Why Virginia Heffernan is Right to Side with the Scriptures Over Science.

Virginia Heffernan
Virginia Heffernan

I would like to stand by Virginia Heffernan, a Harvard-educated, former staffer for the New York Times, Slate, Harper’s and The New Yorker, and now a national technology correspondent for Yahoo News, who recently wrote a column entitled, “Why I Am a Creationist.” Because of her stance, she has received derisive and mocking criticism from those who believe she’s an idiot for believing in the Bible.

For example, Gawker writer, Hamilton Nolan, wrote that Heffernan’s attitude

“would be charming coming from, say, an eccentric aunt who lives in the wood and sells dreamcatchers and has a really good heart. But from a writer who presumably would like her opinions about technology— a thing made with science!— to be take seriously at some point, the admissions are troubling.”

(This coming from a person who writes for a website whose top stories for today include, “Topless Miley Cyrus Photos Surface Online” and “Does GQ Know It’s Got a Boob Hanging Out on One of Its Articles?”)

And, of course, the main way that atheists and secularists seem to communicate to the world today is through the use of crude, ad hominen attacks, so she is being called every name imaginable. One Twitter user (@canesandbucs) wrote, “[My] new faith is that Virginia Hefferman is a clueless c**t. That, I can believe in.”

So in this article I would like to explain to the Nolans and the @canesandbucs of the world why the Word of God should take precedence over science.

Every era had its “scientists” who thought they were on the cutting edge of the latest intellectual pursuit, yet they were entirely wrong! In fact the heroes of history were those who used the Words of the Bible to counter the foolishness of their “scientific” endeavors. Let’s just look at a few examples of how science (a word that means “knowledge”) failed when it wasn’t tethered to the Word of God.

The first example that comes to mind is the “science” of the Enlightenment rationalists. Jefferson, Hume, Kant, and Voltaire were the most intelligent men of their day, but their scientific pursuits led them to believe in polygenism–otherwise known as “scientific racism.” This was a theory that supposed that the ancestral lineages of the different races were separate, therefore making them unequal, or even sub-human. This led to comparisons between the races based on their physical attributes and mental capabilities. As a result, these men of science, who rejected the authority of the scriptures, would contribute to the abuse of the darker races.

David Hume, who relied on nothing higher than reason for his knowledge, ascribed this lofty role to the purposes of science:

“The sweetest and most inoffensive path of life leads through the avenues of science and learning; and whoever can remove any obstruction in this way, or open up any new prospect, ought, so far, to be esteemed a benefactor to mankind.”  

Yet Hume used his science and learning to conclude:

“I am apt to suspect the Negroes, and in general all other species of men to be naturally inferior to the whites. There never was any civilized nation of any other complection [sic] than white, nor even any individual eminent in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures among them, no arts, no sciences . . . such a uniform and constant difference could not happen, in so many countries and ages, if nature had not made an original distinction between these breeds of men.”  

Immanuel Kant, who would define Enlightenment thought, in part, as the ability to think for oneself, made this scientific observation:

“The Negroes of Africa have received from nature no intelligence that rises above the foolish.”  

The Enlightenment emphasis on reason and science would be embodied in the work of Voltaire, who said this about the black race:

“Their round eyes, their flat nose, their lips which are always thick, their differently shaped ears, the wool on their head, the measure even of their intelligence establishes between them and other species of men prodigious differences. If their understanding is not of a different nature from ours, it is at least greatly inferior.”

Even Thomas Jefferson, the greatest of all Enlightenment scholars, who loved to learn about chemistry, astronomy, geology, and natural history, and was a great collector of seeds, plants, and animal and bird specimens, wrote this scientific description of the black race in his Notes on Virginia:

“The first difference which strikes us is that of colour. Whether the black of the negro resides in the reticular membrane between the the skin and scarf-skin, or in the scarf-skin itself; whether it proceeds from the colour of the blood, the colour of the bile, or from that of some other secretion, the difference is fixed in nature . . . They secrete less by the kidneys, and more by the glands of the skin, which gives them a very strong and disagreeable odor. This greater degree of transpiration renders them more tolerant of heat, and less so of cold, than the whites.”

