Foreword on Alternative TheoriesMay 16, 2007
This section really shouldn’t need a foreword in an open free speech culture, but the fact of the matter is that it does need an introduction because people have already made up their mind about things before collecting information (that’s called pre-judice). Because of the very unscientific suppression of honest inquiry I have to devote this article to clearing the religious and philosophical haze that blinds us. In my next section I’m going to cover some scientific theories proposed by creationists on how the world that we live in today came to be. It is a question of origins. Our origins are more than just an abstract concept, they are the context of our everyday lives. I think this is the reason why talking about origins can become so emotionally charged, it threatens to undermine the entire way we see the world around us. Truth can be Scary. In order to avoid some of the typical pitfalls I am going to avoid two things: I am going to stick to the scientific method of observable data, the dispassionate pursuit of knowledge as best I can.
Secondly, I do not ask that you actually believe anything in these theories. It’s not a requirement to believe in a specific theory. “Science is constantly changing” is the common phrase. We try to make our best guesses to fit the current data that we have, it’s alright to be wrong. Faith allows humans a foundation that is not built on observed facts, because our ability to observe is astonishingly limited. Both atheists and theists, evolutionists and creationists excercise a great deal of faith. If you truly have a worldview that is based on nothing but observable scientific data then you will be in a constant state of emotional turmoil and upheaval. I’ve experienced this first hand and I can say it is not for everyone. I read one report on bee populations in danger and I’m ready to curl up and die. That is what life with zero faith is like. On the other hand, I do not think that anyone should have blind faith. I made this site to encourage people to question and investigate their preconceptions.
I encourage people to evaluate a scientific theory based on how well it fits the data, instead of how well it ‘jives’ with our personal beliefs. I am well aware and informed of criticisms of creationism. I spent a long time in High School poring over the Things Creationists Hate website. I didn’t think to look for any intelligent answers to the questions the author brings up. That’s a mistake I hope you’ll avoid: assuming there is no answer kills intellectual discussion. I’ve memorized large portions of the “Things” website and so I’m going to use it as a reference point for what questions do have intelligent answers to them. The implications of genetic entropy that I already covered answer a huge number of topics I’ll address in more detail in the Genetics of Species. The most common pitfall in criticism is failing to understand and fully step into the worldview by using evolutionist assumptions to evaluate a single aspect of a creationist model or vice versa. This happens on both sides, so I’ve devoted a lot of time to understanding worldviews in their entirety.
I am not personally convinced of every theory I write about. I will also be covering alternative models for evolution as well as possibly talking about some scientific approaches from other religions as well. I will leave it to each individual to be the final judge. Because communication is by necessity audience dependent I have two more things I’d like to say.
I do not think that anyone can become convinced of the reality of God simply through scientific data and well-constructed models. Religious beliefs are a matter of the heart that runs far deeper than that. I do hope that those actually willingly to look at creation science from a scientific viewpoint can see it is not a given that the Bible and science inherently conflict with one another. Organizations like the ICR show that highly intellectual people (with PhD’s) can be Christians and that Christianity does not require a blind faith. Christianity is not intellectual suicide, quite the opposite it gives us more of a reason to appreciate the beauty in nature and a renewed motivation to use technology to improve people’s lives. If you are investigating Christianity but are repelled by how unscientific the Bible seems this may also remove that roadblock for you. While the crusades and mindless dogma prevalent in Medieval Europe still get plenty of publicity people often neglect to acknowledge that most of history’s greatest scientists were bible-believing Christians as well. Newton, Boyle, Pascal, Faraday, Pasteur, Maxwell, Kelvin, and Mendel were all devout Christians to name a few names. The belief that everything around us came from a logical, rational Creator of order is what allowed Newton to believe that physics might break down to simple equation and allowed Mendel to believe that inheritance might follow a logical path order of discrete steps. It is only in extremely recent history that the idea of Christians being unscientific has gained so much popularity. I would encourage you to look at this article for a discussion on Galileo as well as a modern listing of Creationists with Outstanding Achievements. Wikipedia has a fairly exhaustive list of Christian thinkers in Science.
Believing in a specific scientific theory is not an essential tenet of the Christian faith. I respect Christians who have placed God as the meaning behind the evolutionist model of history. I also deeply respect those that have said they believe the Bible literally, in absence of evidence, because they have faith that God is always truthful. However I do think we were given a brain and a questioning mind for a reason. Living your life in blind faith is not taking full advantage of the resources God has put before you (you’re reading the internet right now). “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience…” 1 Peter 3:15-16a.
To those that believe in Theistic Evolution I would ask a simple question, what were your options? If you are anything like me you may have heard a couple mentions of some kind of watery canopy thing and the flood, but that seemed poorly constructed and what about all the fossils and science stuff. Like me, you were left with the option of blind faith or the option that Genesis 1 is only true in a poetic sense. I can understand your choice. Your options have been limited. If you were given the option of a scientific model that fits both the accuracy of the Bible and observable data collected every day would that not be preferable? Reading this article helped me understand the nasty side-effects of integrating Christian doctrine with current scientific doctrine. The Bible’s inerrancy is in almost every church’s statement of faith. I’d encourage you to read 2 Peter 2 in light of the times we live in today. Realizing that no belief or interpretation today comes as a surprise to God has helped me take the Bible much more seriously.
Where there is knowledge, it will pass away. Now we see but a poor reflection… We know in part and we predict in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
Further Comments (5-17-2008): Creation science is what got me started on my quest for truth and the eagerness to share what I was learning was a big motivating factor in starting the BlindingLight project. Still, I can’t help feeling a little bitter about Creation science taking up so much room, so much energy, and so much time in my life. It’s kind of an all or nothing deal. BlindingLight’s original purpose was a general search for truth and how science, philosophy, and religion interact with each other. Once I started my section specifically on creation science I became the subject of a firestorm of prejudice that was already preformed and prepackaged before I ever started. I’m afraid I lost a dear friend because of it, and it has placed me far away from my friends and family, on my own with financial problems that make it hard to even scrape by. How much would you be willing to give up for truth? Is it really worth it? From what I’ve seen, creation science is a very absorbing topic that gets very strong emotional reactions out of a lot of people, either positive or negative.
Not exactly a good sales line is it?