Thomas G. Lammers lammers at FMPPR.FMNH.ORG
Tue Sep 30 07:25:10 CDT 1997

At 10:54 AM 09-29-97 -0700, Dennis Paulson wrote:
>Furthermore, I wonder if the creationist lists ever contain little mild
>slurs against evolutionary biologists.....or are they much too serious?

Though I don't know about their websites and such, I can assure you that in
their published literature, we are portrayed as either satanic accomplices
or mindless dupes of satanic forces.  We are in league with the Prince of
Darkness against God.  I particularly recall one little creationist comic
book (a popular medium for such ideas, it seems) that depicted the college
biology professor as an insanely hostile lunatic, frothing at the mouth
while shrieking and screaming at some saintly Christian student who dared to
"prove" the veracity of Genesis in his biology class.  I vowed to never do
anything to lend credence to that ludicrously distorted view of us.

Now that I'm older and (hopefully) wiser, when I am confronted by
well-meaning students with earnest questions, attempting to reconcile their
upbringing with what I have to say in class, I first reassure them that I am
not out to destroy their faith.  That many intelligent people see no
conflict between the underlying truths in Genesis and biological theory.  I
assure the student that  God may still be viewed as the Author of Creation,
even if science suggests the details are different.   I ask him, if God had
revealed to the ancient Hebrews what we now suspect to be the path of
"creation", could they have understood it?  No, the student will admit;
he/she has a hard enough time understanding it now, and sees the value of
allegory.   I ask him/her,  who has the greater faith?  One who believes,
even in the face of secular evidence to the contrary, or one who cannot
believe unless secular science backs him/her up?  I also point out the
nature of science, that it can deal only with natural phenomena; it can seek
explanations only in natural laws.  God, by definition, is supernatural, and
thus, not eligible for consideration as a motive factor in this arena. Just
finding that I am not the hysterical adversarial atheist he/she had expected
does much to assuage his/her fears.  In the end, I point out that I really
don't care if he/she BELIEVES what I am saying; science really isn't about
BELIEF.  I only require that they UNDERSTAND it, COMPREHEND it.   He/she can
swear allegience to whatever world-view he/she prefers.

Thomas G. Lammers

Classification, Nomenclature, Phylogeny and Biogeography
of the Campanulaceae, s. lat.

Department of Botany
Field Museum of Natural History
Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60605-2496 USA

e-mail:     lammers at
voice mail: 312-922-9410 ext. 317
fax:                312-427-2530

"One must remain aware of the
 real-world consequences of his philosophies."

                -- Phil Mole

More information about the Taxacom mailing list