Skip to comments.Evolution is Most Certainly a Matter of Belief... and so is Christianity
Posted on 01/15/2014 8:57:46 AM PST by xzins
One of the most misleading headlines imaginable recently appeared over an opinion column published in USA Today. Tom Krattenmaker, a member of the paper’s Board of Contributors, set out to argue that there is no essential conflict between evolution and religious belief because the two are dealing with completely separate modes of knowing. Evolution, he argued, is simply “settled science” that requires no belief. Religion, on the other hand, is a faith system that is based in a totally different way of knowing—a form of knowing that requires belief and faith.
The background to the column is the recent data released by the Pew Research Center indicating that vast millions of Americans still reject evolution. As the Pew research documents, the rejection of evolution has actually increased in certain cohorts of the population. Almost six of ten who identify as Republicans now reject evolution, but so do a third of Democrats. Among evangelical Christians, 64% indicate a rejection of evolution, especially as an explanation for human origins. Krattenmaker is among those who see this as a great national embarrassment—and as a crisis.
In response, Krattenmaker makes this statement:
In a time of great divides over religion and politics, it’s not surprising that we treat evolution the way we do political issues. But here’s the problem: As settled science, evolution is not a matter of opinion, or something one chooses to believe in or not, like a religious proposition. And by often framing the matter this way, we involved in the news media, Internet debates and everyday conversation do a disservice to science, religion and our prospects for having a scientifically literate country.
So belief in evolution is not something one simply chooses to believe or to disbelieve, “like a religious proposition.” Instead, it is “settled science” that simply compels intellectual assent.
The problems with this argument are legion. In the first place, there is no such thing as “settled science.” There is a state of scientific consensus at any given time, and science surely has its reigning orthodoxies. But to understand the enterprise of science is to know that science is never settled. The very nature of science is to test and retest hypotheses and to push toward new discoveries. No Nobel prizes are awarded for settled science. Instead, those prizes are awarded for discoveries and innovations. Many of those prizes, we should note, were awarded in past years for scientific innovations that were later rejected. Nothing in science is truly settled.
If science is to be settled, when would we declare it settled? In 1500? 1875? 1960? 2013? Mr. Krattenmaker’s own newspaper published several major news articles in just the past year trumpeting “new” discoveries that altered basic understandings of how evolution is supposed to have happened, including a major discovery that was claimed to change the way human development was traced, opening new questions about multiple lines of descent.
But the most significant problem with this argument is the outright assertion that science and religion represent two completely separate modes and bodies of knowledge. The Christian understanding of truth denies this explicitly. Truth is truth. There are not different kinds of truth that operate by different intellectual rules.
Every mode of thinking requires belief in basic presuppositions. Science, in this respect, is no different than theology. Those basic presuppositions are themselves unprovable, but they set the trajectory for every thought that follows. The dominant mode of scientific investigation within the academy is now based in purely naturalistic presuppositions. And to no surprise, the theories and structures of naturalistic science affirm naturalistic assumptions.
“Religion”—to use the word Krattenmaker prefers—also operates on the basis of presuppositions. And those presuppositions are no less determinative. These operate akin to what philosopher Alvin Plantinga calls “properly basic beliefs.”
In any event, both require “belief” in order to function intellectually; and both require something rightly defined as faith. That anyone would deny this about evolution is especially striking, given the infamous gaps in the theory and the lack of any possible experimental verification. One of the unproven and unprovable presuppositions of evolution is uniformitarianism, the belief that time and physical laws have always been constant. That is an unproven and unprovable assumption. Nevertheless, it is an essential presupposition of evolutionary science. It is, we might well say, taken on faith by evolutionists.
For starters, “belief” means something different in a religion conversation than it means when we’re talking about science. In the case of faith, it usually means accepting the moral and spiritual truth of something and giving it your trust and devotion. In talking about evolution, it is more precise to call it “scientifically valid” or “an accurate account of what we observe.” No leaps of faith or life-altering commitments required.
