My Story · Uncategorized

My Story: Science, Evolution, and Creationism

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Science and evolution versus Creationism:

Growing up in high school and all the way through my science classes at Bob Jones and Liberty, I was taught one perspective on how we and the rest of the universe got where we are today: creationism. Every class blasted evolution as merely “a theory” (a word used in the colloquial sense, NOT the scientific sense) and showed me convincing evidence that evolution could never have worked. Common arguments included questioning where did we all come from (ie. even if it actually happened, who caused the Big Bang in the first place?), where are the transitional species if evolution is true, what about the supposed irreducible complexity of certain organs and organisms, and the incredible evidence for a world wide flood as discussed in the Bible.

I was thoroughly convinced and honestly tired of the whole thing. To me the evidence was so clearly in favor of young-earth creationism that I stopped giving it much thought. Until about 5 years ago. At this time I began reading several books as well as  online articles and watching YouTube videos on the subject of evolution in particular. I decided to see what the other side had to say.

It immediately shocked me how easily and convincingly scientists could disprove the arguments against evolution. For example the idea of irreducible complexity was quickly shown to be flawed at its very core. In fact, the same evidence used by creationists to support their concept of irreducible complexity was shown to actually be much more in favor of evolution itself! The eye, for example, is not irreducibly complex, but can serve increasingly valuable purposes along the way in each transitional stage of evolution.

Numerous other concepts began leaping out at me. For example, evolution is not a theory in the colloquial sense, but in the scientific sense. What does that mean? In Science “a theory is an explanation or model based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning, especially one that has been tested and confirmed as a general principle helping to explain and predict natural phenomena. Any scientific theory must be based on a careful and rational examination of the facts.” (http://www.fsteiger.com/theory.html).

This means that as best as we can tell, evolution is a fact. Scientist as a whole do not question it. Yes, I know some do, but the vast majority of experts in their field do not. This would be geologists and biologists in particular.

At the same time I learned that being a Christian does not require one to reject evolution. In fact, at the time I went to college, Liberty boasted that they were one of only four Christians schools that taught young earth creationism. In other words, most Christians either don’t agree with the idea or at least don’t see ones opinion on it as an essential issue of faith. I was always taught that it was.

What I came to realize is the vast inconsistency among young earth creationists faith and practice. For example, they had absolutely no problem accepting scientific advances based on electromagnetic theories or biological advances in medicine. And yet they were so quick to claim that there was no way evolution could be possible. It was the same scientific method of study, that allowed scientists to come to the theory of evolution as allowed them to understand lightening and gravity.

In other words, creation advocates seemed to be saying “evolution doesn’t make sense; therefore, God”. This is a logical fallacy. If your current answer doesn’t work, you can say “I don’t know”. However, it does not automatically make another answer correct.

These creationists would never go to a foot doctor in search of his assistance with a toothache. And yet they would readily seek the advice of theologians and pseudo scientists to dictate their beliefs about life.

A good example would be the infamous Ken Ham, with an undergraduate degree in biology and not a single peer reviewed scientific paper to his name. Even many Christians reject him as a joke. Yet much of the young earth creationist community use his books and arguments as if they are logical and backed by science. When asked what, if anything, would change his mind about your view of creationism, Ken Ham basically said nothing would change his mind, indicating he comes from a biased presupposition rather than an honest pursuit of truth.

He may have been the most extreme, but there were plenty of other examples of appealing to authority in an way that is not valid. For example, using a statement by a biologist to back up an opinion on climate change. Or using a statement from one’s pastor who has a doctorate (in theology) to back one’s stance on evolution.

This line of thinking was no longer one I could accept. By no means did this require me to reject God. It simply required me to apply the same critical thinking standards to certain theological ideals about how the world became what it is today, as I did to every other area of science.

By the time I was 25 or so, I was thoroughly convinced that evolution was indeed scientific fact. I know very little about the process and constantly seek to know more. I find that I am constantly learning and the more I learn the more I see how vast the evidence for evolution is.

