Tag: evolution

Do Science And Religion Mix?

Charmed-dia-wThere are lots of people on both sides of this issue that will tell you that science and religion do not mix. Evolution is the hot button for many, and there has sprung up a counter idea called Creationism. I am not sure what it is about Creationism that appeals to people, but since it supposedly challenges evolutionary theories, lots of people will string along.

Notice that I said that I really don’t know about Creationism. Well, I really am not deeply conversant with evolutionary theory, either. I will say that I am a Christian, and I am also a person with a scientific view of the world. This is not a contradiction

Let me quote someone from the religion side of things:

“I don’t think that there’s any conflict at all between science today and the Scriptures. I think we have misinterpreted the Scriptures many times and we’ve tried to make the Scriptures say things that they weren’t meant to say, and I think we have made a mistake by thinking the Bible is a scientific book. The Bible is not a book of science.” — Rev. Billy Graham

Some evolutionary enthusiasts may say that Billy Graham was dodging the issue. Certainly, the first chapter of Genesis explains in detail how God created the world. Isn’t the Genesis version of creation a fairy tale? How do you explain the second creation story in Genesis? Why are they in conflict as suggested by Carl Sagan in his book, “Contact”?

I have never considered the Genesis 1:1 account as a literal description, even when I first read it when I was elementary school age. Read it yourselves. It is a beautiful story, poetic, and satisfying for someone trying to tell the story. The second story reverses part of the time line, but it starts a different part of the story. Carl Sagan was simply misguided, and not knowledgeable about the Scriptures, or how a stone age culture would tell a story. The writers of Genesis simply did their best to explain how God did what He did.

Evolutionary theory partly says that humans are descended from apes. Now, my wife will take exception to that, but will somewhat agree that I may be a bit ape like. Ah, the vicissitudes of life and marriage. For millions of people, the fossil record upon which the evolutionists depended was not satisfactory at all. Indeed, the record jumps around all over the place, and it makes you wonder why scientific people were making the assumptions they were. But, that is not the whole story.

It is easy to visualize evolution as a viable way for creation to have happened. Even now, there is substantial debate as to whether evolution can be correct. Enter the science of genetics.

Genetics ruins it all for Creationists. The Creationists who insist on some alternative way people evolved, or worse yet, appeared on earth as functioning, modern adults, have to wake up and take stock. Genetics is not a assumption like the fossil record. Genetics is legitimate science.

Live with it, folks. It certainly looks like some form of evolution has been at work for a very long time. There a lot of questions to be answered, but the truth will be made clear, eventually.

As a Christian I have no problem with genetics, or the idea of an evolutionary process in human development. However, I do not believe in random.

Random is just another word for uncertainty. I cannot buy the idea of a magical, random march of quarks, protons, electrons, and other esoteric particles in the origin of life, and the progression of mankind. I believe in a causal world. For every action there is a cause, and we have not ascertained the cause of every action, much less understand the cause of life,

So, Christians let science do what science does. I don’t think there are any conflicts.

Scientists, let it go about criticizing religion. After all, we are seeing new religions spring up, one of them being that of Science itself. Be careful about what you worship.

The Big Creation – Evolution Debate

The debate was on debatelive.org, and was between Bill Nye, “The Science Guy”, and Ken Ham, CEO of Genesis Answers. The facility was the Creation Museum in Kentucky which Mr. Ham apparently runs. Bill Nye is well-known as a so-called science expert, and Ken Ham is a young-earth creationist. The young-earth creationists say that the earth is only about six thousand years old as opposed to the scientific view that it is four and a half billion years old.

The debate was a classic exchange of evolution arguments against Biblical based creation. Bill Nye used fossil evidence, radiometric evidence, and other things like genetic findings. He tried to concentrate his presentation against the young-earth hypothesis of the creationists. In doing so he repeatedly made a mistake in expressing that people who believe the Bible don’t understand science, or scientific principles. I agreed with him about the young-earth hypothesis being incorrect, but thought it was beyond the pale to imply that Christians, especially Christians in southern states, are ignorant of science and mathematics. That was pretty shallow of him.

The young-earth creationist view comes by counting Old Testament  generations from Adam to Jesus who lived at at a known time. I think they believe it was two thousand years from the world’s creation to Moses; two thousand years from Moses to Jesus; and two thousand years from Jesus to the present. There is uncertainty in their method, but I don’t feel like delving into all those scriptures and counting generations and years.

Of course, the four and a half billion year age of the earth comes from estimation using geological and astronomical data. Ken Ham’s retort to this sort of measurement was to define two types of science; present day observational science and historical science. His point was that since we were not present when the earth was created, we cannot ascertain age using current scientific methods. Ham says that all we are doing is making unwarranted assumptions.

