Sunday, July 16, 2006

Creation Vs Evolution Part 2

This is my personal summary of the preaching of Rev.Dr.Stephen Tong on his apologetics series on Creation vs Evolution Part 2 on 9 July 2006

Regarding evolution, many Christians simply ignore it and assume that this issue has been settled without thinking through the questions themselves. They desensitize themselves and do not care about the issue and think that they only need to care about ethics. However, we should build a wholesome Christian faith which includes the realm of intellect too. We need to recognize the source of challenge to the intellect so that we mature and no longer get tossed by heresies.

All most important universities today still use evolution theory as their science textbook. Underlying this is the assumption that Christians are not scientific. This is a very unjust assumption made of Christianity. If Christians themselves also take it lightly, then we are not worthy to be called the witnesses of the Truth. Such apologetic sessions are not mere consolation for Christians but are a means to equip us to become warriors of the Truth.

The basis of evolution is the phenomena of change. We learnt last week that Greek philosophy built two major schools of thought. One holds that what is true is unchanging while the other one holds that what is true is always changing.

Christianity comes and holds that God is unchanging while the world is changing. So we grab the unchanging in the midst of the changing world. Truth does not change and surpasses time and space. So Truth is not affected by the progression of time and the boundary of geography.

The truth in non-Christian philosophy is a product of thought and metaphysical understanding. However, the Truth in Christianity is a Subject, a Person and the Source of Life. The Truth is not a subject of discussion, not a product of reasoning, but is itself the Source of Life and Reason. Between the Truth and I, the Truth is the Subject and I am the object. Truth in itself is the Subject from whom all things come. Truth fills us so that we can understand the Truth.

In order to understand, we need to surpass the boundary of all worldly philosophies and even exceed the theory of Kierkegaard that sees human beings as seeker of the Truth. There is a need to totally change the way we perceive things.

To illustrate, we used to think that the sun revolves around the earth because our senses tell us so. We look at the earth as the center from which we judge and observe all things. But later on we discover that it is the earth that revolves around the sun. The sun is the center while we are revolving around it. This kind of fundamental shift of center and direction in the way we perceive the universe is required for us to understand the Truth.

When we believe that everything that moves needs a prime mover, it necessarily also means that that there is the ultimate unmoving mover, i.e. the concept of the first cause.

However, today's philosophy is hoping that God Himself is also part of the moving stuffs. So this changing god also cannot guarantee what he will be like in the future. The only thing unchanging is change itself. This is actually a self-contradictory statement because if all things are changing, then this statement itself is subject to change so it cannot be the foundation of faith.

But why should we need a Creator? Is it true that materials are self-existent and therefore everlasting? We do learn about the conservation of energy. However, the constancy of energy is truer than the constancy of matter. Even the famous Einstein equation E=mc2 shows only one direction of change from matter to become energy. But how do we turn energy into matter? In Science, energy comes from matter.

Evolution needs philosophical assumption that is based on optimistic view of change. That is the direction of change is to become better, more advanced, and more complex. But where does this optimism come from? There is no answer.

In Physics, there is the law of decadence where change will worsen and tend toward decay. This law is contrary to the optimistic assumption of evolution.

Over the past few centuries, there have been 2 great revolutions in the civilization of mankind. The first one is in the area of astronomy and the second one is in biology.

Nicolaus Copernicus said that the earth revolves around the sun (heliocentric system). After his theory is proven, it becomes clearer that “I see with my eyes” cannot be used as scientific rule of evidence. This gives a breakthrough that fact is above experience. From the time of Adam until today, our eyes are still seeing the sun revolving around the earth. This is the phenomena we see with our own eyes. But is Science the same as phenomena?

About 300 years ago, there is a split between English and continental European philosophies. English philosophers walked the way of empiricism as the means to the truth while continental European philosophers walked the way of rationalism. In rationalism, understanding is greater than feeling or senses. Human senses cannot be the climax of understanding. For instance, our sense of touch with regards to temperature is often deceiving because our sense of hot or cold is dependent on the rate of transfer of heat rather than the actual temperature itself. Our experiences feel so real but they are very subjective and often lead to wrong conclusions.

Kant tried to harmonize both views by segregating what we can know from phenomena and what we cannot know from phenomena. There are things we can reach by observation and study of phenomena. There are things that we cannot reach by phenomena but can be reached by reason. And things that our reason cannot reach belong to an even higher realm of faith.

