RE: Science Education and the Church

From: Shuan Rose (
Date: Wed May 22 2002 - 19:49:51 EDT

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    Evolution has both random and non-random processes. The random processes are
    mutation & variation, but the nonrandom process is natural selection. By
    weeding out the "unfit" variations & mutations, natural selection is a force
    pushing for improvement. It gradually moves each population of animals
    towards the best fit to its environment. The current generation of coyotes
    is probably the smartest yet, for example, because its chief enemy, Man, has
    ruthlessly weeded out the dumbest, most trusting ones, by gun, trap , &
    poison. Wolves & tigers & bears have done less well.
    Richard (ugh) Dawkins explains all this well in his book" Climbing Mount
    Improbable". Of course, he goes on to argue that since natural selection
    can "design' better living things without someone to oversee each step,
    therefore there is no Designer. Kenneth Miller agrees with Dawkins about the
    power of NS, but disagrees with his no Designer argument. Miller argues that
    God may intervene in a way subtler than we can now detect to influence
    evolution in a direction that would produce Man, or at least some creature
    that could bear the divine image. Others could argue that God influenced
    human evolution more directly.
    I myself do not like definitions of evolution that describe it as "
    undirected" and "impersonal". With all due respect, how do these atheists
    KNOW this ? an ant in an ant farm might think he got there out of an
    undirected process. That's about how we compare to God. I would push for
    softer language like " apparently undirected" or "impersonal in the opinion
    of some" in these definitions. The definition of National Association of
    Biology Teachers uses" natural" and "unpredictable" instead of "undirected"
    and "impersonal", which kind of leaves a little more room for God. Read
    their statement at
    In short , Wally, I agree that the current definition of evolution as a per
    se undirected process is what is driving a lot of opposition to evolution,
    even from folks who are not fundamentalists. After all, conservative
    fundamentalists are only 20 per cent of the population but 44 per cent of
    all Americans reject evolution. Most of the rest say God used evolution to
    create Man, so most of the people who accept evolution DO NOT think it is
    necessarily undirected. Lets get these atheistic presuppositions out of the
    definition. Maybe the ASA could come up with a definition that at least
    respects the beliefs of a majority of Americans.

    -----Original Message-----
    From: []On
    Behalf Of Walter Hicks
    Sent: Wednesday, May 22, 2002 1:08 PM
    To: Jan de Koning
    Subject: Re: Science Education and the Church

    Jan de Koning wrote:
    > The term "evolution" does NOT evoke purposeless. I don't know were you
    > that idea from. Nothing is purposeless in this world. Everywhere and in
    > every subject, God is involved. Just taking one word out of context to
    > it is involves purposeless and is therefor against God is very
    > dangerous. It might mean that other words are for God? We know
    > better. We know that none of our works is sinless. I find the searching
    > out one word, and saying it is against God a dangerous business.
    > Personally, I find it extremely dangerous when certain Christians take
    > one theory and declare it against God and His Christ, and by doing so
    > estrange many students from the Christ of Scriptures. I met several of
    > these when I was still teaching, who were on their way out of the church,
    > and thus out of community with Christ, because somebody told them that
    > were not Christians if they "believed" in "Evolution." My answer took
    > weeks of talking, but came down to: "Do you believe, that our faithful
    > is trying to fool us in nature?"

    It is often said to me that people "talk past" one another on this list.
    I certainly have to agree with that. I did not make up the notion that
    random mutation plus natural selection was the evolutionary theory. That
    was Darwin's idea, not mine. In talking about the secular world, I like
    to use secular documents. They are ones that are used to teach our
    children in public schools. Here is a quote from an encyclopaedia on the

    " Darwin's theory of the evolution of species through natural selection
    starts from the premise that an organism's traits vary in a non
    deterministic? way from parent to offspring, a process
       called "individuation" by Darwin. This theory does not make any
    specific claims as to how this process works, although more recent
    scientific discoveries in genetics explain several
       mechanisms that occur in the process of reproduction: in the case of
    both asexual and sexual reproduction, random mutation (including DNA
    transcription errors); in the case of sexual
       reproduction (which mixes the DNA of two parents into an offspring),
    gene flow and genetic drift are also important mechanisms. Competition
    (typically among males to impregnate
       females) for mates produces sexual selection - a process which Darwin
    considered secondary to ecological in most species."

    Note the term "random mutation".

    The fact that Christians disagree is no surprise. Of course we do.
    Unfortunately, most disagree by saying that man was directly created by
    God some 10,000 years ago. When I talk to anyone who disbelieves in
    evolution, it is because the above definition of evolution is the one
    that think is meant. Hence, they elect to believe that evolution is not

    You really do miss my point, Jan. I am trying to say that if the above
    theory is what is taught in schools (and it is), and then Morris and
    other Christians accept that definition, the ball game is lost. The
    correction has to be a scientific one, acceptable for non-Christian
    schools --- not a theological one that cannot be taught in public
    schools. There is adequate scientific reason to do so, but it will
    happen only if we try.

    This is not to discredit anything that you say, Jan. I agree completely
    with you and George, that God is in control and His methods are whatever
    He wishes. I wonder if He wishes that we would make an effort to correct
    the current secular notion of evolution. Maybe not.


    Walt Hicks <>

    In any consistent theory, there must
    exist true but not provable statements.
    (Godel's Theorem)

    You can only find the truth with logic
    If you have already found the truth
    without it. (G.K. Chesterton)

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