In this Ham is wrong. Science is science, and it should always be based on observational data. The way we estimate the age of  things formed in the past is by using well known constants that were valid in antiquity, and are valid now. Think Carbon 14 dating, radioactive decay of uranium or other elements. There are many methods of physically dating rocks, bones, and vegetable substances. However, there are uncertainties in many methods, and these are usually expressed as a plus and minus accuracy. Ken Ham argues that none of them are accurate, and I think his argument is based on wishful thinking rather than any concrete evidence.

Nye did not classify the uncertainty of many of the dating methods. It is things like that get lost in so-called debates. He pointed out that there were lots of physical things that are dated older than the six thousand years of Ham’s creationist world. For example, the well known Bristle Cone Pine trees of California can get very old. The age of these trees is measured by counting tree rings, and involves very few assumptions. At least one is nine thousand years old. Ham had no reply to this example.

Ken Ham was absolutely consistent. If he didn’t have a physical explanation, he relied on the Bible. When Bill Nye said he didn’t know how matter was created, Ham pointed that there was a book that explained all that, and the book is the Bible. That got a few laughs in the audience.

Nye also exhibited a good deal if ignorance about the Bible and Christianity. For example, he accused Ham of being inconsistent when Ham explained that the Bible had many parts, not just a description of creation and laws. Bill Nye had no knowledge of the Book of Psalms which is poetry and songs.

Mr Nye also seemed to have no appreciation of the way science is always changing. Not all science changes, but almost every day some theory or scientific finding is overturned. That’s the way science works. Nye spoke of science as if it were a monolithic, unchanging thing. Science is a process designed to use evidence as its basis. When new evidence becomes available,  older theories are many times invalidated.  Trusting in science for an ultimate truth is risky, indeed.

Bill Nye has a degree in mechanical engineering, and as such, is an intelligent person. Unfortunately, his knowledge is lacking in some cases.. Ken Ham is nothing but stubborn, and it is sometimes disappointing when he hides behind the Bible rather than give an answer other than the evolutionists make too many assumptions.

The purveyors of evolution do make a lot of assumptions, and then tout those assumptions as science. For example, they fossil record is not satisfactory to me to explain evolution. What is more convincing are the genetic records. Even though I am a Christian, I accept the principle of evolution.

I don’t believe evolution detracts from the glory of God. When you look into the miracles of nature with science, it is hard NOT believe in God. Mr Nye would be well advised to thank God for our ability to scientifically explore all creation. Mr Ham would be well advised to keep an open mind.

Note: You may be interested in this article on the Federalist blog by Cathy Resienwitz. She calls creationism as believing in the “God of the gaps”. Interesting, and I agree with her.

The Evolutionism Creationary Bang

Sometimes I wonder why we sit around and argue so much about things about which we have little or no knowledge. The origin of life is one of those things, and maybe this is an appropriate discussion for a Sunday.

A lot of people agree with something called, evolution. Some people believe in creationism. Understand, I have given you links to Wikipedia, but it is well known that Wikipedia can easily misrepresent things. I am not going to do a comparison about the entire theory about either belief, but just one aspect.

It seems to me that whether you believe that God created the universe ( and all creation), or evolution, then you wind up at the same place when considering the actual creation of matter and life.

Evolution, I think, postulates that the universe was nothing before the Big Bang. After that, everything happened at random with particles joining together to form atoms, then molecules, then stars, then all the rest of what makes up our universe. Life began, probably, in some sort of primordial soup of proteins and other organic compounds, most likely with the cooperation of a fortuitous lighting strike.

What happened before the Big Bang? Well, nothing, according to our scientific friends. In other words it was magic.

Now, along come the God believers who right off the bat will tell you the the whole thing was magic in the first place. Well, let’s say magic in the sense of a Superior Being, i. e.,  God doing the honors of creating matter and life.

So, I have accorded a belief in magic to evolutionists and creationists. Where am I going wrong?

I am far from being the person to evaluate either theory. Everybody will always take somebody else’s word for something, and we all are in that position from the viewpoint of how life was created, and by what means. As far as thinking that God created our world, universe, and life, that doesn’t conflict with the physical sciences. Maybe some Bible stories do, but I am not arguing that, anyway.

Of course, this brings up another issue. Evolutionists tend to think that people who believe in God are anti-science. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most of the famous and fundamental scientists were also Christians. Some had strange beliefs like Isaac Newton, who was also an alchemist. Many people say that Newton was the most intelligent person in history. Don’t forget Galileo and Copernicus, both Catholics.

I think I will stick with my backwards belief in God doing all this stuff. I will let others argue over where all that magic comes from.