Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Catholic Creationism

Many cringe when the word "Creationism" comes in the same sentence as science. We have learned to separate the two, but the separation is uneasy, and underlying problems are coming to the surface.

When I started thinking about writing a book about evolution, I considered myself an advocate of Intelligent Design Theory. I still admire the efforts the advocates have made on behalf of science. They have pointed out deficiencies in mainstream biology, especially concerning the theory of evolution. I will describe Intelligent Design Theory in the book and use many of the same arguments they do.

But there are some significant differences between my own point of view and that of Intelligent Design Theory. The ID advocates seem to assume they compare design and non-design in science. When you believe God made everything, that does not work. Many people confuse complexity vs. randomness with design vs. non-design, but randomness has its own design and purpose. That is one idea that will be difficult to understand, but worth the trouble it takes.

To start, Genesis says there was a void before God created anything. So the void is opposite design, not randomness.

The atmosphere is filled with different atoms and light molecules. These light molecules move around and knock into each other in the form of gasses. Also, in liquids, water molecules move around and allow other elements to move around in them. We have all seen dye dropped into water and break apart to diffuse through the water.

If there was not random movement of molecules, many things wouldn't work. Early scientists realized that gasses move through space and containers in a way that pressure, temperature and volume could be affected. The gasses could do work such as movement of a steam engine when they were heated sufficiently. And in liquids, we can wash dishes because dish-washing liquid does not stay in one place in the water.

If we believe that God made everything, we can accept that random movement of molecules is one part of the whole design. The question is, then, how do we tell biological systems are also designed? The answer lies at least partly in the fact that the physical and chemical laws that work with random molecules and the way they interact do not put biological systems together by themselves.

I cannot keep up with all the specific arguments which evolutionists and IDists continue to wrangle about. There are experts in specific fields from both sides, and all you have to do is follow a few of the ID websites to learn of the battles. I am trying to keep my own book as straightforward and simple as I can, yet try to show the remarkable world of cell biology. Throughout all, the focus is on Creationism and how Catholics as well as other Christians can best deal with the scientific and religious tensions now arising.

We may ask, why bother? There are many reasons. If parents teach their children God made the world, yet teachers and professors constantly push total materialistic evolution instead of creation, the child will tend to choose one over the other instead of integrating. I think this is what has happened in our country over the last century, to the point where life is not seriously viewed as sacred. It may be one of the main contributions to the mindset which allows for abortion and illicit behavior. Even worse, some have a deep-seated distrust of whether there even is a God. If nature can do the work, why is God necessary?

Unfortunately, the secular message comes from many former or so-called Christian Institutions. We must think about our beliefs and stand where we must.

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