Science needs to demonstrate the facts that explain the paths of evolution as it now stands or describe the characteristics of the “missing pieces” in the theory; not present a hypothesis about what’s missing. Who knows, the hiatus could in fact indicate the end of that line or a surprising mixed-featured creature that in no way connects the claimed connected evolutionary line! As the theory stands there is no guarantee there are no more changes to be made to it. As such the truth from Science about how human beings came to be has to remain tentative, as it always will be because of the scientific method. Otherwise Science has to answer the awkward question: When does a theory become true or a fact; now or in the future, before or after one or a few “modifications”?
The following “argument” is made by the BSA in the same article in connection with the presumed unfairness in allowing the teaching of evolution but nor creationism:
“… So why do we support and teach evolution and not creationism/“intelligent design” if both explain the same phenomena? … The fairness argument implies that creationism is a scientifically valid alternative to evolution, and that is not true.”
This statement is acceptable only within the context of a desire by Christianity to be considered as scientific endeavor. If the issue is really about accepting Christianity or Theology on the same footing of authority and validity as Science the rejection of Christianity in the quotation seems untenable.
It is not reasonable to say we cannot allow creationism in the classrooms because it does not operate like Science. If it did would it qualify as based on religious faith? Using that same argument the teaching of philosophy should be disallowed. A fundamental problem with the BSA’s viewpoint in their article seems to be the assumption that all education necessarily has to be based on known or knowable Science in order to qualify as legitimate. If this is true then for example, much of the learning that children have acquired from parental upbringing anywhere in the world through the ages is not education. Such a fallacious syllogistic reasoning is probably responsible for the invalid conclusion that Christianity does not belong in classrooms. The fact of course is that Christian topics are indeed being taught in many classrooms, as authentic faith-based information. In other words within the notion of Conceptual Egalitarianism there’s room for a variety of educational theories and approaches and for each to stand or fall by its merits and social acceptability.
On the issue of the legitimacy of certain other criticisms Science has made of Theology the fact is, using scientific methods, Science cannot prove there is or isn’t a God. Therefore Science cannot know whether or not there is divine intervention in the world. On the other hand even with countable phenomena current scientific methods do not necessarily provide errorless results, at their best. For example Science likely cannot tell in the case of human conception what the chance of or calculation for a randomly selected sperm being the one or not that will fertilize an egg or whether that fertilization (should it occur) will result in a dizygotic, monozygotic or single embryo. In its milieu of operation Science does not appear to have produced the formula/calculation to prove or disprove or explain why only that birth outcome is possible. Christianity has a stronger case because within the setting it functions God caused that result. Ridiculing this response is neither elucidating nor intellectually sophisticated.
Those who reject the different-but-equal relationship between Science and Christianity and insist on the superiority of either do put themselves in the class of extremists. It is indeed a prominent attribute of this class to be very afraid of losing ground ideologically and/or territorially and so react to opposing forces with viciousness that’s often inexplicable to others with a more balanced thought process. After all is said, Science and Christianity are two portals to information that helps us understand ourselves and our location. Philosophy counts as yet another. From this perspective an attempt to “silence” the viewpoint of another system of learning seems irrational. Accordingly the approach, which requires the universal teaching of Science but not of Christianity and philosophy remains unfathomable; but it also amounts to governmental censure. If it is ever the case, denying Science universal exposure in any democratic educational system is equally senseless. The BSA article rightly sees “Science as a way of knowing… ” And the position of our blog is that essentially both Science and Christianity are channels to knowledge. Therefore it is not necessary for Science and Christianity to compete if the goal of each is to educate rather than protect ideology. It is a separate matter what the learning does to/for the individual, as a result of clearly harming content and characteristics. This outcome is what other groups can criticize and on which their rejection can be based.
That it is preferable to accept the equality of the independent positions of Science and Christianity is admirably stated (on: http://www.pbs.org/faithandreason/intro/cosmohaw-frame.html) by the theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg, which is worthy of full attention: “If language is to be of any use to us, then we ought to try and preserve the meaning of words, and ‘god’ historically has not meant the laws of nature.” This advice greatly assists in maintaining the separateness of the communication platforms of Science and Christianity respectively. The vocabulary of the two is different and do not overlap conceptually even when it is similar. To take a cardinal example, apropos in this context, the word “god” in Christianity refers to the Father of Jesus portrayed in Judeo-Christian Scripture as the Son of God the Creator sent to reconcile mankind with God through Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross. Different “gods” are the object of obeisance in a variety of religious and non-religious settings, though in the latter, including Science, the meaning tends to be more metaphorical than literal or substantive. To reject the Christian God assumes knowledge of the process of establishing His existence (acquiring the information in the Christian Bible) and this in turn relates to the faith-based principles (personal acceptance) on which His existence is accepted. In the same way to reject oxygen assumes knowledge of the process of establishing its existence (scientific experiment), which implies an understanding of the scientific principles (property of air) supporting its existence. As independent sources of knowledge Science cannot reject the Christian God without an acceptance of how He is defined and known nor can Christianity deny the existence of oxygen without the specific information of how it is defined and known. Paradoxically however, by going through the process of understanding what you wish to reject you have proven its existence, de facto. That is by understanding how something is said to exist rules out denying it existence for that other group and perhaps yourself. This conundrum is eliminated if Science and Christianity do not see the other as needing to be rejected because their means of determining existence are valid though different.
Another reason for amicable co-existence rather than rivalry is to nullify the penchant to establish superiority. Both Science and Christianity may feel equally proud of its value in the world. Being on equal footing there will be no need for one side to exalt its usefulness and accomplishments while renouncing or demeaning those of the other. Sometimes of course such bias is simply ignorance. A case in point is this statement made in the BSA article:
“Creationism has not made a single contribution to agriculture, medicine, conservation, forestry, pathology, or any other applied area of biology. Creationism has yielded no classifications, no biogeographies, no underlying mechanisms, no unifying concepts with which to study organisms or life. In those few instances where predictions can be inferred from Biblical passages (e.g., groups of related organisms, migration of all animals from the resting place of the ark on Mt. Ararat to their present locations, genetic diversity derived from small founder populations, dispersal ability of organisms in direct proportion to their distance from eastern Turkey), creationism has been scientifically falsified.”
This set of selected assertions presumes to know that no other contributions are possible for Christianity to make in the world ever. In respond to the specifics of the criticism levied against Christianity’s lack of scientific contribution… I suggest that the writer(s) of the BSA article Google: “scientific contributions of Christianity ” or such search words. The main point here however, is that in general Science deals with objects and the Bible with people. Science can applaud its scientific discoveries and Christianity can thank God for the people who have made these scientific contributions, including Christians. As such can we agree both Science and Christianity are equally important in the world?