive Creationism,” and “Intelligent Design.” His world becomes more complex than necessary and leads to a series of incorrect pathways of thoughts in terms of coming to some approximation of the truth. (He wrote this mentioned book in collaboration with Dr. Paul Brown from Trinity Western University.) The trends of promoting pseudoscience continues in connection with this particular Evangelical Christian University.

There is good work by some other individuals, too, not simply Venema, e.g., Professor Craig D. Allert (Religious Studies) of Trinity Western University produced the book entitled Revelation, Truth, Canon and Interpretation: Studies in Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho (2002). According to Philip J. Long in “Book Review: Craig D. Allert, Early Christian Readings of Genesis One,” he draws heavily on resources from Answers in Genesis (AiG), Institute for Creation Research (ICR), and Creation Ministries International (CMI), i.e., several of the major creationist organizations mentioned above. He provides reason to critique them.

Even politically, this pops up. Peter O’Neil in the National Post reported on this in “Canadians who believe in creation ‘gagged,’ B.C. MP charges.” Including Independent MP James Lunney, he considered millions of Canadians who are creationists as gagged. He stated, “I am tired of seeing my faith community mocked and belittled… To not respond is to validate my accusers and, worse yet, imply that I lack the courage of my convictions to stand up for what I believe. … That is not a legacy I wish to leave behind.” The Canadian Press in “Tory says creationism only ‘one issue’“ stated, “Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory is downplaying his policy on bringing private religious schools into the public system after stirring up controversy with comments on teaching creationism. A day after Tory said creationism could be taught in public religious schools, he says voters shouldn’t just judge him on the basis of his proposal to fund faith-based schools.” It emerged over and over again. It continues, too. If you don’t see it, please look closer.

The anti-scientific is not only political, but educational. David R. Wheeler/David Wheeler in The Atlantic article entitled “Old Earth, Young Minds: Evangelical Homeschoolers Embrace Evolution“ said, “But whatever their reason for homeschooling, evangelical families who embrace modern science are becoming more vocal about it — and are facing the inevitable criticism that comes with that choice.” So, there can be pushback within specific sectors, including large domains of Creationism with American society. It’s like this in several domains. The churches have been bastions of furthering this pseudoscience. While, the Canadian religious institutions, particularly Christian, have been obstinate in furthering anti-science agendas. Yet, it takes individuals like Venema to almost single-handedly provide a bulwark against these onslaughts against proper scientific education. The belief in the incredible takes a fantastic ability to parse one’s mind apart from a unifying framework; it represents a psychologically confused state. These issues are historical, but these concerns are active, present, and will continue into the future.

There have been issues with academic freedom too, in religious private schools, which will be covered in another article.

[1] “Freethought for the Small Towns: A Case Study,” (2020), in large part, states:

Small towns all over Canada mirror many of the dynamics, magical thinking, and reliance on false or pseudo-medicines in place of (actual) or efficacious medicine. Among the local churches in the area, (e.g., Fort Langley Evangelical Free Church, Living Waters Church, Fraser Point Church – Meeting Place, St George’s Anglican Church, United Churches of Langley – St. Andrew’s Chapel, Vineyard Christian Fellowship, Fraser Point Church Offices, Jubilee Church, and Fellowship Pacific) different interpretations of the Gospels may be taught, but the community retains its Christian ‘spirit’ – in spite of a scuffed, mind you, rainbow crosswalk one can find the in the town business center – with many of the 100+ local businesses hiring many, many Trinity Western University students. The economy is integrated with the institution, in other words…

In its recent history, as a starter example, there has been some predictable commentary flowing in the pens and notifications. One from Derek Bisset exhibited a particularly interesting article entitled “There Are Atheists in the Church“ as recent as August 4, 2015. Not necessarily a rare view, it’s more a common sentiment based on the trend line of history and the adaptations for the modern world with Liberal Theology and the tenuous status of some foundational tenets with the continual onslaughts of modern empiricism…

…Issue 48 of the Fort Langley Evangelical Free Church from 2017, they describe an event with The Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation. An organization – The Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation, akin to the Templeton Foundation, devoted to strange attempts at bridging religion and science. Although, the Templeton Foundation comes with a huge cash prize. That’s motivation enough for some. The Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation focuses on science and a “life-giving Christian tradition” with a statement of faith (common in Christian organizations throughout the country):

  • We confess the Triune God affirmed in the Nicene and Apostles’ creeds which we accept as brief, faithful statements of Christian doctrine based upon Scripture.
  • We accept the divine inspiration, trustworthiness and authority of the Bible in matters of faith and conduct.
  • We believe that in creating and preserving the universe God has endowed it with contingent order and intelligibility, the basis of scientific investigation.
  • We recognize our responsibility, as stewards of God’s creation, to use science and technology for the good of humanity and the whole world.
  • These four statements of faith spell out the distinctive character of the CSCA, and we uphold them in every activity and publication of the Affiliation.