The description is much longer and includes words such as “pulmonary apparatus,” “principal regulator,” and “expiration.” Jefferson also thought that blacks were inferior to whites, not only because of the way they looked and smelled, but also because he observed they had no ability to plan or give forethought to their actions, were easily aroused sexually, and had less ability to learn or reason.

Based on their “scientific” views, the Enlightenment rationalists were RACISTS.

The National Academy of Science was even led by a scientific racist. Samuel George Morton, the Academy’s president in 1849, wrote Crania Americana, which was a book on phrenology, that is, the attempt to develop a racial theory based on the measurement of skull size. Morton would describe the black man in this way, which was similar to the Enlightenment thinkers:

“Characterized by a black complexion, and black, woolly hair; the eyes are large and prominent, the nose broad and flat, the lips thick, and the mouth wide; the head is long and narrow, the forehead low, the cheekbones prominent, the jaws protruding, and the chin small.” 

Morton’s disciples, George Gliddon and Josiah Nott, would write Types of Mankind (or Ethnological Research) which would be used by southern slaveholders as a scientific justification for slavery.

Yet there was a group of Christians who opposed the science of the Enlightenment scholars because it was in opposition to the Word of God. They argued that polygenism was wrong because the Bible teaches that all races came from a single source. They based their belief on Acts 17:26 which declares:

“From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth.”

The Ethnological Society of London would form for the express purpose of battling against scientific racism. Their motto, “ab uno sanguire” which means “from one blood” was based on the Acts 17:26 concept that all races were descendants from Adam and Eve (monogenism) rather than from many parents (polygenism).

The Ethnological Society’s members were also members of the Clapham Sect, the group that worked with William Wilberforce to overthrow slavery in the British Empire. They would inspire William Lloyd Garrison, the American abolitionist, and Frederick Douglass, whose speech given in 1854 at Western Reserve College was entitled “Claims of the Negro Ethnologically Considered.” In this speech, he asked that men would consider the truthfulness of a theory based on its impact on humanity. He used the Bible to fight against polygenism:

“Which of these answers [yes or no to monogeny] is most in accordance with the facts, with reason, with the welfare of the world, and reflects most glory upon the wisdom, power, and goodness of the Author of all existence, is the question for consideration with us. On which side is the weight of the argument, rather than which side is absolutely proved. It must be admitted . . . that, viewed apart from the authority of the Bible, neither the unity nor diversity of origin of the human family can be demonstrated.” 

We now consider Frederick Douglass to be a hero. Do a Google search of “Frederick Douglass school” and see all of the schools named after him! Douglass was on the right side of history because he trusted in the Bible, rather than in science.

This scenario could be played out over and over in history. Medieval “science” was based on Aristotelian philosophy. It was this science, untethered to the gospel, that Galileo was opposing. Francis Bacon developed the scientific method in order to counter Aristotelian philosophy. He believed in a science that was tethered to the scriptures, and it blessed the world.

In fact, the Scientific Revolution was birthed out of a love for the Word of God. Creationism hasn’t hurt humanity! Some of the greatest blessings came from men who were motivated by a desire to overthrow the Aristotelian view that something could be spontaneously generated out of nothing. Louis Pasteur was motivated by this anti-evolutionary view and gave the world pasteurized food. Joseph Lister (a member, incidentally, of the Ethnological Society of London) would give the world antiseptic surgery, saving countless lives, as a direct result of using creationist principles.

On the other hand, some of the most gruesome offenses against humanity came as a result of science that runs free without constraints. Francis Galton, a relative of Charles Darwin, would try to apply evolutionary principles as found in plants and animals to humans. It was Galton who coined the term “eugenics.”

This evil science would be often be implemented through compulsory methods and force. In Nazi Germany, euthanasia and genocide would be used as tools to accomplish the eugenic goal of purifying the Aryan race. Millions would suffer under the scientific truth of eugenics–which was based on Darwinian evolution rather than the Word of God.

Many people can mock creationists for their stance on biblical authority, but creationism hasn’t harmed anybody, while science, running free and wild, with no higher authority holding it accountable, has been the cause of massive human suffering.

