Evolution as “Science Falsely So-Called”


(system) #1
What’s behind the creationist rejection of natural history?
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://biologos.org/blogs/ted-davis-reading-the-book-of-nature/evolution-as-science-falsely-so-called

(Dr. Ted Davis) #2

Questions and comments are encouraged. The author is in. :relieved:


(James McKay) #3

Claiming that evolutionary science or old-earth dating methods are “just so stories” or just a bunch of “guesses strung together” is basically underestimating the level of rigour involved in these disciplines.

The problem is that most people with no scientific training have no idea whatsoever about how rigorous and systematic scientific disciplines generally are. I never cease to be amazed at just how many YECs don’t even fully appreciate that figuring out the age of the earth involves measuring things.


#4

I see and agree that evolution is just a bunch of hypothesis’s. But they are very logical ones.

The fact that Genesis is to be read literally is a hypothesis.

Some even hypothesize that science is not the only proponent for evolution, but the Bible itself is too. Namely the way the second creation would be a similar means as to how the first creation worked, since " In Him and through Him" was the first and second creation.

The second creation took ~ 2000-3000 years (from Abraham to Jesus), why would the first creation take 6 days? The second creation took a slow and strange process (like that of a mustard seed), why would the first creation be of quick brute force? The second creation occurred in power. Power Jesus speaks of, where the first is last, the meed inherit the earth, not in brute force and soldiers and sword or powers of man. The second creation began when God spoke to Abraham, and the first creation began when God spoke let there be light, and the big bang occurred.


#5

They don’t like where the evidence leads. Since they can’t address the message, they attack the messengers (i.e. scientists, scientific method).


#6

They also don’t understand what a null hypothesis is, what a positive and negative control are, or how statistics is used to test hypotheses. Many seemed firmly planted in the Ken Ham “Were You There?” camp.

Dr. Ted Davis does a great job of explaining how wrong creationists are when it comes to the scientific method. More to the point, the creationists in the article accepted the results of that same scientific method when it came to geology, most of them being old Earth creationists. Modern creationists also accept the results of hypothesis testing when it comes to modern medicine.


(Jay Johnson) #7

Thanks for another excellent piece. MacArthur’s statement is typical (“a battle between two mutually exclusive faiths—faith in Scripture versus faith in anti-theistic hypotheses"). Science is a vast, worldwide, anti-God conspiracy. Christianity meets the X-Files. When do we see Scully and Mulder in the pulpit?


(Christy Hemphill) #8

Next week we begin the sermon series “The Truth is Out There.” Join us at 10:00.


(Larry Bunce) #9

We can do historical science on YEC arguments against evolution. The claim that scientists no longer believe in evolution would date from the early 1900s, when discovery of the laws of genetics (discrete units of traits) seemed to rule out Darwin’s theory of evolution, which was based on his belief that offspring were a blend of the qualities of the parents. It took 40 years until the Modern Synthesis reconciled genetics with evolution.


(Doug B) #10

Isn’t it really who owns the modern cultural strongholds of science and history? Those insisting scripture be conformed to modern modes of thinking and understanding show themselves to be susceptible to worldly influences. That the 40s of Isaiah came from someone else’s pen post-exile is disturbing only to the mind captivated by the requirements of modern historiography. And the same is said of those insisting that Genesis tell the tale of modern (most recent) science. It’s worldliness to me.


#11

In my view, it was the complete opposite. One of the problems Darwin saw in his theory was how difficult it would be for new adaptations to become fixed in a population. If features blended together then rare adaptations would be diluted out and could never be fixed in a population. The discovery that traits were discrete units that could not be diluted out meant that Darwinian evolution was much more viable. Mendelian genetics didn’t rule out Darwinian evolution. It ruled it in.


#12

What would be the result of adopting a theology that was so easily proven wrong by the unavoidable evidence from the Creation itself? What if Christianity insisted that you had to believe in Geocentrism in order to be a Christian, or that you had to believe the world was flat?