As implicitly admitted in the “Commission on Creation” of the American Scientific Affiliation taken by The Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation for presentation to its national public, some members of the affiliation will adhere to a “Young-Earth (Recent Creation) View,” “Old-Earth (Progressive Creation) View,” “Theistic Evolution (Continuous Creation, Evolutionary Creation) View,” or “Intelligent Design View.” There’s the problem right there. Only one real game in town, evolution via natural selection… This becomes four wrong views plus one right position with the four incorrect views bad in different ways or to different degrees, i.e., four theological views and one scientific view. In other words, the Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation, by its own claims and standards, amounts to a theological affiliation, not a “Scientific” affiliation. It’s false advertising if not outright lying by title and content.

Anyway, the Issue 48 newsletter of the Fort Langley Evangelical Free Church presented the event entitled “Science, Religion, & the New Atheism,” by Dr. Stephen Snobelen, who is an Associate Professor of the History of Science and Technology Programme at University of King’s College, Halifax. This is common too… In short, the only places, or the vast majority of places, to present these ideas are churches and religious institutions. Outside of those, these theological hypotheses posed as scientific aren’t taken seriously or, generally, are seen as a hysterical joke when posed as science rather than theology. Some, like Zak Graham in “Atheism is simply a lack of belief,” get the point published in The Langley Times. That seems like an uncommon stance in the wider community.

As Brad Warner notes in a short confessional post in Fellowship Pacific, he came to the Christian religion in university… Even in some indications of the counselling professionals in the area, as an individual case study, statements emerge as in Alex Kwee, Ph.D., R.Psych. stating, “A distinctive of my approach lies in the fact that I am a Christian. The practice of psychotherapy is never value-neutral; even the most ostensibly ‘objective’ of counsellors must possess certain irreducible value propositions—even atheism or secular humanism are value systems that cannot be proven ‘right’ one way or another.” Note, he makes Christianity or Christian identity as part of the approach, as I am certain of the same for countless others in the area and around the country…

…The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-5 or the DSM-5 rejected sex addiction for inclusion in 2013. There’s no such thing as sex addiction as a formal psychological construct; sex addiction is a theological construct, i.e., a pseudoscientific and worldview construct posed as psychological… As Dr. Darrel Ray in “Extensive Interview with Dr. Darrel Ray on Secular Therapy and Recovering From Religion“ stated:

So, #2 behind the fear of hell are issues around their sexuality and things like, “I know it’s not wrong to masturbate, but I still feel guilty,” “I am a sex addict because I look at porn.” There’s tons of evidence that the most religious people self-identify the most as “sex addicts.” Not to mind, there is no such thing as sex addiction. There’s no way to define it. I have argued with atheists that have been atheists for 20 years who say that they are sex addicts. Help me understand, how did you get that diagnosis? “My mother-in-law diagnosed me” [Laughing]. “I look at porn once or twice a week.” I do not care if you look at porn once or twice an hour. You are still not a sex addict. So, get over that. You may have other issues. You may have some compulsions. You may have some fear of driving the issue. But it almost always comes down to early childhood religious training, as we spoke about earlier. So, people are simply responding to the programming. Even though, they are atheist, secular, agnostic. I do not care what you call yourself. You are still dealing with the programming. Sometimes, you can go an entire lifetime with a guilt, a shame, a fear, rooted in religion.

