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Creation and Science

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Creation and Science
by Jan A. Larson

Following the recent Board of Education hearings in Kansas debating the teaching of "intelligent design" versus evolution, I decided that I would offer my two cents on the subject.

Before I begin, it is important to state the context in which I am offering my views.

First, I am of the belief that the sum of all human knowledge – everything learned since the dawn of mankind to this day – on every subject, is extraordinarily small compared to the sum of all knowledge in the universe. As an analogy, I am perfectly comfortable in accepting that human knowledge is to universal knowledge as the knowledge of an amoeba is to human knowledge. In other words, there are vast realms of knowledge that are not only unknown to us, but are likely incomprehensible and unknowable to the human mind. I will assert that it is presumptuous of mankind to believe otherwise.

Much of this universal knowledge is not simply unknown to mankind, but it is unknown that it is unknown. We don't know what we don't know. I have discussed this in greater detail on my website [1].

Second, and more importantly, this essay is not based on a particular religious perspective per se, as most major religions accept the idea of a Creator.

If we can at least accept the possibility that mankind knows very, very little about the universe, then the notion that the universe itself is the product of an intelligent Creator is every bit as logical as the notion that it all sprang forth by chance. Either view requires a degree of faith since neither is provable using conventional scientific means.

Those that do not accept the idea of intelligent design dismiss the possibility that the heavens and the Earth were created and can only rationalize that everything that mankind has ever seen sprang forth spontaneously. Non-believers would not consider that a Creator could exist without proof.

I laugh at such a notion. What kind of evidence would an all- powerful Creator provide to show that He exists? A billboard along the side of the road that says, "I exist, signed God?"

Nothing that a non-believer would believe would be believable.

However, in my view, evidence of a Creator abounds. An all- powerful Creator would demonstrate His presence by showing us things that are so immensely grandiose that humans can barely comprehend them, never mind duplicate or fake them. The Milky Way galaxy, spring roses in bloom or the sunset in Key West. These things just exist or occur by happenstance? The odds are incalculable.

It is from the work of Edwin Hubble that the theory of the "big bang" was developed. The Big Bang theory postulates that the entire universe, everything that mankind has ever seen or experienced, all matter and energy, came to be when a point, a "singularity," exploded some 15 billion years ago.

Physicists have worked for years to arrive at a "unified theory" of the universe. A unified theory would combine Einstein's theory of relativity (which explains the nature of stars, planets and galaxies) and quantum mechanics (which explains the nature of sub-atomic particles). Thus far, there is no widely accepted theory that combines these two contradictory theories.

Physics and mathematics can explain (as best we know) what occurred following the first few moments after the Big Bang. But what happened in those first few moments? What existed before the universe existed?

It would require a serious leap of faith (no pun intended) to believe something sprang out of nothing just because there is now something where before there was nothing. Is it more logical that the Big Bang just "happened" or that it was the work of an all-powerful Creator?

Turning to the question of creation versus evolution, if we accept that there is (1) an all-powerful Creator, and (2) there are vast amounts of knowledge that we don't know we don't know, it is possible that the heavens and the Earth were created as described in Genesis and the fossil evidence is merely a clever smokescreen. However, the physical evidence does not suggest that the Creator spent six days, that is six 24-hour days, as we know them, creating the universe and the Earth.

Would it not make better logical sense to think that the process of the creation of the Earth, and the population of the Earth by the members of the animal kingdom and humans have followed a longer process; a process that is revealed to us by the physical evidence?

I do not see that the apparent conflict between creation and evolution is really a conflict at all. I have satisfied myself that evolution is simply the process of creation.

Science says that we don't know what existed or what happened before the Big Bang. Science can't explain why a bag of chemicals, that is the body of every living being, lives. These are things that we may never know. Maybe it is beyond our capability to know.

When it comes to teaching about the origins of the universe and the origin of life, the real answer is that we really don't know.

Even those that do not believe in the concept of a Creator must admit, if they are being intellectually honest, that the possibility exists that the universe was created by a higher intelligence. Those that believe that all of "this" couldn't just spring out of nothing might be better served to accept that creation, via the process of evolution, just might be an ongoing process.

The fact that there continue to be conflicts over the teaching of creation versus evolution in the schools is simply indicative of just how limited the human mind really is. Believers and non- believers alike believe what they believe, but neither have all the answers. Education should not be an indoctrination of young minds and when it comes to the questions of the origins of the world and the origins of life, there is nothing wrong with telling the truth – no one knows.

[1] http://www.pieofknowledge.com/about.html

Jan A. Larson publishes a weekly commentary, "What is the Deal?" at the Pie of Knowledge http://www.pieofknowledge.com

Last modified: 03/11/16