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The Scopes trial and me, part 2 (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Accept Evolution)

The question of evolution is one I’ve thought about a lot, and from both sides of the issue.  I started as a William Jennings Bryan and have become, if not a Clarence Darrow, at least a member of the defense counsel for Scopes.

When I was in grade school I was convinced that I was going to disprove evolution.  How exactly I was to do that I wasn’t quite sure.  My first step involved filling a notebook with a list of dinosaur names and facts about them.  I attended a private Christian school throughout elementary, junior and senior high.  So when it came time to put together a Science Fair project, I did one on the extinction of the dinosaurs.  My report was a garbled mishmash of Flood geology, a water vapor canopy, and National Geographic articles about extinction events like asteroids or a comet.  I created a diorama in a fish tank of plastic dinosaurs on land made of green Play-doh surrounded by blue plastic wrap to signify water: Voila!  The Flood.  What this was supposed to show or prove is beyond me.  Even my teacher had doubts about my project, noting that I had not followed the scientific method.  I had no testable hypothesis.

The standard Young Earth Creationist explanation of the dinosaurs’ extinction is that dinosaurs were created on the 6th day along with the other animals.  This happened approximately 10,000 years ago, give or take (or 4,004 B.C. if one is following James Ussher’s chronology where he added up all of the genealogies in the Bible to arrive at a date for creation).  Humans and dinosaurs coexisted until the time of the Flood.  The Flood was a catastrophic event that changed everything.  Before that time there was a water canopy that surrounded the Earth.  Once the water canopy was gone, (presumably the water rained down as part of the Flood), then the climate of the Earth changed.  Pre-Flood, the Earth’s climate was temperate and mild.  Post-Flood, the climate became closer to what it is today, perhaps even allowing for some sort of ice age or two (though the work of glaciers on the landscape could just as easily be explained by the Flood).  So dinosaurs died out after the Flood presumably because of the change in climate (or maybe an extinction event like an asteroid/comet also contributed, or so I guessed).

In high school, instead of learning evolution, we learned evidence that the Earth and the universe were young, no older than 10,000 years.  The evidence included the rate of magnetic decay of the Earth and the amount of dust found on the moon (the latter of which I could not find with a quick perusal of Young Earth Creationist websites, perhaps that argument is no longer used).  We were told that the magnetic force would have been too strong if the Earth were older, and the moon would have had much more dust.  There was a lot more evidence.  The eruption of Mt. St. Helens in 1980 was meant to show that catastrophism could cause immense change that would make the affected area appear old.  The Flood, of course, was meant to be the prime catastrophe that caused mountains to appear or layers of sediment, and all the fossils and the Grand Canyon, etc.  Carbon dating was right out.  It didn’t show what it was meant to show, and wasn’t even accurate past a few thousand years.  Troubling aspects like visible light from distant galaxies was hand-waved away with the confidence that God could create the universe with the light already having traveled to Earth.  The universe could have the appearance of age if God so chose.  Humans, animals, and plants were all created fully formed, so it made sense that so would the universe.  Why it had to be so big was a question I never asked.

I continued my education at a private Christian college in the South.  Halfway through my first year, I picked up Stephen Hawking’s Brief History of Time from my roommate’s shelf.  I didn’t know much about it, except that Hawking was supposed to be a genius.  My memory of the experience is that much of the astrophysics went over my head, but that the overall grandeur of the universe, its immensity, hit home.  The evidence for a nearly 14 billion year old universe stacked up.  I faced some major cognitive dissonance.  The thought of an old universe was unsettling, but I had no intention of giving up my faith.  I remember trying to broach the subject of an old earth with some friends in the cafeteria.  I was nervous because it seemed like I might be flirting with potential heresy.  Nothing we talked about gave me an idea how to reconcile the impasse, so I ruminated on it for the next few months.

Fortunately for me, the college had invited Hugh Ross as a speaker for their annual lecture series in the Spring.  Ross is a Christian astrophysicist who interprets the days of Genesis as long periods of time (commonly referred to as the day-age theory of creation).  His interpretation does not allow for any macro-evolution of species into other species, instead relying on God to perform special creation at various stages of cosmic history.  It was a huge relief to me that there were other Christians who thought the Earth might be old, too.  I didn’t have to give up my faith or my new understanding of the universe.  I didn’t know much about science at that point, but it was clear to me that the Young Earth Creationism that I had believed considered a certain interpretation of Genesis as primary over scientific inquiry.  The only point of science was to prove what was already known from the Bible.  There was no discovery possible, only confirmation.  In theological terms, Young Earth Creationism treats special revelation (the Bible) as superior to natural revelation (the created universe).  Now that I’d had a personal encounter with science (not one mediated by the lens of creationism), I could no longer accept that.

