Main page | Choose another chapter | Unabridged
It's OK to Believe in Both Creation and Evolution
by D. R. Cruise
This book is now in print. [more info]
In Chapter Four we explore the possibility of divine intervention in the physical world. Our purpose is not so much to promote the authenticity of interventions. It is to see how, if true, they may relate to creation, evolution, Physical Order, and Well-behaved Temporal Flow.
Those who do not believe in a God obviously do not believe in interventions. Additionally there are a few believers, who hold that after the creation, God simply “went away” without any further involvement. Nevertheless, we invite to our discussion all of those who do not accept the possibility of interventions. They may relish taking the role of critics.
Our discussion considers the possibility of miracles, which by definition would be easily observed. We also consider the possibility of more subtle interventions that cannot be observed.
To begin, we briefly discuss a possibility hinted in Section 3.1.6b. The entire universe, past, present, and future, may be a single act of creation that is already completed for all time and space.
The author recognizes that the idea of a creation that encompasses all time and space, with a single action, might not be palatable to everyone. (Nevertheless, note that modern science also views time and space as closely related members of the same set.)
From the perspective of humans, who experience time differently than the other three dimensions, creation would be an ongoing process. From the perspective of a creator, all of the physical domain would be a four dimensional "painting" that is tentatively completed.
However, just as an artist can change a painting, a creator could make changes (i. e. intervene) if He chooses. He could do this by addressing an area (large or small) in space-time and creating a new future from that point forward (thus annihilating the previous future). In this chapter we will ponder how He might perform such an intervention without introducing observable disorder.
For the sake of full disclosure, the author is strongly inclined toward the possibility he just presented. Therefore, as already stated, he does not believe any of the Gossean models of the previous chapter.
We now turn away from creation models and focus on what some may consider closely related topics. They include, free will, self-awareness, and what are miracles, if indeed they occur. Finally we will focus specifically on biological evolution. Each of these areas involves the possibility of divine intervention.
Let us examine the notion of free will and ask whether we possess such a thing. The reader should be aware that, the closer one tries to define free will, the more elusive it becomes.
However, elusive or not, most people believe they have free will. They believe that there are choices in life that they may decide as they see fit. Most people would also agree that free will is limited.
"Now if I had wings like an angel, over these prison walls I would fly" (Song lyrics circa 1920.)
Let us look at an example. A person is standing in front of a brick wall and wishes to place himself on the other side. One cannot simply wish himself to the other side. That is an obvious limitation.
Nevertheless, he can put himself on the other side by several different means. He can go over it if he is sufficiently agile. Or he can possibly dig under it. Or he can go through it if he has some kind of destructive force at his command, such as a sledgehammer. Or he can go around it, if the wall does not close on itself.
A person can also change his mind and decide he really did not want to be on the other side. Finally, if it is a prison wall (as in the folk song quoted above), he could have avoided the situation entirely by his earlier life choices.
If he does make it to the other side, there are physical laws that he has to obey. (1) He has to expend time. (2) He has to expend energy. (3) He has to follow a continuous path or trajectory. At every intermediate time, he has to be at the corresponding point on the trajectory. No matter how free a person's will may be, he cannot violate the laws of physics.
Let us examine rules that may govern the decision process. Thoughts and desires must obey physical laws although they are far less understood than many other events in the physical domain. Let us tackle the problem anyway.
Consider two courses of events. The course followed, if the reader does not have free will, or if he does not exercise it, we shall call the unperturbed trajectory. The course followed, if he can and does exercise his will, we shall call the perturbed trajectory.
Obviously, in real life only one trajectory can occur. There is no known scientific experiment that can inform us which of the two happens. It follows that we cannot know the exact nature of the trajectory that did not occur. However, the two postulated trajectories must differ in some meaningful way, or else the person's will is not free.
Naturally, we are greatly interested in the point where the two trajectories diverge. Some people may argue that the first differences occur at the quantum mechanical level in the human brain.
If the outcome of even a single quantum event is different in the two trajectories, it is possible that wide differences can occur downstream. In this way the perturbed trajectory eventually may fulfill our will.
(This perhaps reminds us of the old fable about the kingdom that was lost for the lack of a nail. In this tale, there is a succession of disasters, each greater than the one before. )
For the want of a
nail, the shoe was lost.