Important to note, evolution is not the science of the origins of life or the origins of the universe. These are separate fields of science called Abiogenesis and Cosmogony. In other words, you can hold that life came from God and that the Universe originated by the hand of God while still simultaneously holding evolution. Evolution in short, is that way that life has been shown to develop through mutations and natural selection over time from what it was when it began to what it is now.

Another important thing to note it that evolution is not random chance. Evolution is guided by the survival of the fittest or natural selection. Those genes which help a species survive are propagated and those which do not cause it to die out. There is nothing random about this process. What is random is the mutations which are caused in the genes. However, those which are bad (which we see today in the form of genetic illnesses and disease) die off and eventually cease to be propagated.

People often try to use statistics to disprove evolution. They might compare it to a huge lottery where millions of tickets are sold. And then ask what are the chances that I will win this lottery? One in a million? One in 100 million? Well the chances of humans evolving from monkeys are far slimmer than that!

However, this is not how probability works in that case. The question they should be asking is “what are the chances that anyone will win the lottery?” Well turns out those chances are actually about 100%. In fact with multiple lotteries going on all the time the chances are that many people will win a lottery in any given year.

Given that there are now thought to be billions of earth-like planets in our universe within an theoretically inhabitable zone around their stars, there are billions of other galaxies besides our own, and there may possibly be multiple universes: the odds of a planet evolving to what our did today are actually quite reasonable.

I could say much more, suffice to say, when I finally questioned the truth and observed both sides of the argument, it became clear to me that evolution is as close to the truth as we can currently know, and young earth creationism is not.

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46 thoughts on “My Story: Science, Evolution, and Creationism

    1. Evolution has a great explanation for dna that fits with what we see in nature and also allows us to predict what will happen based on the theory. Go to http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/ and check out the Biology section especially the part about genetics. It addresses nearly every single creationist claim and shows how they are inconsistent with science. Bob Jones and Liberty do not teach science when it comes to Biology

      1. Talkorigins? Here’s my review of the evolutionary position. A monumental leap of faith in theory . At least Christians have science that confirms ancient Holy scriptures the “God spoke and it was”, and at the core of all life we find a language more sophisticated than any we have ever encountered.

  1. Talking origins asserts it’s assumptions well enough for the biased at heart. But it can do nothing to speak to the sophistication of the human cell, dna, the enzymes and proteins that could one day become a person who can think for himself and question the existence of it’s Creator. 1.3 billion bits of information on each single strand of dna could not have happened from any amount of time plus matter plus chance. Intelligence does not arrive from a lack of intelligence. Such a theory is nonsense fit only for the biased at heart who are willing to compromise the integrity of their minds.

    1. Equivocation, on the definitions of intelligence and the nature of language. The rest is mere argument from incredulity.
      A few questions about statistics: a lottery is drawn for a 4 digit number, what are the odds that it comes up 1111? A certain Jim claims the grand prize, what were the odds that he picked out the numbers 1111 ? After Jim walks away with the prize, what are the odds that Jim walked away with the prize? What are the odds that the result of the lottery was an observed result?

      1. Odds? According to Sir Frederick Hoyle’s team who calculated the odds of the occurrence of a single enzyme formation from cosmic primordial soup, the odds are 10 to the 40,000th power against its formation. That is a number far far greater than all he atoms in the known universe, which is 10 to the 80th power.
        These odds against evolution only take a tiny fraction of all text precision that exists in life as we know it. The true odds against evolution are beyond human capacity, I believe, because the number would be so big it may defy our ability to describe.

        1. Also calculating the odds of the entire universe becoming what it is based on extrapolating the odds of a single enzyme coming from “nothing” is not accurate. The laws of natural selection state that random chance does not create the world we see today but rather very specific natural selection of the most likely features in an organism to survive. In other words by completely random chance it would seem impossible for this world to exist. However it is far more likely when the organisms with the greatest survival capabilities survive and the those with lower survival abilities dont. And finally the statistical example is irrational as comparing your chances of winning the lottery. What are your chances? 1 in millions. Rather we should as what are the chances of anyone winning the lottery? 100%! In fact usually multiple in one year! There are billions of earth sized planets surrounding stars in our galaxy and there are billions of galaxies. Therefore the odds that any earth like our evolving over 4.3 billions years is quite likely.