So how could I have let go of my belief in a young earth, given my fundamentalist upbringing?  I had only attended Christian schools up to this point.  I was surrounded by people who thought very similarly to me, who believed the same things I did.  Before I heard Ross, I had never had a serious discussion about the age of the Earth where it wasn’t already assumed that it was created less than 10,000 years ago.  While it was this bubble that created my confident belief in a young earth, I think that it was also this same environment that actually let me question those assumptions.  If I had gone to a public high school or a state university, I would have felt under attack for my faith.  I undoubtedly would have stood up for my beliefs in a biology class, and held onto them all the tighter because they were part of my identity.  Because my belief about the age of the earth was safe in my Christian school environment, I could question it.

A few years later while in graduate school I read Del Ratzsch’s The Battle of Beginnings and  Kenneth Miller’s Finding Darwin’s God, two books that attempt to reconcile Christianity with evolution.  I found both of them very interesting and compelling, but I wasn’t sure that I was ready to agree that God used evolution.  But I was now willing to say it was possible.  In the years since then, there wasn’t a single dramatic moment when I decided that I could accept evolution as an explanation for the diversity of species, but it gradually happened.  I suppose a change like this takes a lot of time.

I’ve only had a handful of conversations with family and friends about evolution since I became evolution-friendly, but the situation always makes me feel like the outsider, the stranger, the black sheep.  I’m no longer on the creationist team.  It’s the Bizarro-version of the creationist standing up to the evolutionist teacher and defending the faith: Now I’m the one standing up for evolution (or not saying anything). It’s pretty strange.

Evolution is a topic I’d like to return to again as I read (and reread) more.  I’d like to explore the theological implications of evolution: what does it mean for creation and humanity. But I’d also like to look at the science of it, too, as a layperson who doesn’t know much about science.

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20 thoughts on “The Scopes trial and me, part 2 (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Accept Evolution)

    • Not sure I quite understand what you mean. Are you saying the context of the whole Bible is important or that we have to understand everything through the lens of the book of Revelation?

  1. Josh Evitt says:

    Sounds like a very good topic. I have a theory on the age of the earth as well. I cannot deny what I’ve read, and been told while teaching at a public school. however, I cannot avoid k-12 at a Christian school and 4 years at the same college. I do not remember the chapels with Hugh Ross…either that was before I was there, or I was ‘there’, but not there…

    • Ross’s lecture series was my freshmen year, so that would have been before your time. It was a year or so later that Ken Ham spoke in chapel. I think it was meant to balance out Ross’s views. Ham is of course famous now for his creation museum and his recent debate with Bill Nye, but he was well known to us then, too.

      Sounds like we have similar backgrounds. And now we’re both stay at home parents. Life is funny.

  2. Patrick Nowak says:

    Andy- Consider carefully the implications of accepting biological evolution on your faith. Be sure that you read Christ’s own words and those of the new testament writers as they quote the old testament. Christ in particular referenced the Genesis passage you mentioned in your first post on this subject when he was discussing divorce with the Pharisees. In his quote in Mathew 19:4 he acknowledges that man is created by God. In other passages he references the old testament as factual, for example when he talks about giving the people the “sign of Jonah” (Matt 16:4). If you accept biological evolution (i.e. that man is NOT created in God’s image but evolved from other species) you are essentially calling Christ a liar. To do this effectively, you must have some authority higher than Him. If what He says is not true in one area, how then do you decide what things He said are and are not true? What is your authority for making that decision? And, what things will you accept as true or not? If God did not create man in his own image, what other supernatural events didn’t actually happen? The virgin birth? Miraculous resurrection from the dead? The logical conclusion to accepting the idea that man is not uniquely created in God’s image is that we do not need a Savior, which implies that Christ was nothing more than an average human who lived an exemplary life and gave the world a very nice set of teachings to follow. To accept this idea is to ignore the actions of the authors of the New Testament and early Christians who were persecuted and killed for their faith which was based on what they’d seen with their own eyes.
    If this argument seems a bit blunt, that is because our family has personal experience with this very issue. Melody’s older brother, who was raised in a fundamental Christian home just like you and me, is now a professing atheist. That change was precipitated by accepting evolution as fact. His change in belief is having a significant effect on his own family. His wife is a Christian and she is trying raise their two sons as Christians as well. Her husband is so far removed from their Christian roots that he is now seriously considering divorcing her.
    Think very carefully about what it means to accept evolution as fact. (Note that I am drawing a distinction between the age of the earth and biological evolution). Think about why you would choose to believe one over the other. What do you have to give up to accept one idea or the other? What do you gain by accepting one idea over the other? If you accept biological evolution, you are acknowledging science as we understand it at this instant in time to be your authority. If you acknowledge Christ as authoritative you have submitted your manner of thinking to an authority which is outside of time, which is unchanging and which is never wrong.
    If God is not big enough and powerful enough to create us uniquely in His image, is He big enough and powerful enough to meet our personal needs on a day to day basis? If not, then you’d better find a different god.