For the want of the shoe, the horse was lost.
For the want of the horse, the rider was lost.
For the want of the rider, the message was lost.
For the want of the message, the battle was lost.
For the want of the battle, the kingdom was lost.
All for the want of a nail.
Can a person's will alter or decide the outcome of a quantum event? There is nothing in the laws of physics that justifies such a belief. It is the quantum mechanical equivalent of wishing oneself to the other side of the brick wall in the earlier paragraph.
Let us examine this situation more closely. There are two physical theories about cause and effect. Throughout the nineteenth century, most scientists believed in the classical school, and through the twentieth century, the vast majority believed in the modern school. The author is not aware of any other schools, so let us consider them on a case by case basis.
In the classical school, past events completely decide the future. In its strictest interpretation, even the most mundane events happening in the world today were already decided during primordial times. Any uncertainty about the future lies only in the mind of the observer (who lacks both sufficient information and the computing power to process the information).
Here the verdict on free will is straightforward; how can a person's will be free if every action in his life has been preordained by events that preceded his birth? Most would agree that it cannot; so all trajectories remain unperturbed. (For a differing view of this topic, see "Elbow Room" by Daniel Dennet.)
The modern (or Copenhagen) school says that there is an inherent uncertainty in the outcome of an event. To put it another way, outcomes of submicroscopic events happen according to chance.
There are many who believe the modern theory would allow free will. In fact, there are some who embrace the modern theory only for that reason, not because of any ideas that the founders, Bohr and Heisenberg, put forth.
But that is absurd. How can an action be willful if the outcome depends only on blind chance? Proponents are saying that they can control events by their will, the outcomes of which, they cannot even predict!
The author has just argued that a person's will cannot be free under the classical school and cannot be willful under the modern school. If this analysis is correct, then nothing in the laws of physics justifies a belief in free will.
Upon reading this, the reader may suggest, that the author is a disciple of John Calvin, who was famous for his belief in predestination. With all due respect to Mr. Calvin, the suggestion is not true. The fact that the laws of physics do not justify a belief in free will, does not mean that free will is not possible.
The author offers an explanation. However, he does not expect everyone to like the explanation. In truth, he is not totally comfortable with it himself! However, let us look at it.
This book has discussed the possibility of forces that lie beyond the physical domain. If the Creator exists, He can, if He chooses, unleash our free will. Just as importantly, He can do this without interrupting well behaved temporal flow. In other words, He can do it without our knowing that He was involved.
He could do this by altering the outcome of at least one quantum mechanical event. No physical experiment can detect the intervention. In the classical school He changes a predetermined outcome that we cannot predict. In the modern school, He chooses an appropriate outcome from a list of possible outcomes. Again, we cannot know which outcome would have occurred, had He not intervened.
(For God to provide us with free will in this fashion, He would have to act as a fully knowledgeable but completely neutral agent. If He fulfilled only our will for good (or only for evil), we would be His puppets. Then our wills would be no more free than if He had not intervened.)
The ongoing analysis does not require that God follow us into the ice cream parlor to help us decide which of the 39 flavors to order. In that situation, our course is probably decided by our memory of the flavors we have already tried, our curiosity about the ones we have not tried, and their appearance.
Here we may not know or understand the exact mechanism, but one can dispute that we are truly exercising our wills. Some believe that free will means doing what we want to do. A more accurate description may be that it is the capability not to do what we want to do (not that it really matters in the ice cream parlor :-).
The author speculates that we follow an unperturbed trajectory in the ice cream parlor and in most of the events of our life. It is possible that, even with divine intervention, free will is manifested at only a handful of major crossroads during an individual's lifetime. (Some may believe that these are events that directly concern salvation.)
The author, like almost everyone else, prefers to think that the laws of nature permit free will, and that it does not require the intervention of a deity. Most believers and nonbelievers alike insist that they have free will, although if there is no God, it may be an illusion.
With the remarks of the last few paragraphs, the author has crossed further into religion than he really intended. So the discussion of free will comes to a close. If it requires divine intervention, then free will is strictly a religious notion anyway.
