The following is in response to an article listed here:
I referenece this article and the author throughout.
Addressing the question of evolution as a religion and creation as a science will either result in personal attacks or shift to a much greater question: what is science? The philosophy of science is something I ran into when I did my first of three papers on this subject back in my good ol' college days. The author gets a great many things right about evolution. Much of what I learned about this theory back then seems true now and is documented in this paper.
Even so, the thesis of my research back then was the Creationism should not be taught in schools as a science. I still believe in this thesis. However, it is a thesis that could be revised or reversed should the value of creationism match that of evolution. Currently it does not.
But this does not mean that evolution should have the untouchable status it seems to have. This is a flaw in academia, not the theory itself.
It is true there seem to be evidence of small changes within microorganisms, but it never crosses a species. To put this in perspective, the evidence of evolutionary changes is about the equivalent of physicists successfully transporting an photon atom across a theoretically immeasurable distance of space, something referred to as quantum teleportation.
However one atom of light is not the same as an entire physical structure or a human body. No physicist is predicting or even suggesting that transporters are on the horizon. In fact, the results of this experiment suggest to them that such a feat is not likely possible.
The strict evolutionist seems willing to take that leap by equating the microcosmic change to a macrocosmic ecosystem. In short, if the physicist were the evolutionist, the proclamation of Star Trek type teleporation would have already been announced and funding to engage in it's development sought.
The author is dead on about the lack of science behind evolutionary theory. The fossil records showing certain species never, ever shows any evidence of trans-speciation. We don't know why we have not found any evidence of trans-speciation. It may be that fossil records simply cannot give us an accurate record of it. It may be that it doesn't exist because evolution doesn't exist. The argument could go either way. It isn't necessarily a refutation of evolution, but there seems to be a strong unwillingness of science to acknowledge this weaknesses.
DNA similarities are correctly pointed out as not holding any real value as the similarities between many unrelated species means that any evidence to prove evolution is selective at best. It fails when applied in other examinations. That DNA is similar to in primates ignores that we also have much in common with pigs.
Furthermore, DNA study reveals that the coding sequences that make it up are much less than what was initially thought. It has gone from an estimated millions to hundreds of thousands, to 40,000 when the human genome project began to 20,000 now. Thus fewer coding sequences which is the most researched and most known part of genetics and the part upon which the evolutionist most rely has actually not favored evolution over time. If the sequences for billions of DNA strands use a smaller set of coding sequences, overlap between all species in inevitable.
Some might say that this is proof of evolution as we are all from the similar DNA coding. Of course others could just a easily say we evolved from coal as we are both carbon based. Evolution is not about the elements that make up life, it's about the order in which those elements advanced to more sophisticated life. DNA produces none of this.
Much of this lack of evidence is too quickly dismissed with the old adage, evolution is a slow process and therefore not detectable. Since science is grounded in the empirical, undetectablility is almost an exclusionary factor. Is it not the atheist who proclaims you can't believe what you can't see? Evolution certainly fits this mold, doesn't it?
If not detectable at present, would not the evolutionist seek to find ways to make it detectable? After all, this is what science does: develop theory, conceive outcomes, test, validate or refute or revise theories. Physics has been doing quite successfully with many fascinating discoveries. It does seem that this willingness to move towards better understanding the reality of evolutionary theory seems as slow as evolution in its progress.
These problems with evolutionary theory are made worse by evolutionists, or rather an evolutionist, using these theories to evangelize atheism. I have not doubt that atheism is alive and well among much of the scientific community. I don't see it as universal. For most it isn't about a disdain of the belief as it is about not having any evidence and thus not dealing with it. It's that to them, the belief is inconsequential to their work.
This is different than books written by noted scientists that treat religion with the vitriol that recent publications have. Indeed one author has not only taken the scientific approach to attack a belief in God, he has since published anthologies about the harms of religion and it's imperfections that are not based in anything except a desire to mock religion. Given the known imperfections of his own strict devotion to evolution, one finds such work hypocritical at best.