He really does believe that science and theology operate in completely different worlds. The late Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould believed the same, arguing for science and religion as “non-overlapping magisteria.” But, as both scientists and theologians protested, science and religion overlap all the time.
Krattenmaker argues, “A scientific concept backed by an overwhelming amount of supporting evidence, evolution describes a process by which species change over time. It hazards no speculations about the origins of that process.”
But this is not even remotely accurate. Evolutionary scientists constantly argue for naturalistic theories of the origin of matter, energy, life—and the entire cosmos. The argument that the existence and form of the cosmos is purely accidental and totally without external (divine) agency is indeed central to the dominant model of evolution.
On one point, however, Krattenmaker is certainly right: he argues that it is possible to believe in God and to affirm evolution. That is certainly true, and there is no shortage of theistic evolutionists who try to affirm both. But that affirmation requires a rejection of the dominant model of evolution in favor of some argument that God intervened or directed the process. The main problem with that proposal, from the scientific side, is that the theory of evolution as now taught in our major universities explicitly denies that possibility. Theistic evolutionists simply do not present the model of evolution that is supposedly “settled science.”
On the other hand, such a blending of theology and evolution also requires major theological alignments. There can be no doubt that evolution can be squared with belief in some deity, but not the God who revealed himself in the Bible, including the first chapters of Genesis. Krattenmaker asserts that “it is more than possible to accept the validity of evolution and believe in God’s role in creation at the same time.” Well, that is true with respect to some concept of God and some concept of creation and some version of evolution, but not the dominant theory of evolution and not the God who created the entire cosmos as the theater of his glory, and who created human beings as the distinct creature alone made in his image.
I am confident that Tom Krattenmaker fully intended to clarify the matter and to point to a way through the impasse. But his arguments do not clarify, they confuse. At the same time, his essay is one of the clearest catalysts for thinking about these issues to arrive in recent times in the major media. It represents an opportunity not to be missed.
I am always glad to hear from readers. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow regular updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/albertmohler.
Evolution and true belief in God and His Word are COMPLETELY uncompatible.
I’ve had “Christians” argue with me that God created through evolution and so there... they’re on both sides of the fence safely.
The Word of God says that death entered the world through Adams sin. IF one believes the Word of God, there was NO death prior to Adam and so evolution could not be possible.
On the other hand, one can choose to not believe in God or a creator and go with the evolution theory too. My point is that you cannot have both.
Just saw the IMAX movie here in Cleveland of the Monarch Butterflies and got really sick and tired of the incredible “evolution” attributions to this beautiful creature of God.
And I’m sick and tired of people looking at me crosseyed when I poo-poo evolution . . .
“Almost six of ten who identify as Republicans now reject evolution, but so do a third of Democrats.”
If one ever wanted solid evidence that Republicans are more educated, smarter than Democrats, here is the proof.
It is time Republicans move forward to eliminate the teaching of Evolution in our schools and colleges which would not only increase the percentage of people that would reject Evolution, but further marginalize the Democratic party.
Let them tell Jesus he is not real as he appears in the power of God
Death entered the world only after the sin of Adam,
whose nature we are all born with and require a sinless Savior
to reconcile us to God.
Death before Sin => negating the Gospel
Presuppositional Apologetics. The facts are that without the God of the Bible, we couldn’t:
-Say Anything is Right or Wrong
-Couldn’t Trust Our 5 Senses
-Couldn’t Engage in Scientific Experimentation
-Couldn’t Engage in Logical Discourse
Dr. Jason Lisle talks about the ULTIMATE PROOF for God’s Existence, Creation and Creationism
The idea that life happened by accident is proof that people will believe whatever they want to believe, no matter how ridiculous.
Evolution is an attempt to explain how life as we see it today came from nonliving chemicals. Supporters of evolution studiously avoid any discussion of “origins”, yet they depend on this seminal event to have the theory they cling to. They are in grotesque denial.
