Friday, November 14, 2008

Blog #8 - Can Evolution and Creation co-exist?

In the video that we saw on Friday, What About God?, we saw real people struggling with reconciling their beliefs with the physical evidence of evolution. These were college students who attended a religious college while studying anthropology. It would seem that evolution and creation are on a collision course, but to give the schools credit, they confront the controversy (paradox?) head-on.

I'm glad that we were able to watch the video b/c we got a few questions answered about the fundamental Christians' explanation for fossils and why some of the dinosaur-like reptiles survived (Noah's ark) and some didn't (drowned in the worldwide flood).

I also applaud Wheaton College's attempt to embrace science. Though some conservative Christians might think that Wheaton is becoming liberal (as evidenced from the 1961 The Sword of the Lord editorial about Dr. Hearn's comments about evolution being possible) to the concerned parents, Wheaton is training their students for the real world.

I thought Emi Hayashi was the most thoughtful with some of her questions: -if we have evolved, at what point in evolution did the upright primate obtain a soul? Did mankind commit their first sin around that time? Were there an Adam and an Eve that really existed - the first humans? Is that when God intervened and gave them souls? Or were they an isolated experiment who then blew up their lab?

In the end, she brought up a really great point: "there really can't be that many idiots out there in science" who are wrong about evolution when a religious person points out flaws in evolution, and there can't be that many cranks wrong with their theology when a scientist challenges their religion.

Due Monday, November 17th. 200 words. Can evolution and creation co-exist? Or, more broadly, can science and faith co-exist?

Resources: -Science, Faith and Politics: video clips and text from some of the same people that we see in the video. - Explaining the science of Intelligent Design. Evolution for Students: these websites are for all levels of kids so beware if you find one that is not up to your standards. - National Center for Science Education's website that debunks Expelled, Ben Stein's documentary about Intelligent Design.

See for yourself:


  1. Although I have a biased opinion because I do not believe in creation or Intelligent Design, I will approach the question as if it is asking if it is possible to believe in creation and evolution side to side.

    I think it is indeed logical to believe in Intelligent Design and evolution because religious factors can come into play in evolution. For instance, a person can believe that man evolved from apes and that the first human beings to acquire a soul were Adam and Eve. That covers the Christian side of creation, while still giving Darwin credit for his findings. Therefore, this statement proves that science and faith can co-exist.

    I asked myself a few questions concerning this. For instance, if you became a doctor, does this mean you are no longer religious? Of course not. I am sure many doctors are religious people. Just because you may believe in scientific reasoning, does not for any reasons mean that, you cannot believe in a God. I did understand what the speaker was preaching in the movie we watched on Friday, although I did not agree. He stated that how can a person who is for abortion, homosexuality, and creation be able to understand the morals of the Holy Bible. My opinion is this: just because you may not agree with everything in the Bible, does not mean you have to disagree with the overall ethics of God. I thought that was completely inappropriate for the man to say because he was pretty much declaring anyone who were so-called “liberals” were going to Hell.

    Leah Cenko

  2. Coming from a strong Christian background, I tend to lean more towards faith. Even with this lean, I still think faith and science can intertwine. There can be fossils and traits of humans coming back to apes. Evolution and creation can co exist. I have a very different theory. I believe that god created the dinosaurs and everything else. I believe the first form of life was not humans. I believe that Adam and eve were the first HUMANS to be created by god himself. Before Adam and eve there were dinosaurs and other aspects of life. I think that god used these animals and creatures as a test to see if life form can live on earth. and indeed it did. Then I believe that god took all forms of life off the earth and then created Adam and eve. The evidence of evolution such as fossils would still be on earth even though god took them away. I also believe that god used apes and other animal parts to make the perfect species to control and run the earth. That is were people would see evolution. God used other species as the "test runs" for major life on earth and managed to create humans.