    I have intentionally left out all arguments based on “scientific evidence” for one position or the other because the real issue is not what the science shows. The issue is what Christ did or did not do and what that means to us as individuals. Your faith (in one idea or the other) will inevitably dictate how you interpret the “science”.

    • Patrick, I appreciate your concern. I really do. Especially in light of the situation with Melody’s brother. It sounds tragic for their family, and I’m sure that’s hard on Melody and you.

      However, I think you’re setting up some false dichotomies between biological evolution and the Bible, or between science and Christ. I don’t see them as opposed. I don’t think it’s an either/or. Our differing assumptions are making it hard for us to communicate, I think.

      You assume that belief in evolution means humans cannot be made in the “image of God.” But I don’t see why that is the case. First, what does the “image of God” mean? Scholars have had many ideas over the years. Many of their ideas are not incompatible with evolution. I would point you to this article at BioLogos concerning the “image of God” and evolution (http://biologos.org/questions/image-of-god). Basically it says that the image could be the human capacity to have a relationship with God (Aquinas’s view) or it could be humanity’s commission to be God’s representatives on Earth. Either of these interpretations of the image is compatible with evolution. Anyway, read the whole article. It’s worth your time.

      I think our view on the relationship between faith and science is the main problem we’re having in understanding one another, but I do want to address the Biblical passages you mention since you seem to find evolution threatening to your understanding of Christ. When I read the beginning of Genesis as a hymn of creation, that doesn’t mean that it is devoid of truth. I don’t read it as a factual list of what happened the first week of the universe, but as a poem about what God has made. That doesn’t contradict what Jesus says in Matthew. I still believe God created the universe, including humans. You and I are disagreeing about the how, not the what. We both agree that God created humans and the universe.

      I don’t know if this alleviates your concerns or not. I hope it helps. I don’t think evolution has to equal atheism, though I know that is the path for some people. It doesn’t have to be. It’s not for me.

  3. Patrick Nowak says:

    Andy-Thank you for the link and especially for clarifying your position on the balance between evolution/Christianity and atheism. That certainly does alleviate some of my concerns. I did read the article you linked and I think that too has helped me to better understand your ideas. Knowing that we are in fact only in disagreement on the how of our coming into being as a species and not where we stand with respect to Christ is very encouraging.

    I still don’t agree with the God directed evolution idea because there are some theological problems with it. If we believe that we evolved from some other species, at what point did we acquire a sin nature and an eternal spirit? If we are the product of evolution, are we not continuing to evolve and if we are, then why did Christ come and die for us at the point in history when he did? Another question to consider is how long has Genesis been read as “poetry” rather than as literal fact? Evolution as an explanation of the origin of species is a relatively recent idea. Was Genesis generally accepted as factual until evolution gained popularity?

    I readily acknowledge that the current study of both anthropology and astrophysics seems to suggest that our universe is many billions of years old. I also acknowledge that an all powerful God could choose to use evolution to populate the earth with life. However, I do not see that approach as consistent with the rest of Scripture. Both in the old and new testament we have numerous accounts of supernatural intervention by God in the natural world. Why would He then use a natural phenomenon over the span of millions or billions of years to populate the earth?

    I am quite willing to cling to the idea of a supernatural, all powerful God using His awesome power to create humans instaniously. You may see this as ignoring scientific evidence, but I see it as a satisfactory solution to the theological problems evolution doesn’t explain.

