Saturday, November 20, 2010

Evolutionism vs Creationism

Here's another vimeo of the Redux session I sat in on a few weeks back. I received a number of good questions that day, including
How would you respond to the debate between evolutionism and creationism?


The Debate Between Creationism and Evolution from :redux on Vimeo.

7 comments:

nuka jane said...

Hello! I just wanted to say that I find your blog fascinating and I love listening to you speak. This is all very interesting and relevant for me because Nathan has been trying to explain to me what he believes and why. I am very proud to become your daughter-in-law and have you as my 'Papa'. :) Thank you so much for Nathan, he is a gift I do not take lightly! :)

Rick Gerhardt said...

Nuka:

Glad you're reading. Dawn and I are happy to think of having you as a daughter. We look forward to having you home for the holidays. In the meantime, keep your nose in the books (how's that for trite fatherly advice?).

Rick

Shelby Cade said...

Hey Rick,

Great video. ID is always lumpend in with the YE view by the media and the naturalistic scientist. I thought your evaluation of the question was excellent. Keep up the good work. Blessings, Shelby

Kelly Walker said...

I agree that YEC isn't supported by the facts. ID, however, is not "middle ground," and not a new concept by any means; it is a variation on Paley's Watchmaker teleology, which is an a posteriori argument from incredulity, and is simply neo-Creationism with a twist. ID relies largely on a "God of the Gaps," and the territory claimed by Behe and others is rapidly diminishing as intermediates are found for the supposedly "irreducibly complex." ID is a dangerous and flawed argument for Christians to pin their faith on because it interjects the Divine into areas that science can't to explain at the moment...Yet. But what happens when science finds the gaps and explains the supposedly unexplainable? ID falls apart, and indeed IS falling apart. Kenneth Miller covers this quite well in "Finding Darwin's God."

As Christians, we should not believe in God because of signs, wonders and miracles; because of His consistency, because He is manifestly apparent in His creation, and because He is personally involved in our lives. We believe because, unlike the mysticism of paganism, Christianity is rational, and faith, by Paul's definition involves "evidence" and "substance." Miracles are exceptions to the natural laws and processes God created. But I assert that we can see God's hand in those laws and processes themselves, and if we never see an exception, we still have a basis for bulletproof faith. In other words, faith based upon God's nature as it is expressed on a daily basis may be stronger than faith based upon seeking a sign, an exception, the "miraculous" in nature. Why do so many Christians insist upon seeing God in exceptions, rather than in the processes, laws and properties He ordained?

There are many notable believing scientists, among them Francis Collins and Darrel Falk, who who point out the weaknesses of ID--and who recognize how evolution, far from denying the existence of God, points even more strongly to His creative brilliance. Roy Varghese (who wrote "There is a God" with Anthony Flew, and whose writings highly influenced Flew's acceptance of Theism) treats this topic eloquently in his epic tome "The Wonder of the World."(Continued on next comment)

Kelly Walker said...

What ID fails to realize is that the evolutionary process points to the genius of the Creator more strongly than the ID concept which portrays God as a meddling mechanic. We can explain the process by which robots build a car. We can even understand the programming that they follow. However, it would be a mistake to conclude that either the robots (mechanism) or the programming (process) alone explain the finished product. The very existence of the programming and the way the robots carry it out point to the mind of the programmer. To say that the robots "made" the cars, following programming "laws" would be accurate, but not the whole story. Claiming that the robots and programming couldn't create the cars because the cars are just too complex would be naive. The "middle" ground, would be to objectively acknowledge the mechanisms and processes of evolution, rather than responding to them as a threat to Theism (while rejecting the Darwinian claim that this is all there is--Dawkins is criticized by peers for making decidedly non-scientific claims). Such an amazing and highly-successful process strongly implies the need for a Master Programmer. At the very least, the Christian view that includes evolution should be respected in Christian circles, and Theistic Evolution should not be treated as heretical or somehow a compromise with "godless Darwinists." Christianity needs to recognize that evolution is NOT the enemy--it may in fact be hugely in favor of our faith. Our relationship with science must not be based on trying to deconstruct a huge body of growing knowledge, which at its core is merely describing how God did it. Augustine warned against Christians making claims that can later be disproved by those with specialized knowledge, thus discrediting the Christian faith. The scientific method is a product of Judeo-Christian philosophical underpinnings. A majority of the pioneers of empiricism were Christians and scientists (Newton, Keppler, Mendel, Pasteur, Galilei, Planck to name just a few), who operated under the belief that Christianity is a rational religion, that the earth had a beginning, and that the nature of God can be learned by coming to understand the mysteries of the Creation. Science was birthed in Christian rather than pagan nations for this very reason. As Christians, we do not need to be on the defensive or compromise our faith to save face. God is evident in scripture and science, Torah and Teva, scripture and nature. (Continued on next comment)

Kelly Walker said...

It is high time that Christianity take back science, not by running from it, but by better understanding how God did it and leaving behind the irrationality of the "Creation science" pseudoscience, including ID. Evolution is NOT a theory in crisis, and far from being discredited, it continues to be confirmed. ID is largely dismissed by serious scientists and theologians who know their science and is a dead end for Christian thought. ID continues to fail in its attempt to discredit evolution. Darwinistic atheism, IS a speculative philosophy in crisis, (they pin their "faith" ludicrous and desperate squirmings such as the "multiverse" hypothesis that smack of pagan mysticism and that are cleanly shaved by Occam's Razor.) The problem is that too many people confuse Darwinism with evolution, and Creationism or ID with Theism's answer. In truth, the middle ground is neither the extreme of Darwinistic atheism, nor "God of the Gaps" theism, but rather objective observation of God's creation, ergo objective science. And in the case of biology, evolution unbiased by either extreme provides a preponderance of evidence of how the "Master Programmer" created, and continues to create. While the mechanism may seem "random," here we are and the process has worked quite well. Small changes over time appear random, but the forest for the trees picture is that all of it DOES have a direction and a purpose. We may not understand what is happening with the clay until we see the finished product.

Rick Gerhardt said...

Hi Kelly:

I look forward to sitting down with you and discussing this. But I'll tell you in advance that I reject evolution, even of the theistic variety, because I don't find any evidence in its favor (except of the most superficial kind). Many modern paleontologists, geneticists, and biochemists (even ones committed to naturalism) agree that the modern synthesis (neo-Darwinism) is a dead paradigm, and are looking for other ways of explaining the diversity of life. Moreover, not only is the evidence all against evolution, but the arguments made for it are fraught with logical fallacies.

I completely agree with you, though, that were evolution true, it would not explain away the existence of God. Discovering the physical laws that govern this universe is quite a different thing than explaining how these laws came to be.

What I'd really love is to have you take my class on Science and the Bible at the Kilns (in Spring of 2013). As a believer in evolution, you could serve me as a 'Devil's advocate' as I try to demonstrate why evolutionary theory is simply not true, but rather the 'great cosmological myth of our century' as another scientist has it.

Thanks for reading!