Professor David Barash and “The Talk”


Paul Nelson

Article ID:



Jul 31, 2022


Dec 3, 2014


Someone observing Professor David Barash’s animal behavior and evolution class at the University of Washington might decide that the theistic students in the room don’t stand a chance. All the evidence seems to favor the professor. Barash holds the podium at the front of the class, occupies the tenured professorship, and possesses the authority of the scientific community (or so it appears). What’s more, like the biblical Goliath, he speaks with brash — or maybe “barash” — confidence when he delivers what he calls “The Talk.”

“The Talk” contains a lot of bad news for theists, along three fronts: (1) No evidence exists for intelligent design in biology, because random variation and natural selection — an entirely mechanical, undirected process — can do the designing. (2) Human beings are nothing special, really. We are animals like all other animals, and must come to grips with that fact, like it or not. (3) The problem of natural evil is insoluble, and breaks the back of traditional theism. “The more we know of evolution,” says Barash, “the more unavoidable is the conclusion that living things, including human beings, are produced by a natural, totally amoral process, with no indication of a benevolent, controlling creator.”

A theist might want simply to surrender in the face of this onslaught. But let me suggest another strategy. It starts with finding one’s courage in the face of academic intimidation. As I’ll explain in my interview with Hank, the evidence in favor of undirected evolution via natural processes isn’t nearly so airtight as Barash represents. In fact, evolutionary theory has been coming apart like an old shopworn doll for a long time now, and its stuffing is leaking out onto the floor.

Or, to use the metaphor of David and Goliath, David has found Goliath’s vulnerable spot: right in the middle of his forehead. Tune in to find out more…

Paul A. Nelson studied evolutionary theory and the philosophy of science at the University of Chicago, where he received his Ph.D. in 1998. Since that time, he has been a Fellow of the Discovery Institute and from 2004 to the present an Adjunct Professor in the Master of Arts Program in Science & Religion at Biola University. His feature article, “Professor David Barash and ‘The Talk’: When Goliath Starts Bragging, Go Find Your Sling” on which this post is based appears in Volume 37, No. 6 issue of the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL. To subscribe or renew your subscription it is $39.50 for six issues with the current issue FREE or give a gift subscription for Christmas.

Paul Nelson will join Hank Hanegraaff on the Bible Answer Man broadcast Tuesday, Dec. 30 to discuss evolution in the classroom. Tune in daily at 6PM ET at our website,! The Bible Answer Man can also be heard daily on Sirius-XM satellite radio on Family Talk channel 131.The Bible Answer Man can also be heard on local radio stations. Click here for stations and times.

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