“Science is fact. And since fact is superior to your holy book, then science is right and you are wrong.” How many times has that argument been foisted by people who cannot acknowledge their own biases? It would be way too simple to think that because it is based in fact, any time science seems to contradict faith then it must mean that faith is wrong. But the question is in the word “fact,” which has its own set of definitions and connotations that may intentionally mislead even its supporters.
Science is best defined as a careful, disciplined, logical search for knowledge about any and all aspects of the universe, obtained by examination of the best available evidence and always subject to correction and improvement upon discovery of better evidence. What’s left is magic. And it doesn’t work. — James Randi
This statement sounds logical and grounded, but within this very statement lies its fault: “obtained by examination of the best available evidence.” Some assumptions in this phrase are what we are fed as fact. If it is the best possible evidence then there may likely be evidence that will either contradict or change the conclusions of science, thus changing the facts of science. The other assumption that our examination (i.e. our creative imagination that seeks to explain and understand) may not be accurate or misinformed by that best available evidence that may itself be misleading.
When speaking of other aspects of science, one can be very confident that examination can be extremely helpful. The difference between science in general and scientific study of our origins is that other scientific discovery can be supported by repeated testing of well-thought hypotheses. However, we cannot replicate all aspects of our origin and even attempts to do so are merely experiments based on a myriad of assumptions that we think we know about our beginnings.
Assessing the Evidence
Scientific evidence for our origins is like the pieces of a tangram. Archeological digs elicit bones and other structures, which can be studied and theorized about. But like the tangram, these pieces can be positioned in a variety of patterns and shapes that make very different pictures of what the evidence would teach. Evolutionary theory is only one such arrangement and because of the utter lack of a scientist’s ability to conduct experiments to test that theory, it remains simply an arrangement of tangram pieces that seems to make sense.
Supporters of the theory of evolution misrepresent their position when they suggest that this it the only way of assessing the evidence. Granted, it seems to be the best one, but it is not the only one. Since it is not the only one it cannot contend that it has cornered the market on truth.
Neglect of the Creationist
When presented with physical evidence it is hard to deny its truth. Unfortunately this is just what the majority of creationists seem to be doing. Rather than acknowledging the “evidence for evolution” many instead create alternative explanations, beginning with the Bible, and many do not even address the physical evidence at all. A stark example of this is in the Creation Museum in St. Petersburg, KY.
The curators of the museum do not support a continental drift (only one of several theories on the topic) and so they created their own explanation for how similar animal fossils could have been found in strategic areas of South America and Africa. They say, with absolutely no evidence even from the Bible, that there were a large number of logs from felled trees after the flood that got caught up in intercontinental currents on which animals rode like rafts across the Atlantic Ocean. This theory got quite a feature at the museum, but not one mention of “primitive man” other than to say that it is not true that we evolved from lower primates.
My Challenge to the Creationist
I believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God and therefore I believe that the story of creation in the first chapters of Genesis is actually how it all happened. Yet, I would like to hear someone who is also a supporter of creation take a serious look at the evidence that is used to support evolution and to offer an alternate explanation that is both scientific and can also easily rest within the Biblical narrative of our origin.