Sympathy for Creationists
Posted by gregdowney on September 23, 2009
In the spirit of stirring the pot though, I recently gave a presentation ‘Sympathy for Creationists, and Other Thoughts from a Sceptical Anthropologist,’ and thought that I might do an online version. I want to suggest that many ‘believers’ in evolutionary theory share some of the intellectual errors evidenced by Creationists. You know the general principle: try to irritate everyone in your audience so that you at least know they have a pulse.
Many thanks to the Macquarie University Sceptics’ Society for their kind invitation. The Sceptics were a great audience, and I only regret that there was no way to audiotape the lecture — well, actually, I’m probably not half as funny as I like to remember myself being, so maybe it’s a good thing. In addition, I can’t post all the slides because they are, as usual in my lectures, filled with the flotsam and jetsam of the Interwebs, including unlicensed cartoons, pilfered photographs, swiped graphics and other materials. Although it’s one thing to use these sorts of images in a non-commercial presentation, I don’t feel comfortable pinning them up on Neuroanthropology.net.
So although this post will not follow my lecture point-for-point, nor will it have the excellent questions that the audience presented (which my failing memory is already turning into my ‘own’ thoughts in an act of cerebral self-aggrandizement), this should be fun, and it will allow me to link to evolution-related stuff all over the place.
Giving it to Creationists
From my position in Australia, surrounded by the ivory façade of academe and far from the school board wars of Kansas and other Creationists nonsense, it’s easy to forget how much anger and derision Creationists generate. Their claims that the earth is quite young, that humans shared the planet with dinosaurs, that the Flood and Noah explain patterns of species diffusion and the like… well, it’s easy to laugh from the mostly secular soil of Oz, viewing Creationists with the kind of benign and slightly condescending amusement reserved for the tooth fairy and those who follow closely America’s Next Top Model.I started the lecture with a few samples of cartoons taking the micky out of those who look to Genesis for their paleogeology.
You could just as easily spend the next few hours checking out videos of the very smart but exceptionally brittle Richard Dawkins delivering smackdowns of all sorts, numerous skewerings of Ben Stein’s ‘if-I-can’t-understand-it-evolution-can’t-be-true’ approach to argument, or the 30-part series (no, that’s not an exaggeration), ‘Why People Laugh at Creationists’ by Thunderf00t on YouTube.
People like Dawkins and the stupendously prolific scourge of Creationists, P. Z. Myers at Pharyngula, seem to have an inexhaustible supply of fodder sent in waves from the other side, a never-ending supply of Creationists’ lame arguments with which to demonstrate the many intellectual weapons in their arsenal. Like heroes in a samurai film, evolution proponents who choose to engage the armies of Creationism are supplied with a steady stream of victims who charge at them with hopeless ineptitude, merely allowing the heroes to demonstrate their extraordinary abilities by shredding them one after another.
You can almost hear the director:
‘Cue the fight music… pan out from Richard’s and PZ’s narrowed eyes under their helmets, back-to-back, swords raised in preparation… keep panning… hordes from Texas School Board and Creationist Museum and textbook publishers all wait on your cues… wait for crescendo… wait… NOW! come screaming at ‘im!
*sounds of shrieking followed by unbelievable carnage, screaming, sword slicing.*
*more slicing *
*screaming less frequent *
*groaning and whimpering *
*Ben Stein begs for mercy *
*last groan *
BRILLIANT! Zoom in on PZ as he cleans blade on the flag of the regiment from Kansas State Board of Education, Richard spits out shreds of textbook warning stickers… and, CUT! That’s a print!’
The critics of Creationism — and theology-in-sheep’s-clothing version, Intelligent Design — find more than enough to criticize in the sermons and ‘instructional’ videos filled with simplistic arguments, opportunistic fact poaching, aggressive ignorance, moralistic posturing, and monumental self-deceit of all sorts. I could say that the ‘critique is easy,’ but after watching a few of the more clever videos that are critical of Creationism, I’d have to say that some of the critique is quite sophisticated and thoroughly trounces many of the points that Creationists make, taking them seriously enough to actually refute the outrageous claims point by point.
So in my contrarian spirit, I offer some sympathy for Creationists (apologies to the Rolling Stones), although I have no intention of suggesting that I believe their account of the origin of species. In addition, I have the luxury of not having to deal with these people directly very often, and they are certainly not making decisions about my child’s education on the basis of their understandings of sacred texts. So, if what I write seems too generous, please understand that these folks really aren’t my problem – condolences to you if they’re yours.