I want to encourage Virginia Heffernan, and let her know that she’s in good company when she claims to be a creationist. Some of the most brilliant minds of history were creationists. Isaac Newton, the father of modern science (and physics and calculus) was a creationist. Robert Boyle, the father of chemistry, and John Ray, the father of biology, were both creationists. Louis Pasteur was a creationist.Thomas Jefferson was a creationist. (Remember this line?: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are CREATED equal, endowed by their CREATOR with certain inalienable rights.” This part of his beliefs blessed humanity!)  I could go on and on . . .

Keep standing fast upon the Word of God, Virginia. It has always been on the right side of history. You won’t go wrong when you rely on the scriptures as the highest form of truth.

Advertisements

8 Comments

    1. John 18:37-38 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world— to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

      Cosmic evolution says in essence that all things are evolving upward, whatever upward means. And the apologist comes along and says “you have some problems with your system as a non-Christian; problems which I as a Christian challenge. I challenge you on the basic point that if evolution is correct then it must mean man’s intellect has evolved along with the process and therefore you are speaking out of a finite mind which itself is embedded in the process of evolution”. Darwin anticipated that in his book, The Dissent of Man, but he never did anything with it. He just made a cryptic remark that he sometimes wondered how a monkey’s brain could be trusted. And he wasn’t being facetious; he caught the whole point; that if evolution is correct it shatters epistemology, it shatters man’s ability to know because man’s mind is itself is embedded in the changing process. How then can that mind get outside of the process to look at it? Another problem with cosmic evolution is that it collides with the second law of thermo¬dynamics which says that everything is degrading; it’s not going upward it’s going downward. All systems, open or closed, left to themselves go downward.

      The Bible teaches that Creator God, source of truth, is superintending a purpose in history to bring about the ultimate separation of good and evil, the eternal separation of good and evil. That’s where history is going. When He created there was no evil, so we’re in this bracketed area of history right now. And the unbeliever says well, I observe that there’s good and evil today, my granddaddy suffered good and evil yesterday, and my children are going to suffer good and evil tomorrow. Conclusion: there always has been and always will be good and evil mixture. So it’s a hopeless mess because good and evil are forever, there’s no separation of good from evil in this scheme of things, and there is no origin point of good or evil such that existence itself is inherently evil. That’s the unbeliever’s position. People don’t like that either. But believe me, the people who have thought it through, particularly in Oriental religion, know this is true. This is why they want to escape into a nirvana; they would rather commit suicide of the soul and destroy their personal existence because they want to get off this thing, reincarnation is no good, that just brings you back next time as a bug or something and you have to go through the cycle all over again. Reincarnation is not good news; reincarnation is doom. All of that to say that we’ve looked and we say that the Bible has not only an explanation but it has the only explanation.

      The Apostle Paul teaches that there is no such creature as an atheist. Creatures hold the truth in unrighteousness. That means we all know God does exists. This “we can’t know whether God exists” is just a bunch of bologna and hot air; it doesn’t mean a thing, it doesn’t mean a particle, it’s totally false. What happens is that people come to believe they don’t know; there’s a suppression that’s going on far deeper than anything Sigmund Freud ever thought about. That suppression is the problem, and it’s a moral and spiritual issue; it’s not an intellectual problem, ultimately. It becomes an intellectual problem because when it gets going it sucks in everything and then people really get deceived and confused, so intellectual deception does play a role. But at the root it’s not an intellectual problem.

      We were all there. Dead in sins.
      Jn 3:17-18 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
      Thank you Lord Jesus

  1. @ALLALLT Sorry I see no reply to comment option. Brand new to WP so I am not doing something correctly.
    Hope you find this reply.

    Truth doesn’t exist as an abstract and then God happens to be truth. Our concept of truth is a result of His character, it’s not an abstraction. As far as the Bible is concerned faith is not weak knowledge. All men know God exists. Faith is a moral and ethical issue of whether I bow my knee to the God/Creator that I know Is. That’s where faith comes in. Do I really trust Him to be for me? A machine doesn’t trust, so you don’t trust a machine, you trust a person. The object of the trust is a person in Scripture. And the person here is God. So I trust God to be there for me; that is He’s going to bless me and save me based on what He has communicated in His word.
    The Lord Jesus Christ not only brought with Him grace and truth, but He was/is that Truth. His presence on our planet brought light to shine upon the darkness all around. Coming to Jesus is always a coming out of darkness into light. The light is His light just as the Truth is His Truth. There is no distinction between Him and what He brings. He more than personifies truth. I must insist that truth cannot exist on its own independently of Jesus, His Father and the Spirit of Truth. Truth exists because God exists; if God did not exist truth would not exist. Truth isn’t merely “out there”, it communicates to us.

