July 27, 2011

Christian Rejection of Science

I was recently driving in an area that I don’t frequent often and was in search of a news broadcast.  As I flipped through various radio channels, one caught my attention.  It was from a Christian station that played what sounded like a public service announcement.  The gist of the message was this:

The complexity of life couldn’t possibly have been the result of an accident.  Think about it.  Doesn’t it make more sense that a divine being made everything around you, just as it is?

The point was clear: Evolution is a lie and the Bible tells us so. 

I immediately felt a mixture of sadness and anger.  My feelings were especially sharp as I had recently finished the book, Endless Forms Most Beautiful by geneticist Sean Carroll.  It’s a wonderful summary of recent discoveries in the science of evolutionary development (or Evo Devo, as some call it).  Evo devo looks at genetic processes that occur during embryonic development for clues to how evolution works.  It’s a fascinating new science, from which we’ve learned a considerable amount.  In fact, the book startled me with its sweeping understanding of how life comes about. 

To thoughtful and open-minded people it’s clear that evolutionists haven’t been deceived.  On the other hand, those who believe that an ancient text (written for a civilization with no grasp of basic science) must be read literally are sadly mistaken.  Even if we assume God wrote the Bible, we have to believe He simplified the truths of His existence for us to understand it.  As I’ve said before, there’s a reason Genesis quotes God as saying, “Let there be light,” instead of, “Let the universe be filled isotropically and homogeneously with a high-energy density.”  It’s the same reason we don’t describe light’s wave-particle duality and how each wavelength corresponds to our perception of a color when a child asks, “Why is the sky blue?” 

One of the interesting discoveries coming out of evolutionary development is that genomes are not, as many people assume, blueprints of the creatures they represent.  Rather, they’re more akin to recipes that direct the expression of various proteins during embryonic development.  A small portion of any genome—less than 2% in humans—are so-called toolkit genes that provide key instructions.  Another 3% act as switches that turn the toolkit genes off and on.   What’s remarkable is that the same toolkit genes appear in species after species—fruit flies as well as humans—with only minor variations that determine when and where they’re expressed.  Using these learnings as building blocks, one can draw an evolutionary roadmap based upon gradual changes in genetic makeup. 

I think it’s tragic that some people will read this and dismiss it immediately, all because of an interpretation of the Bible that misses the point of who we believe God to be.  If God is so great, how can we assume He speaks to us on His level?  Isn’t it more reasonable to assume that he relates to us as children and speaks to us in simple ways that might not fully express the details behind broad assertions?

For more information about evo devo, click here

No comments: