In Why Evolution is True, biologist and atheist Jerry Coyne seeks to drive a wedge between intelligent design and NeoDarwinian evolution, favoring the latter. But what if the Bible and “real world” engineering both make a case that there is less of a contrast than what Coyne would have us believe? Would a little imagination from an engineer help?
When God created the world did He do so as a Master Engineer or as a Tinkerer?
I recently finished listening to an audiobook by Jerry Coyne, a University of Chicago biologist, and vocal critic of Christian interpretations of science. In Why Evolution is True, Jerry Coyne is making the argument that the biological theory of evolution rules out the possibility of Intelligent Design. Evolution does not reflect the divine activity of a Creator. According to Coyne, the biological world does not resemble the work of someone creating things from scratch. Instead, the evolutionary process demonstrates the work of tinkering; that is, working with a limitation of available parts, experimenting at putting together different solutions. Tinkering is not very efficient, nor does it always produce the most beneficial results, hardly becoming the activity of a Divine Creator. But for Coyne, this tinkering is exactly what NeoDarwinian evolution is all about… and it is true.
Jerry Coyne did his undergraduate work at the College of William and Mary, finishing in the 1970’s. I currently work at William and Mary as a network engineer. Coyne is a superbly skilled scientist, but I need to respond to him as an engineer. Continue reading
Who would you trust the most? An astronomer guy who peers into his telescope in the wee hours of the morning? A physicist who draws up mind-blowing math formulas and rambles on about some Higgs Boson thingie? A chemist who mixes up crazy concoctions in her lab? Or a biologist who plays with frogs and fruit flys?
What is the role of scientific discovery in Christian faith? Many today feel that the practice of modern science is not very friendly to belief in the Bible. Is there a way that Bible-believing Christians can make peace with the work of the modern scientist?
From The Dust is a recent documentary film that aims to reframe the discussion regarding the Bible and Science by looking at how we read the Scriptures and how we think about the art and beauty of science. When we read Genesis 2:7, we get a grand view of the glory of God as He creates Humanity in His Image:
Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature (ESV).
How does Science complement and illuminate the Biblical picture of creation? Watch the film trailer for an idea:
With interviews by leading and influential Biblical scholars, scientists and theologians from diverse perspectives, such as N.T. Wright, Alister McGrath, John Polkinghorne, John Walton, Jason Lisle, Terry Mortenson, and Pete Enns, From The Dust hopes to reinvigorate the Christian imagination on how we approach these issues.
Coming Next Weekend!! Veracity Takes It Out of CyberSpace and Into Live and Personal Discussion!!
Want to explore more about these issues in conversation with others? Then please join us at the Facts & Faith Symposium, at the Williamsburg Community Chapel, several Sundays in November, 2013 (the 10th, 17th and 24th) at 6:30 pm.
Was Galileo right? Or did he take the Christian church down the path of compromise, eventually leading to the contemporary secularization of traditionally Christian societies, and weakening the witness of the church?
Millions of years. The age of the earth. Established scientific fact based on evidence? Or fatal compromise of biblical inerrancy and the integrity of the Gospel?
Answers in Genesis (AiG) is the premier Young Earth Creationist organization in the world. Their basic mission is to try to help Christians have a restored confidence in the full inerrancy of the Bible, starting at the “very first verse” in Genesis. One of their primary claims is that evangelicalism has allowed apostasy to enter the church by accommodating to the modern scientific idea of a “millions of years” Old Earth. Over time, this gradual movement away from a literal 24-hour day interpretation of the Creation account, with a Creation date of less than 10,000 years ago, has led to all sorts of other confusions of Bible doctrine. Secular critics scoff, church leaders fumble on the questions, and many bewildered young people in our churches go right out the door and leave the faith, according to AiG. Continue reading
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV)
Two Apostles by Carlo Crivelli, 1475
The apostles Peter and Paul had some famous disagreements. Ultimately however, it was their shared, unswerving love for Christ that propelled their ministries.
I recently attended a lecture by Dr. Ian Hutchinson, a scientist with impressive technical credentials—and a Christian. His topic addressed science-faith issues, and concluded with his belief that a Christian worldview is consistent with, and complimentary to, a scientific worldview. I agree and am thankful that there are scientists of Dr. Hutchinson’s caliber who are willing to share their faith in public forums. (Let’s be real—who am I to disagree?)
The first question from the audience at the end of the lecture involved the age of the earth and the six ‘days’ of creation. Dr. Hutchinson’s response was along the lines that the universe is very old (13.7 billion years, again I agree), and that he believes we should not take the creation account in Genesis too literally—that the text is ‘figurative’. And here we have a fork in the road. I think it is somewhat dangerous to give up on the text in Genesis too easily, and to ascribe a figurative intent on the part of the author (Moses) when in fact there may be more to the inspired text than meets the eye.
In addition to his work at MIT, Dr. Hutchinson is also a lecturer for the BioLogos Foundation, founded in 2007 by another prominent Christian, Dr. Francis Collins. These brothers and sisters in Christ adhere to the idea of theistic evolution, which—rather than have my take on this topic—you can read about directly from the BioLogos website. There are many wonderful Christians who ascribe to the ideas of theistic evolution.
I’m just not one of them. After studying the matter in detail, I have a different understanding. I ascribe to old-earth creationism.
Dr. Hugh Ross and his colleagues at Reasons To Believe have a great deal to share on this topic. First, Moses never wrote that the universe was created in six days. Excuse my provocative statement, but I did it to make a point— ‘day’ is an English word. Moses did not write in English (which has a million or more words), he wrote in Biblical Hebrew (which only had a few thousand words), and the word that was written was ‘Yom’, which clearly has multiple meanings including the idea of an epoch or age. Continue reading