God promises to judge all humanity, and logic dictates that everyone who fervently believes that evolution is true will have their opportunity to find out from the Author of life to what extent what we see today is the end result of natural selection and to what extent it comes from His design.
I can accept that lizards in an isolated ecosystem will have their genetic expression tuned by long time survival rates. That seems to be a consequence of sexual reproduction and the very nature of DNA. However that does not explain how higher forms of life appear especially in the absence of intermediate species. That does not explain how a fish became a bird, and idea that I think is absurd as much as unicorns traversing rainbows of gold while defecating Skittles are absurd.
Funny stuff. Evolutionists keep repeating the logical fallacy of “settled science.” This is just a variation of argumentum ad numerum, an argument or appeal to numbers. At the same time they can’t see that their religion, their worship of materialism, is just as much faith-based as Christianity’s.
But the main show-stopper for evolution is their belief in abiogenesis, life from lifeless chemicals. Even the most “simple” of cells is mind numbingly complex. To believe that such complexity can spring up spontaneously is ridiculous. Pasteur devised the law of biogenesis, that life always comes from life, many years ago, and it’s still a law of science, unlike their fairytale belief in the opposite, which requires blind faith on their part.
And Christians try to push their faith onto others?
Death certainly could have existed prior to adam. There are not enough details in Genesis to know for sure. That’s because Genesis is not a science book and devotes little space to the topic. Apparently it was not as important a topic as some creationists would have you believe given God did not devote much space to it in the Bible.
Dinosaurs and animals lived and died long before man was created. So death existed based on physical evidence. Young earth Creationists contort themselves to death with bizarre theories trying to explain it away. Dinosaurs in Noah’s ark? Yeah right.
I believe man and woman was created as described in Genesis but spend little time thinking about it. We aren’t supposed to know the details or more would have been provided in Genesis. In meantime let the scientists do what they wish. So far they haven’t found much to support their agenda.
That is such a stunning contradiction of their position that they have started saying, as Mohler points out in this article, that evolution doesn't speak to biogenesis. I have shown from textbooks used years ago, that evolution certainly did tie the "sea of protein soup with the lightning bolt" to the first cell. I, for one, was raised on those textbooks and those explanations.
That became so obviously untenable that they discarded it, and then pretended it was never said by them in the first place.
Since they also don't allow appeal to a Creator, does anyone know how they explain biogenesis. Is it simply "dust to cell" at this point....with an occasional abracadabra?
I suspect that the dinosaurs may have died in the flood.
Watery secret of the dinosaur death pose
15:35 23 November 2011 by Brian Switek
For similar stories, visit the Dinosaurs Topic Guide
Recreating the spectacular pose many dinosaurs adopted in death might involve following the simplest of instructions: just add water.
When palaeontologists are lucky enough to find a complete dinosaur skeleton whether it be a tiny Sinosauropteryx or an enormous Apatosaurus there’s a good chance it will be found with its head thrown backwards and its tail arched upwards technically known as the opisthotonic death pose. No one is entirely sure why this posture is so common, but Alicia Cutler and colleagues from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, think it all comes down to a dip in the wet stuff.
“On one point, however, Krattenmaker is certainly right: he argues that it is possible to believe in God and to affirm evolution. That is certainly true, and there is no shortage of theistic evolutionists who try to affirm both. But that affirmation requires a rejection of the dominant model of evolution in favor of some argument that God intervened or directed the process. The main problem with that proposal, from the scientific side, is that the theory of evolution as now taught in our major universities explicitly denies that possibility.”
This seems inaccurate. There is no way you can deny the possibility of divine intervention. By its nature, it is undeniable as a possibility, since it is divine.
