Today marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln. So the news is all abuzz with stories of Darwin’s Origin of the Species and various aspects of his life. Yesterday, NPR carried a story about Evolution Weekend, stating that thousands of clerics were gathering to declare that sicence and religion can coexist. And they do. I’d like to point out here that, as John Clayton says, we are not talking about at a dispute between the Bible and science. Since God is the author of both, they cannot be in disagreement.
We do, however, have a HUGE dispute between preachers and scientists. Don’t forget that. The Bible is not contradictory to the facts of science – but we do not always fully understand the scientific facts, or interpret them properly. Likewise, we don’t always understand the Bible or interpret it properly.
Revere over at Effect Measure posted a discussion of fabricated data published in The Lancet, including a very good description of the challenges facing the editor of a scientific journal and how this sort of thing could happen. Revere makes the observation that “Science journals are not just about science. They compete with each other for readership, public recognition and prestige.” This leaves me with the question – “just how much can I trust the scientific literature?” (Actually, I believe I can trust most of it; most scientists really are ethical and honest people, trying to find the truth.) Without using the word, Revere’s comments suggest that you gotta have some faith in the scientific community to accept the data that is published. Don’t be fooled, scientists have faith. We all have faith in something.
There is no dispute that creationists have faith as well. I think we all agree there is not a testable premise for creation (that is, you can’t take the evidence for creation and run a lab experiment to duplicate it). Alas, neither the creationists nor the evolutionists have a testable theory by that definition. Patrick Mead does a good job addressing the question of evidence, and pointing out that our faith is based on “evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that there is a God and Jesus is His Son.”
Most of us don’t have the resources, skill or knowledge to independently verify the evidence in either area. Most of us don’t have the resources to check the facts of the Bible (even if you have a library full of Bible references, and you can read Greek and Hebrew, you still have to depend on copies of original manuscripts and the interpretations of others to dig out the nuances of the Scripture). Even fewer of us have the resources to conduct research on the theory of evolution. You must have faith in someone, and you must evaluate the evidence available to you. So, as a lay person in both the scientific and Biblical realm, who ya gonna trust?
Given my desire to consider both science and the Bible, and my limited knowledge and resources in both areas – I like to find sources I can trust on both fronts. People who acknowledge that science and the Bible exist in harmony. Apologetics Press is one of my favorites (especially the reprints focused on archaeology).