Monday, September 5, 2011

On Evolution and Science

Alice has a post on Genesis and evolution and science here, which I've found very helpful. I hope you will, too.


David Garner said...

I've been reading upon on evolutionary theory and intelligent design theory as well as philosophical works dealing with the existence of God. Based on what I've been reading, I didn't find this quite as helpful as you did.

There is evidence in the fossil record for transitional forms. That's just a fact. The meaning of those transitional forms is open to question, certainly, but saying "there is no evidence" is really another way to say "I interpret the evidence differently from evolutionists." It doesn't change the fact that the evolutionist sees it as evidence and interprets it in support of his cause. Unless we are prepared to say evolutionary biologists are just lying to us, or too stupid to see what is objectively clear to everyone else, I think it a bit of a rhetorical gloss to suggest "there is no evidence" in the fossil record for transitional forms.

The other thing I found curious was the alleged unchangeable order of the universe. Ken Miller, in particular, highlights the absolute unpredictability of any given subatomic particle as evidence of God's hand in creation, and indicates that the randomness inherent in that is evidence of a universe that is not deterministic. He in turn sees this as in concert with Christianity, since determinism is kind of a small subset of Christian thought. The interesting thing about this to me was that Miller finds an absolute constant order in the systematization of the universe, giving as an example that out of 100 electrons that hit a mirror, 95 will reflect back and 5 will pass through the mirror entirely. So there is order and predictability. But the question of which 5 will pass through is an utter mystery, and according to Miller, can never be known since quantum theory states expressly that the answers will never be found. It's a point I confess I don't understand all that well, but I think it gives a pretty good counter to both deterministic Christianity and deterministic materialism.

I haven't planted my foot firmly on either side of the "evolution/Creation" divide, in large part because my reading of the Patristic understandings of Genesis says it doesn't really matter. But for me, reading primary sources on evolution and Patristics and Creation and ID was a bit more helpful than this particular blog post.

That's not to criticize you for finding it helpful, mind you. Just taking a bit of a different turn with it is all.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Hi, David,

Well, like you, I also have not planted my foot on either side of the divide, and frankly, finding which side my foot goes on isn't high on my priority list.

Development within species, at least, is a fact.

David Garner said...

For what it's worth, Francis Collins' "The Language of God" is fascinating so far. I've read Miller and Coyne on evolution and Behe on Intelligent Design, and I have to say after all of that, Collins' book is, in my early reading of it, the one I would recommend to anyone if I could only recommend one. So far, it is spectacular.