…It’s like this on issue and after issue. Fundamentalist Christian universities and theological beliefs in areas infect towns, attract similarly minded individuals from around the fundamentalist Christian diaspora, and reduce the amount of proper science in professional lives and the critical thinking in the public…

…Fort Langley culture follows from the culture of Trinity Western University on a number of qualitative-observational metrics… One TWU is one LGBTI community group around campus without formal affiliation (“*We are run completely independently from and bare no formal affiliation with Trinity Western University”), though small, for individual students who may be struggling on or around campus. While others outside the formal TWU community, and in the extended fundamentalist Christian community, and taking the idea of “think differently” differently – as in “think the same, as always,” Richard Peachey is as fast as proclaiming the literal Word of God Almighty with homosexuality as an affront to God and fundamentally a sin in His sight. In spite of this, at one time or another, based on Canadian reportage and some names in the current listings, Matthew Wigmore, Bryan Sandberg, and David Evans-Carlson (co-founders of One TWU), and Nate/Nathan Froelich, Kelsey Tiffin, Robynne Healey, and others in the current crop – Kieran Wear, Elisabeth Browning, Queenie Rabanes, and Micah Bron – stand firm against some former mandatory community covenant standards either as supports for themselves or as allies who have been negatively impacted by the Community Covenant. A minority gender and sexual identity is completely healthy and normal. If the theology rejects this, then the theology is at odds with reality, not the students’ sense of themselves, who they love, and their identities, or the science. I agree with them and stand far more with them…

…Congratulations for making it this far, but freethought extends into other areas too, of the local culture, as with hundreds of towns in this country, whether colonics/colonhydrotherapy, aromatherapy, chiropractory, acupuncture, reflexology, naturopathy/naturopathic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, or simply a culture of praying for help with an ailment (which is one overlap with the religious fundamentalist community and the reduced capacity for critical thought). Colonics/colonhydrotherapy is marginally practiced within some of the town in Fort Langley Colonics. Dr. Stephen Barrett, M.D. in “Gastrointestinal Quackery: Colonics, Laxatives, and More“ stated rather starkly…

In 2009, Dr. Edzard Ernst tabulated the therapeutic claims he found on the Web sites of six “professional organizations of colonic irrigations.” The themes he found included detoxification, normailzation [sic] of intestinal function, treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, and weight loss. He also found claims elated to asthma, menstrual irregularities, circulatory disorders, skin problems, and improvements in energy levels. Searching Medline and Embase, he was unable to find a single controlled clinical trial that substantiated [sic] any of these claims.

On aromatherapy, this one is a softball. One can find this in the True Aromatherapy Products and Spa (TAP) store. As William H. London, in an article entitled “Essential Considerations About Aromatherapy“ in Skeptical Inquirer, describes the foundations of aromatherapy as follows, “The practice of administering plant-derived essential oils on the skin, via inhalation of vapors, or internally via ingestion for supposed healing power is commonly called aromatherapy. The oils for aromatherapy are described as ‘essential’ to refer to the volatile, aromatic components that some people describe as the ‘essence’ of the plant source, which represents the plant’s ‘life force,’ ‘spirit,’ or soul. Aromatherapy is thus rooted in vitalism…”  RationalWiki states:

Like most woo, aromatherapy starts with observable, real effects of smells on humans, and extrapolates and exaggerates into a whole range of treatments from the effective, to the banal, to the outright ridiculous…

…To chiropractory, it is widely regarded as a pseudoscience with either no efficacy or negative effects on the patient or the client. Fort Family Chiropractic [Ed. Lana Patterson and Shaun Patterson] and Evergreen Chiropractic [Ed. Mike Titchener.] are the two main businesses devoted to some practice of chiropractory. As Science-Based Medicine in its “Chiropractic” entry states:

Chiropractic was invented by D. D. Palmer, Sep 18, 1895 when he adjusted the spine of a deaf man and allegedly restored his hearing (a claim that is highly implausible based on what we know of anatomy). Based on this one case, Palmer decided that all disease was due to subluxation: 95% to subluxations of the spine and 5% to subluxations of other bones.

The rationale for chiropractic hinges on three postulates:

  1. Bones are out of place
  2. Bony displacements cause nerve interference
  3. Manipulating the spine replaces the bones, removing the nerve interference and allowing Innate (a vitalistic life force) to restore health.

There is no credible evidence to support any of these claims…

…Acupuncture is another issue. Hardman Acupuncturist & TCM [Ed. “William O. Hardman”], Integrated Health Clinic, devote themselves, in part, to this. Dr. Steven Novella of Science-Based Medicine in “Acupuncture Doesn’t Work“ stated:

…according to the usual standards of medicine, acupuncture does not work.