    My real concern is not so much with the idea of evolution. It is with how we get to the point of considering evolution a plausible explanation for our existence. How we read, interpret and understand Scripture is fundamental to our relationship with Christ. If you read Genesis as poetry rather than literally, but take all the rest of the Bible as factual, then we really do only disagree on origins. But what about so many other people who discount the book of Daniel and its prophecies or those of Isaiah? Where do we draw the line in our own lives? Is the Bible really up for that level of personal interpretation? If it is, then we’re back to the concerns I raised yesterday. If the Bible can be shown to be untrue in one area, how can we trust it in another? If for example the flood did not occur as described in Genesis, how can we rely on the arguments made in Matthew, Luke, Hebrews, and 1 and 2 Peter that all reference Noah and the flood? What we really come back to is the authoritativeness of Scripture. If Scripture does not have authority over us, then we can pick and choose what we like, or discount the whole thing as my brother-in-law has done. If, on the other hand, we acknowledge that Scripture is the authority then we will subjugate ourselves, our ideas and our interpretations of the world around us to it.

    • I’m glad that we understand each other better now. You raise a lot of issues, some regarding the theological implications of evolution and some regarding the authority and interpretation of the Bible. I’m not going to be able to answer everything fully at this time. These are issues that I hope to come back to and write about in the future as I do more reading.

      Here’s the short answer I would give now. The Bible is a collection of documents in different genres. A lot of the Old Testament is poetry. And the history books are not history books in the way that we understand history now. They’re not textbooks of Israelite history. Some of the books had persuasive functions (such as Judges). Some were to give the Law. Some, while presenting basically the same material, presented the prophetic side of events (Kings) and others the monarchy (Chronicles). Even the poetry has many different functions (praise to God, apocalypse, celebration of wisdom, etc.). In other words, it’s a really complex set of documents to read. And that’s why your category of “factual” doesn’t seem to be very helpful to me. The Bible is literature, not a list of facts from God. We all interpret the Bible, selecting what to follow and what to set aside. I imagine that you make a distinction between ceremonial law and moral law when reading Leviticus, for example. I’m sure you don’t have a problem with anyone wearing mixed fabrics. This doesn’t invalidate the commandment not to murder or to steal.

      In college, I found the book How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Fee and Stuart to be valuable in understanding different genres. More recently, I’ve greatly enjoyed a series of podcasts by Josh Way, a seminary trained friend of a friend. You can listen or read the transcripts here if you’re interested (http://book.joshway.com/)

      Anyway, I think this is a conversation for another day. Still friends? 🙂

  4. Patrick Nowak says:

    Absolutely still friends!! I wouldn’t want it any other way! I hope we get some time to actually talk through our ideas since the written word (typed in this case) is so much slower. I’m sure we both think much faster than we can type. You and I and several other of the guys from our class were always very deep thinkers.I recall the several occasions we all got together for sleepovers and would spend hours deep in conversation about the details of Scripture and what it means. This conversation reminds me very much of those times, even though our starting points are a bit further apart now. If you ever travel through southern Wisconsin please feel free to drop by. We’re just off of I-90 a few miles north of the WI/IL border.

  5. Sam Ladwig says:

    Hi Patrick and Andy, I don’t talk to people about the topic of origins very much because my views are distressing to most of the people I care about, so I was pleasantly surprised to come across Andy’s blog. I think Patrick is right about the theological implications of evolution. While accepting evolution was a journey for me as it was for Andy, I did approach it from a decidedly different direction. I am agnostic and evolution gives me the necessary intellectual fulfillment. I did not reject Christianity because I learned about evolution; rather it solidified my doubts about it that were already rooted in my mind. Like most fundamentalist kids my science education was woefully inadequate. I knew nothing of evolution at all except that it seemed ridiculous. I was disillusioned with Christianity because of the discord among even fundamentalists about interpretation of scripture. I was raised in an even smaller bubble of fundamentalism than most, one where there was no music with a beat, no going to movies, and women didn’t wear pants. When my family came to TCS, I was happy to have my restrictions loosened a bit. But I could not brush away the realization that some biblical inerrancy subscribers do interpret the bible differently than others. One day listening to DC Talk was a sin and the next day it was not. My disillusionment deepened my freshman year at Bob Jones university where I experienced a whole new level of legalism and almost got kicked out for playing the wrong style of music on my acoustic guitar. Dr. Bob derisively referred to TCS-type Christians as “New Evangelicals.” These tensions and many others contributed to me effectively losing my faith before I ever seriously considered evolution. However, I was not comfortable in my mind with unbelief because I had nothing to replace it with and I was terrified of Hell. When I finally did give evolution a fair shake I was stunned to realize how much sense it makes. Common descent is essentially a fact, not a theory. (Though in science terms a theory is quite strong.) There is some debate about the mechanism for evolution, with natural selection being the strongest candidate, as well as the timeless problem of first cause. I am not concerned with these issues though because for me confirmation of common descent does strike a serious blow to traditional Christian theology as Patrick fears. Nevertheless, as valuable a trait as faith is to many people, I fail to see how anyone can cling to a young earth model after seeing the overwhelming evidence for common descent. The bible HAS to be interpreted differently or such people risk intellectual illegitimacy. I remember both of you as extremely smart so I would never level this charge at you Patrick. It is more of a conundrum for myself–how extremely bright individuals can deny such powerful evidence. If you have not given common descent a serious look Patrick, I strongly urge you to do so. It seems to me that if you have what I never did–a personal relationship with God–it will withstand an honest pursuit of truth wherever it may lead. As both of you might imagine, my parents are in anguish over my choices. I wrote a little book for them some years ago that details my problem with religion and Christianity in particular. I love criticism and debate so i would be delighted if either of you would read it and offer your thoughts (or intellectual spanking.)

