...Academic biblical scholars are the best persons to debate creationists. The reason is simple. The Achilles’ Heel of creationism is its biblical illiteracy, and not just its scientific illiteracy.Those of us who are educated in a branch of science that bears on this debate tend to think that the science ought to be obvious and scratch our heads in amazement when people reject it. This is especially compounded by the numerous instances when creationists go out of their way to intentionally distort the science to reflect things it cannot possibly mean. I found myself in rueful agreement when a leading creationist was described as “horrifically, pathologically dishonest.”
True enough, scientists have done an excellent job in pointing the scientific flaws in creationism. However, the problem is that scientists usually don’t have enough knowledge of biblical scholarship to address or defeat some of the arguments creationists use to harmonize the Bible with science.
Scientists are not trained to recognize how creationists are distorting biblical texts. Thus, Jerry Coyne’s Faith v. Fact: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible (2015) does an excellent job of explaining scientific theory and methods, but one will not find any discussion of how most creationists are misreading Genesis 1-3.
Creationists in the pews tend to shrug off arguments about DNA, radioactive dating, and other technical subjects because they are not familiar with them. But one need not even go into these scientific intricacies if the Bible does not even say what creationists claim.
On the other hand, these theological issues with creationism are not new. Paul Seely, for example, was writing about the theological problems with creationism in the 1970s. This has had no effect on the masses that accept the young earth model or those that teach them. Why does this happen?
I think because learning curves are the same no matter what sphere of knowledge you examine. Dr. Avalos comes from a background in theology, and has knowledge in that area that is far greater than your average church goer, who sits down, sings some hymns, and then opens a copy of their favorite bible, where there it is in black and white: God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. Why should they believe otherwise? In order to “get them up to speed,” it would require effectively the same amount of theological education as it would to do the same for the scientific aspects of the argument. To Dr. Avalos, it is patently obvious that people have misinterpreted scripture, just as it is patently obvious to me that they have misinterpreted the scientific evidence. To the average person, this just isn't so.