Science the Bible and Wrong Assumptions

The theory of evolution, long taught in schools and assumed to be true by many in the scientific community, is increasingly questioned by scientists and university professors in various fields. Why do questions arise? It is because as scientific knowledge has increased, researchers have not been able to confirm basic assumptions of the evolutionary theory—and, in fact, some have been outright refuted.

As more scientists and educators become aware of flaws in the theory, they are more carefully assessing it. In the United States some states' educational boards have become aware of the mounting scientific evidence against evolution and have begun to insist the theory be emphasized less or treated more evenhandedly in the classroom.

Yet there is a powerful insistence by many in the scientific community that the theory not be questioned, for much is at stake.

Phillip Johnson, law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, has written several books about the evolution debate. He approaches the evidence for and against evolution as though evaluating a legal case. He notes the strong vested interests involved in the debate: "Naturalistic evolution is not merely a scientific theory; it is the official creation story of modern culture. The scientific priesthood that has authority to interpret the official creation story gains immense cultural influence thereby, which it might lose if the story were called into question. The experts therefore have a vested interest in protecting the story . . ." (Darwin on Trial, 1993, p. 159).

Professor Johnson critically examines the logic and reasoning

Flaws in the theory of evolution, such as those exposed in the fossil record, have led growing numbers of scientists to question Darwinian evolution.

8 Creation or Evolution: Does It Really Matter What You Believe?

8 Creation or Evolution: Does It Really Matter What You Believe?

evolutionists use in the debate. He likens the carefully protected theory to a warship that has sprung a leak: "Darwinian evolution . . . makes me think of a great battleship on the ocean of reality. Its sides are heavily armored with philosophical barriers to criticism, and its decks are stacked with big rhetorical guns ready to intimidate any would-be attackers.

"In appearance, it is as impregnable as the Soviet Union seemed to be only a few years ago. But the ship has sprung a metaphysical leak, and the more perceptive of the ship's officers have begun to sense that all the ship's firepower cannot save it if the leak is not plugged. There will be heroic efforts to save the ship, of course . . . The spectacle will be fascinating, and the battle will go on for a long time. But in the end reality will win" (pp. 169-170).

But what is behind the debate? How did an unproven theory gain such wide acceptance? How did alternate theories come to be summarily dismissed without a hearing? How did the biblical account of the origin of the universe and man lose so much credibility?

The roots of the battle between evolution and the Bible go back centuries.

Differing interpretations of the Bible

It is a shame that scientists and religious figures alike have perpetuated many myths about creation and nature. In the past few centuries, science has refuted some religious notions about nature and the universe that religious leaders mistakenly attributed to the Bible. Sadly, this has caused some religious leaders and institutions to take unnecessarily dogmatic stands that were only harmful in the long run.

At the same time, misunderstandings about what the Bible does and does not say have led some on all sides of the debate to accept wrong conclusions.

For example, in late 1996 Pope John Paul II shocked both Catholics and non-Catholics when he mused that the theory of evolution seemed valid for the physical evolution of man and other species through natural selection and hereditary adaptations. How did this startling declaration come about? What factors led to this far-reaching conclusion?

Time magazine commented on the pope's statement: "[Pope] Pius [in 1950] was skeptical of evolution but tolerated study and discussion of it; the statement by John Paul reflects the church's acceptance of evolution. He did not, however, diverge at all from Pius on the question of the origin of man's soul: that comes from God, even if 'the human body is sought in living material which existed before it.'

"The statement is unlikely to influence the curriculum of Catholic schools, where students have studied evolution since the 1950s. Indeed, taking the Bible literally has not been a hallmark among Catholics through much of the 20th century. Asked about the pope's statement, Peter Stravinskas, editor of the 1991 Catholic Encyclopedia, said: 'It's essentially what Augustine was writing. He tells us that we should not interpret Genesis literally, and that it is poetic and theological language'" (Nov. 4, 1996, p. 59).

The Catholic theologian Augustine lived A.D. 354-430. The Encyclopaedia Britannica describes him as "the dominant personality of the Western Church of his time, generally recognized as the greatest thinker of Christian antiquity." It adds, "He fused the religion of the New Testament with the Platonic tradition of Greek philosophy" (15th edition, 1975, Micropaedia, Vol. 1, "Augustine of Hippo, Saint," pp. 649-650).

Little did Augustine realize he was doing his followers a grave disservice by viewing parts of the Bible as allegorical while simultaneously incorporating into his teaching the views of the Greek

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