The ‘dominant model’ of evolution appears to refer to that taught to young people in science classrooms, but this is not a very in-depth version at all. It is far more likely to be a general overview with blind sports colored by the teacher’s own biases. If evolution as a whole were settled science, why would anyone be studying it at all? I mean, why study the intricacies of a question you already know the answer to? In this field, as in pretty much every other field of science, there is vehement disagreement about mechanisms, time scales, and lineage. It is not some monolithic theory, which is a view only propounded by T.V. scientists like Richard Dawkins and *chuckle* Billy Nye the Anus Guy.
I don't know what's so wrong about dinosaurs on the ark. It depends entirely on what is meant by "kind". We still have komodo dragons, crocodiles. Crocs can get very large. And, of course, we have a host of smaller reptiles. Perhaps they didn't need to take on a large member of the "kind" to have saved a sample of the "kind."
And, then of course, there's always the issue of eggs.
Now, did Noah's flood really destroy everything on the surface of the earth as the scripture indicates or is it a myth?
The theory did state that, as they found in very controlled conditions, an electrical current through the right sequence of molecules at the right time, created the first stages of life... this theory falls apart when applied to the primordial oceans which were not ‘controlled’ but were raging, crashing bodies full of all kinds of elements. The probability was so ridiculously remote, it was described as the probability of getting a functioning 747 were a hurricane to pass through a junkyard.
This is why people in the field have had to go to the Ancient Aliens theory that we were seeded by creatures from another world. Of course, they don’t state this publicly on T.V. because it would embarrass them.
Don’t forget hocus pocus and presto changeo. I saw those same arguments in textbooks.
They shouldn’t be permitted to disavow their foundational argument, the abiogenesis that undergirds their faith.
I mean, if materialism is “settled science,” throw some chemicals together and create a cell. No? Morons.
If I remember correctly, a current going through proteins scorched them and caused them to congeal and gravity made that mass quiver
It was a very advanced experiment and it had a name. I think it was named after someone.
The acceptance of evolution has profound social, and in turn, political implications.
The dominant model for evolution consists of “directionless”, “random mutations” which over time are preserved via natural selection for the survival benefit of the species.
Basically it is trial and error, or I should say error and trial, and more importantly, death.
Lots of death.
It is also an embrace of “uncertainty”. This is where it gets political.
There is soo much more.
And Ancient aliens just pushes materialism’s abiogenesis to another planet. Abiogenesis is just as impossible anywhere in the universe.
I can picture you and many others arguing that the world is flat like a 2 dimensional circle or square back in the 16th century because that is what the bible says and those 16th century scientists who are saying the planet looks like a sphere that, gasp, travels around the sun, should be disfellowshipped and labelled apostates.
If evolution is incorrect, science will prove it out to be incorrect. That is how science works - constantly testing to determine if a theory is correct or not.
Science is why we have located and developed a lot of our resources including oil and gas, established a top notched and improving medical system to keep us living and invented many of the great technologies we now use to communicate and travel.
My advice (which you will probably ignore) - Just keep your faith separate from science. Mixing science and faith is not a good combination.
How, exactly does science "test" their evolutionary theory ?
What is really amazing about those that want their “religion” in all the books want to get rid of the true religion out of schools and the work place and that is the real issue here. It is what they want and that is it. the atheists and the leftists want us to goose step to what the believe.
You’re talking about the Miller-Urey experiments, that were conducted without oxygen (which would’ve broken down what they produced as quickly as they were artificially created). They didn’t even get close to creating life. They didn’t even create a protein. They created a few amino acids of both “left and right-handedness.” Life can only form with “left-handed” amino acids.
That’s the one. :)
I remember it being a simple experiment involving amino acids either produced by the electricity after running through some other products or used at the outset and producing congealed amino acids.
Which are just molecules and not life by any stretch of the imagination.
Isn’t Juan Diego actually Zorro or his dad or the mute guy?
(Just kidding....sorry...couldn’t help myself.)
In addition, what would be acceptable as evidence that evolutionary theory is False ?
Scientific theories need to be, by definition: Observable, repeatable and “Falsifiable”.