At this point let us return to the subject of self-awareness. (We touched on it briefly in Section 3.2.1.) We can describe it as an awareness that transcends one's computed responses to external stimuli. Admittedly the description leaves a lot to be desired.
We may note that there are robotic machines that can compute (and perform) responses to external stimuli. They accomplish some tasks better than humans.
But machines are not self-aware and therefore, if they malfunction, they are not responsible. At least, we cannot punish them in any meaningful way.
Humans have a transcendent level of consciousness that, among other things, makes us responsible. We not only compute; we are aware that we are computing (and we are aware that we are aware of computing, and so on).
There are more questions than answers on self-awareness, but let us examine some of the questions. Previously mentioned is the fact that no one can be absolutely certain of anyone else's self-awareness.
(Would it do any good to ask? Would an instance where the other person brought up the subject of self-awareness prove anything?)
As a talking point, let us consider the transporter beam on Star Trek. The transporter device disassembles people at one place and reassembles them (usually immediately) at another place. Although the television series is fiction, the show asks or at least implies many questions about self-awareness.
First, we may ask whether such a device can ever become a reality? It would have to extract a huge amount of information to operate.
It could possibly obtain enough information to reassemble an arm, a leg, or a digestive tract, but probably not the brain. Remember the brain contains all the memories of our past life and presumably our self-awareness.
However, for the sake of discussion, let us assume that the device exists. Let us assume further that it has no difficulty in extracting the information that it needs.
A person transports from the star ship down to the surface of a planet. Exactly what gets transported? The one item that it absolutely must transmit is the information mentioned above.
However, one can argue that it need not transport the person's atoms, provided like atoms can be found at the destination. If we replace a person's atoms, one by one, with identical atoms, her identity and awareness will be unchanged.
This happens by way of metabolic processes during a person's lifetime anyway. So, while helpful, we did not absolutely need the transporter for this discussion.
In fact, life itself is a transporter process. It is slower and more continuous than the one on Star Trek. Each moment finds us in a slightly different place and with a slightly different collection of atoms.
Let us ask where our self-awareness is located. Our self-awareness apparently lurks within the descriptive information required by our hypothetical transporter. Yet it can manifest itself only when a specified, but unidentified, collection of atoms is assembled according to that information.
An example of specified, but unidentified follows: If a hydrogen atom is specified for a particular location in one's body matrix, then any hydrogen atom in the universe will satisfy the requirement. It is only important that it be hydrogen.
This example extends to the rest of one's body matrix It does not matter where the atoms come from. It only matters that they are each the kind required for their position in the matrix.
Next we can ask how humans obtained self-awareness? We can list three possibilities. (1) Self-awareness is the unplanned result of evolution. (2) Self-awareness comes to us through evolution, according to the plan of a creator. (3) Self-awareness is directly instilled in each individual by the Creator.
Possibilities (2) and (3) suggest divine intervention. Possibility (3) strongly suggests that self-awareness resides in a soul. It is up to the reader to decide which of the three possibilities he favors.
Possibility (1), the unplanned result of evolution, is very troublesome. The author can accept, conceptually, all of the other ideas of evolution theory (and he accepts most of them in fact). But how does a collection of atoms, no matter how well organized through the evolution process, become self-aware? No one has yet explained it to the author's satisfaction.
Some say that self-awareness is the natural consequence of intelligence. This leads some, for instance, to protest against killing the intelligent (and possibly self-aware) dolphins in tuna nets.
Only a few people worry about the dumb tuna. (The author favors protecting the dolphins, but he refuses to give up his tuna :-).
Intelligence is obviously necessary for self-awareness. But is it sufficient, and if so, why? (For an interesting discussion of possible awareness in great apes, see Ref. )
The author of The [Beak] ponders the awareness question with the same interest that this author does. The following is a direct quotation from the paperback version.
"Someday neurobiologists hope to close in on the origin of consciousness in the brain. They will find some twist in the neuro networks of the frontal lobes or the cerebral cortex that leads, as it grows, to a kind of infinite recursion, rather the way that mirrors tilted at the proper angle will begin to reflect each other. The discovery of the physical basis of this secret may be still far away, or it may be closer than we think". Jonathon Wiener, The [Beak], P281.