One of the first points I made to the Sceptics is that one of the problems that I think we run into when arguing with Creationists is a basic disagreement about the concept of ‘belief’ or ‘faith.’ When I say that I ‘believe’ in evolution, it’s like saying that I ‘believe’ in the theory that matter is composed of atoms, or even that I ‘believe’ my car is still in the parking lot where I left it. This ‘belief,’ not surprisingly, is pretty damn easy for me. Believing in these things is not something I struggle with or question or have any angst over, although all three (evolution, atoms and my car), ironically, depend upon assumptions about things that I cannot directly perceive at the moment.
That is, all of them are simply assumptions about how things work that are, mostly, consistent with the evidence, my own observations, what reasonable people tend to say, and the like. I don’t subject the existence of atoms or the location of my car to constant scrutiny; to do so would probably be the slippery slope to a kind of existential obsessive-compulsive disorder (and I’m a busy man, too busy for any sort of existential questioning…).
When people of faith say that they ‘believe’ something, I suspect that they are describing a very different sort of feeling (and I don’t assume that they all have the same psychological experience of something called ‘faith’). That is, the way people talk about religious ‘faith’ and ‘belief’ suggests to me that they are not experiencing what I do when I sit here at a café table pretty certain that I’m going to be able to find my car and get home when I finish my lunch and coffee.
I haven’t done any sort of systematic research on this, but I’ve spent a fair chunk of my life in Catholic schools, both as a student and as a teacher, and around various sorts of believers (they’re everywhere, I tell you!). If you’ll pardon me for stating the obvious, I’ve found that people tend to describe belief in the supernatural as a kind of achievement. Please note, this is based more on a Christian model than others, and even more of a Protestant than a Catholic approach to faith (although I think US Catholics are often very ‘Protestant’ in this regard compared to my interactions with Brazilian and Irish Catholics, but that’s another posting and maybe on a different site).
In my experience, faith makes the faithful feel happy; they prize having belief; and some seem to be worried about losing it. This kind of belief in God and Creation is an act of will; in the face of anxiety to a greater or lessor degree, to maintain a state of confident ‘belief’ in something that is, if not impossible, certainly improbable, and by most Christian definitions, doesn’t offer much evidence to make a person confident. After all, if a person actually had proof of God’s existence, or a theatre bill from the opening night of Creation, it would sort of make a mockery of the Christian concept of faith itself. That is, if I could come up with a convincing mathematical proof of God, I’d negate the whole need for faith, thus debasing the very attainment and maintenance of faith, the key to salvation, in a manner of speaking.
In contrast, most scientists don’t lose their faith in atoms, nor do they fear losing their belief that atoms exist. I’m reasonably confident that, even if I were to have a crisis of faith in atoms, they’d still be there for me. Few scientists would likely be pleased with themselves for believing in atoms, nor would they think that people successfully believing in atoms was a kind of achievement.
In other words, religious faith seems to be simultaneously more anxious and more precious than other sorts of mundane beliefs, such as confidence in the predictability of the material world such as where one left one’s car. When I had to teach about this at Notre Dame one semester with a very small group of pretty intense undergrads, I gave them Kierkegaard to read, in part to mess with their heads – the ones not already having crises of various sorts – and partially just to see what they thought about Fear and Trembling.
I won’t go into Kierkegaard here, in part because it’s way too rich for a throw-away line, but I think he highlights this difference between confidence in everyday life and faith in the supernatural in his own ventriloquist-like style, taking up various positions within the same debate: ‘It is human to complain, human to weep with one who weeps, but it is greater to have faith and more blessed to behold the believer.’ For some American Christians I’ve come into contact with, faith seems to be relatively easy; in contrast, the faith described by Paul in the epistles, by Augustine, and by Kierkegaard is a much more superhuman accomplishment.
If we look across the human species, believing in the supernatural is the statistically dominant human condition, even if belief in a particular act of ‘creation’ is less dominant. For some proponents of evolutionary theory, the fact that so many people believe in creation is a sign of our species’ fallibility, primitiveness and enslavement to superstition. Sure, probably… But it’s also just a signal of the way that our brains work (something anthropologists like Harvey Whitehouse and Pascal Boyer have much more carefully discussed).
Why resist evolution?
