Light snow falling on the sundial, in front of Swem Library on the campus of the College of William and Mary, early evening, January 28, 2014.
It is snowing in Williamsburg, Virginia this evening. We do not get that much snow here, so when it does snow it can be memorable. But some memories can trigger some other embarrassing memories.
It was another rare snowy night last year when I went with some friends to hear Terry Mortenson of Answers In Genesis speak at the College of William and Mary defending his position for Young Earth Creationism. The title of the talk was “Was Darwin Right?” (Check here and here for the YouTube videos recorded elsewhere from an earlier presentation). As the snow was melting down my neck in the auditorium, I was captivated by a back and forth dialogue between Mortensen and a skeptical college student who obviously knew more about genetics than I did. I had read enough of Francis Collins’ The Language of God to follow along in the discussion at a modest level, but it became apparent that after about 15 minutes…. this was the longest engagement during the entire hour-plus Q&A period… that Mortensen was completely out of his league here. Mortensen is a historian of science and theology, but he is not a genetic biologist. Mortensen was gracious and kind… but not very persuasive.
John Paine this morning left a thoughtfully engaging yet brief response to my last, and not-so-brief, Veracity post on “An Evolutionary Creation: Oxymoron?“ I could not simply respond with a brief comment (John gives me a lot to think about… there goes my lunch break), so with the snow as a tickler to my thoughts, here goes the rest of my rejoinder…..
How good a pool player is the The Lord of all Creation? Does God sink all of the balls in one shot, or does He take multiple shots to demonstrate His Glory?
When most Christians think about “evolution” and “creation”, they think of things that simply do not mix: Oil and water. Vinegar and milk. The Red Sox and the Yankees. Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins. Me and mornings. Forget it.
When I was a young Christian studying science in college, I was repeatedly told that I had to choose between what evolutionary scientists have to say with what the Bible says about creation. Now, if the choice was between what atheists like Richard Dawkins have to say and what the Scriptures teach, well OK then, I would have to clearly agree that there is a serious conflict here. Atheism masquerading as science is clearly incompatible with the Bible.
The problem is that while outspoken atheists like Richard Dawkins tend to hijack the public discourse on evolution, they represent only a small slice of the debate. Most practicing biologists are not terribly interested in atheistic ideologies (at least in my experience). They just want to study plants and animals and they happen to do it within the context of Darwinian evolutionary theory.
So, the question remains: is modern evolutionary science today completely opposed to the God of the Bible?
Whale Shark at the Georgia Aquarium (photo credit: Zac Wolf)
During a family visit to the Georgia Aquarium last weekend, for no particular reason I started wondering if they might have a clown triggerfish on the premises. Clown triggerfish are part jaguar, part piranha, and part Peter Max—among the most colorful and striking of all animals.
Eventually I asked a docent in the Tropical Diver exhibit if there were any triggerfish around (leaving off the word ‘clown’ so as not to appear star-crossed with only the most beautiful fish). He was very knowledgeable—probably a professor or teacher of marine biology just gazing at beautiful fish and waiting for someone to ask a question. He led me around the exhibit, describing the three triggerfish they had (no clowns), where they normally hang out, their swimming patterns, and a whole host of interesting fish facts. He said there was a triggerfish in the surf above our heads (go figure), and if we were patient the fish would eventually come into full view. It did, he spotted it, and let me know right away so I could get a couple of pictures. Then he said, “The evolution of their tails is really quite interesting.” Continue reading