Note that Mr. Wiener uses consciousness in the same sense that this author uses self-awareness. The author admits he borrows the term, self-awareness, from Star Trek (and is unaware of where they got it :-).
However, it seems obvious that awareness goes beyond consciousness. One must be conscious to be aware, but is being conscious enough? (Note that many delve into this matter far more than Mr. Wiener or this author (and differ in their thinking). For instance, see,"The Feeling of What Happens", by Antonio R. Damasio )
Is it true that scientists may soon discover the physical basis of self-awareness? The author does not say that it cannot happen (in science one learns to never say, never).
In the other direction he will not be so bold as to say that our self-awareness resides in a soul. But, he will go as far as to say that self-awareness and the soul are parallel notions.
One notion comes to us through evolution and the other through revelation. (They are parallel notions even if evolution theory is not true. Also, they are parallel notions even if revelation is not true. Notions do not need to be based in fact.)
The parallel is described as follows: Self-awareness and the soul, together or separately, are the only concepts that instill within us a sense of responsibility for our actions. Also observe that, if we have neither of them, then the concept of free will is meaningless.
Many other parallels exist between creation and evolution theory. These are subjects of later chapters.
This chapter now turns to a discussion of miracles. We may regard a miracle as the ultimate divine intervention. It is important that the author define exactly what he means by a miracle.
For an intervention in Physical Order to be considered a miracle, two elements must be present: (1) The intervention must cause an obvious interruption in Well-behaved Temporal Flow. (2) Humans must witness the interruption.
Not everyone would agree with the author's strict definition. Many people believe that miracles occur in their lives, even where no obvious interruptions occur in Well-behaved Temporal Flow.
For instance, a person prays for a certain favor and later happens to receive it. She might call it a miracle but the author would not. (Of course, he cannot rule out the possibility of intervention.)
Historically, most miracles (purported miracles if the reader prefers) were observed by people who already believed, or at least were inclined to believe. In the Old Testament, God appeared in various forms to Abraham, Moses and the prophets. In the New Testament, Christ appeared to his disciples after the resurrection; but we do not read that He appeared to Pilot, or Herod, to sneer.
Non believers naturally say that it is very convenient that miracles are directed at believers, implying that they are hoaxes. Well, the general lack of observation by non believers does not prove that they are hoaxes, but one has to admit that it leaves much room for doubt.
Believers, on the other hand, would love to make a discovery (perhaps the ruins of Noah's Ark) that would give them the final laugh on the non believers. Until and unless that happens, we must be content with the notion that God does not wish to force people to believe in Him.
Admittedly, the author puts himself on the spot by bringing up the subject of miracles. For the record, the author has never witnessed a miracle, and therefore, cannot personally vouch for them.
However, anyone, including the author, who believes that the scriptures were inspired by the Creator, must believe that miracles happened, at least, in biblical times. Furthermore, if there is a creator, then no one can rule out the possibility that miracles, or at least, divine interventions, happen occasionally in modern times.
Let us disregard the "if" and the "why" of miracles and focus on "how" miracles might happen. Miracles fall under the broader category of how a creator might control the universe.
This book has suggested (under the discussion of free will) that the Creator can control events by deciding the outcome of a few quantum mechanical events. This He can do without arousing the suspicion of nonbelievers, or even the notice of believers.
God can literally hide in the shadow of Planck's constant. The same people that suggest that God is a liar, will now suggest that God is a sneak. (:-)
He can alter the little events that the Uncertainty Principle deprives us of predicting. These events diverge and add up to larger consequences as time goes by. Thus He can have a measure of control over many events without our knowing that He has His hand on the wheel. Alternatively, He can put everything on autopilot and we still would not know the difference.
Note that in the process just presented, God intervenes in Physical Order, but Well-behaved Temporal Flow still occurs. (In other words, the temporal flow is altered by the intervention in Physical Order, but the flow is still well-behaved. )
With the reader's permission we may call this process, control of the first kind. However, we cannot call it miraculous because we observe no anomalies in temporal flow.
God can assert control of the second kind by introducing statistical anomalies. Here He gains more immediate and dramatic control by altering the outcomes of many quantum events at the same time or in rapid succession. The individual quantum events are all physically possible and unpredictable, but collectively they do not behave the way that statistical averages say that they should.
