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.