    Ryan Bertrand
    Hour 5

  3. To answer the question in a broad way, I think that whether or not people want it to, science and faith are going to have to co-exist. Even if someone does find the true answer in how we all got here, there are still going to be skeptics and go against the discovery. Since we haven’t come to a legitimate conclusion, we are going to have the strong believers of creation and the strong believers of evolution still debating.
    I personally lean towards the evolution side of this debate mainly because I feel like there is more evidence for it as apposed to the Bible which is telling you to believe something. However, when the one girl in the movie mentioned that there can’t be that many stupid people with these strong beliefs, this lead me to think that there maybe could be a way that both God and science were factors in how we got here. For example, God could have created the apes, which over time evolved into humans, being Adam and Eve, who were given souls by God. This is just one stab at how faith and science could have played a part in how we got here. But like I said, I feel that there are so many narrow minded people who aren’t even willing to give the other side a chance. I realize that the main reason is how people were brought up. A lot of families were brought up following religion very strictly and others without religion at all. Since some of these families are so strict, the children, I feel, barely get a chance to formulate their own opinion on the topic. They only get exposed to the one side and follow it since it’s all they know. I know you can’t change the way parents raise their children, but if there was a way children were able to get both sides of the debate, they could make their own decisions and possibly help advance everyone in finding the real answer.

  4. If you recall from the discussion we had regarding truth and history, I have quite a radical viewpoint on reality in that I believe there’s absolutely no such thing as objective fact, and everything – no exceptions – is subjective. That said, of course I believe that it’s possible for creationism and evolution to coexist – it’s just a matter of what the individual believes. If the world is nothing but what you believe it is, then it’s impossible to determine whether creation or evolution or both is right – it’s up to the individual to decide which they believe in. If someone wants to interpret the bible literally, that’s completely fine and that’s their right. If someone wants to believe in every word of Darwin’s works, that’s totally okay too. If someone wants to believe that creation and evolution can coexist, that perhaps God made evolution, then they have just as much of a right to that belief, and it’s just as legitimate as pure creationism and pure evolutionism. The important thing to remember is that beliefs are just that – beliefs. They can’t be proven, so it’s beyond me why anyone would try to argue to convince people that one belief is better than another. All beliefs have equal merit, and to me, because of my radical philosophy that everything is a matter of beliefs, I think one of the absolute worst things you can do is try to tell someone that their belief is worthless. Creationists and evolutionists should get past their stubborn ignorance and live in harmony, accepting the fact that the other side is allowed to believe what it wishes.

  5. Creation and evolution can co- exist, but never will in a formal sense. Evolutionists think that one action is caused by another, and has nothing to do with a higher power, while creationists take the word of the bible in a literal sense and come off as hard headed. When I say in a formal sense I mean that no institution will ever teach it as both, only one or the other. In evolution and in creation there is no gray area on either side.

    For the other question I think that science can’t co- exist with faith on any level except for the individual. In the documentary that we watched in class it showed that the two can live in peace together. The only problem with it was the parents that didn’t know what was going on behind the scenes. They went as far as to accuse the school of being conservative when the teachers have to sign a statement saying that they believe fully in God. For the students on the inside the two can co- exists, but in the real world both faith and science have no gray area, it seems as if there is either one or the other.

  6. Evolution and creation don’t walk a fine line. Science and faith don’t either but I don’t feel they are in the same arena. Evolution and creation are complete opposite sides of an argument. I think that you can believe that evolution was created by a higher power but I think it is just a big cop-out. These two views are so different that I don’t think they can co-exist. There are too many religious factors to come into play, so by saying God interfered in evolution or placed Himself inside of man when he came about is just saying you’re a closet evolutionist.
    However, I do believe science and faith can co-exist. Faith can come in many forms, one being religion. You can believe in all of the moral teachings and ideas presented in religion and feel a strong connection to something supernatural and still work in a lab. Like I said, faith in religion is only one form. Another could be faith in science itself. Doctors and patients put faith in their skills and scientific teachings to cure the ill and save lives every single day. Without having faith in the unbelievable field of science, how do you justify taking medicine, turning on a light, watching TV, or doing anything involving scientific advances?
    Both controversies, evolution vs. creation and science vs. faith, do currently co-exist in the world, just not necessarily harmoniously. It is up to people to open their own eyes and ears to see what they want to side with or if they can find a nice middle of the road.