Okay, so if faith is inherently the belief in what can’t be demonstrated, and many theologians don’t have a problem with evolutionary theories (including folks like the late John Paul II), why do some Creationists get themselves so bent out of shape about evolution? We could cite the usual explanations: stupidity, ignorance, fear, obedience to authority, loss of status, guilt-by-association, dislike of pointy-headed science geeks with wire-rim glasses, and so on. We could argue that, in many cases, arguments for the ‘need’ for faith as a moral constraint on society demonstrate great lack of faith in human nature, or that some belief in God looks psychologically like the longing for a powerful daddy…
But I’m not going to go down that road. First, I’ve been down that road, it’s a nice drive if you don’t mind the traffic, and I kind of know where it goes. In the presentation to the sceptics, instead of arguing that Creationism is either a form of psychological compensation or intellectual dishonesty, I suggested that some evolutionary theorists don’t really do the cause a favour when dealing with this hardened core of resistance to accepting evolution as the basic mechanism of species development and change. That is, some of the arguments that extrapolate from evolutionary theory undermine the credibility of evolution in the eyes of a wider public.
Here I don’t just mean the militant atheists who try to use evolutionary theory to prove the non-existence of the unprovable deity, but also those who put forward ‘evolutionary’ accounts to justify present patterns of human behaviour, which often turn out to be intentionally scandalizing or factually challenged on various levels. If you don’t get what I’m alluding to, you might be new around here, but I’ve written extensively about how evolutionary ‘explanations’ for things like sexual behaviour or gender traits are often shallow, overly glib, and do no credit to evolution as an explanatory framework (for some of the earlier posts on this subject, there’s a summary at Sex on the brain & neuroanthropology on sex).
(To all of you out there who want to use evolution to prove that God doesn’t exist, I understand your frustration. Look, I feel for you guys, but the believers did say that God, by definition, is unprovable, so you’ve got a bit of an uphill battle on that one. Yes, I realize that many of these theistically motivated individuals advocate social policies that are well worth getting upset about. You want to argue with them? Go ahead, knock yourself out, and I’ll support you on the social policy front. But I won’t get into the argument about whether the by-definition-unprovable can be either proven or disproven. Our lives are a finite resource: you gotta pick your battles.)
In my discussion with the Sceptics, I briefly touched on some of the more egregious examples of evolutionary psychology and pseudo-evolutionary thought, and why religiously-minded people might get uptight about these. The example I used was the controversial book, A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion. In the talk, I pointed out that, even if the arguments about a biological bases for sexual coercion were well-founded, and some critics have argued that they are not, the book still begs a whole series of questions if someone seeks to ask the applications to thinking about everyday existence in 2009 (for a longer review, see American Scientist’s review by Craig Stanford).
One of the key issues for me is the whole notion of ‘human nature,’ and the degree to which behaviour is determined by selective mechanisms. Ironically, I think that the notion of ‘human nature’ sometimes employed in evolutionary psychology is a kind of essentializing error that also comes up in Creationist thought.
Thinking like Creationists: Three basic errors
150 years ago, Charles Darwin published the first edition of The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, which would go through six editions in his lifetime. Although it met with hostility when it was first published, most historians argue that evolution was widely accepted among scientists within twenty years, leading to a wholesale rethinking of biology, although often in ways that departed significantly from the views Darwin presented in The Origin.
I suggested to the Sydney Sceptics that to truly integrate Darwin’s approach to natural selection into our thinking would require substantial changes in the way we see the world, even though many of us see ourselves as being oriented by science and proponents of evolutionary theory. That is, even though we’ve had 150 years to digest The Origin of Species, the process is still not complete. Elements of pre-Darwinian or non-Darwinian understandings still creep into our worldview, seemingly immune to their logical inconsistency.
I can’t remember exactly what I said, but I pointed out that, just as I have sympathy for Creationists, I also have sympathy for our own failures to fully integrate evolutionary thinking (although not so much sympathy that I wouldn’t deduct credit for incorrect answers on anyone’s midterm in a couple of weeks). Darwin himself clearly suffered a great deal of emotional angst when he was preparing the book and other manuscripts on evolutionary theory, and even his contemporary proponents, the people who acted as his public defenders when his shyness and fragile health prevented him from doing this in person, did not fully assimilate what Darwin was suggesting.
