I write a lot about the whole “Science vs Religion” debate. You might say it’s my special passion. It’s the topic of my book, has been the subject of the majority of my public speaking, and has been the topic of many of my blog posts. Part of the reason I am so passionate about it is the memory of how it affected me growing up. I actually became an atheist for a while based upon the doubt engendered in me by this debate.
But here’s the rub. It wasn’t so much that scientific discoveries and theories (which I will heretofore refer to by the word Science) directly dissuaded me from embracing the Bible, and most specifically the creation stories of Genesis. No, the larger factor was the reaction of many Christians in trying to argue against Science. Even as a teen, I could very clearly see that much of the anti-Science arguments were just plain silly, or worse, made God out to look like a great charlatan. (Read my book to understand why.)
I did eventually reject atheism and became a believer for reasons that had little to do with the raging debate. But over the years, I have continued to see several especially egregious examples of ignorance surface time and again on the part of well intended Christians. Please, my brothers and sisters in Christ, when it comes to ignorance, just make it stop. Ignorance never furthers the cause of Truth.
With this in mind, here are a few questions / claims I see floating around the internet from time to time that I would love to see put to rest.
Q1: If man evolved from monkeys (apes), then why are there still monkeys (apes)?
A1: Where do I start. Just asking this question betrays such a profound lack of understanding about the science of evolution that I am almost at a loss of words in responding. But here is the simple answer: evolutionary change, by definition, occurs when one member of a species experiences a genetic change that distinguishes the offspring of that one member as different from the rest of the original species. The rest of the species doesn’t cease to exist simply because one member brought forth a new species. If the new species always killed off the old species, then there would only be one species left on the entire planet.
Q2: Why does atheistic science… (or could be secular humanist science…)?
A2: Good grief. Generalizations are poisonous in reasoned debate. It is no more true that all scientists are atheists than it is that all Christians are Catholic. Please, please, please, please stop displaying such ignorance.
Q3: If evolution is real, where are all the transitional forms?
A3: Everywhere. Humans are one. Snails are one. Paramecia are one. Every species is, according to evolutionary theory, in the process of evolving, so we are all transitional forms.
Claim1: Evolution (geological dating, carbon dating, etc) is all just a belief system based on opinion. It’s not real science.
Rebuttal 1: Again, this sort of rhetoric simply displays a profound lack of understanding about how science works. While certain aspects of science are indeed up for debate, the above listed topics really aren’t on that list. Evolution (not classic Darwinian) is accepted because it holds up under review. Again, please stop spouting this sort of nonsense. By definition, science is not perfect and will never have all the answers. Science is the pursuit of answers using a skeptical, systematic approach intended to constantly improve our understanding of the physical universe. So, yes, there may well be facets of current scientific theory that will be overturned in time, but the likelihood of that happening to something as well established as carbon dating or the broad concept of evolution are infinitesimally small. When it comes to evolution, there probably will continue to be tweaks to specifics of the theory, but the general basis will almost certainly, and rightly, survive. This is good news, though, since the Bible actually supports the whole notion of an evolutionary process in the speciation of Earth. (It’s in my book.)
These are just a few of my pet peeve questions and claims made by believers that drive me nuts. If you are going to contend in the arena of facts, at least don’t come to the fight unarmed. There is only one Truth. Seek it.