    Henry Moss

  7. I believe whether people like it or not evolution and creation have to co-exist. Not only do I think they have to but I believe they can. The topics have to co-exist because whether people like it or not every person is entitled to their opinion on this subject. I think the topic of evolution versus creation will always be up for debate. People believe in creation because it is a religious topic they have grown up with. I’m sure they will pass down these teachings to their children just like it was taught to them. In order for these two topics to co-exist people need to be open to other people’s opinions. I think the matter of the two co-existing is also based on opinion. For example, the movie we watched talked about “the compromise”, Christians who believed in evolution. They believed in the evidence that supported evolution and that Adam and Eve were chosen by G-d. I believe in the evolution side of the debate because I believe there is more evidence to support it. Overall, I think the whole debate is based on opinion. To some people evolution and creation may already co-exist, while others may only believe in one. I think what people choose to believe in has a lot to do with their surroundings and how they grew up. Like the movie said not everyone has taken time to research both sides of the argument.
    -Shayna S.

  8. Ok, I have been influenced my entire life with all the mumbo-jumbo of god's alleged Creationism. After hearing the opinions of both sides of the story, i have come to the conclusion that Both may exist but the one truth that we long for will never be reached. that is the glory of the human mind, and also the undoing. the glories of mankind are our flaws and our fears because we are not all robots doing our same thing while our minds are restrained and are forced to watch as we fall into a line that we never emerge from. Coexistence is now, like Stephanie said, but it will never cease because we have our beliefs. i think that we should accept others viewpoints and respect them even if we do not agree with them. there is no need to start a war for who's story is correct. if you think about it, it does seem entirely ironic that mankind would destroy one another to solidify the method of how they began. They are better off in coexistence and with resistance because with one dictatorial theory, man's freedom and individuality would be lost.

    - August Orlow

  9. Can evolution and creation co-exist? Yep, they definitely can. I believe that anything can co exist if some one wants it to. Having it be a clean cut (either evolution or creation, nothing in the middle) is quite narrow minded, I think. Why does it have to be and either or situation? Why can't God or some other higher power have created evolution? Our lives change every day, as we progress through our lives. We go through our own personal evolutions throughout our lives. We begin as something simple minded. We then become more embodied human beings when we are able to think more for ourselves,about our selves, and our impact. The subject of God and religion is never simple. So why would evolution/creation be? I have always believed that God wants me to think out side of the basic box, but still keep my faith in Him and my other beliefs. So let's look at it through more than one looking glass. If God only wanted us to see it one way, then why did he give us the ability to see it another? He couldn't have let us progress into having opinions, and being able to make choices, if He didn't want us to. I see evolution as God's doing. He started everything out as an atom of can element, which transcended into a unicellular organism, which eventually led to multicellular beings and us. That doesn't dismiss Adam and Eve. Like they said in the video, perhaps there had already been human beings, but God gave Adam and gave Eve the souls that made them into realy people. Homosapien is a species; people are thinking, emotional, and soulful beings. It's just being narrow minded just seeing it one way or the other.

  10. I think that evolution and the Christian religion can coexist, and even evolution and metaphorical creationism, but the literal interpretation of the bible is always going to contradict evolution. If Genesis is interpreted in a loose, open-to-interpretation way, then evolution and other scientific theories like the big bang definitely have a place. My mom is a devout Christian who also happens to be a chemistry teacher. She believes that God created the natural laws that govern evolution and the rest of the universe and then set everything in motion. Then, at some point in the development of humans, he gave humans immortal souls and declared them his chosen people.
    Of course, evolution will always clash with a literal reading of the bible. As the one minister in the video pointed out, day means day, not several thousand years or whatnot. No matter how you stretch the Genesis chapter, it isn’t quite going to fit the theory of evolution. There’s also the whole issue he brought up about seeing the bible is true. If Genesis is wrong, isn’t the whole validity of the entire Bible thrown into question? I think it’s important for people who insist on taking every word of the Bible literally to remember that, first of all, it’s an inexact translation from a completely different language, and secondly, that it was written by humans, not God and not Jesus. It’s likely that some things got lost or warped slightly in translation, so the Bible is best read loosely. In this case, there is plenty of room for evolution. Of course, that’s my opinion, and I’m sure many conservative Christians completely disagree with me.