          1. In your opinion. Experts in the field of genetics (which I am almost certain you are not), disagree with you. Therefore, unless convincingly shown otherwise I will defer to them.

          2. John Lennox, a triple doctor of mathematics philosophy and science who taught at Oxford and Queens College, answers the question of science vs religion and evolution versus intelligent design. The Illustration is that of a conversation he had with a professor as to why he could be a scientist and believe in the Trinity. Dr. Lenox asked the man if he knew what consciousness was. Of course the man did not know. Dr. Lennox then ask the man if you knew what energy was. The man explained how energy works to which Dr Lennox corrected him and said “that’s how it works I asked you what it was”, the man answered he did not know. Lennox then asked, “you believe in consciousness and energy yet you cannot explain how they work. I believe in God and that he is our intelligent designer, yet a moment ago you were going to write me off as a scientist. Should I then write you off as a physicist?” To which the man answered, “please do not.”
            This is on you tube.

          3. His statements have no bearing on whether or not evolution is true. First of all his field of study, no matter how extensive, is NOT the field of study which examines evolution. That would be primarily biology and geology. Second his response is completely illogical. He called out the other guy saying he didn’t properly answer the question “that’s how it works I asked you what it was”. Then in the very next statement he claims the guy didn’t explain “how [energy] works” the very thing he complained about his explaining in the previous sentence. Even if this dialogue made any sense at all it would still do nothing to disprove evolution in the slightest

          4. From the best I can tell he simply believes god started it all and then evolution took over to turn us into what we are today over billions of years. He also seems to believe god gave humans a supernatural soul. He opposed intelligent design theory and supports evolution. He is a Christian who basically substitutes the God for the big bang theory. If you are going to quote him as your authority on the matter you are basically making a case for a god initiated evolutionary theory which I presume you don’t hold. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Collins

          5. ne of the big unanswered questions you see in the theory of evolution concerns the origin of the information needed to build the first living thing. How do the Darwinists answer that question?

            Many people don’t realize it, but Darwin did not solve, or even attempt to solve, the question of the origin of the first life. He was trying to explain how you got new forms of life from simpler forms. In the 19th century, this was a question very few scientists addressed. The standard theory in the 20th century was proposed by a Russian scientist named Alexander Oparin who envisioned a complex series of chemical reactions that gradually increased the complexity of the chemistry involved, eventually producing life as we know it. That was the standard theory, but it started to unravel in 1953 with the discovery of the structure of DNA and its information-bearing properties, and with everything we were learning about proteins and what I call the “information processing centers” in the cell, the way the proteins were processing the information on the DNA. Oparin tried to adjust his theory to account for these new discoveries, but by the mid-60s it was pretty much a spent force. Ever since, people have been trying to come up with something to replace it, and there really has been nothing that has been satisfactory. That’s one of the things the book does. It surveys the various attempts and shows that in each case, the theories have a common problem: They can’t explain the origin of the information in DNA and RNA. There are other problems as well, but that’s the main problem.” Francis Collins- interview at
            Magazine.biola.edu

          6. The “information” is the thing, says Collins. And as we all know, information is indicative of intelligence. That is the answer evolution and even Darwin cannot give. God used spoken word to create everything, and all life has information at it’s core.

          7. Crick supposedly discovered DNA’s double helix shape, it was actually a woman, but even Crick said DNA, “is almost a miracle”, though he was an atheist. He originated the pan – spermia theory, that life came here from outers pace either by comet or intentional alien seeding. The theory just pushes the question off to an outside source that must then answer the same questions, the theory does not answer the questions within the common age of the known universe, which rules out time plus matter plus chance from creating life.

          8. The experts in our time believe gravity will kill you if you jump off a cliff. But they could be wrong. Lets do an experiment. You jump off the cliff and we’ll see if you live. Maybe we can disprove the experts of our time!!!

