100 Answers in 100 Days

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Sharing answers to the various questions of faith I have faced, and which others have been challenged with also.

Friday, March 18, 2011

#77: Is Evolution science or faith?

It would almost seem these days as though all of religion is an ancient concept. That all of the world's religions began many thousands of years ago before people got “scientific”. But of course, this isn't true. Scientology, for example, was officially declared a new religion in 1993. But I would say that just about any religion has some story to explain the origin of life. In a sense, religion is indeed a way for man to explain the world around him and its origin. As a Christian, I naturally believe that many other religions are nothing more than this... myths about the origin of the universe. But is Evolution any different to these other religions? Evolution interprets scientific data, and these interpretations are often little more than elaborate stories which people trust are “probably how it happened”.

Contrary to popular belief, thoughtful Christians do not simply put their fingers in their ears and shout “La la la la!” when some scientific claim upsets their world view. There is, for example, the claim that the world is billions of years old. But since the Bible gives us a genealogy from Adam to Jesus Christ, we can roughly estimate that creation, (the time of Adam), was only around 6000 years ago. (Now, if some Christians try to say that there were not six literal days of creation, and that there were billions of years of Evolution leading up to Adam, then they have this problem: that the Bible must therefore pinpoint the very moment that some non-human ape became human. But that's not going to fit any reckoning of Evolution I know of, since Adam's immediate father would have been indistinguishable from human.) But if the world is billions of years old, as Evolutionists claim, yet Christians believe it to be 6000 years old, what do Christians do about this? Do they block their ears to the evidence for an old Earth? No, they critically review the scientific evidence, and they examine some scientific research of their own. Since we're talking science, I'll cite some actual scientific work on this matter. Here's a description of some research which supports a young Earth...

The decay in the human genome due to multiple slightly deleterious mutations each generation is consistent with an origin several thousand years ago. Sanford, J., Genetic entropy and the mystery of the genome, Ivan Press, 2005; ... This has been confirmed by realistic modelling of population genetics, which shows that genomes are young, in the order of thousands of years. See Sanford, J., Baumgardner, J., Brewer, W., Gibson, P. and Remine, W.,  Mendel’s Accountant: A biologically realistic forward-time population genetics program, SCPE 8(2):147–165, 2007.
Copied from http://creation.com/age-of-the-earth

Christians are not against science, by any means. In fact, when I was growing up, studying science in school is probably one of the things that kept my mind contemplating the wonder of God; to hear about the complexity of microscopic cells, and how all of our body is finely coordinated... I just marvel at the handy-work of God! But science is about making observations and then interpreting the data. When anybody interprets anything, it is impossible to be completely objective. We all have presuppositions and an expectation about the world around us. If we're already sold on Evolution, then we'll interpret data as fitting into our model of “survival of the fittest”, or whatever. Now, recently I spoke with a man who was defending Evolution. He basically said that “There is nothing more than survival of the species. All things can be explained in terms of survival.” I asked him, “What about mankind's appreciation of art, or music, or literature?” Well, he stuck to his guns at first, but it actually wasn't long before he'd changed his tune a little and was saying “Not everything is about survival, you know!” You see, there's no objective science going on here at all. I was challenging this man's world view, and he was simply trying to make everything compatible with his world view. When he couldn't, he was forced to modify his view a little bit. All of his reading from scientific authors like Richard Dawkins and such simply went out the window.

Now, I’d have liked to share an example of a YouTube video I once saw. Unfortunately, the video has been removed due to copyright infringement. It was an interview between Richard Dawkins and Richard Leakey. In it, Dawkins asked “What do you think made the brain get so big in such a short time?” (Referring to the brains of our ape-ancestors.) Leakey replies with a story. He explained that our ancestors ventured out into harsher territory where they found that the ability to make sharp tools for cutting meat was beneficial. Not that this answers the question, but in any case; what is the scientific evidence to back up this story? This is just a story, invented by this man as a “plausible explanation”. The video does go on to show what is supposed to be evidence of this. They found some skulls near some sharp rocks, and supposed that the apes had been fashioning these rocks into sharp tools for cutting. But this is just an interpretation of something observed to fit the Evolutionist world view. For all we know, humans fashioned those rocks and the skulls are the prey of those people. It is based on the assumption that people did not exist at the time these rocks were cut. Presumably Carbon dating was used to date the skulls, but Carbon dating is unreliable.

What Leakey is doing is actually no different to any of the old religions. Much like an Australian Aboriginal Dream-Time Story, for example, in which the great rock Uluru is explained as being where “Tatji, the small Red Lizard … threw his kali, a curved throwing stick, and it became embedded in the surface.” [www.crystalinks.com/ayersrock.html]. It's a story which explains what has been observed by fitting it into the world view of the culture. They see the rock and they explain it in terms of their Dream-Time framework. This is what Richard Leakey is doing. It's completely speculative. But this is what I've seen throughout all of Evolution Theory and Natural Selection. A quote from one Dr Philip Skell voices my own experiences quite well: "Natural selection makes humans self-centered and aggressive—except when it makes them altruistic and peaceable. Or natural selection produces virile men who eagerly spread their seed—except when it prefers men who are faithful protectors and providers." Whatever an Evolutionist wants to explain, they simply create a sort of "Creation Myth" story in which Natural Selection is the "Creator". It's not science, any more than the Dream-Time stories are.

Until tomorrow...

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

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