Local Opinion Editorials


The recent passing of Darwin Day continues to generate discussion in various quarters as to exactly what, if any, is the relationship between the question of evolution and the question of creation. The folks involved in promoting Intelligent Design, have in the past few years sought repeatedly to make a legal and scientific case for what they call “teaching the controversy” of evolution. The idea is that Darwinian theory, that all organisms originated from a common ancestor and evolved over the eons by random mutation and natural selection, in spite of evidence for it, also has some glaring problems, such as insufficient fossil evidence. The majority of scientists and science educators respond simply saying that there is no controversy, so how can one be taught?

Louisiana recently passed a law requiring that evidence be presented both for and against Darwinian evolution. But many ask, “What evidence is there against Darwinian evolution?” The logical second question is also asked, “What evidence is there for creation or ‘Intelligent Design’?”

In a recent article, I suggested that Darwinian evolutionary theory neither proves nor disproves God. Furthermore, science alone can’t prove or disprove the existence of an omnipotent, Creator God because such an entity would be outside of and greater than time and space. Science deals with measuring and manipulating particles and waves, but could not by its nature control a God who existed before and created the particles and waves of the universe. The cosmos would be subject to God, not him to it. Science could prove there is no Santa Claus at the North Pole, but it can’t go back in time before the Big Bang nor beyond the outer rim of space and time. I concluded that no teacher on a tax-paid payroll has legal right to say they can prove God does or does not exist.

But since I’m not on a state-payroll, I can freely point out another interesting issue in this discussion. While science cannot adequately provide evidence for or against God’s existence, it can corroborate or question the trustworthiness of sacred texts, in particular the Bible. For example, a couple of years ago I generated a heated debate on the Indianapolis Star website by suggesting that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is subject to falsification, and thus becomes not just a question of religion but of science. At that time an archeologist claimed to have found the burial tomb of Jesus containing his bones. Most scholars reject his conclusions, but he did make a serious attempt to falsify the New Testament story of Jesus rising from the dead.

Regarding the origin of the cosmos and life, the book of Genesis makes some specific historical claims, describing, though not nearly in as much detail as the events surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus, a series of events in chronological order. The veracity of these events can be put to the test. The very first claim is that, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” When the theory of the Big Bang was initially floated among scientists, many resisted it because of the religious inferences one could make. Even Einstein fudged in his mathematical calculations to avoid the conclusion that the universe had a definite beginning. Talk of a beginning sounded too much like an ancient Jewish religious text.

The harmony of Genesis with scientific discoveries doesn’t stop there. Almost anyone knows that Genesis reports God creating everything in six days and resting on the seventh. But many don’t realize that geological and fossil records follow the same progression of development that occurs in these six “days” of Genesis.  Some have read the text and scoffed at the notion that God created the sun and moon after creating photosynthesis, but the idea actually expressed in the text follows correctly the scenario proposed by scientists that the primeval atmosphere was composed of an unbroken cloud cover under which early life developed. Photosynthesis didn’t need a blue sky. The sun and moon didn’t really appear until eons later, ushering in a new period for life to flourish. The progression continues in Genesis smoothly moving stage to stage from the first photosynthetic life forms to primitive plant life on land to marine life to more complex land life and finally, humans, precisely following the biological time clock confirmed by paleontology and genetics. Whoever wrote Genesis (traditionally considered Moses) was either extraordinarily lucky, was a scientist, or had supernatural access to information. In comparison, no other creation story has scientific credibility. For example, one creation epic has humans created first, not last.

If there is any objective way that the Bible as literature can be discussed in the public educational setting, it could include examining the texts for historical accuracy and scientific harmony. One still doesn’t have to conclude that God inspired the Bible (though one might conclude that). But when reading stories like the creation account in Genesis one can at least be struck with mild curiosity as to why a story written thousands of years ago in the Middle East harmonizes uncannily with the most recent scientific discoveries of the 21st century. Perhaps it’s just coincidence or simply someone reading into the text what they want to see, perhaps it’s something more. Fine, so why not teach the controversy?

The Waynedale News Staff
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Ronald Coody, Istanbul, Turkey

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