Evolution, Creation & Politics

     Evidently the debate between evolution and creation are as perennial as politics.  GOP candidate Jon Huntsman has been quoted as saying “I believe in evolution” and fellow contender Rick Perry has dismissed evolution as being one of those theories “out there.”  In one of his appearances a mother was overheard by a reporter to be goading her son to ask Perry why “he doesn’t believe in science.”  The general consensus of creationists is we do not believe in science.    
     But Perry’s defense of creation is as pitiable as that of William Jennings Bryant in the Scopes monkey trial of 1925.  Clarence Darrow’s cross-examination of Bryant regarding his views on creation made clear that while Bryant believed in creation he had not adequately formulated a response to the claims of evolution.  While Bryant and Perry’s faith is admirable, if they insist on insinuating themselves into the public discourse on this matter, they should be better informed and more articulate.    
     I believe the account of creation recorded in Genesis, but my rejection of evolution is not based on my religious convictions.  There is a theological perspective that attempts to meld biblical truth with evolutionary theory known as theistic evolution.  After studying it I rejected it, not because it compromised the teaching of Scripture, but for its compromise of the scientific method.  Theistic evolution is bad theology and even worse science, but I am opposed to the theory of evolution because it is poor science.    
     Science consists of gathering data through observation of natural phenomena or observation and recording results of experimentation in a controlled environment such as a laboratory.  At its essence, science is observation.  Observation reveals facts and scientists speculate on what the facts mean and this gives rise to theories.  There is a huge gap between what science observes and what science speculates.    
     When it comes to the origin of life, that gap is about 3.5 billion years.  Scientists theorize life began 3.5 billion years ago and they have formulated several theories about the origin of life, but the whole scientific community is not in possession of a single observed fact about how life began.  They can only guess how life began because they did not observe how life began.  If you think that last sentence is an exaggeration, read on.    
     The National Academy of Sciences is a group of about 2,100 scientists representing every major science discipline.  About two hundred of their number have received Nobel Prizes in their various fields of study.  They are often called upon to advise the Congress of the United States regarding technical or scientific issues affecting pending legislation.  They promote the teaching of evolution and oppose the teaching of creationism.    
      In a publication entitled Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Sciences, Second Edition (1999), page 7, we read, “Of course, even if a living cell were to be made in the laboratory, it would not prove nature followed the same pathway billions of years ago.”  This is a stunningly honest admission by a body of highly respected scientists.  Since the origin of life is an unobserved event shrouded in antiquity, they must admit they do not know what happened.  This same admission is repeated almost verbatim in a 2008 publication entitled Science, Evolution and Creationism, page 22.  Both publications can be viewed free of charge at the National Academies Press website.    
     Of course, other comments in these publications like “no one yet knows” or “scientists who study the origin of life do not yet know” seem to get lost in the wordy explanations of what scientist do know and serve to obscure what they do not know.  Scientists are very good at the art of observation and recording what they observe.  They are not always good at speculating about what happened in the distant past or even the near future, because the distant past and near future are unobserved.  They can only speculate, and history is replete with the speculative mistakes of science.  It is arrogance for any scientist to think that because he knows some things, he knows everything.    
     I do not know how evolution v. creation wound its way into the current political discourse of GOP hopefuls, but it is of eternal significance that we learn to distinguish between matters of fact and faith.    
     “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing to be wise, they became fools (Romans 1:21-22).”

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