Friday, January 11, 2013

Special Creationism

It seems professionals and teachers in many religion-based institutions resist Special Creationism because they have a deep fear that they will not be perceived as savvy scientists in all respects. By "Special Creationism" I mean that God made biological species directly and separately, not relying on what we commonly mean as Darwinian evolution. I do not tie Creationism in with a literal time period of six 24 hour days, but am aware that many Christians do so.

“Remember Galileo!” seems to be the motto of Catholic educators, which is only an echo of the non-religious scientists’ same outcry. The phrase refers to the 17th century struggle between Galileo Galilei, with his theory of planetary rotation around the sun, versus the Catholic Church who understood the Earth to be at the center. As the account is usually generalized, Galileo stood on reason’s side while the Church stuck with medieval superstition. The implication is that the Church always represents pre- and anti-science and knowledge will prevail. Of course we must ignore the fact that Galileo was and remained a Catholic despite the tensions.

But you don’t hear as much about Georges Lemaître vs. Albert Einstein. Maybe the name “Lemaître” seems too hard to pronounce (actually, I think it’s leh-meh-treh). Lemaître was a Belgian Catholic priest who taught physics back in the 20’s and 30’s and came up with what is now called the Big Bang theory. At that time Einstein thought the universe was eternal and he was already recognized for his brilliance in relativity and other matters. Lemaître had the temerity to oppose the well-known genius. Who do you think people believed? Who did they laugh at? But after scientific experiments by Edwin Hubble, the scientific community, including Einstein, came to accept Lemaître’s theory of a definite beginning to the universe and subsequent expansion. What about reason and superstition here?

Our country is going through collective trauma due to acts of violence against innocent citizens, now including young children. There is government movement to control guns in some form. There is talk of making changes in the quality and availability of mental health resources. There is a discussion about the violence of video games and movies. Hollywood has made the shocking admission that maybe they contribute to the aggressive mindset of young people. Allegedly the man who killed children in the Sandy Hook Elementary School immersed himself in violent video competition.

I remember when people laughed at the suggestion that harm could come from violent TV, movies or video games or nearly unlimited gun sales. Concerning these issues, many people are no longer laughing.

You may ask what this particular problem has to do with evolution or creationism. I admit any connections may not seem apparent at first. But there comes a time when things that lie vaguely in the back of the mind must be looked upon and analyzed. Otherwise, something very important is missed when other themes are addressed.

Like the situations above, people often mock certain religious groups, often fundamentalists, who blame the prevailing materialistic evolution theory on some of our country's problems. The same happens when scholars such as Richard Weikart tie social Darwinism with eugenics and roots of the Nazi holocaust.

Most adults are not experts on evolution. Some accept what the scientists tell them and don’t think more about it. On the other hand, some believe God made animals and humans directly and don’t think evolution happened at all.

Others, including many Catholics, have vague ideas about how God may have guided evolution. They partially realize the vast differences in species which are supposed to come from each other, and the commonalities of those which are barely related. They hear news snippets about the wondrous discoveries of the complexity of cells, organs and whole biological systems. But they were told in elementary school that some bones found in Africa were pre-humans and we all came from that. Experts still say evolution is true. It all gets mixed together, with no cohesive outcome or plan on what to teach children. Except for home-schoolers, parents leave evolution to the current educators.

Totally materialistic evolution is the theory that all biological life came to be by chance. That is, random mutations of genes and natural selection which depends on the random mutations, have brought about all biological function and variety as we know it. For the most part, this is what is taught to American children from the age they can hold toy dinosaurs in their hands. It persists through college and is now vehemently defended by science groups and professors. More importantly, they insist evolution is without any intervention from the supernatural.

Theistic evolution is an attempt by some persons who belong to various religions, including Catholicism, to integrate the theory of evolution with theology. There are a few different forms of it, but most start with one common ancestor to all biological life and follow pretty much the line of totally materialistic evolution theories. When you look at so-called theistic evolution closely, you don’t really see God at all. In this way the professionals try to save face. It seems they don’t want to insert the supernatural into their theories because that would not look good to the secular world.

It is very hard to change certain ideas when we have been taught them from early childhood. It is harder when many professionals insist something is true. But paradigm shifts in understanding have happened, just as in the Big Bang theory. Some scientists, too entangled in the old ideas, die without accepting new proposals. But some theories persist that at first seem very strange. They are then accepted almost unanimously by the next generation.

Evolution theory, or the proof against it, is not just about bones and beaks anymore. It is about observing the complexity of the biological world and asking how it could have come to be. The academic discipline of cell biology combines with physiology and interacting molecular systems. That is what we need to know to make logical conclusions.

You might say cell biology is too difficult to teach to children. I think that if kids can learn computer terms and directions, they can study cell biology. In fact, adults should no longer let themselves have vague pictures of evolution floating in their heads. They can become students right along with their children.

There are many digital enactments of cell activities. New discoveries are being made every day of which adults should become aware and share with the family. Which is better—for all of us to learn together or to let the kids watch violent movies and play violent games?

Many Americans wring their hands that this country is not keeping up academically with others. When I gave talks on cell biology and genetics to various groups, they were amazed. One college-age person kept asking why she was never taught these things. An engineer in his 70’s exclaimed he had never studied biology and had no idea of the facts I presented. The education of Americans has been heavily influenced by materialistic evolutionists, with their cries that we can’t mix church and state.

Please be aware that the damage done by evolution theory has already taken a measurable toll. As some scientists already admit, for some time they actually avoided studying parts of DNA that are now proving to be crucial to the cell and to our health. They were told by evolutionists that these parts were only “junk” left by the evolutionary changes over millions of years. Now a big scientific study, named ENCODE, has shown at least 80% of DNA is functional and some project an even larger percentage. There are major implications for understanding cancer and other diseases.

Yes, others may laugh at the belief that God created us directly. They may mock our suggestions that the logic of Darwinism tells humans our lives are nothing special or worthy of respect. They may chuckle that we even suggest that the American education system is adversely affected by their theory. But you decide whose side you would rather be on.

No comments: