Friday, August 28, 2009

Theistic Evolution: Marrying off Jesus to Darwin

(This represents a response I made to a theistic-evolution blog, BioLogos)

Thanks for acknowledging that we encounter great problems when we try to put Jesus and Darwin together. It is vexing to dialogue with a Christian who pretends that they go together like peanut butter and jelly.

I think that we’d both agree that, despite the challenges, we must somehow seek to reconcile the physical world with the Bible, recognizing that they both represent God’s singular truth. We’d also agree that this endeavor is made even more difficult because we “see in part.”

We both probably work from what we know and try to apply it to what we don’t know. We take what is most certain and use it to illuminate what is less certain. However, I think we take divergent paths from this point. While you might start with the modern consensus of the community of science as certainty, I start with Scripture, as Scripture mandates (2 Cor. 10:4-5; John 15:5-8). It becomes my lens through which I see everything else.

You might regard this as putting my head in the sand and refusing to take an unbiased look at the real world. However, I see Scripture as a good pair of glasses that brings the world into sharp focus. In fact everyone wears his own lens. The question becomes this: “Does my lens obscure or illuminate what’s out there? Does Darwin blind or lead research in fruitful ways?”

Several esteemed archeologists have claimed that their diggings had been profitably guided by Scripture. Scientists have stated likewise. Karl Giberson even had an interesting post on this subject. (Please see my July post, “Christians can’t do Science!”)

Our paradigms exercise tremendous influence over our selection and organization of the facts. This helps to explain our variant ideas. While you regard evolution as an unassailable fortress, I see it as a tottering fa├žade. Likewise, two people can write my autobiography; one will make me into a saint, while the other can have me looking like a rank sinner, all depending upon the facts they choose. This same principle pertains whether in regards to science, history, or any other discipline. (I don’t mean to relativize the facts, but merely the way we humans make use of the facts.)

Here’s one example out of many. While you, choosing certain supporting facts, may regard dinosaurs as having pre-dated humans by millions of years, Creationists point to other evidences—ancient drawings of people fighting dinosaurs, dinosaur recorded history, a footprint containing both species, DNA found in a dinosaur remains.

You write about how many disciplines are bringing together convergent evidence for evolution. Evolutionists point out the agreement between several systems or measures of dating the earth and its objects. However, we need to see this claim in light of the fact that there are literally thousands, even millions, of possible ways to date. Each object moves or deteriorates at its own formulaic way and rate. So each object becomes a possible source to assess dates, given certain presuppositions. Creationists have pointed to many of these—the movement of the moon towards the earth, the deterioration of Saturn’s rings, soil formation, sediment deposits. The list is potentially endless.

If all these possible measures exist, it becomes easy for us to cherry pick which measures agree with our hypothesis and forget the rest. It also becomes easy to find agreement for evolution between the various disciplines. Besides, there is a lot of energy, time and resources being invested to prove this very thing. I would be surprised if they didn’t find oodles of evidence in this unbalanced manner.

It’s like an insurance company going to court with their team of lawyers. How could they not build an overwhelming case for their client!

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