Let me explain what I mean by that. Clinical research can never prove that an intervention has an effect size of zero. Rather, clinical research assumes the null hypothesis, that the treatment does not work, and the burden of proof lies with demonstrating adequate evidence to reject the null hypothesis. So, when being technical, researchers will conclude that a negative study “fails to reject the null hypothesis.”…

…In layman’s terms, acupuncture does not work – for anything.

This has profound clinical, ethical, scientific, and practical implications. In my opinion humanity should not waste another penny, another moment, another patient – any further resources on this dead end. We should consider this a lesson learned, cut our losses, and move on.

…Another issue practice is reflexology, as seen in Health Roots & Reflexology [Ed. Lisa Kako, Alison Legge.]. Quackwatch concludes, “Reflexology is based on an absurd theory and has not been demonstrated to influence the course of any illness… Claims that reflexology is effective for diagnosing or treating disease should be ignored…” …As Dr. Harriet Hall in “Modern Reflexology: Still As Bogus As Pre-Modern Reflexology“ said, “Reflexology is an alternative medicine system that claims to treat internal organs by pressing on designated spots on the feet and hands; there is no anatomical connection between those organs and those spots. Systematic reviews in 2009 and 2011 found no convincing evidence that reflexology is an effective treatment for any medical condition. Quackwatch and the NCAHF agree that reflexology is a form of massage that may help patients relax and feel better temporarily, but that has no other health benefits…”

…A larger concoction of bad science and medicine comes from the Integrated Health Clinic [Ed. Kaiden Maxwell, Gurdev Parmar, Karen Parmar, Michelle Willis, Karen McGee, Erik Boudreau, Adam Davison, Nicole Duffee, Erin Rurak, Alyssa Fruson, Alanna Rinas, Sarah Soles, Wayne Phimister, and Alfred Man. Many, not all, in part or in whole, trained in and practicing pseudosciences – pseudomedicine – found in acupuncture, naturopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, craniosacral therapy, the Bowen technique, and so on. One can integrate several pseudosciences to formulate a clinic for ‘medicine.’ However, all this amounts to an elaborate integration of pseudosciences, an integrated pseudoscience clinic, whether in a quaint fundamentalist religious community village or not.] devoted, largely, to naturopathy/naturopathic medicine (based on a large number of naturopaths on staff) and traditional Chinese medicine with manifestations in IV/chelation therapy, neural therapy, detox, hormone balancing & thermography, anthroposophical medicine, LRHT/hyperthermia, Bowen technique, among others. We’ll run through those first two, as the references to them are available in the resources, in the manner before. Scott Gavura in “Naturopathy vs. Science: Facts edition” stated:

Naturopaths claim that they practice based on scientific principles. Yet examinations of naturopathic literature, practices and statements suggest a more ambivalent attitude. NDhealthfacts.org neatly illustrates the problem with naturopathy itself: Open antagonism to science-based medicine, and the risk of harm from “integrating” these practices into the practice of medicine… Because good medicine isn’t based on invented facts and pre-scientific beliefs – it must be grounded in science. And naturopathy, despite the claims, is anything but scientific.

The Skeptic’s Dictionary stated:

Naturopathy is often, if not always, practiced in combination with other forms of “alternative” health practices... Claims that these and practices such as colonic irrigation or coffee enemas “detoxify” the body or enhance the immune system or promote “homeostasis,” “harmony,” “balance,” “vitality,” and the like are exaggerated and not backed up by sound research.

As Dr. David Gorski, as quoted in RationalWiki, stated, “Naturopathy is a cornucopia of almost every quackery you can think of. Be it homeopathytraditional Chinese medicineAyurvedic medicineapplied kinesiologyanthroposophical medicinereflexologycraniosacral therapy, Bowen Technique, and pretty much any other form of unscientific or prescientific medicine that you can imagine, it’s hard to think of a single form of pseudoscientific medicine and quackery that naturopathy doesn’t embrace or at least tolerate.” The Massachusetts Medical Society stated similar terms, “Naturopathic medical school is not a medical school in anything but the appropriation of the word medical. Naturopathy is not a branch of medicine…”

…Now, onto Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM, or Chinese Medicine or CM, also coming out of the Integrated Health Clinic, RationalWiki notes some of the dangerous, if not disgusting to a North American and Western European palette, ingredients:

CM ingredients can range from common plants, such as dandelion, persimmon, and mint, to weird or even dangerous stuff. Some of the more revolting (from a Western standpoint) things found in TCM include genitals of various animals (including dogs, tigers, seals, oxen, goats, and deer), bear bile (commonly obtained by means of slow, inhumane extraction methods), and (genuine) snake oil… Urinefecesplacenta and other human-derived medicines were traditionally used but some may no longer be in use.