So yes, it is true that evolution has many things in common with a belief system. Should this denote it as a religion? It's is one thing to critically examine a science. But whenever we discuss evolution and it's efficacy we wind up in philosophy as we try to pin down the rules of science and say these are the parameters that make up science.
There is a whole school of thought on this referred to as the demarcation of science. I will not get into it much, except to say that it continues to be debated because it often allows dis-proven theory in and excludes much useful theory in the process. If we held strictly to some of these demarcations, evolution would likely be tossed out. But then so would relativity.
For example, most astronomy and physics (astrophysics) acted on theories that the universe had a certain parity. For every atomic particle, there was an an opposing atomic particle. This helped explain many things. Unfortunately, there was one huge elephant in the room, the positron. This positively charge brother to the electron could be the answer to energy problems of the world as just a teaspoon could power Los Angeles for a year. Unfortunately this particle is so rare that a teaspoon would bankrupt all the economies of all the countries in the world. Why was the electron so present and the positron not?
The reason for this rarity remained unknown until theories that parity in the universe was not perfect took hold. In 1988 this was tested in a somewhat improvised experiment by scientist, Leon Lederman who demonstrated broken parity and helped drive changes in theory.
Should we have thrown out all the theory of quantum physics before this? We could similarly say the same about Newtonian mechanics as the prediction of planetary orbits in could not account for Neptune until astronomers finally discovered Pluto.
Most theories have flaws and implications that cannot be fully examined. Singularities puzzle us while dark energy has become the new superstar of scientific mysteries.
Evolution is at the extreme of scientifically accepted flawed theories. Why is it so embraced? Largely because by pursuit of this theory, we have obtained so much knowledge about our natural world. We have reached into biology and chemistry and genetics and created solutions to so many world-wide problems. Our natural sciences is founded on this theory and while it's own evidence is uncertain at best, the predictions and paths on which it had led us have been for the betterment of all.
Shall we therefore remove this founding father of all natural science? If so, what would replace it? Certainly, intelligent design or creationism is the competing theory. As a person who believes deeply in God and that his process of creation was not evolutionary in nature, I reject this.
While evolution possesses little evidence for many aspects of it's broad theory, creationism produces no evidence for it's theory. I am doubtful that we would have derived the same physical results from it's pursuit. I believe in God, yet I still take penicillin when prescribed. I doubt that we would have such a simple solution to so many problems in a creationist based science.
This is not an indictment of religion. It is pointing out the very nature of it. It is based on faith. It is based on a belief that there is something greater than us. Evolutionists tell us this is been developed over time as a coping mechanism, but again, nothing but their explanation exists as proof. As such, I see a world where 95% of us believe in some form of theistic involvement and it serves us well. Thus religion for all its flaws and sad histories, has a place in society.
But religion is not a science. I don't know how it could be. How does one prove the finger of God writing the commandments, or the flood of Noah, or the calling of fire from heaven? Better yet, how do we teach the achievement of these in a classroom? I believe in these miracles. I teach the truth of them. I cannot say when they will repeat. In most cases I can use them to see that in time of need God is there, but usually not in the same dramatic way.
I can say with total confidence that if one holds to their faith by obedience to God's commandments, one will be blessed. I cannot say how this will occur. The foundational writings for my faith show huge diversity in God's ways of responding. There is no formula given to say which way you will be answered, only that you will.
I can further say that my religion is not without evidence. It is the evidence of those who follow it's teachings. Even those not of my faith, if they follow, they wind up better off in this life. Consider that more and more evidence of social problems, poverty, crime, etc. are not about economic factors but cultural factors. People in traditional marriages with a family do better overall and have a much higher chance of financial stability and success than otherwise. This occurs in spite of the fact that economic theory of supply and demand would negate that.
