The Galvanic Response

In a response to the KvD decision, William Dembski had a few words to say:

“This galvanizes the Christian community,” said William Dembski, a leading proponent of the theory and a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, a Seattle think tank that promotes intelligent design research. “People I’m talking to say we’re going to be raising a whole lot more funds now.”

Where to start? Well, I do think that the Christian community should be galvanized, but certainly in a way different from what Dembski thinks. Judge Jones’ decision clearly lays out how both the specific actions of the Dover school district and the general tactics of “intelligent design” advocates have been based upon deception, subterfuge, and lies. We as Christians should reject utterly the sort of lies, mendacity, and innuendo that not just characterize antievolution, but comprise it. It is a blot upon the reputation of the body of Christ, an erroneous and injurious digression from the serious business of making our lives an example to the world.

And a positive example of just the sort of response that should be seen is seen in the Clergy Letter Project. More than 10,000 US clergy have signed the following statement:

Within the community of Christian believers there are areas of dispute and disagreement, including the proper way to interpret Holy Scripture. While virtually all Christians take the Bible seriously and hold it to be authoritative in matters of faith and practice, the overwhelming majority do not read the Bible literally, as they would a science textbook. Many of the beloved stories found in the Bible – the Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark – convey timeless truths about God, human beings, and the proper relationship between Creator and creation expressed in the only form capable of transmitting these truths from generation to generation. Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth. Its purpose is not to convey scientific information but to transform hearts.

We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris. We urge school board members to preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge. We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth.

In the second instance, Christians should be repulsed by the notion that we are simply seen as a complicit source of ready cash, ready to be squeezed by sensational broadsides into giving money to people whose aim is to spread misinformation. In these times, there are so many worthy causes to be supported that it should be inconceivable that one would instead send even a dime to folks whose only product is misinformation, and whose claims to be doing Christian work are an offense.

Whether one is a Christian and theistic evolutionist, old-earth creationist, or young-earth creationist, the time has come to reject the false teachings of antievolution peddlers. If one finds the data and theories of science to be incompatible with one’s interpretation of scripture, then say that and there leave it. That at least is an honest difference of opinion, without the pretense that one is trying to cloak theology in a camouflage outfit to try to pass it off as science. Christian belief has weathered previous encounters with aspects of science. Pretense, though, must be set aside. Christians can disagree on whether particular findings of science should or should not be accepted, and how the interface of theology and science should be handled. But Christians should draw the line on the use of untruthful tactics. It is past time to say that we will not put up with lies told in the name of Christ.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Data scientist in real estate and econometrics. Blogger. Speaker. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

16 thoughts on “The Galvanic Response

  • 2005/12/22 at 7:16 pm

    Thanks for another excellent post.


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  • 2005/12/23 at 11:18 am


    Were the board of directors of the Discovery Institute a working, responsible group, they might take action to stamp out false teachings. Accountability certainly would be an improvement.

  • 2005/12/23 at 11:38 am

    There is the report of dissent on the DI board of directors:

    Seattle P-I article

    Mike Vaska took issue with the DI response to the ruling.

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  • 2005/12/23 at 4:52 pm

    Krauze at Telic Thoughts seems to think that there is some disconnect between my post here and an earlier comment on Panda’s Thumb, that the PT comment indicates a difference in my motivation from what I’ve indicated here. There isn’t. My involvement in the issue stems from attending a YEC lecture in 1986 and being given a copy of Henry Morris’ The Scientific Case for Creation. The level of mendacity sustained through that book served to galvanize me. The PT comment follows from that. My personal motivation has remained the same throughout.

  • 2005/12/24 at 3:59 am

    I would personally ignore Krauze and most of the telic thoughts crowd myself. For those who dislike critics bringing up the “wedge strategy” they are quick to hunt for anything they can use to cast doubt on their opponents (however founded in fact it is).

    As for your post, as a Christian and scientist myself, I find the antics of the DI, the dover school board and others like them reprehensible and am continually dismayed at the lack of challenge they attain from those of faith. It’s time we throw out the charletans who are making Christian faith look like a backwards dead ideology that is irrelevant in the modern world.

  • 2005/12/24 at 10:36 am

    Thank you for this essay. The volume of sane, rational Christians needs to start drowning out this madness. It only serves to make our faith seem backwards and irrational. I was particularly pleased that the letter above points out that God gave us minds so we could use them.

  • 2005/12/24 at 6:35 pm

    As a Christian and a “believer” in science (seems silly to call it that) I am glad to have found your space. I am so tired of people, on all sides, challenging me because I am not an atheist but I “believe” in evolution.

    I am appalled on a regular basis by the lies people claiming to be followers of Christ will tell to achieve their ends. I am appalled by many things that these folks would do but the lying is the hardest to stomach. They cannot possibly justify it biblicaly but they seem to think it’s ok as long as it furthers “god’s work.” It may their god but not mine. The bible, no matter how one takes it, is absolutely clear, Truth is paramount.

    The lying is bad enough, but when they do it in the name of their god it makes anyone who believes in God look like a fool and a liar. I am not a liar and only occasionaly a fool. Yet I was embarrased and afraid, for years, to admit I was a Christian. Not because I was ashamed of my God but because I was ashamed of what others did and claimed in his name.

    In short, I was galvanized before this but I will be sharing this piece with a lot of my friends whom I think need to read it.

  • 2005/12/26 at 7:49 am

    Speaking of atheits, been over to Kansas Citizens for Science lately.

    A little band of agressively insulting regualars has been smearing everyone who does not fall in to line with their view of science.

    Most of them are not “Kansas Citizens” either, and the arguments are against religion and for atheism.

    Thus KCFS is neither Kansan Citizens or For Science, but rather Komplaining Critics For Atheism.

  • 2005/12/30 at 9:31 pm

    How about a link to a specific thread on the KCFS site? I browsed a little, but did not see the objectionable stuff.

  • 2005/12/31 at 3:06 pm

    Ahh, the Staufenberger troll has been busy…

  • 2006/01/09 at 11:51 am

    “More than 10,000 US clergy have signed the following statement:”
    Yeah – and in John’s Revelation 6 out of 7 churches receiving letters are facing unfavorable judgement. Jesus came for the flock – not the herd. Good luck with that.

  • 2006/01/11 at 1:10 am

    I’d think that sticking with the folks who aren’t trying to slip a religious agenda into the public schools via a decades-long campaign of lies, deception, and mendacity would be a pretty good move, morals-wise.

  • 2006/01/11 at 4:42 am

    Well, I must say as a non Christian, I find your blog to be a source of incredible relief. I was beginning to think more and more people of faith were losing their minds. I am not a believer. However, I am not a derisive,ascerbic and bitter atheist like some I have come across. Part of what I do on my forums that I regularly post on (besides defending science and the Constitution) is set people straight when they go on Christian bashing rampages. I am going to put a link to your blog on both my easyjournal and on my FSM forum. Keep up the good work.

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