Some of the dangerous ingredients include lead, calomel (mercurous chloride), cinnabar (red mercuric sulfide), asbestos (including asbestiform actinolite, sometimes erroneously called aconite) realgar (arsenic), and birthwort (Aristolochia spp.). Bloodletting is also practiced. Bizarrely, lead oxide, cinnabar, and calomel are said to be good for detoxification. Lead oxide is also supposed to help with ringworms, skin rashes, rosacea, eczema, sores, ulcers, and intestinal parasites, cinnabar allegedly helps you live longer, and asbestos…

Dr. Arthur Grollman, a professor of pharmacological science and medicine at Stony Brook University in New York, in an article entitled “Chinese medicine gains WHO acceptance but it has many critics” is quoted, on the case of TCM or CM acceptance at the World Health Organization, saying, “It will confer legitimacy on unproven therapies and add considerably to the costs of health care… Widespread consumption of Chinese herbals of unknown efficacy and potential toxicity will jeopardize the health of unsuspecting consumers worldwide.”  On case after case, we can find individual practices or collections of practices of dubious effect if not ill-effect in the town. Indeed, this follows from one of the earliest points about the infusion of supernatural thinking or pseudoscientific integration of praxis into the community, whether fear of liberal theology, encouragement of pseudobiology, prejudice and bigotry against the LGBTI members of community, pseudo-psychological diagnoses passed off as real psychological and behavioural issues while simply grounded in theological bias and false assertions as psychological constructs, or in the whole host of bad medical and science practices seen in “colonics/colonhydrotherapy, aromatherapy, chiropractory, acupuncture, reflexology, naturopathy/naturopathic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine.”

[2] The current Council of the Township of Langley consists of Cllr. Petrina Arnason, Cllr. David Davis, Cllr. Steve Ferguson, Cllr. Margaret Kunst, Cllr. Bob Long, Cllr. Kim Richter, Cllr. Blair Whitmarsh, Cllr. Eric Woodward and Mayor Jack Froese.

[3] Canadians’ and Others’ Convictions to Divine Interventionism in the Matters of the Origins and Evolution states:

Canadian Mennonite University invited Professor Dennis Venema from Trinity Western University as the Scientist in Residence. Venema, at the time, stated, “I’m thrilled to be invited to be the Scientist in Residence at CMU for 2019. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for students, and I am honoured to join a prestigious group of prior participants… I hope that these conversations can help students along the path to embracing both God’s word and God’s world as a source of reliable revelation to us.” Venema defends the view of evolutionary theory within a framework of “evolutionary creationism,” which appears more a terminologically diplomatic stance than evolution via natural selection or the code language within some religious commentary as things like or almost identical to “atheistic evolution” or “atheistic evolutionism.” He provides education on the range of religious views on offer with a more enticing one directed at evolution via natural selection. The Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation provides a space for countering some of the young earth geologist and young earth creationist viewpoints, as with the advertisement of the Dr. Jonathan Baker’s lecture, or in pamphlets produced on geological (and other) sciences. 

He works in a tough area within a community not necessarily accepting of the evolution via natural selection view of human beings with a preference for special creation, creationism, or intelligent design. Much of the problems post-genetics as a proper discipline of scientific study and the discovery of evolution via natural selection comes from the evangelical Christian communities’ sub-cultures who insist on a literal and, hence, fundamentalist interpretation or reading of their scriptures or purported holy texts. Another small item of note. Other universities have writers in residence. A Mennonite university hosts a scientist in residence. Science becomes the abnorm rather than the norm. The King’s University contains one reference in the search results within a past conference. However, this may be a reference to “creation” rather than “creationism” as creation and more “creation” speaking to the theological interpretations of genesis without an attempt at an explicit scientific justification of mythology.

