The Los Angeles Times editorial board decided recently to join the debate raging between creationists and evolutionists, siding squarely with Darwin and the gang. But the Times did not merely position itself along a spectrum of the controversy. Instead it stood on one end and launched a criticism of creationists that was the most contentious, condescending, and contemptible I have ever read.
The LA Times editorial titled "Yabba-dabba Science" was a response to the opening of a new $27 million 60,000 square-foot “Creation Museum” in Petersburg, Kentucky — but given the venom spewed from the pages of the Times one might be persuaded to believe those Christians had erected a gallows for hanging witches.
The Times began its denouncing of all who believe in the literal translation of Genesis by stating the Creation Museum promotes “earth science theories that were popular when Columbus set sail.” Other highlights from the Times’ furious name-calling fit include:“animatronic balderdash” and “‘The Flintstones’ is a cartoon, not a documentary.”
The editors launched into this tirade only to evolve their argument into one that targets three Republican candidates for president, closeting them all with folks the Times calls, “a lunatic fringe.” The editors then examined the beliefs of the three by stating none of them believe in evolution. This appears to be the straw that broke the back of the Times’ editorial board’s patience.
It lambasts them all in one sentence: “Three men seeking to lead the last superpower on Earth reject the scientific consensus on cosmology, thermonuclear dynamics, geology and biology, believing instead that Bamm-Bamm and Dino played together.”
Taking a deep breath after the expenditure of an awful lot of hot air, the Times’ editors decided to educate their dwindling readership on a particular “fact” of earth science. Fact: The LA Times editorial team takes exception with those who believe the earth is “about 6,000 years old, as opposed to the 4.5 billion years estimated by the world’s credible scientific community."
It is interesting to note that creationists admit they have placed their faith in the scriptural texts contained in the Bible — a book that has taught more about philosophy, love, hate, joy, charity, emotions, and various relationships than all of the sciences put together in all of the years scientists have studied human behavior. Creationists also have solid footing rooted in texts that have withstood several thousands of years of scrutiny, and that also offer mankind a deeper understanding of what lies both within this world and beyond it that no scientist can explain.
The meaning of life and death is a central component of the Bible that science has yet to begin to figure out. Yet, this subject is core to every human being. Biblical texts are taken quite literally by millions of Christians, which includes the description of how the earth came into being. Many of those Christians are also scientists.
Given the fact that humans cannot discern between that which is good or bad or right or wrong from scientific data, nor make daily decisions on the basis of statistical information, the Bible’s perspectives and credible logic outweigh any science when moral dilemmas come into question and the question of life and death is considered. No one will recall the geology and biology exams they studied hard to pass, but most all of us remember the love we shared with others and the decisions we’ve made from a foundation of belief in something more powerful than ourselves.
The LA Times editors apparently have difficulty coming to terms with their own beliefs, as well as determining what is, and is not, a fact. The fact is the earth is not 4.5 billion years old, as the Times editors suggest, is a consensus among “credible” scientists. In fact, scientists estimate everything. Nothing is absolute for them.
Therefore, the LA Times has no “facts” upon which to base it convulsive critique. In fact, the Times might do a little research of its own, if there’s time and room in its lofty tower from which it peers down upon us ignorant folk with snide pity. Ask 100 “credible” scientists to give an exact date of the earth. None can. Then ask them to estimate the age of the earth based upon whatever data they desire. You won’t find they all agree.
“Is it 4.5 billion or 3.8 billion, Ralph?”
“Hmm … good question, Gentry. I believe the latest revision of several hundred estimates was 4.2 billion years.”
“Is that the agreed upon answer from the rest of the scientific community?”
“I think we’re all going to agree, at least for now, that the earth is 4.2 billion.”
“Well, alright Ralph. I just want to have my facts straight when those pesky editors from LA call me again.”
“Well, don’t worry, Gentry. They’re on our side. Over the past 50 years our estimates have ranged from a few million to a few billion years, as of today. Isn’t it a riot? In less than a half-century we’ve revised our estimates numerous times and each time it is accepted as fact. Who knows? In another decade we’ll all agree the earth is 5 billion years old. All it takes is one of us to start the ball rolling.”
The LA Times editors aren’t as angry with the creationists who built the museum as they are with the fact that evolution science — and particularly global warming, or as it has evolved into its new name “climate change” — is being challenged by anyone. The LA Times views the climate change debate as non-debatable. It believes that “climate change may have caused the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago ….” That “factual” figure would, of course, not be 64 million or 70 million or 47 million or especially not 64,000 … it is most definitively … maybe 65 million. In other words, the scientists don’t know and the LA Times’ editors know less.
The argument over the data in which scientists place their faith isn’t the challenge upon which creationists focus, although the methodology of creating the data isn’t an exact science. Thus we have a ton of postulates floating around until the “scientific community” agrees on promoting one. Christians also study the earth, space, physics, and as much of God’s creation as we can.
The many industries produced in various societies — agriculture, transportation, architecture, medicine, the arts, etc. — have seen Christians within them all. Christians are not exempt from the field of science. But if you read the data bubbling around inside the pages of the LA Times, you would be hard-pressed to believe that Christians had a logical, rational-thinking cell in their entire bodies. In fact, you would believe the LA Times separated the “credible” scientists from the “non-credibles” according to faith. Those who placed their faith in accepted data, statistics, and peer-reviewed journals would find respect and reverence at the Times.
Meanwhile, those scientists who dare to believe in a Creator — rather than an explosion of matter billions of years ago that developed from nothing and created all that we see today — aren’t fit to toss the Times on a paper route in Los Angeles.
It is indeed strange to read vitriolic rhetoric from the editors of the LA Times as they rely upon such nebulous sources as “the world’s credible scientific community.” But it is understandable as one reads the sentiment beneath the words. It is filled with anger and hostility … and fear. Fear? Yes, fear. Consider this line near the closing of the editors’ diatribe that seeks to push, “the fact that today it [climate change] poses grave peril to the Earth as we know it.”
The LA Times cannot see the forest for the trees. While it lambasts presidential candidates and ordinary Christians for their faith and belief in biblical revelation, it places its own faith and belief in what it considers scientific data, which continues to change. Moreover, the data is interpreted differently within the very “credible scientific community” which the editors faithfully follow. Thus, the consequences of data gathered for climate change scientists to analyze may be accepted by a consensus of experts as credible, even while the interpretation and prediction of what the data means varies wildly.
The LA Times, like the rest of us, can believe what it wishes to believe. But it is walking on shaky ground when it sharply criticizes the bible, the faith of Christians, the intellect of the Christian community and the overarching integrity and leadership capability of those who place their faith on solid Christian ground. The editors would be better off taking a look at their own footing, as they stand on shifting sand that will feel solid one moment and suck them in the next. As the scientific wind blows, so go the editors of the LA Times, spewing their heat upon all who fail to place their faith in line with the beliefs of the Times.