It is an old proverb that the best lie is mostly true. An effective falsehood needs the fabric of truth to hold it together and make it credible.
As a classic example of the ancient art of deception, consider Shakespeare’s tragedy of MacBeth. In an early scene, MacBeth is accosted by three witches, who greet him with mock courtesy and mysterious words. The first hails him as “Thane of Glamis,” the second hails him as “Thane of Cawdor,” and the third tells him that he “shall be king hereafter.” MacBeth is already Thane of Glamis and he is quickly made Thane of Cawdor. He then reasons (falsely) that the truth of the first two statements must make the third one true as well. His friend Banquo tries to warn him with these words: “And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truths, win us with honest trifles, to betray us in deepest consequence.”
In his Origin of Species, Darwin begins with a generous helping of truth. He describes minor man-made biological changes, like the many pigeon varieties bred from the common rock pigeon. He argues that if biologists had not already known that the common pigeon could be bred into so many varieties, they might have classified each variety as a species of its own.
Secondly, he shows how natural selection can also make similar small changes, like the Galapagos finches. So far, so good-Darwin’s opening statements are valid. If Darwin had, at this point, merely called for refinement of the species concept, with attention to defining God’s original created kinds (Latin “species” = kind), he might have been remembered as a great creationist biologist. However, he took a great speculative leap by saying that these little changes can (and did) add up to really big biological ones.
This third point, unlike the first two, is unobserved and totally speculative but it is cleverly made to look like a proper extension of the first two points. Thus, the pattern of deception used by MacBeth’s three “weird sisters” is the same as that used by Darwinists to this day.
To illustrate further: If we imagine three biology professors coming to convince us of the truth of Darwinism, the first would say, “Natural Selection happens!” Yes, indeed, natural selection does occur in nature. It slows the degeneration of species by weeding out weaker creatures and mutants. It also produces minor changes in organisms by “reshuffling” their existing genes, as would be highlighted by the second professor. He would say, “Microevolution happens!” Again, this is appropriate-minor variations are produced in nature as creatures adapt to their ecological niches, and these can be readily shown. The third professor would then say, with a pretence of scientific precision: “Natural selection plus microevolution plus millions of years, equals amoeba-to-man evolution!”
In this way, many are led down MacBeth’s path to tragedy. They follow a trail of reasoning that appears truthful and sound but they don’t notice when falsehood is substituted for truth.
There is an important distinction between microevolution and macroevolution. Like a stage magician using sleight of hand, evolutionists claim truth for macroevolution, all the while using examples of microevolution to support their claims. Creationists need to call increasing attention to this crucial distinction, and use modern genetics to show why macroevolution cannot occur. The more we train our minds to stick with what can really be observed, it becomes clear that Genesis I is thoroughly and accurately scientific, while Darwinian macroevolution is not. More importantly, the Christian doctrines built upon Genesis are real and trustworthy, while the humanistic religion built upon Darwinism is not.
Originally published in the January/February 2005 issue of Think and Believe.
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