In November, the noted British Royal Society fell into discussion over the sustainability of the theory of evolution and put forth scientists who argued for alternate theories. Few people outside of the scientific community took note of the event. However among Christians, a recent discussion between Peter Marshall and Stephen Meyer has brought a slight increase in attention to what took place in November. The discussion leaves many wondering: Is evolution sustainable or will it be a casualty of natural selection (survival of the fittest)?
Natural selection suggests that only those with the traits and characteristics sustainable in a given environment will continue on while the others will die off. The discussion about alternative theories to evolution suggests that the environment is changing and evolution may not be equipped well enough to continue. In fact though, a look at science reveals that many developments have been underway throughout the 20th century that act contrary to evolutionary theories (aside from the mere existence of a book in existence for thousands of years that also disproves it, but that’s another conversation). For the sake of time, I am not going to recount all that took place at the November meeting, but instead I will provide you with some links below where you can learn more. Instead, I want to focus on something different: What took place between 300 scientists at the British Royal Society says much about the cultural acceptance of evolution, the cultural tolerance of alternative theories, and the cultural rejection of intelligent design.
The Cultural Acceptance of Evolution
I remember in high school (I was not a believer at the time) being taught evolution. No alternative theories were given and evolution was treated as fact. That trend not only continues, but grows. By and large evolution has become accepted as truth with little questioning. Even when it is presented with the words ‘theory’ few will explain the difference between theory and something proven, leaving many to assume that they are one in the same. Why is it so widely accepted? Aside from the heavy indoctrination of it (like I face in high school) there are two reasons. Evolution was one of the first scientific theories that set forth to explain the existence of man. As a result it helped to stabilize man’s desire for knowledge. It filled a deep void that existed, thus found acceptance more quickly than many other theories. Furthermore, more knowledge generates more power, thus this accepted ‘knowledge’ helps to stabilize man’s desire for control.
The Cultural Tolerance of Alternative Theories
The meeting of the British Royal Society reveals an open door within the scientific community that allows the tolerance of theories outside of evolution. While it is hard to determine how widespread this allowance is, the fact that this took place within a highly respected organization and a highly publicized conference indicates more consideration than readily meets the eye. Such an admission or allowance for the possibility of new speculations reveals that, despite being proclaimed as absolute truth, there are doubts within the theory of evolution. As a result we see that the current model is not maintaining continuity at the current level of scrutiny. In essence there is room for the existence of other ideologies.
The Cultural Rejection of Intelligent Design
There should be no surprise among Christians that despite the allowance for new theories, the concept of intelligent design is still rejected. There are reasons for this, some of which come out in our above discussion. Three points come to mind for the rejection of intelligent design, and specifically, God as creator:
- Intelligent Design takes away our knowledge: As evolution provided knowledge, intelligent design suggests that our knowledge is limited, especially in comparison to a being that was able to create our very existence. It means our knowledge is dependent upon the revelation of someone else. To see God as the creator is fascinating because what took God 6 days to create has taken man thousands of years to understand, and we still don’t understand it.
- Intelligent Design takes away our sovereignty: As I noted above, knowledge leads to control, yet when we have to admit that we have limited knowledge, we must confess that we have limited power also. Therefore, it takes away man’s control over his own life, a fact that we hate acknowledging.
- Intelligent Design (ID) takes away our ID: Finally, we identify with what we know and control. When those are taken away, our identification is taken away as well.
With such priority put on these three aspects of life, we should not be surprised to see anything that threatens them to be rejected.
So as we look at evolution, is it falling victim to natural selection? The reality is no. The religion of evolutionism is so entrenched into people that there will be proponents for many years to come. Certainly some are starting to see that evolution is not a sustainable theory, but even in that we cannot expect that it will be replaced with a right theory of God as creator. Instead, proponents will simply find a new alternative to make a religion out of and present as truth. What we can do is pray that the Lord will use the current circumstances to at reach and convict some people, both inside and outside of the scientific community. The end result is that this is an opportunity to once again glorify the Lord.
Some Additional Resources (click the blue titles):
- Premier Christian Radio: This link takes you to a series of links that describes what took place at the British Royal Society, and an audio & written transcript of a debate between Peter Marshall and Stephen Meyer.
- Institute for Creation Research & Answers in Genesis: Both are great organizations full of resources supporting a Christian worldview in the realm of science and creationism.
- Stephen Meyer: Stephen Meyer is both a Christian and a scientist. He has a grasp of both worlds and can easily demonstrate how they are not in conflict with one another, but actually support one another. Below are some links that are worthwhile resources from him.
- Darwin: A Myth for the Post-Christian Mind: Dr. Meyer participated in the Ligonier West Coast conference in 2014 and you can watch his message at this link (be sure to choose message 8 from the playlist on the right side).
- Darwin’s Doubt: A book exploring the origin of life and case for intelligent design.
- Signature in the Cell: A book exploring DNA as evidence for intelligent design.
Photo “Evolution” courtesy of user Scott Robinson and Flickr.