Cute, but specious …

A series of bunny pictures have made the rounds in blogdom aiming to provide a clever critique of Christians who believe “antiquated ideas” like the existence of a historical Adam and the inerrancy of scripture.  The pictures portray these kinds of Christians as mindless fundamentalists, clinging to the Bible even though all the scientific and/or historical evidence is unquestionably pointing to something different.

Two bunnies are having a discussion revolving around a puzzle one is putting together.  Here is the picture sequence.  My thoughts follow.

One problem from the outset is the small size of the puzzle.  According to the box-top, it is a 25 piece puzzle.  I would assume that the puzzle pieces are probably from one about the same size.  So from the outset, we’re being encouraged to think of the study of origins and history as the equivalent of a 25 piece puzzle.  Is this really fair?  My 2-year-old is able to put together a 25 piece puzzle!  Are evolutionists and historical minimalists claiming that science and history are as simple as this?  If so, they are grossly overconfident about the current state of the data.  I would like to submit that the reality of things is not a 25 piece puzzle where we have 24 pieces already, but a 1000 piece puzzle where we have maybe a couple hundred pieces.

The second problem I noticed was the very easy coherence of the 24 extant pieces of the Winnie the Pooh puzzle.  All the pieces fit together neatly and the two pictures are different enough and simple enough that the “open minded” bunny is able to see obvious differences that could not in any way be coordinated with the box-top from the duck puzzle.  Indeed, this is what makes the “closed minded” (presumably conservative Christian) bunny look like such a moron.  But in the real world, the state of our knowledge of origins and history does not leave us with 96% of the puzzle pieces already put together, allowing us to see this crystal-clear of a difference between the two.  Reality is not an easy-to-assemble puzzle of a duck, reality is more like a 1000 piece photographic mosaic.  In real life, questions of origins or history are not as simple as “There’s some trees over here.”  Instead reality is more like, “Hmmmm.  Look at this shade of blue … is that the same shade as on the box?  Is there a glare?  Did this puzzle piece get left out and fade?  Is that a coffee stain on the box or is this brown piece really supposed to go there?”

The third problem I noticed was that there is only one box, the supposedly “biblical” box.  Had this comic series been more in touch with reality, we would have seen a hodgepodge of pieces strewn in front of two or more box-tops.  The bunnies would then be arguing that their box-top is the one that the different pieces most closely represent.  Perhaps what we need as well is an argument taking place

“Open minded” bunny: “But I think these pieces look like this (non-biblical) box-top over here.”

“Closed-minded” “fundamentalist Christian” bunny: “But remember, Dad told us that he saw mom dump the pieces out of this box top over here.”

OM bunny: “Yeah, but you can’t just believe dad about everything … I had a professor in college who told me that.  Then I had a different professor who was into these other kinds of box-tops and those sounded like a good idea to me, so I’m going to go with them.”

CMFC bunny: “Well, I guess that’s your choice, but your professors don’t live with mom.  What is more, I’m not aware of dad ever lying about this kind of thing before.  When he says he saw mom dump those pieces out of this box, I’m inclined to trust him more than some professor, even if he is brilliant.”

The way this works out in reality is that both bunnies ought to be arguing for the primacy of their particular box-top (worldview) from a pile of puzzle pieces that simply aren’t self-interpreting.  It is the height of naivete to think that evolutionists or minimalists are just “following the data” in an analogous way to the bunny in the pictures who is “just putting pieces together.”

I’m sure that there are some fundamentalists out there who think as simplistically as the other bunny, but my hunch is that the bloggers are trying to criticize anyone who disagrees with their openness to the errancy of scripture and macro-evolution.  The picture sequence is clever, but on the flip side, the creator sounds excessively naive about reality, even more so than the fundamentalist bunny who thinks that the Winnie the Pooh puzzle is really (somehow) a duck.

_____________________________
R. Andrew Compton
Christ Reformed Church (URCNA)
Anaheim, CA

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2 comments on “Cute, but specious …

  1. matt says:

    Great critique. Unfortunately the “open minded” don’t get that their presuppositional worldview of philosophical naturalism colours everything they see, read, hear, dream and desire. Yet at the same time I feel sorry for them.

  2. CW says:

    Aside from the epistemological aspect (your second to the last paragraph nails it), the ‘open minded’ bunny will slam his mind shut and conclude that image of Whinnie the Pooh & Tigger Too is just a random collection of elements subject only to time and chance rather than admit that there must have been an artist.

    I can’t believe we’re discussing bunnies on RR :)

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