Evolution hopes to defy the creation of the world that belongs neither to the realm that can be proved by phenomena or resolved completely by reason. So it enters the realm of faith while disguising as science. It is extremely irresponsible of Christians to care nothing about it.

Copernicus is correct in explaining the creation of God. The church has taught wrongly and still used the Bible (e.g. Psalms 19:6 talks about the sun rises from one end of heaven and makes its circuit to another end) to oppose the theory of Copernicus. Such false understanding causes Christianity to be a laughing stock in history. In this case, the church needs to repent and be corrected. But is the Bible wrong? Does the Bible need to repent too? The Bible is the Revelation of God. Our interpretation can be wrong but that does not mean the Bible is wrong in itself.

When there is conflict between the Bible and science, there are two possibilities.

1. Have Christians explained the Bible wrongly such that it causes conflict with Science?
2. Or has Science explained nature wrongly such that it conflicts with the Bible?

Johann Kepler later on proved that Copernicus is correct. The church was wrong but that does not mean God is wrong. Christians wrongly interpret the Bible and its authority so they must repent. The church has indirectly mixed error with authority and gone against those witnesses of the truth.

Why do we say that it is the Christians who have misinterpreted the Bible? What about Psalms 19? We have to understand that the book of Psalms is a literary work. Today everyone believes that the earth revolves around the sun, but when writing poems or song lyrics people still write about the sun rising and setting, instead of writing the earth revolving around the sun. It is written from an observer point of view in a literary way so we cannot use this expression as science.

Copernicus was not against the church but was merely expressing a true scientific spirit. Regrettably, after astronomy another revolution in biology began and the church, once bitten twice shy, now kept quiet while they should have stood up to rebuke the error. As a result, the theory of evolution became a leading force in culture and entered into the curriculum of most universities.

We need to solemnly ask ourselves the following questions:

When wrong is acknowledged as right, how much do we lose?
Conversely, when right is acknowledge as wrong, how much do we lose?


Copernicus was right and the church's objection was wrong. But Darwin was wrong, so the church's compromise silence was wrong too.

But why can't we equate both revolutions in the same manner? Why is Copernicus right but why can't we say Darwin is right too?

Copernicus is right because his heliocentric theory is based on observation of facts.

Darwin is wrong. Why? Because his theory is not scientific at all. Science uses facts and builds theories upon facts. But evolution does not use this methodology.

In Latin, there are 3 stages of culture.

1. I know
2. I think what I cannot know
3. I believe what I cannot think

The first one belongs to the realm of Science. It comes from the word “scio” which means to observe and to prove. Beyond this, it is the realm of philosophy or “corgito” where we think. What we think may or may not be true, but Science cannot prove it. When even our thought cannot reach, we enter the realm of faith, called “credo”. Faith also can be right or wrong. But it is the realm which science cannot prove and philosophy cannot comprehend totally.

Therefore, we see that what we can know from science is very limited as it only deals with things at the lowest level. But even at the level of science Darwin's theory of evolution is wrong. So we have no obligation to accept it. Evolution attempts to discuss biological facts but its conclusions are not based on assumptions rather than facts. It is not scientific to take assumptions as science. In science, assumption should lead to observation and hypothesis should be proven by experiment.

Darwin is a great man who spent his entire life in the study of life science. He had made great contribution especially in the classification of species. As far as this his good contribution is concerned, we need to honor him. However, his evolution theory is not science because he used his philosophical assumptions to jump into science. His method of assumptions has already moved out of the realm of science. When we read his book on “the Origin of Species” we would find many statements with phrases like “If”, “suppose”, “we may imagine”, “hypothetically speaking”, etc. which clearly indicate that they are mere assumptions without scientific and historical facts.

How can we take it as science? If you still take it as a fact, then your faith towards evolution is a much greater blind faith than the blind faith you accuse Christians of having towards the Bible.

We need to face everything with the same attitude. If it is the truth, we need to accept it. If not, we discard it. But why do people accept evolution? There are two main reasons. One is to escape the idea that God create the world so that they can get away from the thought of accountability before God. The second one is because they want to be considered modern and scientific. So the reasons are not because the theory of evolution has any solid ground. The motive and methodology are already wrong. Evolution is based on assumption that is not worthy to be considered science. At best, we can consider it as a faith towards naturalism.

So you make two mistakes when you take evolution as science and faith as superstition. Firstly, faith is not the same as superstition. Secondly, science is not the same as pseudoscience.

