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The Language of Science and Faith
Kark Giberson and Francis Collins
Creationists try to label Evo as 'Darwinism' as an attempt to label it as a cult that just follows one scientist. Darwin came up with the original idea, but modern Evo has contributions from many scientists. But also, there has been not a single scientific discovery since Darwin which suggests Evo is not the best explanation for origin of species.
Evo makes no direct statements about religion. It has religious implications for some who have specific biblical view. In fact, most Christians manage to find Evo compatible with their religion.
1. All current species have descended from a current ancestor
2. Changes in species occur gradually over time as a consequence of mutations
3. Species change when beneficial mutations allow some to have more offspring than others
Very few people with scientific degrees reject Evo, despite claims by various groups that "Evo is fatally flawed" and "is on its last legs" and that "many scientists are repudiating Evo." (But none of them provide data to back up their claims)
There is a notorious list of some 500 people with 'scientific' degrees who agree with statement that "We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged." But big problems with the list. Most of them are people without any biology in their degree at all. Without any knowledge on the subject, their opinion is worth nothing at all. And vast majority of people on list are evangelicals with an axe to grind, not dispassionate observers.
But the most impt point is that 500 is an insignificant number. In 2006 there were 2.5 million people with PhDs just in the US. In 2008 in US, another 48,000 were handed out. And that's just in US - China already exceeds that, and India, Brazil and even Egypt are catching up. And all you can get to sign is 500? Just to rub it in, a group asked biologists named Steve to sign a counter-list of Evo supporters. Their list has over a 1000 names, and they are biologists, not just random PhD's. Chalk it up to another failed attempt by Creationists to mislead their faithful.
How old is the Earth? Creationists get very hot and bothered by radiometric dating, but there are direct ways of showing that the Earth is a lot older than the 6000 years of Biblical Creation. Ice cores from Greenland go back 120,000 years; Antarctic record is 740,000 years. An ice core is very straightforward to read because of the seasonal layers of pollen.
Radio carbon dating is trusted by scientists because the predicted decay rates of all the different isotopes match up. There are about 40 different radioactive isotopes used - uranium 235 to lead 207 for example - each with different half-lives. Creationists suggest that perhaps rates were much higher in the past, making things look older than they are. But they can find no evidence to support this, and we have seen that nuclear changes stay at the same rate even at the highest temperatures and pressures. And, for all the decay rates to come out with matching dates would require a tightly co-ordinated series of changes to the 40 different isotope functions for a YEC to appear billions of years old.
Non YEC Christians ask why God would produce two contradictory revelations? God's revelation in Nature, studied by science, should agree
with God's revelation in Scripture, studied in theology. Since the revelation from science is so crystal clear about the age of the Earth, you should think twice about embracing a view of the Bible that contradicts this revelation.
Genesis quite clearly has at least two different stories in, which should give you a strong indication that it is not meant to be taken literally. Biblical literalists try to skate over the differences and just pretend that it's one story told twice, but this is simply an attempt to mislead. Biblical scholars have sorted out the multiple authors in great detail, and it really isn't even debatable.
Darwin's Origin of Species didn't arrive as a shock to an unprepared Christian audience. Since 1800, many had accepted that the Earth was a lot older than 6000 years. They had discovered extinction, which was especially troubling because it seemed incompatible with the Noah's Flood story. Why would God go to all the trouble of saving animals, only to look the other way as they died out later. And, prior to Darwin, the fossil record was recognized as showing a progression from simple to complex organisms.
In the first 50 years after Darwin there was widespread scientific scepticism that Darwin's idea of natural selection was enough to explain Evo. Many scientists preferred to see a guided Evo - ie God's plan being worked out.
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