If this is done deliberately in the presence of human observers, we can call this a minor miracle. It would cause amazement, suspicion, or confusion, depending on the observer's frame of mind.
Finally, let us talk about the possibility of control of the third kind. The Creator can accomplish this by doing the physically impossible and wreaking blatant disorder.
(Remember, in earlier chapters we never said that the Creator could not or would not cause disorder. We only said that as long as He does not, we cannot prove His existence.)
On the other hand, what better way to reveal Himself than by causing an event that dramatically interrupts Well-behaved Temporal Flow. When and where He exercises control of the third kind in the presence of human observers, we can call the result a major miracle.
We may now consider some specific cases. First, we must realize that prophesies are not miracles. The Creator (assuming His existence and His non containment) knows the future or can use control of the first kind, if need be, to make that future event occur. The fact that the predicted outcome occurs, instead of many other possible outcomes, does not appear miraculous to human observers.
We may consider next the account of Daniel in the lion's den. It is the author's speculation that this miracle involved control of the second kind. He could have controlled, altered, or perturbed quantum processes in the lions' brains to suppress their appetite and ferocity.
Such a result is also possible without intervention but is very unlikely. A person might get lucky one time in a hundred (or maybe only once in a thousand), if he sat among hungry lions. So perhaps Daniel was saved by a (deliberate) statistical anomaly.
Examples of major miracles abound in scriptures. The parting of the Red Sea and raising the dead certainly qualify.
This speculative section now comes to a close. In the next section we consider the possibility of interventions that are more closely related to the purpose of this book.
Here we change our focus. Scriptural accounts are not the only places where people may suspect miracles. Some people contend, or at least strongly imply, that miracles played a role in the unfolding of the Earth's biological diversity.
As strictly defined above, a miracle requires the presence of human observers. However, most of biological history passed without our observation. Here, what people really mean is that the Creator exerted one or more of the three types of divine control described in Section 4.3.1 to bring about what appears to be evolution.
Therefore, the pertinent question that we ask in this section is: How much control, if any, did a creator exert in the unfolding of biological diversity?
Of course, those of us that believe in the Creator, are inclined to believe that, whatever the process, it came out the way He intended. Nevertheless, there is disagreement about how He might have accomplished it. On the other hand, most non believers continue to believe that everything was happenstance.
Where might interventions have occurred? Two places quickly suggest themselves. The first event occurred when the first living organism appeared, from which others purportedly evolved (this event is termed abiogenesis).
A second possible intervention, repeated often, happened at speciation. In other words, it occurred during a transition from one species to another species.
These are the same events targeted in much of the recent criticism of evolution theory. The critics point to the extreme unlikelihood that life first appeared by chance. They also point to the general sparsity of transition fossils between a species and its ancestor species. The author will not join the critics, but he will discuss the targeted events.
Let us consider four ways that evolutionary events could have happened, based on the three levels of control suggested in Section 4.3.1. To these we add the null case, that is, no local control.
Case (1) The evolutionary events occurred without local intervention by a creator.
Case (2) A creator helped matters along a little by occasionally altering an isolated quantum event (Type 1 control).
Case (3) A creator greatly enhanced His ease of success by modifying many quantum events during short periods of time (Type 2 control).
Case (4) A creator intervened in ways that dramatically violated Well-behaved Temporal Flow (Type 3 control).
Case (1) is, of course, the position taken by those who do not believe in creation. Surprisingly, those who do believe in creation can also take this position.
The Creator could have set everything properly in motion upstream, for instance, at the time of the Big Bang. This would not be local from our viewpoint and therefore it falls under case (1).
To describe how this might work, we must separately consider the classical and modern schools of physics. (Their first mention in this book occurred in Section 3.3.1).
Under the classical school, God could decide the future course of evolution by the way He set things in motion at the time of the Big Bang. However, at the present moment, the classical school has fallen into disrepute, so let us consider the other school.
Under the modern school, He could repeat the experiment (i. e. creation) as many times as He liked. That is, He could roll the dice from the time of the Big Bang until He got the desired result. He could then freeze the design or, in the words of Star Trek, He could choose the quantum reality that He preferred.