Evolutionary theory meets NONE of those criteria.
And you call it science ?
A bit of a naïve statement there.
You are postulating perfection for science, and believing in a "science establishment" that always wants the truth.
If you don't think "science" can be corrupted, just study the global warming fiasco, or one of its forerunner hoaxes called Piltdown Man. Any "scientist" with the tiniest bit of common sense knows it's a political game, that you make money by supporting what the cool guys want you to think is true.
Sorry, many (if not most) university scientists have become unglued in this immoral day and age through falsification of results and exaggeration of their theories for money.
Having faith in "science" is not good for your health these days.
Out of curiosity, what about evolution do you think is true? Do you believe in what’s known as “creationism” (young earth theories)?
Some do, some don't. Half-truths are the most seductive lies.
(s)Eratosthenes of Cyrene faked his earth is a sphere measurements in 240 BC!(/s)
(s)farmers using selective breeding is vooodoooo!(/s)
Most of us have no problem with operational science, science that’s observable and repeatable. But many “scientists” try to equate their “origins science” with operational science. That’s where their blind faith is showing.
That’s how gelatinous heme found in the bone of a supposedly 65 million year old t-rex doesn’t cause “origins scientists” to revisit their views on such ages. Instead, they say, “Well, obviously, under certain conditions, gelatinous heme can survive for 65 million years.” There was no, “Wait, that’s impossible!” “Scientists” are just as prone to worldviews and agendas as everybody else, but that’s especially true of origins scientists.
I posted this link earlier and if you haven’t seen this, well I think you will enjoy it.
“Death certainly could have existed prior to adam. There are not enough details in Genesis to know for sure.”
If you limit yourself only to reading Genesis, you might be able to get away with that statement. However, if you accept the entire Bible as God’s Word, then you are out of luck:
“12Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned
13To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyones account where there is no law. 14Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.”
“I can picture you and many others arguing that the world is flat like a 2 dimensional circle or square back in the 16th century because that is what the bible says and those 16th century scientists who are saying the planet looks like a sphere that, gasp, travels around the sun, should be disfellowshipped and labelled apostates.”
Yeah, except that never happened, it’s a myth. People have known since before Christ that the Earth was round.
Thanks. I’ve been to the Museum in Petersburg, KY. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend it.
Isa 40:22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:
Job 26:7 He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.
“That is how science works - constantly testing to determine if a theory is correct or not.”
That’s how science is supposed to work, but it is not always how it works in the real world. Often, orthodoxy can set it and scientists will actively resist any attempts to challenge established theories.
Y’know, there was a time when people would say (just as seriously as you did) that the idea that lightening/earthquakes/tsunami’s/comets/eclipses/droughts/ floods/etc.,etc., etc. (insert as appropriate) happen by accident is proof that people will believe whatever they want to believe no matter how ridiculous.
No, I’ve not been there yet.
Not sure if you caught this, but Ken Ham has scheduled a debate with Bill Nye in February.
Bill Nye has no idea what he is in for.
BTW, I love this street “apologetics” at the reason rally a few years ago.
No Science, No Logic and No Morality: Atheism
Yes I am aware of those verses. I studied Romans with BSF for months (no intention to act like I know that much - but I did study it). Yes those verses deal with man, sin and death but says nothing about animals. Before adam there was no man so yes death of man started with adam. Focus of Romans is on people and not animals.
I was just responding to the comment that death in general did not exist before adam. I expect we will all learn in more detail when we get to Heaven. Cheers.
“Yes those verses deal with man, sin and death but says nothing about animals.”
Do animals live in a different world from men?
It always has been.
That became so obviously untenable that they discarded it, and then pretended it was never said by them in the first place.
Unfortunately for them, too many people have better memories than they could wish for and too many people just have too much plain common sense to fall for their trying to divorce it.
Thanks for posting that.
Berlinski is brilliant.
It’s sad that very few take the time to read his work.
Much less understand it.