Beginning of 20th century, intellectuals take faith as superstition but non-intellectuals take superstition as faith. Superstition might contain the element of faith but faith might not necessarily contain the element of blindness (superstition). I should critique my faith if there is element of untruth in it. We need to do this to our own faith and denomination.

In summary, there are two main assumptions in the theory of evolution. The first one is that everything is changing for the better. This is a naïve optimism that the theory cannot explain. The second one is the survival of the fittest. The strongest will survive while the weak will be eliminated. The principle of natural selection is partially true. But this can also be an escape from our responsibility and is a very unjust view of life. This view was able to support the history back then. It was easy for Hegel to propose a new idea. His theory through Darwin easily found acceptance. Imperialists used this idea to get rid of the weaker race in order to expand themselves. Atheists receive strength. Karl Marx wrote to Darwin in response to his theory of evolution. Communism accepts the theory of evolution. Evolution is also used as a good tool to attack Christianity.

Do we have solemn attitude or do we just let Satan do whatever he wants? If a theory has an evil motive to attack the truth, we need to stand up to be witnesses to the truth. When evil people appear they always pull along all the great names to advance their own ends. Darwin himself might not have such a far-reaching evil motive when he wrote the theory of evolution but his theory has been used by evil people which result in frightening disasters. The last page of the Origin of the Species in fact states that the first life form must come from the breath of God. It is so amazing that evolution theory becomes what it is today.

We should not escape from our responsibility. What have we done to defend the true faith?

7 Comments:

At 12:25 PM, Blogger Wakim said...

Wow...Tong has almost no clue what he is talking about...or is just plain lieing. Now for a list of errors in the reasoning used in this sermon summary.

1. "All most important universities today still use evolution theory as their science textbook. Underlying this is the assumption that Christians are not scientific." Well evolution is just used within textbooks, since typically The Origin of Species is not used as a textbook in biology classes just as the Principia is not used in most physics classes. Also the teaching of Evolution is done because it is a confirmed theory which remains confirmed and has not been disproven yet. Of course one can argue creationism hasn't been disproven, but since it can't be disproven as anything can just be said to have "been created that way" creationism fails to be a theory, or even a valid hypothesis.

2. "We do learn about the conservation of energy. However, the constancy of energy is truer than the constancy of matter. Even the famous Einstein equation E=mc2 shows only one direction of change from matter to become energy. But how do we turn energy into matter? In Science, energy comes from matter." This is nonsense, E=mc^2 doesn't work only in one direction, from energy matter can arise. For instance by focusing gamma rays in oposing directions yields an electron and positron which, unless there is a magnetic field present, will attract to each other and anhiliate each other releasing gamma rays again, and possibly some other subatomic particles. Also vacuum energy can give rise to matter and other forms of energy from time to time. Given enough time even an entire universe of matter and energy could form. In science energy doesn't "come from matter" matter is energy. All that exists is energy of some form or another.

3. "Evolution needs philosophical assumption that is based on optimistic view of change. That is the direction of change is to become better, more advanced, and more complex. But where does this optimism come from? There is no answer." This is either a lie or shows a total lack of understanding as to what evolution in biology actually is. Complexity is an outcome of evolution merely because in many cases organisms that are more complex survive to produce more offspring more often. For instance the first on Earth was anaerobic, it didn't breathe oxygen, oxygen was a poison to these early microbes. Some groups of microbes could survive this though, and through an attempt by one microbe to "eat" one of the microbes that could "breathe" oxygen a symbiotic relationship formed. At this point the aerobic (oxygen breathing) cell took the oxygen and used it to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is what cells use for energy. This more complicated organism was able to survive the rise in oxygen levels in Earth's atmosphere and reproduced much faster than others, leading to the eukaryotic life we commonly see today. In other cases complexity can be harmful and is weeded out, primates lack a rumen because the energy needed to actually maintain the rumen didn't give the benefit it did with other organisms. Primates, which primarily feed on fruits, insects, carrion, and other protien sources had no need for an organ that helped to break down cellulose, so this organ has continually shrank to the small organ called the appendix. Evolution, in biology, is defined as the change in allele frequency in a population from one generation to the next, that is all. A less complicated organism may win out in many situations, for instance the larger dinosaurs lost out to the much smaller dinosaurs, reptiles, avians, and early rodents because such animals required much less food than the larger dinosaurs which were more complicated in many ways. We know evolution occurs, it is documented, and we know evolution has occured as there is no better explaination for shared ERVs.

