Saturday, September 30, 2017

Creation and Evolution, part 3

[If you have not read the first post in this series, I suggest you do so now as it sets the stage for all subsequent posts in this series. Thanks for reading.]

There is a movement in the scientific community, mostly with Christian scientists (not Christian Science the religion), called Intelligent Design. It criticizes Darwinism, the idea that life came about by natural means alone and that a single-celled lifeform evolved into all life as we have it today, but it does not reject all evolutionary theory or of the assertions of secular science about the age of the earth, universe, etc. In particular, they accept the Big Bang Theory about the origin of the universe.

The Big Bang Theory (not the television show) states that at the beginning of time there was some kind of "big bang" that got this universe started and everything developed from there. This happened some 14 billions years ago. Though I do not understand all about how this supposedly happened, I do know that scientists have shown that we live in an expanding universe and we know how quickly it is expanding and how at what rate that expansion is slowing down. It's all very complicated. Anyway, they can calculate the time that it all began expanding, in other words, the beginning. The Big Bang Theory also asserts that the universe will collapse on itself and come to an end.

The first thing that I would like to point out, without endorsing the theory, is that the idea of a Big Bang origin of the universe brings us much closer to the biblical witness and record that one might think at first. Previous to the widespread acceptance among scientists of the Big Bang Theory, naturalistic (atheistic) scientists said that since there was no God creating anything, the universe is eternal - it has always been here. Also, they asserted that the universe was infinite, that's all there is. The Big Bang Theory states that the universe has a beginning and an end and that the universe is expanding, implying that it is finite. The Bible teaches that the universe is temporal, it has a beginning and an end, and that it is finite because one can go beyond it to Heaven. (The Bible speaks of three heavens - the first heaven is the atmosphere of the earth, the second heaven is the stellar heavens, and the third is the place where Christians go when they die.) So it seems that the Christians have won this one scientific argument about the universe - it is temporal and finite.

So, if the universe has a beginning, if it started with a big bang, who or what caused it? Well, here is where we get the idea of Intelligent Design. A being, or group of beings, must have brought it into existence. It could not have started itself - it logically incoherent. Some naturalistic scientists have said that they do not know who or what caused it, we only know that it happened. Or they make up flimsy theories about what might have occurred.

Intelligent Design advocates have argued that there must have been someone(s) intelligent designing all this and powerful enough to bring it about. The supposed randomness of the universe seems oddly not random at all. They point to evidence, which seems to become greater as our knowledge increases, that the universe is "fine-tuned" in such a way as to make life possible. Here is just one example of many: "Calculations indicate that if the strong nuclear force, the force that binds protons and neutrons together in an atom, had been stronger or weaker by as little as 5%, life would be impossible." (Sorry for the lack of reference.) This is one of many examples we could list. It is just not plausible that life, or even the existence of the universe itself, can be an accident. It must have been planned (designed) and that by someone who knew what they were doing.

Then Intelligent Design scientists turn to life here on earth. Could life have evolved from a primordial state without any outside "interference"? No, they say. Any lifeform, even the most simple single celled creature must have DNA and is extremely complex. This idea was put forth in Michael Behe's book, Darwin's Black Box. It may sound plausible that somehow a single-celled creature came out of an environment with no life, but where did the DNA come from? Even a "simple" lifeform is far too complex to come about by accident. All life shows abundant evidence of having been designed.

So, Intelligent Design scientists believe that God created life though they do accept some aspects of evolutionary development. But certain points in the past, God (the Intelligent Designer, I mean) created new life forms. They note in the fossil record that mammals suddenly appear. They do not slowly evolve and we get more and more mammal types over centuries or millenniums. They all come at once. So saying that they evolved from something else is contradicted by the very fossil record that naturalistic scientists point to for proof that all things evolved naturally.

This allows room, as well, for Intelligent Design scientists who are Christian to bring the Bible into this. They can, but do not have to, say that Adam and Eve are progenitors of the human race. So they do not have to deny the historicity of Genesis 2-11, but many of them do.

The other issue is there view of Genesis 1. They view the 'six days of creation' as merely symbolic as do evolutionary creationists. In that way, they are closer to the evolutionary view than to Young Earth Creationists which I will cover in the next post.

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