My Obligatory Post about the “Evolution vs. Creatonism” Debate

Posted: February 5, 2014 in Current Events
Tags: , ,

…I didn’t watch it live.earth-space

We watched Dallas Buyers Club instead, starring a gaunt Matthew McConaughey and even more gaunt Jared Leto.  And ate pork tacos that I made myself from ingredients I cobbled together from the store.

It was a great movie, based on a true story.  And I make great tacos.

And, dare I say, the movie and the tacos had more to do with reality than the so-called debate.

I’m an evolutionist when it comes to how things have ended up the way they have; no mistake about that.  It’s the theory I think best explains the questions it sets out to explain (at least, so far). But to think that these two people were actually debating the same topic is naive (I watched the debate online this morning).

They weren’t debating the same topic.  It might have appeared like they were, but they weren’t.

It appeared like they were debating how the world came to be and why there is “something” rather than “nothing.”

But really, Ham was talking about a worldview, and Nye was talking about science as a way of discovering truth.

Those are not the same thing.

Science is a method of discovery.  A worldview is composed of convictions on what the person feels has already been discovered.

So it’s no wonder why, when asked what would change each of their minds on the supposed topic, Ham said “Nothing” and Nye said “Evidence.”

Science is a method of discovery based off of evidence. It changes because more, different, or better evidence is found (or previous evidence appears unfounded). We could say that the sum total of Nye’s thoughts, some of which are informed by science, comprise his worldview (so far).  Nye’s worldview includes science, but I wouldn’t say that science is his worldview.  Science probably answers the “how” questions for Nye, like it does for most of us, but it doesn’t answer every question.

A worldview, however, is the total sum of all conceptions in one place.  Ham was debating his worldview.

Changing a worldview doesn’t take evidence. It takes a life-changing encounter…or a series of life-changing encounters. And Ham was describing his worldview where everything (dare I even say even relationships and love?) are contained within what he considers to be Scripture.  Especially questions like “how.”  His worldview says that “how” questions are found in Scripture. He’d have to encounter something that would dramatically shift him out of that way of thinking for his worldview to change.

An encounter is not a discovery; it is the absolute disruption of a worldview regardless of the method of discovery used.

Suffice to say, anyone who makes a “Creationism Museum” (and I use”museum” here in the sense that “things are on display”…like a thimble museum…it is not, in my opinion, a museum in the same way as The Field Museum here in Chicago) is not open to many life-changing encounters, I would think.

That’s just my assumption, but I think there is evidence to support it.

I would venture to guess that Ham feels like he’s already had his life-changing encounter…and doesn’t need any other ones.

And that, by and large, is my biggest beef with that mindset.  It’s the idea that things are “settled.”  So Nye could have shown him anything, said anything, and Ham still wouldn’t budge.  Because his worldview doesn’t allow for that…doesn’t allow for more, better, or different evidence.  It’s not based on evidence.  It’s based on being, and remaining, settled.

And a worldview that is settled is static, not dynamic.

And I think that we, the church, should encourage dynamic worldviews. And we need to be encouraging dynamic faith, too.

Evolution is mysterious.  It’s amazing.  In fact, Nye used “mysterious” multiple times when speaking! It’s how a simple thing becomes complex in structure and, yet, retains some simplicity even amidst it all.  It’s so interesting!

Creationism is static.  “Boom,” it is said, “a fully developed tree with rings and everything.”

It’s…uninteresting to say the least.

One of the common critiques about accepting evolution as an answer to” how things are as they are” is that it erodes “God’s glory” (although I’m unclear of what the critics mean by that phrase).

God’s glory isn’t diminished because God might use a mechanism like evolution to create.  In fact, I think that enhances God’s glory (and by “glory” here I mean God’s “awe-inspiring traits”).

God’s glory is diminished, I think, when we assume God would take the road that we would take…the road of least resistance.

Because, let’s be honest, I often just want things to *poof* be as I’d want.  Creationism is what I would do.  Hopefully God is more inventive than me…more awe-inspiring than me.

This reluctant Christian hopes people don’t think last night was a real debate.  Real debates need to be on the same topic intending to influence people. I would be astounded to hear that anyone changed their mind about creationism or science by hearing it.

You want to know what I think would be a good debate?  The debate between static faith and dynamic worldviews; between static and dynamic faith.  What are the pros and cons between thinking you have it all figured out and continually searching?

Tag, NPR, you’re it.

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Comments
  1. Julie Boleyn says:

    I agree with the idea that “Changing a worldview doesn’t take evidence. It takes a life-changing encounter…or a series of life-changing encounters.” Which is precisely why I appreciated Bill Nye doing this, because for many in the Creationism camp, there are so few opportunities to actually really hear another way. This voice is utterly silenced or sidelined. For Nye to stand up there and say that this conversation matters and that we should have it, may just be (for likely fewer than I’d prefer) the kind of encounter needed to change a worldview.

    • Timothy Brown says:

      Perhaps Nye could be that encounter.

      My hunch, though, is that the watchers were the proverbial “choir” here who laud Ham or Nye as a champion for the respective camps.

      But perhaps there is that small percentage of undecideds. Regardless, I think it’s disingenuous to think that last night was about the same topic. It wasn’t really about “how” at all, hence why Noah and the speed of light and all sorts of constellation topics came up.

      • Julie Boleyn says:

        Yes, and… it was precisely this kind of thing that got me out of my “fundy” phase. Indeed, they were talking at cross paths. It was not a debate. But, I do believe it did serve a purpose.

  2. Amber says:

    I didn’t watch the debate, but I always enjoy hearing from other Christians who support the evolution theory. In undergrad I had the opportunity to spend a semester looking at scripture through the lens of evolution, as opposed to creation, and it was one of the most awe inspiring opportunities I have had. Thank you for another great post!

  3. MegsFitness says:

    I’m giving a very short (5 minute) overview about how different worldviews approach science. Would you mind if I pulled a couple of quotes from your blog (I’m in college–you will be on my bibliography! 😀 )

  4. CCD says:

    I didn’t watch either, but you really hit on something here that I have tried to put my finger on for a long time in these kinds of conversations – simply that it is not the same debate, not the same topic even. When I think of strong proponents of creationism, I wonder why they need to have these conversations at all or produce museums. It is their faith and faith requires no proof. That is the very nature of faith. Arguments and evidence of science aren’t going to change faith or worldviews based on faith. Thanks for posting.

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