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”–Galileo Galilei


(Larry Bunce) #13

I was thinking that about adding that genetics eventually provided a mechanism to allow for Darwinian evolution, but it was getting late.
I remember reading that Darwinian evolution went into decline around 1900, and that
Mendelian genetics triggered it. I have checked the history today, and see that natural selection was seen as insufficient to explain the variety seen in nature, and that several alternate theories of evolution came back into favor. Since Darwin believed inheritance was a blend of the parents’ traits, some saw modern genetics as kicking out the basis of Darwin’s theory, a view still found on creationist websites.


(Dr. Ted Davis) #14

[quote=“T_aquaticus, post:11, topic:36886”] @Larry_Bunce
In my view, it was the complete opposite. One of the problems Darwin saw in his theory was how difficult it would be for new adaptations to become fixed in a population. If features blended together then rare adaptations would be diluted out and could never be fixed in a population. The discovery that traits were discrete units that could not be diluted out meant that Darwinian evolution was much more viable. Mendelian genetics didn’t rule out Darwinian evolution. It ruled it in.
[/quote]

Larry and aquaticus are both right.

Larry’s right about Darwin’s concerns with “blending inheritance,” which was reflected in the negative review of the Origin of Species written by Fleeming Jenkin: http://biologos.org/blogs/ted-davis-reading-the-book-of-nature/darwins-critics-then-and-now

And, Larry’s right that at first, Mendelian genetids was NOT seen as compatible with classical Darwinian theory. Indeed, immediately after 1900 (about when Mendel was rediscovered), Huge DeVries’ mutation theory held that sudden phenotypical jumps (macromutations) could take place, and that they would not be “blended away” b/c Mendelian genetics would keep the genetic factors in play over time. (aquaticus is right here) DeVries’ theory, however, was not gradualistic and thus not Darwinian.

And, aquaticus is right that T H Morgan and others figured out that Mendelian genetics worked with gradualistic evolution, a view that became paradigmatic in the 1930s, partly owing to field work in the Soviet Union.


(George Brooks) #15

@TedDavis,

Wanted to make sure you got my congratulations… great penultimate ending paragraph!

“The classic YEC strategy of labelling many conclusions of the historical sciences “lies,” “science fiction,” or “science falsely so called” has backfired. Young Christians today are leaving churches in droves, partly because they cannot swallow a type of faith that requires them flatly to deny the validity of scientific theories with enormous evidential support.”
[^ Pow! what a sentence!]

“By offering only two views for consideration, “God’s Word or autonomous human reasoning,” creationist leaders force the truth onto a Procrustean bed that cannot hold it, while casting suspicion on so many learned Christians who have carried their faith boldly with them a they applied their minds to the divinely written book of nature. Surely, the church can do better than that.”

Ouch! I feel for them!


#16

I have read quite a bit about the subject and I don’t remember reading anything along those lines. The Modern Synthesis was a melding of Darwinian evolution and Mendelian genetics, and it has been the fundamental theory used in the biological sciences since.[quote=“Larry_Bunce, post:13, topic:36886”]
I have checked the history today, and see that natural selection was seen as insufficient to explain the variety seen in nature, and that several alternate theories of evolution came back into favor.
[/quote]

Just because neutral drift occurs does not negate the fact that natural selection, both negative and positive, still occur. It’s a bit like saying that the discovery of water evaporation somehow falsifies the existence of rain. When we discovered that water can go from a liquid to a gas it didn’t force us to throw out the theory that steam also condenses into water to form rain.[quote=“Larry_Bunce, post:13, topic:36886”]
Since Darwin believed inheritance was a blend of the parents’ traits, some saw modern genetics as kicking out the basis of Darwin’s theory, a view still found on creationist websites.
[/quote]

The mechanisms of inheritance were never the basis of Darwin’s theory which is why it survived just fine once we figure out those mechanisms. He suggested a few mechanisms, but his theory never relied on them. Darwin’s theory was descent with modification through natural selection, and that theory is still alive and well.