      1. Science as a whole once thought we could make gold. This was believed for hundreds of years. Now an abandoned thought because it is impractical, even ridiculous from any known scientific thought.
        Evolutionary theory now teeters at the same point of falling into the realm of the ridiculous.

      2. Policy that invokes a clear message that singles out the aspects of Islam, (the religion), that negate the rights guaranteed by the constitution to all people,(including Muslims), and would outlaw such Islamic practices as Sharia law, theocracy required by Allah, public call to prayer, any requirements for employers and public schools to accommodate facilities for prayer rooms, honor killing, female genital mutilation, modrasas, hijabs, head scarves, burkas, the idea that of spring automatically are Muslim by birth without choice, that women must be beaten regularly, the requirements of Islam to not allow the freedom of speech to criticism of Allah ,Islam, or Muhammad, “and anything else deemed contrary to the spirit of the constitution and the inalienable rights we recognize for all people. That’s a good start.
        Then use social media. Muhammad probably could not have succeeded if the whole world knew how evil he was right from the beginning because he was on Facebook. Make it socially taboo to be a Muslim by publishing the truth in full.

      3. “In the beginning God”… 

        —————–

        “If the universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence. It is my view that these circumstances indicate the universe was created for man to live in.” –Robert Jastrow, agnostic astronomer, author of God and the Astronomers, former head of Goddard Space Center at NASA

        “An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.” –Francis Crick, biochemist and spiritual skeptic, shared the Nobel Prize for discovering the molecular structure of DNA

        “There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all….It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the universe….The impression of design is overwhelming.” – Paul Davies, an internationally known British astrophysicist and author

        “When you realize that the laws of nature must be incredibly finely tuned to produce the universe we see, that conspires to plant the idea that the universe did not just happen, but that there must be a purpose behind it.” –John Polkinghorne, a leading Quantum Physicist

        “It was my science that drove me to the conclusion that the world is much more complicated than can be explained by science, it is only through the supernatural that I can understand the mystery of existence.” – Allan Sandage, astrophysicist and discoverer of Quasar stars

        “Many have a feeling that somehow intelligence must have been involved in the laws of the universe….I strongly sense the presence and actions of a creative being far beyond myself and yet always personal and close by.” –Charles Townes, Nobel Prize-winning physicist

        “There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all….It seems as though somebody has fine tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe….The impression of design is overwhelming.” –Paul Davies

        “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.” –Fred Hoyle

        “Discoveries of the last half of the 20th century have brought the scientific community to the realization that our universe and our planet in the universe are so remarkably unique that it is almost impossible to imagine how this could have happened accidentally, causing many agnostic scientists to concede that indeed some intelligent creative force may be required to account for it.” –Dr. Walter Bradley, Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A & M University

  2. I have given this whole topic much thought. I am a firm believer in Theistic evolution. There is no reason why God and science cannot exist together. I think one of the most important recent scientific studies is that all people in the world are descended from one woman (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial_Eve).

    However, the most important thing to remember and keep in mind is that God created. It doesn’t matter how God created, but that *God* created. He could have used evolution, straight creation from clay, or any other manner he wished. The important thing to keep in mind is that God created.

    1. I agree with you that they are compatible. While I personally don’t agree with you (that most certainly a God created everything), I did for quite a while fall into that camp. While I can’t prove there is no God, my question would be “which God” and what is our evidence for him?

      1. Again for me, it is a matter of faith. There is no way to prove God exist. I was born and raised Catholic and I am still a very devout Catholic. I guess part of me just wants to/has to believe in something bigger.

  3. I’ve been struggling with this same issue recently. How I feel about it at this point is that science and faith should be able to be compatible, and can very well be when you reject some of the more extreme positions on the argument. (e.g. Ken Ham on the faith side or Richard Dawkins on the science side)

    1. They can be compatible. However my goal was never to necessarily find compatibility but to find truth. And what I found was faith didn’t make sense. And science did. I found they were actually quite unrelated.

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