By far, the largest number of references to “creationism” came from the largest Christian, and evangelical Christian, university in the country located in Langley, British Columbia, Canada called Trinity Western University, which, given its proximity and student body population compared to the local town, makes Fort Langley – in one framing – and Trinity Western University the heart of fundamentalist evangelical Christianity in Canada. Trinity Western University teaches a “SCS 503 – Creationism & Christainity [sic] (Korean)” course and a “SCS 691 – Creationism Field Trip” course. They hosted a lecture on Stephen Hawking, science, and creation, as stated:

In light of Steven Hawking’s theories, is there enough reason for theists to believe in the existence of God and the creation of the world?

This lecture will respond to Hawking’s views and reflect on the relationship between science, philosophy and theology.

Speaker: Dr. Yonghua Ge, Director of Mandarin Theology Program at ACTS Seminaries (Ibid.)

They hosted another event on evolution and young earth creationism:

All are welcome to attend, Public Lecture, hosted by TWU’s ‘Science, Faith, and Human Flourishing: Conversations in Community” Initiative, supported by Fuller Seminary, Faculty of Natural and Applied Sciences, and the Canadian Scientific & Christian Affiliation, “Evolutionary and Young-Earth Creationism: Two Separate Lectures” (Darrel Falk, “Evolution, Creation and the God Who is Love” and Todd Wood, “The Quest: Understanding God’s Creation in Science and Scripture”)

Dirk Büchner, Professor of Biblical Studies at Trinity Western University, states an expertise in “Hebrew Bible / Old Testament, Hebrew, Aramaic and Syriac (grammar and syntax), Hellenistic Greek (grammar and lexicography), The Septuagint. Of more popular interest: The Bible and Social Justice, and Creationism, Scientism and the Bible: why there should be no conflict between mainstream science and Christian faith.” Professor Büchner holds an expert status in “creationism.” A non-conflict between mainstream science and the Christian faith would mean the significantly reduced status of the intervention of the divine in the ordinary life of Christians. He remains one locus of creationism in the Trinity Western University environment. Dr. Paul Yang’s biography states, “Paul Yang has over twenty years teaching experience, lecturing on physics and physics education, as well as Christian worldview and creationism. He has served as the director of the Vancouver Institute for Evangelical Wordlview [Sic] as well as the Director of the Christian.” Yang holds memberships or affiliations with the American Scientific Affiliation, Creation Research Society, and Korea Association of Creation Research. Dr. Alister McGrath and Dr. Michael Shermer had a dialogue moderated by a panel with Paul Chamberlain, Ph.D., Jaime Palmer-Hague, Ph.D., and Myron Penner, Ph.D. in 2017 at Trinity Western University.

All exist as probably Christian front organizations with the pretense as scientific and Christian organizations. One can see the patterns repeat themselves over and over again. Christian ‘science’ amounts to creationism, as noted before. Yang, with more than 20 years, exists as a pillar of creationist teaching, thinking, and researching within Canada and at Trinity Western University…

…Other cases of the more sophisticated and newer brands of Christianity with a similar theology, but more evolutionary biology – proper – incorporated into them exist in some of the heart of parts of evangelical Christianity in Canada. Professor Dennis Venema of Trinity Western University and his colleague Dave Navarro (Pastor, South Langley Church) continued a conversation on something entitled “evolutionary creation,” not “creation science” or “intelligent design” as Venema’s orientation at Trinity Western University continues to focus on the ways in which the evolutionary science can mix with a more nuanced and informed Christian theological worldview within the Evangelical tradition. One can doubt the fundamental claim, not in the Bible but, about the Bible as the holy God-breathed or divinely inspired book of the creator of the cosmos, but one can understand the doubt about the base claim about the veracity of the Bible leading to doubt about the contents and claims in the Bible – fundamental and derivative…

…A more small-time politician, Dr. Darrell Furgason, ran for public office in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada. Furgason lectured at Trinity Western University and earned a Ph.D. in Religious Studies. Dr. Furgason claims inclusivity for all while ignoring standard protocol in science, i.e., asserting religious views in written work, “Theistic evolution is a wrong view of Genesis, as well as history, and biology. Adam & Eve were real people….who lived in real history….around 6000 years ago.” ..

