"Doonesbury" comic strip pushes the theory of evolution: my response
On Sunday, July 18 of this year, the Louisville Courier-Journal (and, apparently, newspapers across the nation) published a Doonesbury comic strip: pictured to the right, which can be found in an enlargeable version HERE. Below, I attempt to respond to some of Trudeau's presentation (which he makes under the guise of a high school teacher in the strip); some readers may think it odd to respond to a comic strip, but humor can be very powerful in shaping public opinion (if you can get people to laugh at an idea in one context, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to take that idea seriously in another).
The first two panels of the strip linked above were absent in the version found in the Courier-Journal; (it seems that it is a common practice for comics to include one or two panels at the beginning of the Sunday strips, often with a self-contained joke, which papers may delete for the sake of space). The ostensible punch-line for this comic is the statement from the high school student, "Please stop. I'd like to get into a good college;" (I'd like to think that Trudeau intends for his attacks on creationism to be the source of comedy in this strip due to their obvious fallacies, but-- given Trudeau's normal liberal slant-- this seems highly unlikely). Trudeau's punch-line is based on the thought that creationism is so obviously ridiculous that no "good college" would want students trained in such a view.
The Failure of Trudeau's Punch-line
The punch-line of the above-linked strip fails:
First, because the idea that "good college[s]" wouldn't accept creationists is overstated. No college about which I know asks potential students about their views on Darwinism. Also, as Stephen Barr recently argued in a book from Notre Dame University Press [see the details HERE], "proposing an infinity of unobservable entities is no more scientifically defensible than proposing a single unobservable one (God)."
Second, because Trudeau's presentation of creationism is unacceptable, even to creationists, for the following reasons:
1. The high school teacher asserts that creation happened "5,700 years ago." Now, Trudeau may be able to find some piece of creationist literature in which such an exact date is given for creation, but a belief in a certain number of years is definitely not required by the creationist view. Given that many Bible genealogies do not record an exact number of years, any insistence on such an exact number seems more in line with the teaching of Harold Camping than with sound, evangelical Bible scholarship. On the other hand, I will concede that in creationists tend to believe that the universe is much younger than the aeons postulated by those holding to the theory of evolution. Those holding to the theory of evolution are constantly, as they increasingly discover more about the complexity of nature, adjusting their models to include more and more time, because they need jigga-gazillions of years in order to make people believe that it is possible for "chance" to make the impossible happen: life to come from non-life, order to come from disorder.
2. The high school teacher refers to God as a "male deity," a term that is inaccurate and thus offensive. Scripture certainly speaks of God in masculine terms in virtually every instance, but this is not the same as calling God a male deity, because:
a. "God is a Spirit, and does not have a body like men (Jn 4:24; 2 Cor 3:17; 1 Tim 1:17)." Therefore, God cannot literally be "male:" a term that necessarily refers to physicality.
b. Beyond this, though the preponderence of biblical passages refering to God in masculine terms-- along with the central truths concerning God the Father and God the Son-- compel Christians to retain addresses for God that are masculine in character, there are some passages that do speak of God in feminine terms. "Wisdom" in Proverbs has often, in the history of interpretation, been taken to refer to the Word-- the pre-incarnate Christ-- and "Wisdom" is spoken of in feminine terms. Deuteronomy 32:18 refers to "the God who gave you birth" and in Psalm 131:2 David describes his relationship with God as being "like a weaned child with his mother." These passages prevent us from simply seeing our Father [again, the language of Father must be maintained] as a "male deity."
3. The last panel contains more straw-man errors, with NO regard for how creationists actually present their own position. If Trudeau bothered to look at the biblical text describing Noah's activity leading up to the Flood (Gen 6-7), he would see that a single pair of each unclean animal, but seven pairs of each clean animal were gathered (rather than "two of every thing"), and that neither "microbes" or "dinosaurs" are mentioned; (most creationists that I have read believe that the dinosaurs became extinct after the Flood, not during the Flood).
The statement, "Deity created the heavens and earth and all life on it in six days," does reflect the central teaching of the creationist position, but Trudeau obfuscates this teaching by:
1. Assertions that:
a. "The evidence massively supports a theory of evolution," etc. [Of course, no specific evidence is mentioned.]
b. "[Creationism is] supported by no scientific evidence whatsoever."
[If the evidence really points so conclusively in favor of evolution, then Trudeau has certainly found a humor goldmine; he should certainly sound the depths of the massive amount of evidence for evolution to show comically deluded the creationists are.]
2. Attaching the adjective "male" to "deity" (as discussed above).
3. Using two panels to present inaccurate information about the Great Flood, rather than creationism.
[All of the above simply serve to direct readers' attention away from the fact that the "theory of evolution" contains no adequate account for how life can arise from non-life.]
The Heart Issue
The panels describing the Flood basically get to the heart of what the term "male deity" hinted at: Trudeau seems to have no concept of the biblical distinction between the Creator and His creatures. In this, he has turned his back on wisdom (see the Theologian's quote at the very bottom of this page), and has imagined that he can sit in judgment over God and His Word.