If one wants to oppose something, one needs to understand what the opposition is. Makes sense, right?
One of the books I am reading at the moment is Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? by Denis Alexander. Dr Alexander is a Christian and a scientist. His book is very heavy at times, especially the chapters (three of them!) on what scientists mean by Evolution. Or rather, they seem heavy to me; I get troubled by the long words and even when I can read the words, the sentences don’t make sense. I am sure he has already dumbed the material down to the most basic level without leaving any important bits out, so I don’t blame him at all for my slowness in trying to grasp the material. In any case, this blogpost is not about that.
In the chapter entitled, “Objections to Evolution” we have indisputable proof that British scientists have a sense of humour when he says:
One of the deep mysteries of life, far more mysterious than the origins of the Ediacaran fauna, is why people spend their time going round churches telling people that they don’t believe evolutionary theory.
Ever attended a Creation Seminar?
Dr Alexander continues:
If people wish to challenge a theory, then that is an excellent and honourable path to follow in the best of scientific traditions. But there are well-established ways of carrying out a scientific critique and these involve the tough course of becoming a member of the scientific research community, and then finding and publishing results in peer-reviewed journals that may challenge a particular theory. That is how theory testing is done and it is the only way that will win the respect of the scientific community. Public votes, popular articles, political pressures, campaigns or even sermons by famous preachers will have no effect on scientific opinion because that is not how science is done. So really serious objections to evolution, if there are any, have to be presented the tough but proper way, by publication of solid results in reputable journals.
Anyone who thinks that there is no hope of anyone ever publishing data that looked like it could debunk evolution because it is a ‘sacred cow’ that cannot be challenged at all needs to rethink their position. The opposite is true. In fact, it is every scientist’s dream to discover something that refutes long-held beliefs about how the world works. But it must be done through the proper channels.
Now, of course, this is not to say that a regular person cannot have objections to things. One can, but one needs to understand what it is one is opposing. In the case of evolution, one needs to understand what evolution actually is, and not some misconception or gross caricature of it. One doesn’t need to know everything there is to know about evolution (who does?), but some basic knowledge of what evolution is and isn’t will go a long way to helping one understand the deeper stuff. That way, when one says one does not ‘believe in’ evolution, one’s beliefs will be based on a proper understanding of the issues and not on misconceptions.
I’m not going to lie to you. It takes work. It is overwhelming, and scary, and you wonder if you are going to make it out the other side with your faith intact, especially when you’ve been told your salvation could be at stake. You’d rather not take the risk. It’s better to just leave the arguing to the experts, and say, “I don’t know much about evolution, but I just know that it is wrong.”
I could not do that and hold on to my integrity. So here I am.