    In the world of the non-Christian “truth” is something separate from life in the world. As such we can choose either to agree with it or disagree with it; to follow after it or to ignore it; to allow it to speak to us or to alter its message so that it speaks with our voice. There is no great advantage either way. Truth as an absolute is problematic because absolutes cause friction and friction opposes peace. Therefore to choose truth in such an outlook is not always a “good” choice. Absolute truth is a convenience item, available to people whenever the circumstances require them to be definitive. Truth must undergo personal or societal evaluation, and once done it must be made to take itself less seriously. The claims of truth boil down to opinion – just like everything else!

    I do pray you read the Gospels particularly John. When I read John, Jesus spoke right into me. He did not “philosophize” about truth, he just spoke it; He confronted me with it! And the odd thing was, I recognized it when I read it. I pray you do too.

    Again John 18:37-38
    Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, ” You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”
    Pilate thinks Jesus is on trial and yet John includes Pilate’s statement to show no-no, Pilate’s on trial. Men are tested and condemned or accepted by the Father on the basis of what they do with the Son (Truth). And so Jesus presents the challenge that sounds very neat, and it is, but it’s very loaded; Pilate, if you were of the truth you would understand what I’m saying. That is a gospel invitation at that point; it’s Jesus way of witnessing to Pilate. And there’s no statement that Pilate stood by to hear an answer. This is the closest that Pilate ever came to hearing the truth. But Pilate was a pragmatist and pragmatists are men who could care less over truth; their only concern is getting out of the immediate situation so we can live for tomorrow, and then when tomorrow rolls around we’ll think of something that will get us over the next hurdle, the next 24 hours. Pragmatists run most of today’s governments and most of today’s businesses. “Pass the buck down the road and wash your hands” pragmatist! They evaluate “truth” never recognizing that Truth has already evaluated all of us.

    The Lord Jesus Christ is the center of the grace, He’s the center of the judgment, and He’s the center of the perfect discrimination because the discrimination is based upon whether we receive or reject Jesus Christ; His birth, His life, His death and resurrection. It’s God’s standard, He defines the meeting ground, and He says there’s only one place and it’s the substitutionary blood atonement of Jesus. Somebody took our place.

    Jesus is not only the means to arrive at the goal but He is the goal. We know God as we know Christ and we do not know God in any other channel. Christ is the highest revelation of God ever given in history. Jesus Christ is the ultimate revelation of God. And Christ says you can know Him in the present.
    There is only one way, not three, not five, there is only one way. “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”(Acts 4:12). “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved,” (Acts 16:31). It doesn’t say believe on Paul, believe on Peter, believe on Confucius or Muhammad or believe Darwin or anybody else.
    This may be very offensive to people. But this is Truth. And I see it.

  2. I evaluate truth according to the scriptures that are “rightly divided.” (2 Timothy 2:15) They are the plumb line for me.

    I don’t think “reason” is a proper form of determining truth because I can reason and justify anything. Humanity has done this for ages.

    I’m glad that there’s a higher power I can turn to for strength when I stand for something that isn’t popular and may even lead to my arrest or death, as the heroic Christians of the past have had happen to them.

    Truth is Jesus. He is the “Word become flesh.” So the Word is the Truth.

    For example, in 2006, when Al Gore said the coastlines were going to rise in 15-20 years and put Manhattan and the World Trade Center memorial under water, I didn’t fear, because the scriptures say in Proverbs 8:29 that God “set a limit for the sea so the waters would not overstep his command.”

    It has been 8 years now. I would venture to say that Manhattan won’t be under water in the next decade. We’ll see who was right–Al Gore’s “science” or the scriptures.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s