Monthly Article February 2013 – Puzzling over the ‘hows’

by Stephen Gilkinson

 

If you are anything like me, you have many puzzles and mysteries about life on planet earth, some of which may be solved to your satisfaction and some not. One puzzle that I have long pondered over goes something along the following lines: ‘I am continually being told from a variety of different sources that ‘evolution’ (1) is a fact beyond dispute and that there is a consensus among scientists concerning the validity of evolutionary claims. Some of the ‘hows’ of evolution may not be clearly understood, but not the fact that evolution has taken place.’

However, it is the ‘hows’ that people should be openly thinking about, as it’s in the details where evolution falls down. This is why evolutionists can be so antagonistic towards people who have dared to question the evolutionary paradigm about the origin of life on planet earth and who may have suggested an alternative possibility. Biblical Creation constantly challenges the ‘hows’ of evolution and shows them to be lacking. If you think that science is a field where people are free to consider information in regard to the ‘hows’ in an open minded manner, then consider the following: 

 

Hostility against the alternative

 

- In 2008 Professor Michael Reiss stepped down as director of education at the Royal Society following controversy over his comments on creationism (2). He said creationism should be discussed in science lessons if pupils raised the issue. However he was misquoted in the media as saying that ‘creationism’ should be taught in science lessons. The Royal Society was of the opinion that these comments had damaged the body's reputation. In a statement, it said:  'As a result, Professor Reiss and the Royal Society have agreed that, in the best interests of the Society, he will step down immediately as director of education.’(3) It appears that even the mention of discussing the ‘hows’ is not tolerated.

- When the new visitors centre opened at the Giants Causeway a news story quickly went worldwide because the centre included a short audio clip as detailed below: 

 The interactive exhibition in question includes an audio package re-enacting debates between historic figures, who argued over the origins of the Causeway, as well as their contrasting biblical and scientific beliefs on the origins of the planet.

The exchanges end with a further clip stating: "This debate continues today for some people, who have an understanding of the formation of the earth which is different from that of current mainstream science. Young earth creationists believe that the earth was created some 6,000 years ago. This is based on a specific interpretation of the Bible and in particular the account of creation in the book of Genesis.  Some people around the world, and specifically here in Northern Ireland, share this perspective. Young earth creationists continue to debate questions about the age of the earth. As we have seen from the past, and understand today, perhaps the Giant's Causeway will continue to prompt awe and wonder, and arouse debate and challenging questions for as long as visitors come to see it."

The response to the inclusion of the above audio, which is factually correct in everything that it stated, from evolutionists was nothing short of extraordinarily hostile. Ultimately the response prompted a review of the audio by the National Trust which was then slightly modified to ensure that people thought that the biblical explanation of the origin of the Giant’s Causeway was a purely religious one with no scientific credence (4). For a biblical explanation of the formation of the Giant’s Causeway see here.

- Jerry Bergman in his book ‘Slaughter of the Dissidents’ Volume 1, also gives many examples of teachers in schools and universities in America who were sacked or forced to resign from their jobs because they dared to question the ‘hows’ of evolution. They were not teaching ‘creationism’ but were merely encouraging student to think for themselves.

 

Implications

 

Surely if evolution is such a ‘done deal’, then it can stand up to scrutiny and questions. Is this not what science is about – asking questions, looking at your presuppositions and following the evidence wherever it leads? If the theory of evolution is proven beyond all reasonable doubt, with a large body of scientific evidence to support its claims, then it ought to have no problem standing up to classroom discussions. Science is about enquiring, the pre-requisite of which is an open mind. However, it seems that there should be no open mind when it comes to evolution – accept it as fact, or else join the loony religious bigots (5). Science is not about consensus, nor is truth.  In science, consensus is irrelevant. Some of the greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. It is also important to understand that evolution works within the realm of historical science, interpreting how things seen in the present were formed in the past – there is no direct observation involved – this is why understanding your worldview in science is so important. Facts do not speak for themselves, they are interpreted in light of the interpreters‘ worldview.   

Why is there such antagonism to questioning the tenets of evolution? To find the answer to this puzzle we need to dig a little deeper below the surface (not the earth’s surface)! Evolution is essentially naturalism, i.e. the world around us originated solely due to ‘natural’ processes, without any supernatural input. The evolutionist (6) may portray naturalism as an adequate explanation for the world around us, but naturalism has completely failed to answer such things as how non- physical phenomena came to be, e.g. consciousness, cellular information (DNA), laws of logic etc. The heart of the issue is whether we set the words and conclusions of the evolutionary paradigm above the Word of God.  As new discoveries are made, the evolution story changes, but the Word of God remains forever. Whose word are you trusting in? Choose wisely. The implications cannot be overstated!

 

References and Notes:

1 Evolution is a naturalistic explanation of the origin of all time, space and matter which also includes the process of how life on earth came to be.

2 http://creation.com/reiss-resigns-as-royal-society-stifles-debate-on-evolution

3 http://royalsociety.org/News.aspx?id=1153&terms=Michael+Reiss

4 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-19814284

5 This is often how creationists are portrayed, with ad hominem attacks rather that dealing with the real science. 

6 COM fully accepts that there are sincere Christians who accept evolution as God’s method of creation. However Genesis does not allow this and they are biblically inconsistent. They fail to see that they are choosing a completely naturalistic explanation which has no need for God.