Who could possibly believe in either of the scenarios presented in the two previous paragraphs? Well, the author is inclined in that direction. However, he can also go along with occasional intervention at the quantum level (case (2)).
It is not the purpose of this book to convert the reader to the author's way of thinking. So let us consider the other cases.
Cases (2) and (3) differ only in degree. At the time of the events under consideration, a creator could have "helped things along" by altering the outcome of a few, or perhaps a great many quantum events.
If a person could travel back to the past in a time machine and knew when and where to look, she could observe first-life and the appearance of new species. Nothing would look miraculous in cases (1) and (2). However, in case (3) she might marvel at the unlikelihood of certain events.
Finally consider case (4) where Temporal Flow is disturbed. The person in the time machine would now witness a major miracle. (She would need to take some scientific tools along. They would enable her to monitor DNA over time. Carefully designed experiments would reveal transitions that are utterly impossible.)
While she would witness a miraculous change, she would not witness evolution. If God took complete, immediate and local charge of producing new species from previously existing species, that would be prototyping, not evolution.
Let us consider a possible example of prototyping. Let us say that at sometime in the past, God wanted to bring forth a new dinosaur, perhaps the triceratops. He seeks out a prototype. Interestingly enough, there was a primitive dinosaur called a protoceratops.
He takes a pair of the prototypes, makes the needed modifications to the DNA in their reproductive organs. Presto, a new species appears in the next generation.
The process need not have been this subtle. He could have created a mated pair or even an entire herd from scratch. Whatever the process, prototyping would imply that He modified existing plans (DNA) from those of an earlier species.
The author has provided a detailed description of prototyping to explain what he means by the term. Please remember that he is not arguing that prototyping really happened.
However, divine prototyping is an alternative explanation for the evolutionary framework that we see on this Earth. Another way of saying this is that evolution may have happened only in the mind of the Creator.
Evolutionary framework refers to the observation that all living species on Earth bear similarities to other species in both form and physiology. This suggests they all belong to a common genealogical tree.
Whether or not there was evolution, there is an evolutionary framework. This fact prompted Linnaeus to invent his famous taxonomic biological classification system, long before Darwin's time.
In the world today, there are people who declare that evolution science cannot explain how the evolutionary framework came to exist (although they do not adopt the term, prototyping). On the other hand, they also reject the notion that creation took place in six days; therefore, they cast off some aspects of fundamentalism. Nevertheless, like the six-day, creation fundamentalists, they question the truth of evolution.
They call their theory, Intelligent Design. The author will call them the ID community. (In contrast, some people refer to the author and others who believe in both creation and evolution as theistic evolutionists).
The differences between the two groups follow: The ID community believes in something resembling prototyping. The theistic evolutionists believe in evolution.
The ID community strongly imply that drastic intervention in the laws of nature was necessary to complete the evolutionary framework. The theistic evolutionists believe that the Creator had the power and intelligence to accomplish this task without violating Physical Order, or at least, not violating Well-behaved Temporal Flow.
Admittedly the ID community does not go around proclaiming that divine intervention, or miracles, happened. But, when they insist that some biological events were scientifically impossible, what else could explain them?
Let us say that the ID community could absolutely prove the scientific impossibility of some critical step in the evolutionary process. That would establish that direct intervention from outside the physical domain occurred. It would be equivalent to a six-day creation fundamentalist finding Noah's Ark! (The author does not expect either event to happen.)
The author recommends a superb reference to Intelligent Design Theory. It appeared in the April 2002 issue of Natural History Magazine issue and is entitled "Intelligent Design". It is also posted on the internet.
In this reference, three foremost supporters of Intelligent Design present various arguments in favor of ID. Then three opponents put forth opposing arguments. All six have impressive credentials in bioscience (far exceeding those of this author). The presentations are put forward on a high intellectual plain; i. e. they attack ideas but not the persons who present the ideas.
(One of those who argue against the ID community in the Intelligent Design reference is Kenneth R. Miller. Alone of the six, Dr. Miller seeks common ground between evolution and religion. It is the subject of his book, "Finding Darwin's God".)
At the scientific level the author believes the referenced debate is meaningful and that those who oppose the Intelligent Design theory prevail. However, at the philosophical level he believes the debate is an exercise in futility. That is because he believes that design, and therefore a designer, can neither be proved nor disproved by science.