Furthermore, their children stand a better chance at getting a higher education, they are healthier and have more hope. This transcends economic boundaries. Gallup's 20 year study on the well being of students with shows that hope, involvement, and well-being are critical factors in higher education success. We find that those raised in the traditional family have a better chance of having all three of these. Poverty was once seen as the cause of so much social destruction, we now see research showing social destruction being the cause of poverty.
There was no evidence for this before. Those of use who stood to our faith in spite of the rising tide of divorce and the reduction of the value of the family or the loss of morality see the evidence now but acted long before it existed. Those who mocked such devotions often ignore the evidence or blame other factors, but the decay continues. Religion requires faith before evidence, but faith is not as blind as one might think.
A classic collegiate work called "Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches" examines the pragmatic aspects of many beliefs. It uses this as a thesis for how societies use religion to control problems. It never considers the possibility that spiritual inspiration resulted in declaring practices that turned out better in for the society examined. Yet, this is often the result.
Such practices do not come because of physical evidence. Even though evidence may now exist and future evidence of beliefs now attacked will become more apparent, they do not follow the scientific processes. All my evidences has come after my trial of faith. Faith does not come from science and those who base their religious beliefs on science will find themselves in constant struggle.
Fortunately, faith does not exclude science. Even though many use evolution to denounce God, this lacks wisdom and based on the evidence we do not have, it lacks reason. Those who use evolution to declare atheism do not see the flaws of the theory or hold to it religiously otherwise. Thus a person who uses evolution as the platform of atheism does turn evolution into religion.
If this is the platform for academia, then the author is correct. If academia refuses to acknowledge evolution issues and refuses scientific minds that question evolution, then they are similar to the leaders of old seeking to execute Galileo or Caperincus, although not as severe.
However, evolution is not based in faith alone. It does use leaps of faith, but it is not without evidence. Furthermore it is not without a track record as indicated. To called evolution a religion on it's face is inaccurate. The religion of evolution depends on the devotion of it's adherents. They can allow the questions of it to be raised and examined or they can censure them.
Creationism has it's roots in religion and not in evidence. Where evolution lacks evidence for many of its major tenets, creationism lacks any evidence that can be tested as proof of creationism. Where are the theories, the predicted outcomes, the tests, and if the results refute the predictions, where is the commitment to revise? While I extol religion for its spiritual and social benefits. It lacks any ability to accurately explain, define, or help us benefit from the natural world. Unlike evolution, creationism is religion on its face.
Both are belief systems. But this does not make them equal. The science of evolution has a reason to hold on. However, the grip must be relaxed to allow the questions to be more clearly examined. Conversely, the creationist must quit trying supplant evolution with creationism. Even if evolution is found to be summarily flawed such that it cannot hold a place in academic science, why do we assume creation immediately takes over?
Creationism is not creationism science at all. It is an anti-evolution science. It's research does not seek evidence of God in natural studies. It seeks to refute evolution. If they succeeded, they would leave a whole so big they cannot possibly fill it with current research.
Is it therefore any wonder if the evolution scientist battles for it's flawed theory with such fervor. It seems to them that creationists would throw out periodic table of elements because of still missing elements and replace it with "God created."
It is also important to note that the theory of evolution has changed. Most of Darwin's original theory has been replaced. A uniform method of evolving has been changed to account for the catastrophic and the mutation. Although there are problems with these, as the author indicates, the idea that this theory has not itself undergone changes from scientific rigor is erroneous.
To the evolutionist, let the questions be asked and researched. If we wind up leaving evolution, it will be done naturally, a tribute to evolution itself. It not likely that creationism would ever supplant it from a scientific pursuit, but if it did, you will have acted with integrity and that should put you in good standing with the creator.
To the creationist. Turn your efforts to increasing the faith of a people desperately in need of it. This will be where you do your best work. Let science be science. Make your faith heard from the rooftops, not legislated into the councils of school districts. Both evolution and creation have a place and both can be embraced by the individual which coincidentally, is the official position of my religion as well.