…The main fundamentalist Evangelical Christian postsecondary institution, university, found in Canadian society is Trinity Western University, where Professor Dennis Venema was the prominent individual referenced as the source of progress in the scientific discussions within intellectual and, in particular, formal academic discussions and teaching. Trinity Western University operates near Fort Langley, British Columbia, Canada in Langley. The main feature case for Story comes from a city near to Trinity Western University in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Story considers this the single most controversial case of creationism in the entire country…

…John Sutherland, of Trinity Western University, chaired the Abbotsford school board of the time, which, potentially, shows some relationship between the surrounding areas and the school curriculum and creationism axis – as you may recall Trinity Western University sits in Fort Langley, British Columbia, Canada, next to the city of Abbotsford, British Columbia as an evangelical Christian university. “The Minister agreed with Goodman and the Teachers’ Association and sent a letter requesting assurances from the board that they were adhering to the provincial curriculum…”, Story explained, “…The Minister’s requests were not directly acknowledged, but Sutherland was vocal about the issue in local media outlets. He accused the Minister of religious prejudice by attempting to remove creationism from the district.”

See “Canadians’ and Others’ Convictions to Divine Interventionism in the Matters of the Origins and Evolution”: https://www.newsintervention.com/creationism-evolution-jacobsen/.

[4] Science and Faith: A Conversation in Community, With Darrel Falk & Todd Wood“ states:

Darrel Falk is Senior Advisor for Dialog and former president of BioLogos. He is also Emeritus Professor of Biology at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego where he has been based since 1988. He is a graduate of Simon Fraser University, with a doctorate in genetics from the University of Alberta and postdoctoral fellowships at the University of British Columbia and the University of California, Irvine.   He began his career on the faculty at Syracuse University where he was tenured prior to his move into Christian higher education. Dr. Falk has given numerous talks about the relationship between science and faith at many universities, churches, and some seminaries. Besides his extensive writing at the BioLogos website, he is the author of Coming to Peace with Science  (InterVarsity Press) and the forthcoming book with Todd C. Wood, The Fool and the Heretic: How Two Scientists Moved beyond Labels to a Dialog about Creation and Evolution (Zondervan).

Todd C Wood is a Michigan native and graduate of Liberty University (Summa Cum Laude). He earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Virginia in 1999, where he specialized in computational biology and protein evolution. He then did a post-doc on the rice genome at the Clemson University Genomics Institute. He spent 13 years at Bryan College and launched Core Academy of Science in 2013. Core Academy is a creation ministry that nurtures the next generation of Christ-like creation researchers to explore the hardest problems in creation. He is an expert in comparative genomics and computational systematics. He has authored or co-authored more than 40 technical papers, including papers in Science, Journal of Evolutionary Biology, and Answers Research Journal. He is the author or co-author of six books, including The Quest: Exploring Creation’s Hardest Problems and The Fool and the Heretic, written with Darrel Falk and Rob Barrett. In addition to teaching high school Bible and theology classes at Rhea County Academy, Todd also wrote the Introduction to Science textbook used in the ninth grade science class. His current research focuses on the created kinds of insects, floral mutations in trillium, and creationist interpretations of human fossils. He was featured in the 2017 documentary Is Genesis History? In his spare time, he likes to make pie and watch classic movies.

See “Science and Faith: A Conversation in Community, With Darrel Falk & Todd Wood.”

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

5 COMMENTS

  1. It is a mistake to call any of the first two chapters of Genesis “accounts of Creation”. They are not. The seven era narrative shown to Moses was concerning the seven periods of time that Yehovah was revealing to Moses, on Mt. Sinai, in 1598 BC. It was one day each, taken from seven different weeks, which were the first week of the seven eras.

    The first was Creation Week, represented by the Fourth Day, followed by six Restoration Weeks. Five of the periods are from the ancient past. One is of our own period (second day), and one is of a future period (third day, feast of Tabernacles), when Yeshua will dwell on Earth and rule all the universe from the New Jerusalem. Starting with Passover (Wednesday), the 12-hr days follow
    the sequence of the seven Feasts of the Lord, given to Israel.

    The second chapter of Genesis begins the history of modern man, which began in 7,200 BC. Therefore, any creationist that claims the dinosaurs and dimetrodons died in Noah’s flood (2611 BC) is a clown.

    Herman Cummings
    ephraim7@aol.com

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