Creationism vs. Evolution – Today’s Debate
Reading the end of Darwin’s Origin of Species reminded me of the recent debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham about the scientific validity of evolutionary theory.
It defies explanation that there are still people who defiantly refuse to accept the validity of evolution. Not only has there been extensive research, but it is the most widely scientifically accepted theory about the development of humanity. On top of that, it seems that Ham would rather willfully ignore carbon-dated evidence that shows the age of the Earth is closer to 4.5 billion years and instead venerate the Bible as the source of all truth – including, apparently, that the Earth is only 6,000 years old.
However, the faults that Ham seems to fall into are not just simply faith-based. When asked if there was anything that could convince him that his position was wrong, in essence his reply amounts to saying that nothing will change his mind. In contrast, Bill Nye seems more readily open to changing his mind, provided some kind of hard evidence surfaced that made creationism as viable as evolutionary theory.
Interestingly enough, however, Darwin himself doesn’t seem to view natural selection as at odds with his religion – a point that Nye also makes. In chapter 14 of Origin of Species, Darwin opines “To my mind it accords better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the Creator, that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes, like those determining the birth and death of the individual”, which shows his willingness to combine religion and science.
Much of the debate going on today about religion and science seems to revolve around the idea that religion and science must be kept separate, that they are fully at odds with one another at all times. However, though I don’t subscribe to a religion myself, I see no reason why science should not be able to enhance one’s faith. Rather than blindly accepting a book that has undergone multiple revisions as historical fact, it might be more prudent to instead reflect on how the two can work together to create a faith-based, yet scientific, understanding of the world and any god(s)/goddess(es) in which one might believe.