Thoughts of an American Centrist

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Creation / Evolution in Schools.... Again

Well here we are again in the age old struggle of God and Science. Actually, scratch that, it's the age old struggle of stubborn people and even more stubborn people.

The Compromise
Am I the only one who doesn't see compromise possible here? Can we include - as one of the lynchpins in almost all current biological research - a thorough teaching of Evolution in schools, yet still leave enough time for at least one vigorous discussion on its merits and deficiencies? After all, teaching Evolution without at least mentioning the doubt and debate swirling around it almost makes its teaching seem incomplete. Also, since when is it unconstitutional to expose school children to views they or their parents don't agree with? No one is saying that students need to believe Evolution, just that they need learn about it. Not talking about it at all isn't going to make it go away, no matter how much the students' or their parents disagree with it.

Intelligent Design
As the great Gordon Gekko would say, this is just "a dog with different fleas." Critics have been calling Intelligent Design "Creationism Lite," but it's not even that. Intelligent Design, in its most pure form, is simply an argument that has been employed against Evolution for the past 100 years, namely: life is simply too complex to have arisen spontaneously. Calling it a Theory in its own right is laughable because its core dependency is a non-provable Creator. Intelligent Design is an argument against Evolution, nothing more.

My Views
As a Christian, it would be pretty hard for me to believe in a God who had no control over the devlopment of his own universe. As someone familiar with biochemistry (one of my majors in college), I find the prospect that the plethora of evidence supporting Evolution is simply a practical joke played by God on Earth's scientists very unlikely. My personal view is that God Created the Heavens and the Earth... and that he did so by employing the Big Bang and Evolution.

I find the statement that life could not have arisen spontaneously obvious. After all, the weak point of the Theory of Evolution is the Beginning of Life. Thermodynamics simply doesn't allow for the spontaneous generation of amino acids in large enough quantities to form a sustainable population. Once amino acids have been formed, it's an even larger leap of faith to believe they somehow formed enough peptide bonds to form a functional and self reproducing protein complex, I don't care how many billions of years you give it. An equally large leap of faith would be for these self-reproducing proteins to spontaneously differentiate and congeal to form an actual one celled organism. None of this could have happened.... without a little push.

So again, I'm a heretic on both sides. Scores of "pure" Darwinists would label me a traitor to the cause. Any hint of a "push" makes it Creationism. To the opposite camp, I'm endorsing Evolution as truth. No matter how much influence I believe God has had in Evolutionary development (I honestly don't know if it was just a little "push" to get the ball rolling and a few more to steer a favorable mutation every now and again, or a hands-on approach to every development in Evolutionary behavior), I'm still ceding some control over human development to Nature. I'm also endorsing the fact that we have a family tree that traverses apes, rodents, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, one celled organisms, and chemicals. Let's not even discuss how disgusted the "six-day" fanatics are with me!

But despite the mounds of criticism each side has heaped upon me, I have a pretty clear picture in my mind of what seems likely to have happened, and I think that this idea can be reconciled with both the availiable scientific evidence, and with the Bible. In any case, if anyone ends up reading this far, I am very interested in what all of you think about this.

3 Comments:

  • I think you've really captured what a lot of people probably think about the situation. Most people are religious and, as you stated, it's a little hard to be religious without believing that God had a significant role in the creation of life. But that belief in no way invalidates evolution. I mean, when you see a house, you know someone built it. But you also know it didn't show up fully formed--there are bricks and concrete and wiring, etc. that each also had to be created. In my mind, the study of evolution is the study of how God did it, how he built our world, ourselves. In fact, I think God gave us the ability to reason and discover so that we can better understand His creation and His meaning. Those who find evolution heretical are, I think, rejecting our purpose. If we aren't here to discover, to explore, to understand, what are we here for?

    -Alan
    www.yellowlineblog.com

    By Blogger Alan Stewart Carl, at 10:40 PM  

  • By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:18 AM  

  • By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:04 PM  

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