While taking an anthropology course at San Jose State University about
10 years ago, the instructor took a poll on the first day of class
asking students if that we are here because:
1) God created the world that we know including humans in their present form.
2) God guiding evolution to present times
3) Evolution without God via chance and natural selection.
The instructor ended the survey by saying that by the end of the course
he would convince the class that #3 is, in fact, the truth. One of the
examples that he used was the argument involving vestigial limbs and
body parts. He pointed to humans resembling tadpoles with tails in the
embryo state, whales with hip joints, dogs with toe high on their legs
that it useless, genetic trail showing that a horse's hoof is really the
middle toe that continued to grow longer than the others, etc.
I would love to hear Dr. Craig's answer to such a evidence. I have been
strengthened by your ministry and I will continue to support it. Please
feel free to paraphrase my question to correct any grammatical errors.
Dr. Craig responds:
Wow! I guess your question shows that the professor portrayed in the
movie “God is not Dead” is not just a caricature! Allowing for the fact
that you are recalling your professor’s words after a space of 10 years,
I have to say that his argument is just laughable. How can professional
academics at our state universities get away with such nonsense?
In the first place, who is supposed to believe (1) God created the world that we know including humans in their present form?
Not even biblical fundamentalists who believe that the world was
created in six, consecutive, 24-hour days a few thousand years ago
believe such a thing. So-called Young Earth Creationists hold that God
created certain “kinds” of animals and plants which were then allowed to
evolve. They therefore have no problem whatsoever with canine or equine
evolution from a primitive ancestor. As for vestigial parts, like the
human coccyx or tailbone, creationists can point to the useful functions
which these parts serve, like anchoring the sphincter muscles that
close the anus, in the absence of which—well, you get the idea. The
claim that the resemblance of a human embryo to a tadpole is evidence of
human evolutionary development is an embarrassing and discredited
Evidence for the evolutionary development of whales will be tougher for
the creationist to handle. He will probably say that God may have used a
similar design plan for aquatic mammals as for terrestrial mammals, and
that their similarity therefore does not show evolutionary connection.
We might think, however, that these similarities are more plausibly
explained as due to evolutionary development of one from the other. Even
then, that would at most show that the primal “kinds” were broader than
at first envisioned by the Young Earther.
And in any case, how does such evolutionary development go to invalidate option (2) God’s guiding evolution to present times?
That option affirms that God used mutations and natural selection to
bring about the life forms we see today. I take it to be obvious that
nothing that you reported your professor saying goes to refute this
So I have to think that there was more in his case for (3) than what you
remember! Where is his argument against God’s guiding evolution? Where
is his argument that the evolution of biological complexity terminating
in homo sapiens did occur, or even could have occurred, without God? Notice that (3) Evolution without God via chance and natural selection is not a scientific, but a philosophical or metaphysical, claim. So what argument can he offer on behalf of (3)?
I myself am sceptical about (3). To learn why, I suggest you watch my debate with the evolutionary biologist Francisco Ayala or read my Defenders II lectures on “Creation and Evolution.”