#17

The naturalists were unaware that there were other geneticists—like East, Castle, Baur, and Chetverikov—who may have been a majority. Their interpretation of small mutations and gradual evolution was completely compatible with the theories of the naturalists. Beginning in 1910, the work of the Columbia University group in New York under T. H. Morgan led to a refutation of the theories of the saltational Mendelians, and established the basis for the origin of a rigorous school of mathematical population genetics, culminating in the work of R. A. Fisher, J. B. S. Haldane, and Sewall Wright. Most important, this new school of population geneticists fully accepted natural selection—and that permitted a synthesis.
Ernst Mayr

That whole article is worth a read since Ernst Mayr lived through the era where the Modern Synthesis took shape.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #18

What is behind the creationist rejection of natural history?

We can only answer this question by looking at its history and context. I want to commend @TedDavis for doing this, but I think that something is missing that is basic to the answer.

Conservative Christians about 100+ years ago saw scientific thinking as a threat to the Bible. A prime example of this was evolution which put in doubt the accuracy of Genesis 1. Instead of trying to find a way to explain this and reconcile these narratives, conservatives sought to strengthen the Bible’s claim to truth, esp. Genesis, by saying that Moses wrote Genesis under the direct inspiration of God.

They said that the Bible was God’s Word, despite the fact that John 1:1 says Jesus Christ is God’s Word. By making the Bible God" s Absolute Word, the Fundamentalists made the Bible God’s Mythos, the Word that must be accepted based on authority. On the other hand God’s Word (Logos), is believed, because there is evidence that it is true.

Jesus is not the Messiah, because He claimed to be or the Bible says He was. Jesus is the Messiah, because He did what the Messiah was supposed to do. (Clearly most Jews disagreed.)

The Fundamentalists by making the Bible the Word/Mythos gave it authority, but also made it an idol or false god. They also made their faith into a sect which is cut off from the rest of Christianity and Western Civilization, including science.

Then Bible is a good book, but it is not the Word of God, Jesus is, Science is good, but science is not the Word of God. Jesus is.

Darwinian evolution has a problem in that Natural Selection purportedly works by chance and conflict rather than the Logos. Also evolution is not as simple as genetic change. However the Darwinian process was basically correct. But because Creationists have a non-scientific critique of evolution, they are unable to debate and possibly correct the real scientific issues.

The Big Bang Theory actually supports Genesis 1, but because it is scientific and YEC has already denied related science because of its 6 Day view, it must reject the BBT also. Bad theory has put it into a box that it cannot escape without basic changes.

The Big Bang theory on the other hand causes problems for the non-believer. It says that the universe emerged from nothing, Before the Big Bang theory the was no proof that the universe has a Beginning and thus no scientific verification that it has a Creator. Now there is but a YEC cannot use this evidence because YEC rejects this science.

On the other hand non-believers like Dawkins seek to deny the BBT because they say that the universe did not have a Beginning, that time and space, matter and energy were created out of nothing. Thus non-believers are refusing to accept proven science because it indicates the strong possibility of a Creator.


(Jay Johnson) #19

Then again, there is a new quantum theory that does away with the Big Bang and posits a universe of infinite age.

From the article:

Their work is based on ideas by the theoretical physicist David Bohm, who is also known for his contributions to the philosophy of physics. Starting in the 1950s, Bohm explored replacing classical geodesics (the shortest path between two points on a curved surface) with quantum trajectories.

Ali and Das explain in their paper that their model avoids singularities because of a key difference between classical geodesics and Bohmian trajectories. Classical geodesics eventually cross each other, and the points at which they converge are singularities. In contrast, Bohmian trajectories never cross each other, so singularities do not appear in the equations.

In cosmological terms, the scientists explain that the quantum corrections can be thought of as a cosmological constant term (without the need for dark energy) and a radiation term. These terms keep the universe at a finite size, and therefore give it an infinite age. The terms also make predictions that agree closely with current observations of the cosmological constant and density of the universe.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #20

Jay,

From what I read those against the BBT are still dealing with theories without tangible evidence.