Do we have to ignore scientific evidence in order to accept creation? Some may have felt a conflict between accepting the truth, as discovered by science, and accepting truth, as declared in the Bible. Does accepting one require the rejection of the other?
In this article we look for answers to these questions. A major problem for some has been the feeling that science has proven the theory of evolution. The resulting question then seems to be, "Do we deny truth to accept our faith, or deny our faith to accept the truth (of evolution)?" Fortunately, as it turns out, we can maintain our faith in God without throwing our brains out the window.
In order to proceed, we need to look more closely at what we mean by science, evolution, and truth. We will assume we know what truth is. For example, we probably all understand that the statement, "Pigs can fly," is not true.
For our purposes, "evolution" is the theory that species developed from other species. It is not the thing we see occurring in breeding of animals, for here, there is no change from one species to another. We do see selection of traits, but they are pre-existing and already within the gene pool for that species. Evolution claims that one species evolved from another, including the proposition that man evolved from non-human animals.
The word "science" is loaded; it can have more than a single meaning. What is science? As Humpty Dumpty implied in his comment to Alice, there are as many meanings to a word as one wants to give it. Humpty said a word means what he intends it to mean. Well, for the purpose here we need consider only two of the many possible intended meanings of "science."
SCIENCE: Definition 1. A search for the truth.
SCIENCE: Definition 2. The pronouncements, teachings, beliefs, opinions, statements, position statements, etc., of a group of people or institutions (such as journals, textbooks, scientific organizations) which either call themselves "scientists" or are so referred to as "scientists" by others; also, the activities (not necessarily objective, or even honest!) of "scientists". (These activities have run the gamut, from objective "scientific method" to subjective interpretation of experimental results to actual faking of data.)
One definition refers to seeking truth; the other to dogma and the opinions of man. Science (definition 2) has been proven wrong by Einstein, Galileo, and others. Science once told us that causing sick people to bleed helped them. Later science changed its mind to the position that such bleeding instead made them worse. Obviously, "science" has come to wrong conclusions in the past, and it will not surprise me if it is wrong in the future. Here we are using definition 2, of course—dogmatic assertions.
On the other hand, a search for truth is not out of harmony with God's word. Jesus himself said He was the truth. God's word is truth. The truth is what can set us free. Thus, we can look at evidence of the truth. God himself tells us he has given us evidence (as in Romans 1: 20). If the science is honest with the evidence, not dogmatic, but instead being truly a search for truth, then science can be useful. The Bible speaks of "oppositions of science, falsely so called" (1 Timothy 6: 20). True science is not in opposition to God or the Bible. This, of course, is science by definition 1, not 2! Sadly, much of the history of "science" (definition 2) has been a history of departure from the ideals of definition 1.
As the recent book Icons of Evolution indicates, much that has been accepted as "science" is questionable at best and false at worst. In the case of evolution, there have been assertions which have been stated as facts and the claim that evolution naturally follows based on the evidence of those "facts". Armed with our understanding of the distinction between truly objective science as a search for truth and "science" as the accepted (but not necessarily true) dogma of man's biases, we can now proceed to look at the evidence for evolution.
What has been claimed as fact is sometimes mistakenly assumed. For example, Phillip Johnson spoke with a cell biologist who admitted that evolution could not explain a cell but still insisted evolution explained other phenomena. Johnson pointed out that cells were what this biologist knew most about and were what the biologist recognized as inexplicable by evolutionary theory. However, this scientist accepted evolution concerning other things, about which he knew less, thus, about which he had to trust in the pronouncements of others more.
In short, in the area where this biologist was forced to depend more on the true objective-search-for-truth type of science, he admitted that evolution failed as a theory to explain life. On the other hand, in the area where this scientist was forced to lean more on the pronouncements of other scientists, he was of the opinion that evolution worked. This hints that dogma asserts the truth of evolution, while objective science fails to substantiate this claim.
It is alright to question the theory of evolution. This is what true science is all about. Many have questioned evolution and found that it is wanting as a theory. Facts fail to support it in many ways. Here are a few of the failures:
- Evolutionists admit (to themselves) their failure to name a single species that has been proven to have evolved from another species.
- Natural selection occurs from existing genes and can not yield new species.
- Mutations have been shown to be invariably detrimental, not improvements, to the function of the proteins affected.
- Evolution is mathematically extremely improbable (less probable than choosing a specific atom at random from the entire universe).
- Transitional forms are missing.
So, although "dogma" might claim the truth of evolution, objective science has not proven it. In fact, the evidence is strongly against its probability. So, although there may be a conflict between one's belief in a creation and the dogmatic assertion that evolution occurred, there is not such a conflict between creation by an intelligent designer and a truly scientific look at the evidence!