In the bulk of the talk, I focused on three basic errors that I think are commonly shared by both Creationists and by some proponents of evolutionary theory, meeting points where the two theories are surprisingly parallel.
Teleologic error: Evolution ‘designs’
One reason that Darwin himself did not like the word ‘evolution’ (he preferred ‘transformation’ and didn’t use ‘evolution’ until the sixth edition of The Origin of Species) was that he thought it suggested improvement or progress or some sort of directionality to changes in species.
The alternative, as I put on my slides: ‘Evolution happens.’ I think both Creationists and many evolution proponents resist the implications of the utter directionless-ness of evolutionary development, either recoiling from the recognition that this is a completely rudderless existence or simply not being able to comprehend what non-intended, design-less development might look like. This is certainly at the heart of many Creationists’ critiques of evolutionary thought: how could something so complex as an organism be the result of unplanned changes?
Some accounts of evolutionary change or trait emergence seem to me to exacerbate this tendency toward teleology by carelessly arguing that physiological changes are ‘for’ a particular function or fitness-related purpose. Human brains are ‘for’ social negotiation or gills are ‘for’ breathing or sexual reproduction is ‘for’ resistance to parasites or the like. The same thing happens when people use the word ‘design’ to talk about the evolution of organisms or their traits; I often find myself getting caught on the phrase, ‘Evolution designed [trait or species] for [purpose or niche].’ For example, in some recent discussions of human anatomy, we’ve seen a theory that some of the distinctive traits of the human body might be advantageous only if the hominins with these traits ran, especially long distance. Does this mean we were ‘designed to run’?
Strictly speaking, no physiological trait is ‘for’ anything in the sense of having a pre-ordained or intended purpose. The preposition is tricky because, of course, traits may be ‘for’ a function in the sense that the function is what they get used ‘for.’ But sometimes the use of ‘for’ implies a degree of forethought, planning or design that is simply not present. Moreover, to talk about evolution ‘designing’ something is to anthropomorphize a process, to treat it… well… like a divine being.
My critique may seem persnickety, but this sort of implied, non-conscious pattern of using design as a metaphor to talk about evolution is exactly the sort of error that many Creationists make, seeing intention where there is only selection. I can understand completely the difficulty in thinking about the intentionless change characteristic of evolutionary development, the challenge of holding fast to a way of talking about species transformation that does not anthropomorphize the process, but it also does give me some degree of empathy for those who see this as a sign of divinity.
Essentializing error: species as ‘type’
One of the other errors that seems to creep into evolutionary thought is the essentializing error, the assumption that all individuals in a species are members of a type or category. To me, one of the implications of The Origin of Species is that species are unstable, constantly changing, and precariously balanced populations of individuals that might, at almost any time, split into multiple species or change into other sorts of individuals, were there not very active processes stabilizing them.
Without gene flow and consistency in selective forces, for example, there’s no reason to assume that a species will not change even if the environment is relatively stable. This might sound overly dynamic, but in an evolutionary timescale, change can happen much more quickly than Darwin originally suggested.
However, the human brain, especially with the use of language, seems to function much better with types than with pools of variation. We assign names to categories of things and talk about them as if individuals of the type were interchangeable, even if we might suspect on some level that they are not. Fair enough, it’s a trait of language, and we can’t get around it without creating a hopeless situation where every thing and every exemplar of a species has its own name, but we shouldn’t then let the assumption be that there is a ‘type-ness,’ a shared essence in a species which is really a population with inherent variation.
For this reason, even though I may use the term ‘human nature’ myself at times, I think it’s an erroneous concept, even before we start talking about specific behaviours that allegedly make up that ‘nature’ because ‘nature’ gives too much credence to the existence of the type. The sequencing of ‘the human genome,’ for example, is really a sequencing of ‘a human’s genome.’ And there is certainly nothing to guarantee that this specific sequence is either more representative than any other, or that it will remain fixed over time even if it is somehow decided to be statistically representative. Just the simple fact that all human populations do not have the same rate of reproduction suggests that the overall human ‘type’ is undergoing steady modification over time, if we take shifts in the species-wide proportion of different genes as constituting our ‘type.’