    • Thanks for sharing your journey, Sam. I definitely hoped people would be able to relate to my experiences.

      I’m sure I’ll talk about this in more detail in a future blog post, but I’ve found a lot of solace and meaning in the Episcopal church. It’s very accepting of a wide range of views. I feel at home there, and feel that I can grow and change and still feel at home. I’m not telling you to go back to church, Sam, but just letting you know one of the reasons I think I didn’t follow the same path as you. You mentioned the problem of a first cause. I think that’s another reason why I’ve never been able to shake my faith that there is a God. I don’t know that it offers any kind of philosophical proof, but it’s always been compelling for me: the fact that there is something and not nothing.

      I hope you’ll stick around and keep reading. I’d love to have more conversations with you about evolution and its theological implications and all of that. It won’t be all evolution all the time, but I’ll definitely be returning to it.

      • Sam says:

        Thanks for your response Andy. I most certainly will follow your blog.

        I remember my parents taking us kids to an Episcopal church for a Christmas Eve service when I was young. I think we all appreciated the change of pace–the formality and tradition of the service.

      • I forgot to mention in my earlier response that I would like to read your book. I enjoy debating stuff like this, too. I think you can send me an email at the top of the homepage. If that doesn’t work, just send me a message on facebook.

  6. Josh Evitt says:

    I have begun to think, since being at home a lot more, on this same topic as well. I remember reading a description of the beginning of the world from an atheist’s point of view. It magnified the grandeur of how all of the elements came together, formed, etc. My initial reaction, based on 12+ years of entrenched dogma, was to turn my nose, change channels, and watch Jeopardy. But, I could not unhear it. It is lovely, it is full of grandeur, AND it, in my small mind, is orchestrated by the God in which I believe. I have trouble accepting that, in some aspects, the idea of evolution negates humanity’s status as being made in God’s image. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. What is not more wonderful than being orchestrated from the dust, and then set apart from other creatures not only by natural selection, but also through divine engineering? It does not shake my faith or remove my desire to know God more. Rather, it reinforces what I believe and supports it…oh and on a completely different topic…my sonnet cycle is almost done, Andy…almost 🙂

    • If God did set off the big bang and had foreknowledge, then he knew how humans would come out in the end. He could know that the laws of the universe would evolve a creature “in his image,” whatever that exactly means (see above comment and link about capacity to have a relationship with God or being God’s image to creation). I’m not saying God couldn’t step in supernaturally, but it’s not really something that can be observed and scientifically studied.

      Congratulations on the sonnets. That’s no simple feat! feet? (You like bad puns, right?)

  7. Patrick Nowak says:

    Hey Sam-Good to hear from you. I am definitely aware of some of the evidence for evolution as well as the some of the very challenging questions that can be raised for Christians from a science standpoint. Rather than ignore them outright, which, as you noted, would not be an intellectually honest thing to do, I do consider them. But I also must consider additional information, in particular that found in the New Testament, as well as my own experience with a personal God. From that point of view I am presented with two competing sets of evidence. Do I ignore my personal experience as well as the eye witness accounts of the first Christians? If I adopted fully the common view of origins I would have to do that. Instead, I have placed my faith in Christ as described by the New Testament. There certainly is evidence for a historical Jesus and for early Christians giving their lives for what they believed which was based on what they saw. So, my faith is based on evidence. But I certainly acknowledge that there is a strong case to be made for evolution. I just don’t think that case is stronger than the one for Christ as Creator,Savior and Friend. I must say it is most dissappointing to hear about your experiences with legalism in the Christian community. I’ve heard numerous similar examples to the one you shared and it really saddens me when I do because I can see the damage being done to the general witness and testimony of Christians when that occurs.

