I've been reading with interest the ongoing debate in The News between proponents of creation and evolution. In my view, this issue cannot be resolved because one side is arguing in Christian dogma based on one particular Biblical interpretation and the other side is simply providing a scientific explanation of natural events.
It is apparent to me, having studied the Bible and attended church regularly, that there is a distinction between God's gift of scientific reason and God's gift of spiritual guidance in the Bible.
As a Christian, I accept God's existence, a Bible inspired by him and the teachings of Christ. But I fail to understand why anyone would turn to science for an understanding of faith. Likewise, I don't understand why one would turn to the Bible for an explanation of the natural world.
The fact is, creation "science" is not accepted universally by Christians. Primarily, fundamentalists and some evangelicals in the United States are the only Christians who maintain opposition to evolution science. In other parts of the world, where people have a much firmer grasp of science, this is not even an issue.
The creationists' agenda passed in Kansas, and pushed in other conservative Christian parts of the country, is not a religious but rather a politically motivated agenda. Their success is due to a vocal and politically powerful minority.
Creationism does not meet the standards of scientific inquiry. Science is developed by formulating hypotheses and proving or disproving them with comparisons, evaluations, repeated observations and debate.
Creationism is solely dependent on one interpretation of scripture and does not involve academic or scientific proof and debate. Teaching creationism as a science rather than a religious philosophy will undermine U.S. students' already weak understanding of biology and science.
The creationists' interpretation is not much older than Darwin's theory of evolution. It is based on a literal interpretation of the Bible, outdated knowledge, ignorance of the scientific method and misinterpretation of facts. The term "theory," for example, is misused. A theory is a structure of ideas that interpret and explain facts. It is not a guess, but a conclusion drawn from the scientific method of research and analysis.
The literalism approach to the Bible is only one method of interpretation. In Christ's time, only the Esseners, a radical fringe of Judaism, interpreted Jewish scripture quite so literally, In the third century, St. Augustine, one of Christianity's founding authors, warned against a literal interpretation.
Why, in the modern age, is it considered by some necessary to accept this interpretation or be labeled as anti-Christian? Why does God reveal so much evidence for evolution and give us the reason to understand it if it's not true? The wonder of the natural world and the systematic method science uses to uncover it is further proof of the existence of a benevolent and loving God. He is certainly not a manipulator and trickster.
Evolution does not propose a random universe, as creationists claim. It is a complex process involving environmental adaptation methods, such as natural selection, mutation, gene flow, genetic drift and recombination.
It is based on the research of Darwin, Linneaus, Lyell, Cuvier and others. It is supported by evidence from a variety of sciences: biology, genetics, physics, astronomy, geology, chemistry, archaeology and anthropology. There is also evidence from different dating methods: tree rings, corals, ice cores, radioactive decay and the fossil record. The scientific evidence for evolution is overwhelming.
There is no conspiracy by science to disprove God's existence, as creationists insist. Science is not a "world-view" or philosophy, like religion. In fact, there is no common ground for the two to debate. They are separate realms.
I believe one can be a devout Christian and still admire the beauty and true meaning of faith with spiritual depth and the wonder of scientific reason, both gifts from God.
DENNIS L. PACK, who lives in Blasdell, writes and studies history in his spare time.