In a previous article a co-editor and I discussed the separation of Church and state. (sorry to far back to provide a link but it would be irelavent anyhow) This concept to many is self evident, but what of the separation of state and science. Let’s consider a statement on science made by a preeminent politician albeit a right wing one.
In 1980 while talking about Evolution Ronald Regan said “Well, it is a theory. It is a scientific theory only, and it has in recent years been challenged in the world of science and is not yet believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once was believed.” Keep in mind that Regan was addressing evangelicals at the time so this could be spin that even he might not have believed. Sorry folks Politicians lie. The problem here is Regan had no Idea what he was talking about. First a scientific theory is not a myth, legend or guess. A scientific theory is used as a plausible general principle or body of principles offered to explain a phenomenon, it can be true or false. The assumption by Regan here is, that we do not know it to be true thus it is a theory. The use of the word “only” by Regan attempted to lessen the value of a scientific theory (or the concept of one). The devaluing of scientific theory to me is one of the first steps toward a global neo- dark-ages. As for Regan’s spurious idea that science doubts evolution, there are only two countries in the developed world were evolution is questioned heavily, the U.S.A and for some odd reason Turkey. (Read Jerry A, Coyners book Why Evolution is True for more on this)
I know I will be opening a can of worms by addressing this but as far as I can tell from reading Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, and what I have read on DNA as part of my work, I cannot see any evidence that evolution wasn’t the means God used to create everything. Like Pope Benidict XVI, although I am not a Roman Catholic, I see that God as creator and evolution “are presented as alternatives that exclude each other,” the pope said. “This clash is an absurdity because on one hand there is much scientific proof in favour of evolution, which appears as a reality that we must see and which enriches our understanding of life and being as such.” In short the two concepts are not incompatable.
Just so people know I believe that all living things are a product of evolution and the driving force behind evolution is natural selection. Now people are thinking how can someone call themselves a Christian and believe that random mutations and natural selection are how man came to be, if God is the creator of all things. Let us consider a weed as a metaphor, it starts as a seed which falls to the ground and accidental gets covered with dirt and grows. The rains come just because they always do, and the sun shines as it always does. Do we think for a moment that the weed appeared by a miracle? No we know it grew because it was part of nature. That said as a person of Faith I do believe God is a creator. Like an early farmer he took seed and strew it across the universe and then all things happened. What that seed was we will never know it could have been hydrogen or energy of even something we have never thought of, but that was the beginning. We limit God by assuming that he did not know what would happen. God by all I have read is infinite in knowledge and power. He could have envisioned everything in one moment and then started it all and allowed it to work. Do we assume the gardener is not the person that makes the vegetables just because the vegetables grew all on their own? I love the Biblical account of creation in Genesis, but it is only a way to explain to us small minded humans how things happened, not a do it yourself manual on how to create everything or even a clear picture as to how God created it just says he/she did it. Principles and concepts that govern nature could for all we know be the only thing God created and thus the rest fell into place. If I push over one domino and the rest fall am I not responsible for the entire chain reaction? My worry with this new trend toward the democratisation of science which follows the interjection of politics into science, is that socially we are placing a boot in front of the dominos of mankind’s intellectual evolution.
Let me end this little rant with one of the most beautiful assertions of the theory of evolution in Charles Darwin’s own words;
There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.