  11. I think that creation and evolution can in fact co-exist. Being a catholic, I believe that there is a God and that he is always watching over us and guiding us. That said, I think that God created the earth and created the principles that govern the idea of evolution. I think he specifically created Darwin with the purpose that this man would discover and theorize about evolution. Maybe God made him in order to give us a hint about this place we live in. Throughout the course of this trimester, I have learned that my views aren’t very extreme. My views on this topic and others we’ve discussed like fate vs. free will, I believe in a balance. I don’t think there is any way that the explanation to this debate is solely God’s doings or solely the product of time and science. Just like Kate, I got very frustrated during the movie when that speaker was giving his lecture, because there is no logical argument in saying, “were you there?” Because none of us can travel back in time to see how it all happened, I think the people who have faith will believe partially, if not fully, in creation, and others will believe in the sciences and evolution. I believe in both, so I guess that makes me like the main character in the movie who told his Dad his curiosity goes far beyond his father’s theory on creation being the explanation.

  12. This question seems to ask if you can have both left and right when you make a choice. I believe it has to be either or, and it is impossible for evolution to occur, but also genesis I/II/III. We have no right to define or say what is right and fact in relation to what has a soul, what animals have a soul, and when WE began to have a soul at a point during evolution. The concept of Genesis is surely interesting and unique, but where are all these stories and facts derived from? In current day we have studies and I 100% agree with the comment that the Asian girl made in the video stating whether all scientists are all idiots and are all wrong about evolution. It is obviously difficult to collaborate the two, as the main student did in the video. But I believe it is perfectly alright to use the morals, rights, beliefs, and entire system of the religion, but to hold out on the genesis idea. The bible obviously teaches great morality and rights and wrongs, but at the same time it is largely based on many astrological concepts. Many of the ideas and names and locations of things are directly related to astrological facts. Hence the genesis should not be taken literary. Science and faith can coexist but some concepts should be taken more metaphorically than literally. Science is based on the current world and facts, faith is just faith, and will remain that. You may believe, worship and pray all you want, but if you believe in external or otherworldly(non factual/miracle) then that is your choice, but when you embrace and don’t let go of the extraordinary, you may lose some realistic science, and subconsciously push away that which is accepted by the factual science world.
    ~Dmitry Ionan

  13. As seen throughout the class, I am most definitely more science based than religion based. I am completely comfortable with science's explanation of how humans came to exist. This, however, is not the question at hand. The question is whether or not religion and evolution can coexist. The answer is quite simple, for some religious people yes, for some, no.

    As with the constitution, there are people who take literal translations from the text (strict constructionalists) and people that find the text open to interpretation and open for adaptation to better suit modern times. This parallels beliefs in religion. Although I'm not that religious of a person, at all in fact, I still attend Hebrew school once a week (well, once a month) and we had this discussion in class one day. My Rabbi explained that some descriptions in the old testament are open for interpretation. It is, more importantly, the substance the text contains, rather than the specifics. Just people one chooses to be devoted to the bible does not mean that they have to be irrational and arrogant in thinking about the conjectures and postulates of science.

    I think there is for sure room for evolution and religion to coexist. It relies on one's own ability to accept new ideas and being comfortable with their own faith. If someone truely trusts themselves in God, then they should feel comfortable exploring different ideas. Doing so by no means disrespects their superior being or requires the need to vindicate their beliefs in their specific religion.

  14. I think that science exists whether faith does or not (if by faith you mean religion). You can be a religious person without believing God created the earth in 6 days. However, I don’t think you can take the literal word of those religious texts and be successful in science. A lot of things in all the religious texts that I’ve ever heard of, not just the bible, contradict what science has discovered. The difference between what science has found and those religious texts say is that science uses evidence and logic- it can be tested and proven. Religious texts, on the other hand, can’t really be tested, there isn’t really evidence, and we don’t even know for certain who wrote them, and if I’m wrong and we actually do, we have no way of knowing if those people are even qualified to be saying what they say. You could argue the same for scientific things that were discovered a long time ago with uncertain authors, but we can go back and test those theories. Also, science changes based on new discoveries and we constantly revise theories. That doesn’t really happen with religion. There are a lot of things that obviously aren’t true in the torah, but nobody revises those. Like Mr. Wickersham said in class, it wasn’t meant to be a geography book or whatever, so I don’t see why people would accept it to be. The morals in it are great, but I personally don’t think it matters if the rest of it is true or not. So what if God didn’t create the world in 6 days? I don’t think that evolution disproves God at all, it just disproves God creating the world in 6 days. You can still have faith in God without having faith in creation. I also don’t think that it should be creation vs. evolution. Obviously, evolution is true- there’s evidence and it makes way more sense than creation. But it’s still possible that God created the world- just not in the 6 days it says in the bible.

  15. I think it is possible for evolution and creationism to co-exist with a certain level of compromise. Personally, I'm not sure I completely believe in a higher power, but I don't reject the possibility of a supreme being. I am able to accept evolution without denying creationism. I think Keith Miller presents a fair middle ground for both postulates. He states, "All evidence allows us to accept evolution in full." I think most of the problem today is that people don't fully understand (or want to understand) the scientific side of the argument because they have been raised to believe in intelligent design all their lives. It comes off as ignorant when you don't open your mind to new ideas.

    As for science and faith, I don't think you can have one in the world without the other. Before scientific advancements, faith is all people had to go by. Now, we use science to explain things we have yet to understand and faith is there to fill in the holes. People use faith to explain the unexplainable. The problem is when science explains something once left up to faith.

    The truth is, none of us were actually here a billion years ago and we can never know which argument is correct. You have to understand both views if you're going to argue your point against the other. If we can learn before we speak, there holds hope for a future of coexistence between evolution and creationism, science and faith.

    -Rachael Malerman

  16. To me, the question of whether or not to teach evolution is hardly that. When we have scientific proof of something, it should absolutely be taught, especially in public schools. Upon first watching the documentary, I was shocked that the Christian professor who said something about us containing matter in our bodies that was similar to that on the earth 30 million years ago got such an angry reaction. That is a true statement, a fact. He didn't say "And God didn't put it there!" or anything of the sort. Which makes me wonder, how could a school like Wheaton successfully teach science or anthropology classes? I'm kind of torn as to whether or not intelligent design should be brought up in science class, rather than theology. Science does have strong evidence (fossils) and accurate techniques of proving the evidence (carbon dating). However, when the big bang theory is brought up, it's understandasble to believe someone, or something, a higher power of some sort, created the big bang, because there is no evidence disproving that. However, when people who are in favor of creationism completely ignore the facts of science, it's rather frustrating. I mean, at that point, they could disregard almost anything, even if it has evidence, and say,"No, it's God."

    I also find it frustrating that the idea of creationism is being taught in public schools. In America, we have religious freedom, and public schools are supposed to be secular. Sure, certain Christians may believe in creationism, but that's not to say every religion does. It's almost disrespectful to other religions to only teach the one of Christian faith. And if you want to start talking about different faiths, that isn't science anymore, it's theology.

    Something else that's frustrating is complete belief, word for word, of the Bible. After all, the Bible isn't God's diary that He personally wrote that fell from the sky, it was compiled over time. There are two versions of genesis, and one has to pick which one to believe. Why can't there be a third option? Why can't God have created the universe and thus created evolution? Some-not all- evangelical Christians believe that God put fossils on the earth, and evidence of evolution to test our faith. I remember Derek (sorry if I spelled your name wrong!) saying something like, "if this were true, i wouldn't believe in God out of spite", and I think he makes a valid point. Why would God do such a thing? It would be like punishing the smart people, the people who have an open mind, and who want to find out where we come from. It's hard to imagine that God is so intent on someone keeping their faith that they would reject visible, concrete proof. I can't imagine God being happy about the mother of a Wheaton student who wrote to The Sword of the Lord saying, "I'm worried that my daughter is losing her faith, and I'd rather see her dead". How could that ever be justifiable? Just because your child is learning more by looking at proof,because his of her religious views may be different than yours, you wish they weren't alive? And while that is very extreme, I can't imagine any God ever condoning that.

    Just because people are out searching for truth, or searching for an alternative to why we're on this earth, doesn't mean they're rejecting God in their lives, but rather they're becoming enlightened, and learning of other options. I'll never forget the quote, "When you begin with certainties, you end in doubts, and when you being with doubts, you end in certainties." In this case, it is extremely appropriate.


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