4. "In Physics, there is the law of decadence where change will worsen and tend toward decay. This law is contrary to the optimistic assumption of evolution." All physical laws of thermodynamics only apply to closed systems, the only closed system is the universe, which might not even be closed after all. These physical laws, including the law of entropy, are more useful for determining chemical interactions which take place over a short period of time as to allow for as little loss or gain from the outside as possible. Of course if the universe is closed eventually it will end by heat death but that would require entropy to finally overtake all 4 fundamental forces, well at least 2 of the 4.

5. "Evolution hopes to defy the creation of the world that belongs neither to the realm that can be proved by phenomena or resolved completely by reason. So it enters the realm of faith while disguising as science." Well as far as I know theories don't "hope" anything. Supporters of evolution, which includes all scientists with the exception of maybe a couple hundred, don't hope to defy creation, they only wish to use science to explain the world around them. Frankly for them a bronze age creation story with no supporting evidence and loads of evidence against it just doesn't do the job of explaining the world around them. Of course Evolution can't be proven, nothing in science can be proven, but evolution, and many apsects of it, can be tested, and it passes any tests applied. For example a test would be searching for shared ERVs, if any species share a common ancestry then they should share ERVs somewhere in their genomes. Many species do share ERVs so it passes that test. Another test would be examing the DNA and mtDNA of different species and if different species shared a common ancestor they should have similar DNA and even more similar mtDNA. Again evolution passes this test. Since we know evolution is occuring it would only make sense that it has been occuring as long as there have been living things.

In the end there is a claim of how evolution isn't scientific because it starts with an assumption...well everything starts with an assumption and that assumption is that what we are examining exists and is not an illusion. True Darwinian evolution is not correct, but the Theory of Modern Synthesis, which was dervived using many of Darwin's ideas does seem to be correct. When one starts with an assumption in a theory that assumption is either confirmed or disproven. Newton assumed that gravity's effects were instant while Einstein found that gravity's effects travel at the speed of light, but finding this out did not totally destroy Newtonian physics, it only showed that Newtonian physics was only a jumping off point for physics, just as Darwinian Evolution was a jumping off point for Biology. I'll be one of the first to day Darwin didn't get it quite right, but he was on to something, and that something has been expanded upon by modern scientists using evidence. Try this thought experiment, imagine you have no bias in the arguement and you are doing genetic tests on humans, chimps, and bonobos. You already know their DNA is similar but you find all 3 species share ERVs. Since organisms can only show these retroviral scares if they had a parent or ancestor that was infected with a retrovirus, since no 2 "retroviral scares" are alike, it must mean that those 3 species shared a common ancestor. Or you can just look at the common alleles. We use DNA evidence to put away rapists and murderers all the time, if it is good enough to imprison someone with it must be good enough to show a relationship between two organisms right?

 
At 9:15 PM, Blogger The Hedonese said...

Hi wakim

Thanks for ur contribution to the dialogue, the issue is definitely much more complex than the sermon and ur remarks shed light on some pertinent issues not covered there.

To be fair, ST seems to be preaching to a church with more emphasis on theological or philosophical issues than scientific ones. On more scientific issues, u may like to have a lil' chat with another Sporean, Joel, who believes in a literal 7 day creation and seem to give a more sophisticated case for it :)

Just some quick remarks though I'm not the owner of this blog. ur rite tat christians believe in intra-special modifications within a species ie poodles and german shepherd kinda thing. (microevolution)

When 'evolution' is used, the discussion centers on 'macro evolution'. Can the poodle become a hippo or horse after random mutation + natural selection + the magical 'many many years'? (macroevolution)

Just some quick remarks

It is true that virtually all secular uni and research programs take naturalistic evolutionary as its theoretical framework... any textbook which does not toe the darwinist orthodoxy line is dismissed as 'unscientific'.

As u rightly said, darwinism starts with an assumption. (wat doesn't? ehehe..)

And the assumption is a philosophy called naturalism (nothing exists beyond the cosmos). So when one tells a 'creation story' of how microbes evolve to small dinosaurs, one is not talking about science but tracing how abundant evidence for 'microevolution' can be extrapolated in support of macroevolution.

A creationist may tell the same story and say this is how a Creator intentionally or purposefully guides the process of evolution. None of these observation confirm anything.

