Evolution versus Intelligent Design: The God of the Gaps
Joe Carter at The Evangelical Outpost has an outstanding article on the “God of the Gaps.” Joe explains in easily understandable terms that the notion “actually encompasses four different views based on distinctions between a “science gap” (a gap in our current scientific knowledge) and a “nature gap” (a break in the continuous cause-effect chain of natural process) that may or may not be bridged by miraculous-appearing theistic action.”
As technology advances, our science gaps close, but more science gaps often rise up to take their place. For example, we once thought that an electron was a sub-atomic particle that had no components. Now we know that electrons are made up of quarks and that quarks are made up of vibrating strings. Furthermore, for those strings to have the properties that they do, it is required that the universe have somewhere from 9 to 12 dimensions instead of the 3 dimensions that we operate with on an everyday basis. The other dimensions are very, very tiny and apparently curl back on themselves, but they exist nevertheless.
I’m going to upset some people here but I have no theological problem with evolution just as I don’t have any theological problem with gravity. It’s the science that makes me skeptical of all of evolution’s claims. As a matter of fact, I believe that evolution exists to some degree though I don’t know how large a role it has played in the history of life here on earth. A good example is the fact of natural selection. Scientists routinely breed mice with certain characteristics by tossing out any mice that don’t fit those characteristics. That’s human action interfering with something, of course, but we see it in nature, too. We see viruses adapt in the laboratory all the time. When we have another ice age (and we will), species who aren’t able to adapt will disappear. Whatever role evolution may or may not play, it is an invention of God because all truth is God’s truth.
However, as a Christian, I also firmly believe that “God created the heavens and the earth.” Moreover, as one with degrees in chemistry and chemical engineering and a lifetime career in science in one form or the other, I just cannot accept the claims of the hardcore Darwinists who believe that God, if he exists, had nothing to do with the growth of life here on earth. The numbers just don’t match up — the universe would have to be much, much older than it is for random mutations to have produced that variety of life that we see on earth. I have no doubts that God set things in motion and prods the development of new species. I just don’t have any idea how often he interferes miraculously with the laws that he set in place at the beginning of time. God is the creator and sustainer of all things and “in him we live and move and have our being.”
So what does all this bring me to? Well, Joe made a brilliant comment to his own post:
Neo-Darwinism sets such a low bar that it is almost impossible to falsify its claims.
ID advocates have long proposed an experiment that would shut them up: the bacterial flagellum. As Michael Behe says, to falsify such a claim, a scientist could go into the laboratory, place a bacterial species lacking a flagellum under some selective pressure (for mobility, say), grow it for ten thousand generations, and see if a flagellum—or any equally complex system—was produced. If that happened, he admits his claims would be neatly disproven.
Now why haven’t scientists tested this to prove Behe wrong? Because, when all is said and done, neo-Darwinism can’t stand up under experimental scrutiny.
I have to agree with Joe. Behe’s idea of irreducible complexity is a tremendous challenge to the hardcore Darwinists and the evolution controversy will not disappear. Too many scientists have problem with the explanations offered by the hardcore evolutionists. Some of those problems may disappear as we learn more but I have a feeling that we will still be debating this issue in 50 years.
TrackBack URL for this entry: