Tuesday, April 11, 2006

"Taking Darwin and Creation Seriously"

Michael Roberts, writing for the American Scientific Affiliation, tackles the seeming contradictions in Genesis and evolutionary theory in the article Taking Darwin and Creation Seriously. As Roberts notes:

The genius of Darwin in "The Origin of Species" (1859) was that he brought together previously unrelated aspects to biology; Variation and selection (leading to Natural Selection), the geological record, Geographical Distribution and the "Mutual Affinities of Organic Beings."

Darwin worked off of the writings of Thomas Malthus, Charles Lyell and all of the naturalists that came before him. Unfortunately, genetics was unknown to Darwin at the time.

Roberts also notes:

To allow evolution by purely "natural" means is often seen to be reductionistic, and often God is brought in to "intervene" at suitable moments, such as the formation of life itself, or the first human. I have much sympathy with a concern over a reductionist outlook on life, which is fairly common today. However to attempt to disprove Darwinism to keep reductionism out is doomed to failure. All science is methodologically reductionist, it has to be.

In some senses, this is a bit like atomic theory and application. One might disapprove of the use of atomic power and protest about it, but that is irrelevant to whether or not atomic power exists. Evolution, even to the level of macroevolution is observable, despite the protestations of some creationists to the contrary. It is amazing the number of people who remark that "evolution is dead" who wouldn't know evolution if it bit them on the backside.

Another point not often remarked upon by Christians is the amazingly ungodly picture that nature presents. As Roberts observes:

The natural world is incredibly wasteful of life; just consider frogspawn. The spawn will produce hundreds of tadpoles, and if TWO survive to become frogs and breed, that is success. Three is a population explosion. The fate of the tadpoles is varied, some, to the horror children, are eaten by other tadpoles. Then, one of my joys in late spring is to hear the Cuckoo calling. The music of the adult is not matched by the morality of its offspring casually heaving out its adopted kin. Life is shot through with suffering and death.

The notion of suffering has always been a thorny one in Christian circles. To the average biologist working in the natural world, it is a good deal worse because they see this seemingly undirected pattern of life and death. To the average biologist, evolution not only is observable, it makes sense. A good article.

1 comment:

  1. michael Roberts5:48 PM

    Glad you liked it. Suffering is the key question and why so many fall for YEC nonsense

    Michael Roberts