But philosophical naturalism is now mistakenly deemed as 'a confirmed theory' when no empirical observation even comes close to confirm abiogenesis! The state of the science is so dismal that Francis Crick the nobel laureate had to cook up the idea tat life came from aliens.

The evidence from fossil record does not confirm darwin's prediction of discovery of many many missing links, for another example.

It just takes too humongous a leap of faith to jump from the fact of 'peppered moths' populations change colors to the assumed hypothesis tat peppered moths can evolve to another species.

in view of this situation, many scientists are now saying "Hey, let's not take these assumptions for granted, why cant we adopt another hypothesis as basis for research etc?" Intelligent Design is not a religious statement that cannot be disproven.

For example, Mike Behe's ID theory that irreducibly complex organs cannot evolve with step by step incremental developments... This version of ID can be easily disproven if, one day, we can trace how such a path could develop. Whether the universe is finite or infinite is another area science could confirm or disconfirm.

So it appears tat both theories have assumptions which interpret scientific facts differently! Both sides believe in science, they just have different philosophical framework in which to make sense of them.

So imho, it doesnt help to adopt a closed minded approach and accuse of the other side of being primitive, superstitious, unscientific etc.

Thanks for the conversation, wakim! :)

 
At 4:02 AM, Blogger The Hedonese said...

Website2 indonesia :
1. www.griis.org
2. www.lrii.or.id
3. www.geocities.com/reformed_movement
4. www.pemudakristen.com
5. www.sttrii.org

 
At 2:21 PM, Blogger The Hedonese said...

Hi Gang

Here are some creationist websites I stumble upon..

Read with discernment :)

http://www.metanexus.net/

http://www.reasons.org/about/8_myths_about_rtb.shtml

http://www.uncommondescent.com/

http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/darwinbx.html

 
At 8:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

further contribution:

1. self contradictions in creation evolution part 2:
~~~~~Geocentric -> heliocentric shift resulted from a revolutionary way of perceiving things. ~~~~~~~~~

Quotes:
"To illustrate, we used to think that the sun revolves around the earth because our senses tell us so. We look at the earth as the center from which we judge and observe all things. But later on we discover that it is the earth that revolves around the sun. The sun is the center while we are revolving around it. This kind of fundamental shift of center and direction in the way we perceive the universe is required for us to understand the Truth."

"Nicolaus Copernicus said that the earth revolves around the sun (heliocentric system). After his theory is proven, it becomes clearer that “I see with my eyes” cannot be used as scientific rule of evidence. "

versus

"Copernicus is right because his heliocentric theory is based on observation of facts. "

Explanatory note:
Copernicus postulated the heliocentric view to explain the observation (seen with human eyes) of the phenomena of the daily rotation of the heavens, the annual movement of the Sun through the ecliptic, and the periodic retrograde motion of the planets (known in his lifetime). Hence, there is no revolutionary change in the way the universe was perceived (experienced/sensed by the five senses given by God). The method of perceiving was exactly the same as previously and the mode of thinking was as rational as could be. Only copernicus did not factor in religious tenets derived from the Bible by bishops of his time.

Observation of facts is the ground work of all scientific endeavour, be it to propound geocentricity or heliocentricity. Geocentric view was just a scientific theory inadequate to explain the other phenomena stated above, it only explained the daily rotation of the heavenly bodies.

2. Reckless statement
"However, today's philosophy is hoping that God Himself is also part of the moving stuffs. So this changing god also cannot guarantee what he will be like in the future"

Which of today's philosophy proposes a changing God? It does not even propose a God. Russell's challenge does not imply that he believed in a changing God. It implied that the very concept of God itself must be ridiculously inconsistent with logical reasoning given the premise" all things that exists is created".

 
At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Benjamin Ho said...

Hi Anonymous, you may want to check out Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions on the paradigmic changes that have occured throughout the history of science.

 
At 11:28 AM, Blogger Adi said...

The observation of facts is not the ground work of all scientific endeavour. At best, it cannot be the only ground. Faith (belief) is. Faith (or paradigm, if I can use the vocabulary of Kuhn) decides which are to be taken as facts and which are not, and many more. Is there a simplistic rule in deciding which are to be taken as facts? Recent developments in the philosophy of science have shown that there isn't. The assumptions of science are not observed nor proven. Even the assumption "observation of facts is the ground work of all scientific endeavour," supposing this is true, cannot be observed nor proven. Therefore, it cannot be true.

 

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