Religion vs. Science

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The Big Bang & evolution:

  • The Big Bang occurred approximately 13 billion years ago.
  • Universe was in an extremely hot and dense state and began expanding rapidly
  • Radiation from the early Universe called cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB) is important evidence in support of the Big Bang.
  • The theory of natural selection.
  • An alternative explanation for the design of the world without reference to God.
  • Survival of the fittest.
  • The process of natural selection is gradual and ongoing – species are not immutable 
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Creationism:

  • Darwin’s theory of evolution challenges the status of humanity presented in the Bible.
  • Scripture is the inerrant Word of God – literally true.
  • Questions about the origin of life are answered in Genesis – statements about God as Creator and human beings’ place in creation.
  • Fossils are the bones of animals that are more recently deceased than archaeology suggests.
  • The theory of evolution is ‘only a theory’. Not a strong argument as it misunderstands the scientific meaning of the word ‘theory’.
  • The age of rocks has been challenged. The use of radiometric dating has been attacked as an unreliable method open to error.
  • Scientific findings are used to illustrate the truth of statements within the Bible, such as historical floods linked to the story of Noah.
  • Many Creationists use the Bible to work out a chronology of the Earth. Ussher suggests 22nd October 4004 BCE whereas other propose that the ‘days’ in Genesis 1 represent thousands of years. 
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Dawkins:

  • Proposing the existence of a Creator God is a mistake.
  • Evolution explains the origin of life – supports by significant scientific evidence.
  • Belief in God is irrational and infantile – a ‘persistently false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence’.
  • Science shows there is no God and proves things with a certainty.
  • Anything worth knowing can be proved by science.
  • Agrees that evolution is statistically improbably but it is the only explanation 0 it works through successive baby steps. 
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Intelligent Design & Irreducible Complexity:

Intelligent Design claims to be able to detect aspects within nature than can only be properly explained by divine intervention.

Michael Behe (biochemist):

  • Suggests that Darwinian natural selection cannot totally account for life on Earth
  • Systems in biology that are irreducibly complex – meaning they could not function until all parts are present.
  • A bacteria’s flagellum is Behe’s most famous example. The flagellum is used by the bacteria to swim and Behe explains that a natural process of gradual adaptation is unable to account for the construction and functionality of the flagellum.
  • Kenneth Miller argues that the existence of precursors to the flagellum show that it is not irreducibly complex. Behe counters this by saying Miller cannot explain how the flagellum came to evolve.
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Intelligent Design & Irreducible Complexity cont.:

William Dembski (mathematician):

  • Attacks the notion of randomness.
  • Living organisms exhibit extraordinarily precise, complex specified information - it is highly improbable that matter was correctly arranged to produce the first forms of life – virtually impossible.
  • Dembski claims that for the universe to evolve naturally without intervention from God has to be discounted as a genuine possibility.
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Other views:

Phillip Gosse, Morris and Whitcomb:

  • Believed in a ‘young Earth’ on the basis of apparent age
  • Adam would have had a navel despite not being born in order to be the same as other humans. The created trees would have many rings in order to be adult tress
  • Like these examples, the world was created 6,000-10,000 years ago with the appearance of age.
  • Belief in a ‘young Earth’
  • Genesis flood (6-8) defines the Earth’s age at roughly 3000BCE
  • A world-wide flood placed animals and plants under layers of mud that turned to rock to created fossils
  • Humans managed to escape to the highest hills, eventually caught by the flood. Therefore it gives the reason as to why they were found on the top strata.
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Other views cont.:

Colin Humphrey:

  •  Metaphorical language e.g. ‘the tree of life’ (Revelations)
  • Symbolic or ‘fable’ elements e.g. talking serpent
  •  The whole story may be a series of visions/six days of visions
  • Hebrew: Adam = man, Eve = life – symbolic.
  • Creation was made for those who did not understand the theory of evolution during that period of time

 

 

 

 

Stephen Hawking:

  •   “An expanding universe does not preclude a creator, but it does place limits on when he might have carried out his job.” 
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Other views cont.:

Keith Ward:

  • Competition and struggle exists as part of a mechanism of which organic life evolves
  • Co-operation and self-sacrifice also exists – basic levels of conscious animal life
  • Will power drives evolution forward
  • Realises the beauty, understanding and conscious relationships
  • God = sustains and origin of created universe

Dr John Polkinghorne:

  • The physical universe originated from the Big Bang
  • God upholds the world and keeps it in being:
    • Explains rational order and beauty
    • Explains deep human intuition – hope.
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