One of the consequences of the essentializing error, in my opinion, is that we may be led to ignore both variation and future change, among other things. That is, as a neuroanthropologist, I am interested in variation, no matter how statistically insignificant that variation might be; the essentializing error tends to suggest that the variation is not important or crucial, that there is some shared commonality that is the real identity of the human species. I suspect that the particular forms and possibilities of variation are really want make humans distinctive from other species. That is, we’re not distinctive because we’re all the same; we’re distinctive because we’re capable of producing certain types of variants (such as tool-using variants, cooperative variants, cognitively-sophisticated variants) that other species don’t tend to produce.
There are lots of problem with thinking in ‘types’ but one is that, as soon as you say, ‘A human being has the specific trait of being symbol using, bipedal, …’ what do you do with the individual who is born to a human population who is not capable of using symbols or does not walk bipedally? Philosophically, we’ve created all sorts of trouble for ourselves, but, again, I have sympathy for the error because it occurs in both Creationists and evolutionary thinkers, likely an artefact of the social tools we use to think: language.
Complexity bias: bigger is more interesting
In the discussion with the Sceptics, I pointed out that one of the real blows of The Origin of Species to Westerners’ sense of self was that the book seemed to argue that humans were not central to the whole of Creation. Although the book did not mention humans, it implied that there was no separate creation of species with clear divisions among them. I would argue that this displacement of anthropocentrism has only grown worse over the intervening years, just as Galileo’s refutation of the Ptolemaic view of the heavens has only been exacerbated by new discoveries in astronomy.
If we survey all of life on this planet, the ‘average’ organism is single-celled. If we look at ‘tree’ diagrams of the genetic diversity and relatedness of organisms, large-bodied, multicellular organisms are a bit of a sideshow, a collection of huge, closely-related freaks. In terms of just numbers and variety, the big tent houses the incredible variety of life that cannot even be seen with the unaided eye.
I like to point out to my students (and I think I did it in the Sceptics lecture) that, even if we take our own skin as a boundary for our census of life, we still would find more cells within and on that boundary that do not share our DNA than actually belong to our own germline cells. For all of these single-celled creatures, we are a giant, moving host, a kind of living, walking planet that provides them with most of their needs. In addition, without this population of passenger cells to help digest our food, clean us, fight off more dangerous intruders and the like, we would not last long.
Darwin wrote himself a marginal note to himself, ‘Never say higher or lower in referring to organisms.’ Most of us, even biologists, have a hard time sticking to this scrupulousness, and we tend to project value judgments onto even more neutral-sounding language (like my use of the terms ‘complex’ and ‘simple’ or ‘multi-cellular’ and ‘single-celled’).Biologists and Creationists alike tend to share a bias towards the multicellular freak show, if I might be so rude.
Disproportionately, biology journals and doctoral theses focus, not on the vast majority of single-celled organisms on the planet, but on these odd combinations of cells, these walking colonies. Of course, there are exceptions, so please don’t write me to tell me that you love cyanobacteria or have a thing for firmicutes, so my point is moot. In the main, we, as a species, are pretty self-centred, believing that, even if the universe does not revolve around us, at least we’re typical of life.
I’m as guilty as anyone else of this complexity bias: I’m an anthropologist (as in ‘anthropos’ = ‘human’), and I am emotionally attached to the other large multicellular creatures that I share the planet’s crust with rather than the masses of easy-to-overlook little forms of life that make our sideshow possible. Okay, so maybe I’m pushing this leap, but there’s a link from a multicellular bias to human exceptionalism, the idea that humans are special, distinctive, separate from other animals.
We are exceptional, but not in the sense that we are fundamentally different from other animals; we, like our large-bodied evolutionary close relations, are odd and unusual in the grand circus of life. I think that Creationism turns this oddity into a kind of Divine License, a Adamic Stewardship, an assumption that humans are God’s special favourite creatures and Creation was given to us. Even many biologists and environmentalists focus on humans and large multicellular organisms disproportionately. An evolutionary framework, in contrast, is a more sobering assessment of our peculiarity, a sense for our fragility and dependence on all these other ‘simpler’ organisms. (Look, for example, at the fate of large-bodied multicellular organisms in the previous great extinctions.)
(In the original talk, I also discussed the error of hereditarianism, but I’ve already put most of my thoughts on the subject in the section on essentializing. I take the concept from Jonathan Marks, and he does a great discussion of ‘folk’ theories of heredity in his book, What It Means to Be 98% Chimpanzee.)
Conclusion: are you feeling the sympathy?This piece doesn’t really explore the most absurd assertions of the most radical Creationists, I freely admit.
