Mount Rushmore: Illustrating Creationism

When discussing creation vs. evolution, the following illustration can prove helpful. Consider this story:

In the mid-1930’s, nature lover Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln, were hiking in the hills near Keystone, South Dakota. After entering a clearing, the two men discovered something extraordinary. The great rock formation in front of them had apparently been slowly weathered over thousands of years until coming to bear a remarkable resemblance to four previous American presidents!

Can you think of anyone who would believe this erroneous account of the formation of Mount Rushmore? Of course not. The reason this story is so obviously false is that we can clearly recognize the hand of a creator at work in the massive granite sculpture. In the same way, this national landmark serves as an illustration of the truth of Creation and God, its Creator.

Mount Rushmore helps to illustrate the following ‘Argument by Design’

  1. The unmistakable appearance of design indicates the work of a designer
  2. Just like the stone likenesses of presidents on Mount Rushmore, the world around us and our own bodies bear signs of design
  3. The design we see in ourselves and in nature is rightly attributed to a designer

When discussing creation vs. evolution with someone who does not hold to the concept of a Creator, examples such as this can help to steer the conversation away from complicated scientific theories and into more relevant areas of logic and reason. As J.P. Moreland and Tim Muehlhoff note:

It’s one thing to argue that the overwhelming appearance of design in our world happened by chance; it’s another thing entirely to argue that design just happens in other situations. When looking at a painting or flowers arranged in a garden, we never think it just happened.

Join the Discussion: Given the logical conclusions we typically reach when encountering evidence of design in our lives, why is it that so many are willing to deny a Creator?

A more detailed treatment of the Mount Rushmore example for illustrating the Argument by Design approach for discussing creation vs. evolution can be found in the book The God Conversation, by J. P. Moreland and Tim Muehlhoff.

  1. SEB,

    Are you serious? We can keep it simple with just one basic question. Given any amount of time there is no way Mt. Rushmore could form itself without a designer. It’s not just a carving, it would take a prophet to put those particular faces there. It could never happen given any amount of time.

    DNA code is staggeringly more complicated code than Windows 10. DNA requires a creator.

  2. There isn’t one thing we touch in everyday life (excluding nature for now) that doesn’t speak of design. From the cars we drive to the roads and road systems we drive on; the clothes we wear, the style we choose, the electronics we use, this website, the desk, the chair, pens, pencils, erasers and on and on and on. Even our arguments are designed. How can something as intricate as an eyeball be chance through natural selection? Not to mention so many other funtions of the body nor the organs themselves by themselves much less working together. How can these not speak of design regardless of religious belief.
    One example in nature… We exhale carbon dioxide which trees consume. The trees then produce oxygen which we need for life. How does this not speak of design?
    For the evolutionist, this isn’t about design vs evolution. This is about evolution vs Christianty. The evolutionist doesn’t want to believe in the God of the Bible because then everything else is true regarding sin and salvation, heaven and hell and so on. The proof of this is in the fact that the evolutionist immediately points to things in the Judeo-Christian Bible that are hard to believe or difficult to understand. You never, ever hear the evolutonist attempting a debunk of any other religion nor its book.

  3. There is a certain threshold of arrangement and direction that things cannot pass without intelligent design and some input from outside itself. Certain outcomes and arrangements exhibit evidence of a higher yet hidden essence without doubt. Just like DNA is more than the sum of its parts and just as a human being us more than the sum of its parts, its parts and their arrangements do not fully explain it, they are insufficient. Some people try to make the argument that they do but they are not fully convincing. Science concentrates on material physics which is part of the how of outward mechanical bodies but not the complete how because it excludes the why. Now telling me that Aristotle thought the same thing with his several causes does not an intelligent counter argument make

  4. SEB,
    Simply redescribes our position, calls it by another name which has similarity and that’s it, somehow he thinks he has made a point? Just because you reject certain evidences of reason and logic and call for another form of evidence you haven’t invalidated the first. The illustration in this article about Mt. Rushmore is about how we immediately recognize design and distinguish it from accident quite naturally without any need of any great scientific experiments or any more proofs than logic and reasoning provide. That doesn’t suit you so you insist on another form of evidence or test to get the result you want or rather the lack of any result.

  5. Most of us deny because there is simply no evidence for one. What you have presented above is not evidence, it’s called the argument for teleology.

    In summary, you see the work of God in everything because you are assuming that because there must have been a creator for the carvings on Mt. Rushmore then by extension – and a fallacy in logical deduction – so too must the wonder/beauty and complex nature of life have a creator. But we just don’t see it that way.

    A favourite quote of mine from Douglas Adams ” Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? ”

    Wiki Definition for Teleology and the Teleological Argument:

    A teleology is any philosophical account that holds that final causes exist in nature, meaning that design and purpose analogous to that found in human actions are inherent also in the rest of nature.

    A teleological or design argument is an a posteriori argument for the existence of God based on apparent design and purpose in the universe. The argument is based on an interpretation of teleology wherein purpose and design appear to exist in nature beyond the scope of any such human activities. The teleological argument suggests that, given this premise, the existence of a designer can be assumed, typically presented as God.

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