The positions on design taken by people of various schools of thought can be illustrated. Consider the following propositions:
Proposition A: The presence of deliberate design in the evolutionary framework cannot be proved.
Proposition B: There is no deliberate design in the evolutionary framework.
Let us consider the positions that various people would take on each of the propositions:
Intelligent Design People
Proposition A is the proper position for evolution scientists. The proposition should stand until and unless it is shown to be false. A pure scientist would take no position on Proposition B because it is out of the domain of his science.
The ID community proclaims that Proposition A is false and attempts to prove it false. (It is perfectly proper that they try. Such efforts amount to a critical review of evolution theory.) Naturally, they also say that Proposition B is false.
Here, evolution fundamentalists enter the picture. They would like to take Proposition A all the way to proposition B. Except, no logic exists that will take them there. Absence of proof is not proof of absence.
Therefore, for them to proclaim, "there is no design in the evolutionary framework", is religion, not science. (In this respect, evolution fundamentalists are kindred spirits of the ID community :-).
The author agrees with the evolution scientists on Proposition A. However, his admittedly religious view is that Proposition B is false (although he admits he cannot prove it). Logically, this also makes him a kindred spirit of those who take a position, one way or the other, on Proposition B.
At this time the author will draw upon (perhaps outrageous) speculation to put forth two formal hypotheses about divine intervention. The first follows:
The author's strong hypothesis of divine intervention: God is extremely reluctant to disturb Physical Order. (i. e., He is adverse to local intervention in physical processes at any level.)
Many might say that this hypothesis too strong. A weaker version can be expressed as follows:
The author's weak hypothesis of divine intervention: God is extremely reluctant to disturb Well-behaved Temporal Flow. (i. e., He may be willing to intervene occasionally in physical processes at the quantum mechanical level but is adverse to intervention at higher levels.)
The weak hypothesis would provide God with some wiggle room, if needed, to guide the evolution process, or to enable other processes (such as free will). He could intervene at the quantum level and no scientific instrument would detect a departure from Well-behaved Temporal Flow. Again, however, local intervention (by definition) would disturb Physical Order.
(Until or unless convinced otherwise, the author personally prefers the strong hypothesis. Early in Section 4.4.1, the author proposed that God could have programmed the evolution process at the time of the Big Bang without the necessity of later intervention. Maybe the idea is far fetched, but that does not prevent the author from liking it.)
Both hypotheses stem from the notion that God does not wish to force anyone to believe in Him. Furthermore, each of them leads to potential harmony between science and religion (as will be argued in the next section).
However, there are consequences that either hypothesis forces upon the author. (The reader may avoid the consequences by rejecting both hypotheses, which of course, is her prerogative.)
Both hypotheses compel the author to believe in general evolution and specifically in biological evolution (real evolution not prototyping). More generally, he is compelled to believe that we, humans, will never prove nor disprove creation. God can prove it, of course, but that would require an exception to the above hypotheses (at least at the time and place where it happened).
An undisturbed, Well-behaved Temporal Flow provides both the justification and the motivation for all of physical science, including evolution science. This is not to say that scientists are always right. What it means is that it provides them with a domain in which they need not (and, in fact, should not) consider such things as God, creation, salvation and final judgment.
These are not questions that they can decide one way or the other within their domain. This does not mean they cannot, or should not, consider them in other parts of their lives. Happily, this also means that those who do believe in God and creation need not fear valid contradiction from legitimate science.
Thus, to the extent that Well-behaved Temporal Flow is not disturbed, we have a clean, non contradictory, separation between science and religion. Stephen Jay Gould writes of this situation in his last book, "Rock of Ages". In this excellent book he refers to the separation as "non overlapping magisteria".
Finally the author again states that he does not put forth this chapter and this book to convert the reader to any particular school of thought. It only argues that one need not forsake logic to believe in both creation and evolution. Whether one wishes to do so is a matter of personal assessment.
In the next chapter we expand on certain notions that would have detracted us in this chapter. We also consider some counter arguments to the material of the first four chapters. Finally we consider some assertions that others make about creation and evolution.
Main page | Choose another chapter | Digbye |