Countering Evolution…Intelligently

If one wants to oppose something, one needs to understand what the opposition is.  Makes sense, right?

Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose?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.

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About yewnique

I am a Malaysian-born woman who is married to an Australian and now live in Melbourne, Australia. I am a mother to four children. I home school. I like reading, writing, and cooking -- not necessarily in that order. I care about grammar and spelling, but am nonchalant about the Oxford Comma. I try to follow Christ's teachings.

Posted on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011, in Creation vs Evolution, Evolution, Religion and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Great post Kathy. If there’s one thing I hate it’s creationists who use science as an evangelistic tool. If you’re going to do science, do it properly and leave religion out of it. The Bible stands on its own and doesn’t need scientific proofs to justify its existence. I’m now at the point where I believe the whole creation/evolution debate is irrelevant to my faith. I’m curious about it, and I believe creationists may have some useful contributions, but that’s about the extent of it.

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  2. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment, Bill.

    I find your statement ‘creationists who use science as an evangelistic tool’ very intriguing, to say the least. I’m wondering then what you think of Christian homeschool curricula and/or other Christian materials that promote young-Earth Creationism (and vilify evolution in the process)?

    Thanks for your thoughts on this.

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  3. My background is YEC – my mother bought Morris’s “The Genesis Flood” back when it was first published in the 80’s, and I was a fairly ardent creationist after reading it and many other similar books. The turning point came for me when I was studying at Ridley College, where I realised that a creationist world-view isn’t essential to faith, theologically speaking. I’d probably classify myself (at the moment) as an Old-Earth Creationist, since I don’t see sufficient proof for a young earth. I have trouble believing in evolution, since I believe there are too many holes in the theory, yet I have no trouble believing that the creation process could have happened over millions of years. I won’t discount evolution entirely, however I have theological issues with the idea of man coming from an ape.
    As for homeschool curricula, etc, I don’t mind the creationist books that are purely scientific, but grit my teeth when I come across those who portray evolutionists as the “bad guys”. There’s no need to be adversarial in this debate!
    With Jonathan Park, the stories have their value, and have taught our kids a good deal about evolutionary theory as well as creationism. I like the fact that it teaches them not to take things at face value, but to question what they are taught, and I encourage the same thing with creationism. Nonetheless, I cringe occasionally when the scientific debate turns religious, and they say that a creationist world-view is necessary to prevent children turning away from the faith. I believe good theology is necessary to keep children from turning away from the faith, and JP’s theology is definitely suspect!
    Anyway, I’m looking forward to reading your blog posts and having my ideas challenged. I’m a fence-sitter on many of these issues, so it’s good to see some non-YEC points of view.

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  4. Thank you, Bill, for this lengthy and thoughtful reply!

    I’ve been doing a lot of teeth-gritting and cringing while listening to the JP series. And I agree with you that some aspects of the theology presented there is suspect!

    Dr Denis Alexander’s book addresses the theological implications of interpreting Genesis non-literally (and accepting evolution). I would highly recommend this book even if all you do is read those chapters.

    I look forward to you reading my JP reviews and hearing your thoughts on them, if you have time. I must warn you, though, that I am quite harsh and negative in my assessment.

    Thanks once again for engaging in conversation with me on this topic.

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