I recognize that Creationists sometimes offer examples of logic tortured so badly that Dick Cheney would cringe, arguments so acrobatic that P. T. Barnum would be awed, assertions so tendentious that Johnnie Cochran would blanche (I’ll stop…). This piece is more about the difficulty of really seeing the world through an evolutionary lens.
When Charles Darwin first started working on the ideas that would become The Origin of Species, he knew that they would be hard to accept, even difficult to grasp, as well as counter to social and theological frameworks of the day. That is, although some theorists like Stephen Jay Gould have argued that Darwninian natural selection is quite simple, ‘almost axiomatic,’ I suspect that the psychological distances needed to travel to truly become Darwinian in outlook are a challenge, even if the individual is favourably predisposed toward the theory. For example, some of the early proponents of his theories, like Alfred Wallace and Thomas Henry Huxley who famously acted as the public defender of Darwin, subtly reintroduced some of these same biases into their thinking about evolution. (For example, Wallace thought that there was an unbridgeable gulf between human mental faculties and those of other apes.)
My point is not that some people are habitually wrong, although that’s likely true. Rather, I want to highlight that, although natural selection may be simple in axiomatic terms, it is a real challenge to integrate it into everyday thought. Even our ways of speaking tend to reintroduce errors of teleology, essentialism and complexity bias, leading us to use terms like ‘design,’ a species’ ‘nature,’ and ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ organisms without considering much their implications. I say this as a fellow offender, but one that is becoming increasingly uncomfortable with these chronic errors.
As an undergraduate, I once heard George Mentore say that theologists and anthropologists were polar opposites. I can’t remember what specifically he identified as the polarity, but I would argue that it is an interesting contrast: theologists are very concerned with what we believe, more so than other sorts of scholars, and sorting out right from wrong belief. Oddly, anthropologists are less concerned about the rightness or wrongness of belief; you say you’re possessed by evil spirits or live on the back of a giant turtle or travel to the moon in your dreams? Excellent! What’s that like?
Anthropologists are professionally credulous, believing for the sake of exploring cultural worldviews nearly anything people tell us, at least for the length of time it takes to interview someone. Maybe my sympathy for Creationists comes from a professional commitment to respecting people’s worldviews and seeking to understand how on earth their various accounts of reality might seem plausible to them. That is, it’s very hard to hold for long a worldview that comes up against an obdurate reality again and again, especially if you hope to pass on this worldview to anyone else.
Global statistics tell us that Creationism must have some sort of consistency with observable facts (note: I said ‘observable,’ not scientific), some ability to make sense of empirical reality even if it is simply wrong in scientific terms. Like a description of the sun being a flaming chariot that travels across the sky, we know it’s wrong, but we also can seek to understand how it might appear to be plausible.
In fact, I think that Creationism exhibits some of the same errors that I might expect to find on trick questions in a multiple-choice midterm for a class in human evolution. Creationism adheres to patterns of error in thought: belief that our intellectual categories are reflected in reality; attribution of purpose and direction to the unfolding of events; and a firm conviction that we are both distinctive and fundamentally important to reality. In fact, Darwinian thought and evolutionary theory more broadly are an existential assault on this sense of the world, one that Western societies have struggled to integrate since the first publication of The Origin of Species. I still don’t think Creationists are right, but I do feel like I know where they’re coming from.
Jesus! vs. Darwin! from Flickr uploaded by The Searcher.
Intelligent design cartoon from Dr. Amy, The Skeptical OB.
P. Z. Myers Simpsonized from Pharyngula, What happened to my chin? (Don’t worry, PZ. I think chins are selected against in Simpsonization…)
Teach Both Theories cartoon from Durango Bill (original source unknown).
Graphic showing proportion of global believers in different religions taken from Traiperserond, God and science line up for another dance. Originally, the graphic comes from an article in New Scientist, but I’m loathe to cite the article because it commits a serious teleological error, well, several. I feel justified though because it’s behind a subscription wall.
Darwin, Very Gradual Change cartoon from integral.virishi.net
Evolution Darwinism graphic by Austin Cline, appears at About.com.
Tree of Life diagram originally from Carl Zimmer. 2002. Evolution (William Heinemann), p. 102. Available online at Classification of Living Organisms, greenspirit.org.uk.
Creation Museum Cartoon from CREATION MUSEUM: ANOTHER WAY TO FLEECE THE SHEEPLE, at Musings from the Coast.