  8. Patrick Albion says:

    Mr. Nowack (I don’t mean to be so formal, I’m just trying to avoid multiple Patrick confusion), i hope you do not mind me responding to a few of your questions and comments from above.

    I believe that your question of when people started to look at Genesis (or at least the creation story in Genesis) as poetry is a backwards question. As far as I’m aware the literary structure of the contents of that portion of Genesis is such that it would have been obvious to it’s readers in the original language that it was not literal fact. The change to thinking of it more literally would have happened later as the translations got further and further away from the original text language, and possibly as Christians felt the need to separate their story as something different than what science was starting to hypothesize.

    The other thing i wanted to address was the need Christians tend to have for biblical things to be supernatural. This has never quite made sense to me, as in order to have this need, you would first need to believe unfailingly in scientific concepts, and then be able to point out that these unfailing concepts were indeed overcome with a God stronger than them. It requires faith in God, but it requires even more faith in science because you need to have zero doubt that things like the laws of physics are accurate. Even scientists would not believe that, as they constantly retesting and re-hypothesizing.

    I’m not writer, and I’m much better at discussing these things in person (we can do this next month Andy!), so i hope you will allow me to transcribe an excerpt from a book that speaks to this idea much better than i ever could. This is from Albert Nolan’s “Jesus Before Christianity”:

    “Miracles are very often thought of, both by those who believe in them and those who do not, as events, or purported events, that contradict the laws of nature and that therefore cannot be explained by science or reason. But this is not at all what the Bible means by a miracle, as any biblical scholar will tell you.’The laws of nature’ is a modern scientific concept. The Bible knows nothing about nature, let alone the laws of nature. The world is God’s creation and whatever happens in the world, ordinary or extraordinary, is part of God’s providence. The Bible does not divide events into natural and supernatural. God is in one way or another behind all events.

    A miracle in the Bible is an unusual event which has been understood as an unusual act of God, a mighty work. Certain acts of God are called miracles or wonders because of their ability to astonish and surprise us, their ability to make us marvel and wonder. Thus creation is a miracle, grace is a miracle, the growth of an enormous mustard tree from a tiny seed is a miracle, the liberation of the Israelites from Egypt was a miracle, the kingdom of God will be a miracle. The world is full of miracles for those who have eyes to see them. If we are no longer able to wonder and marvel except when the so called laws of nature are broken, then we must be in a sorry state.”

    It goes on further (it’s a really good book) on this topic, but I think that this portion says a lot. I hope you can see God’s miracle in the growing of a mustard tree, even when science can explain how that mustard tree grows. Just the same, there is no need to stop seeing God’s hand in our creation, even if science can explain or hypothesize some of the details or methods for how the process happened!

    • I like the excerpt you quoted. I’ll have to add that book to my list now, too.

      I grew up a block away from the Toledo Zoo, so we would go see the animals all the time. I know there’s something inherently sad about a caged animal (though the exhibits are getting better), but it’s incredible to see wonderful animals up close. I have a lot of fond memories of different animal behavior I’ve seen in zoos. My love of zoos continues to this day. We take the kids often to our local zoo. And since I became evolution-friendly, I’ve greatly enjoyed nature documentaries, especially those done by the BBC and narrated by David Attenborough. He is a treasure. I feel like I appreciate creation on a whole new level after seeing the magnificent grandeur of the earth. Maybe I’ll write about this all in more detail in the future, but it seemed relevant to your comments.

      I also want to write more later about the history of interpreting Genesis. A few years ago I read Ronald Numbers’s The Creationists, a history of creationist thought since Darwin. It’s a very even-handed treatment of the central figures and ideas, including Bryan and Price who are mentioned in the post above. I’d like to revisit the book sometime now that I know even more of the background.

      I’m really looking forward to seeing you later this month! We can talk about evolution and fantasy football! (Or other stuff). It’s going to be great.

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