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.

-Amanda Thompson

~ by Amanda Thompson on February 23, 2014.

3 Responses to “Creationism vs. Evolution – Today’s Debate”

  1. I watched this debate live and was perplexed by the same issues brought up. The fact that Mr. Ham said that nothing would ever change his mind is, to me, ludicrous and indicative of a stubborn minded nature that blinds those who do not accept scientific reasoning. If any new fact could never change the mind of a portion of the population, that is blind ignorance and refusal to live in a modern world that is in constant flux. I don’t think any scientist would claim total knowledge or complete truth, but refusal to see truth is frightening. That means if science proved anything that was contrary to a book written years ago that had no methods of modern experimentation. This debate, at least to me, is scary…

  2. I’ve talked to plenty of friends on campus who are more religious than me and have asked them how they reconcile religion and science and they’ve expressed that there is a way to balance science and God. My roommate last year was a biomedical engineer and said that science can only explain so much, but there’s still wonder in the world, and that wonder is left to God. Like, we can understand that rainbows occur because of the way that drops of water in the air reflect the light, but we can’t know why light does this in the first place. I found that to be a beautiful explanation and I can’t understand people like Ham that are so rigid in their ways and can’t find truth in two seemingly contradictory theories.

  3. I completely agree that science and religion can co-exist. I believe this to be true because they both serve different purposes. Science allows us to discover and, as Nye kept emphasizing in his debate, predict. Religion serves to provide philosophies on morality and justice. It also (sometimes) acts as a variable for social cohesion that can unite a community.

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