I have recently sat in on a couple of lectures / discussions on creation (and/or intelligent design) verses evolution. While I have felt that this is a rather old debate, it’s one which obviously hasn’t gone away. For that reason I have decided to post a few thoughts on the matter. I feel it is one of those things where people misunderstand and really don’t get the whole thing. That I find frustrating because it leads people to say dumb things and/or make moot points. It clouds and further confuses the whole issue, and can be counterproductive. The main problem is that it’s not really about science, though everyone seems to think it is. The issue is really a matter of belief and faith. Most everyone it seems, comes to the table with certain beliefs which are unrelated, or more accurately, beyond the scope of science. These have a great influence on determining how one will look at the research, data, etc. that is available, and what conclusion one make. Actually, the truth is most people have their minds made up before hand, and few people actually know enough of the science to say anything one way or another.
So it is mostly a matter of belief. If you don’t believe in a god, then science has to come up with some kind of explanation, no matter how improbable or problematic the obstacles are. It has to because there are no other options. The reason we don’t have it all figured out and proven is simply because we haven’t gotten there yet. In a way it’s a matter of having faith in science and time.
On the flip side, if you believe in a god, then believing in creation shouldn’t be that difficult. The issue here is that some people want to use science to prove the bible, and even god. One problem there is, making statements about god is beyond the realm of science. Science can’t simply use god as the answer to everything it hasn’t explained. By nature, it can only speak about the natural world and not the supernatural. The most that science can say is that, “we don’t understand (something) currently” and/or “from what we currently know, the probability of (something) happening is low.”
The creation and/or intelligent design community is sometimes frustrating because they are trying to make it as if it is scientific. I think it’s good to be honest about the difficulties science may having in explaining certain things, and to be honest about the improbability of some of their hypothesizes. However, it’s not science to say that, “Since (something) is so complex, etc., this means that there had to be intelligent design.” The truth is, there may be other explanations. However, that doesn’t take away from the overall fact that it looks a lot like intelligent design. We can say that, but you simply can’t say that science proves it.
There are those in the middle who believe that god used the method of evolution as the process of creation. I think that belief is problematic, because from what I’ve heard, evolution has many problems itself and isn’t the best choice if their are alternatives, and you also have the problem of the bible being incorrect.
The main thing is, people don’t want science to say, “The bible is wrong and we disprove it.” It’s true, it has been used that way by humanists who were anti-religion. However, that’s going beyond the realm of science. From what I know (which is little), science has not disproved the bible, and in fact the bible (though the writers weren’t specifically writing for scientific accuracy) lines up pretty well with what we are discovering in science.
To sum up, don’t try to make science do something that it can’t do, and don’t try to highjack it to say it proves your belief. At the same time, know that the bible and science aren’t at odds. If something doesn’t line up between the two, it’s possible that science is mistaken. It’s also possible that the bible doesn’t say something exactly correctly. This doesn’t invalidate the bible, as stated the bible wasn’t written to be scientifically accurate, it has different goals in mind. So you can have faith and believe that the bible is trustworthy without ignoring science.