By Alan Hutchins
As we continue in this series of articles concerning the Evolution vs. Creation debate, it becomes clear once again how important this issue is as Presidential Candidate Dr. Ben Carson has been criticized and mocked in the news recently for believing in divine creation and not accepting that macroevolution is a proven scientific fact. In fact, many on the other side of this debate seem amazed that a man of science would not believe in macroevolution, which they portray as proven scientific fact. They actually seem willfully ignorant of the fact that there are scientists from every field of science who believe that the evidence in nature actually supports the account in Genesis and does not contradict it.
It is not surprising that people who believe in macroevolution would object to the premise that “science is not able to prove or disprove either side of the evolution vs. creation debate.” This is because people often fail to realize the distinction between what might be called “operational” or “observational” science and what is “historical science.” Even when discussing the issue with someone who is very knowledgeable on the issues at hand, they might still believe that macroevolution has been and can be scientifically proven. They should know, however, the difference between proving something by using the scientific method of controlled and repeatable testing and that of observing the evidence of past events and making educated assumptions about the cause of that evidence.
Operational or Observational Science is the part of science that can be tested using the “scientific method” of controlled, repeatable and verifiable experiments that allow the scientist to “state, test and then accept or reject the hypothesis.” This is sometimes also referred to as “hard science” because it allows one to make hard and fast conclusions through rigorous scientific testing. This is much different than “historical science” where it is impossible to prove something scientifically because you are dealing with a historical event that had unknown variables and conditions that prevent the type of controlled and verifiable experiments needed to prove what happened scientifically. This type of science is sometimes considered “soft science” because the results are based on the interpretation of historical evidence and not rigorously controlled and verifiable experiments.
As with any historical event, the presuppositions that one holds will likely strongly influence how they interpret the evidence after the fact. This happens not only in the creation and evolution debate but was also evident during recent events in Ferguson, Missouri. While many including the Grand Jury saw the evidence of a justifiable shooting, others looked at the same evidence and saw the murder of an innocent man. The evidence was the same, yet the interpretation of that evidence was diametrically different. This is why a Christian scientist can look at the same evidence that a secular scientist does, and one will see evidence of the Biblical account of creation while the other sees evidence for macroevolution. The evidence is the same, but the presuppositions/worldview that each interpret the evidence through are vastly different.
Because our presuppositions/worldview so heavily influence how we view not only this issue but other cultural and theological issues as well, we must be careful to make sure that we have a solid biblical worldview and that we carefully examine our beliefs in light of the clear teaching of Scripture.
In regards to evolution some of the basic presuppositions (whether they realize it or not) that form the basis of the evolutionist’s worldview are:
- Uniformitarianism—or uniformity theory. This presupposition assumes that geological, meteorological and other physical processes that are observable today have remained constant throughout the earth’s history. This is one of the primary presuppositions evolution is based on.
- Naturalism—This presupposition assumes that the origin of the universe and the beginning of life on earth can be explained by purely natural causes with no need for a divine creator or an all-powerful God.
- That order can come from disorder and that random mutations to DNA, when given enough time, can result in new complex information and systems being randomly developed
- that living organisms have the ability to evolve from simple to more complex over long periods of time
In next month’s article, we will begin to look at some of these basic presuppositions that are key to the evolutionary worldview and how those unprovable assumptions make evolutionist’s interpretation of the historical evidence very weak when properly understood.
Alan Hutchins is a trustee at FCC.