Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Wells on Evolution Sunday

ID advocate and Moonie Jonathan Wells has an article in the Yale Daily News about Evolution Sunday, coming up on Feb. 11th. He urges churches not to “buy into Darwinists’ ploy.” It takes serious chutzpah for a follower of Rev. Moon to take it upon himself to tell Christian churches what they should and shouldn’t think. After all, this is the same Rev. Moon who has an ongoing “Tear Down the Cross” program going around the country, urging churches to remove the crosses from their sanctuaries because Jesus failed to redeem mankind and Moon has come to fix things for him. To paraphrase the late great Bill Hicks, Wells must carry his balls around in a wheelbarrow.


  1. #1 Gerard Harbison
    January 29, 2007

    Last time I looked, Yale was one of the better liberal arts schools in Southern Connecticut. Surely they have a half dozen or so students capable of writing literate newspaper columns. So why are they importing cultist dreck like this? The University of Nebraska (superior as we are to Yale in every respect) consistently manages to find student columnists who only occasionally are an embarrassment to the insitution, and who sometimes write very well. So what’s Yale’s problem?

  2. #2 heavyd
    January 29, 2007

    I’ve been a grad student at Yale for longer than I care to think about, and I’ve always been struck by the low standards of certain student publications. An article like Wells’ cannot possibly have experienced much of an editorial process, and needless to say, he’s not exactly a respected voice much of anywhere except at the Discovery Institute. They could have at least done a little research on Wells and noted his DI affiliation in his bio paragraph.

    This won’t go over very well with the Yale community, and hopefully it will prompt our student publications to tidy up a bit.

  3. #3 chris
    January 29, 2007

    So what’s Yale’s problem?

    They graduated the Shrub?

  4. #4 doctorgoo
    January 29, 2007

    Wells, from the article:

    It is not evolution in general, but Darwin’s particular theory (Darwinism) that Evolution Sunday celebrates.

    There are so many things I could argue against in this single sentence that I really don’t know where to begin…

    1. No, Evolution Sunday doesn’t celebrate Darwin’s particular theory, it celebrates the entirety of evolutionary theory. The fact is that many denominations see no conflict between evolution/common descent and their interpretation of Christianity. But Wells wants to pretend that the only reason why Christians might celebrate Evolution Sunday is because they aren’t aware of what it really means.

    2. ‘Darwin’s particular theory’, as Wells put it, has been updated many times over a dozen decades or so. No scientist relies solely on Darwin’s original understanding of evolutionary mechanisms to explain common descent. So instead of celebrating ‘Darwin’s particular theory’, they’re actually celebrating modern evolutionary theory.

    3. There’s that word “Darwinism” again. For Wells, it’s a code word that implies idolotry. To him, Christians worship Jesus and God. But if you believe in evolution, then you must be worshipping Darwin.

  5. #5 Raging Bee
    January 29, 2007

    Sheer chutzpah is a standard tool of creationists: make bald assertions that take too long to refute; repeat them as loudly as necessary, until everyone else just gives up trying to reason with you, then declare victory.

    I wonder what Wells has to say to those churches who have already explicitly accepted evolution as sound science, and have re-interpreted the Bible to accomodate it.

  6. #6 doctorgoo
    January 29, 2007

    Heck, there are plenty other sentences in Wells’ article that are also completely wrong on many levels.

    I could never debate someone like Wells. After each of his nonsensical statements, my head would explode trying to figure out which of the many arguments I should use first to debunk his point.

    And instead of arguing back or apologizing for his complete lack of logic, he’d just go on to the next nonsensical sentence and start my frustration anew.

  7. #7 heavyd
    January 29, 2007

    Just to keep our crimson-cloaked neighbors in on the fun, I’d consider this student-authored piece from Harvard almost as bad:


    I wasn’t at this debate, but it implies at the end that both Steve Palumbi and Wells agree that we need to teach Darwinian evolution alongside other evolutionary theories. Maybe, but somehow I have the feeling Palumbi’s advocacy for critical scientific thinking got a bit distorted. Regardless, the article is very lopsided, with uncritical emphasis on Wells.

  8. #8 tacitus
    January 29, 2007


    The vast majority of Americans reject Darwinism for good reasons: It doesn’t fit the scientific evidence, and it contradicts a central tenet of Christianity.

    Yeah right… As if the “vast majority of Americans” has even the first idea of what evolution really teaches.

    To the vast majority of Americans he’s talking about, “my grandfather was no monkey” is about as sophisticated a rebuttal of evolution as it gets.

  9. #9 GH
    January 29, 2007

    When I read something like this along with the many stories like it I am always struck by those who don’t see how religion and other irrational ideas are harmful. The division created, the loss of minds, the inability to even remotely find correctness of one religious view over another.

    Wells is a symptom of a greater disease. It’s hard to begrudge him his personal delusion when it is reinforced all around us that it is ok to be so superstitous without any sense of embarassment. Nevertheless his agenda has to be opposed by science.

    The fact is that many denominations see no conflict between evolution/common descent and their interpretation of Christianity.

    This is a great thing culturally but as one IDer has said(and I agree with them which is rare) their thinking is muddled.

  10. #10 heavyd
    January 29, 2007

    re: tacticus’ post, you’re spot on regarding Wells’ evidence. If we asked Americans why things fall, “they’re heavy” would probably satisfy a simple majority. (I’m guessing a majority would also confirm that heavier objects fall faster.) Tim to uproot Newtonian physics! The test is what actual scientists think, and good luck getting anywhere near a majority on board against common ancestry. BTW, the most vocal scientists in the hard-core creationist camp are not biologists (Wells’ supposed biology expertise notwithstanding).

    But I do think we need to exercise caution in our tone. It may be clear to a scientist or a well-educated individual what’s going on, but Wells offers a disturbing point — the public pays for research. If we don’t get them on board, the religious conservative movement will continue to pull the funding out from under science in the US. And that makes for one vicious cycle of ignorance. It may be more difficult with loonies like Wells on the other side, but frankly, the facts *do* work quite wonderfully for evolution.

  11. #11 J-Dog
    January 29, 2007

    So, would Wells back the crucifixion of Moon, so he can be more like Jeebus? Now THAT is the kind of article I would like to see him write. Much more interesting on so many levels!

    And before any of you overly sensative types get up in arms, (you know who you are), please re-read my post… I want to know if WELLS, NOT ME, would back the crucifixion of Moon.

  12. #12 dogmeatIB
    January 29, 2007

    It’s scary because not only do these people believe they “know enough” about evolution to judge its viability, they consider themselves “open minded” at the same time. The progression of the conversation is basically:

    “Do you know what the theory of evolution says?”

    “Sure … that men came from monkeys.” (or that dolphins came from dogs, or some other nonsense)

    [what follows is an effort, almost impossible in a 2 minute conversation, to explain the basics of evolutionary theory]

    “I’ve heard all about it, I don’t believe it.”

    “What have you heard?”

    “I know all about the theory, I’m open minded … I listen to others. The bible teaches that…”

    As this point you realize that they haven’t listened to a word you had to say, perhaps angelic harps were playing in their head…

  13. #13 twincats
    January 29, 2007

    And here I thought that “Darwinist” and “Darwinism” had been played out as ID perjoratives and replaced with “accidentalist.”

  14. #14 RBH
    January 30, 2007

    There’s a good letter of rebuttal in today’s edition by an undergraduate.

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