Science, Evolution, and Creationism
Latest edition released 2008 by the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine (both US-based)
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Excerpts of Statements by Scientists Who See No Conflict Between Their Faith and Science
Scientists, like people in other professions, hold a wide range of positions about religion and the role of supernatural forces or entities in the universe. Some adhere to a position known as scientism, which holds that the methods of science alone are sufficient for discovering everything there is to know about the universe. Others ascribe to an idea known as deism, which posits that God created all things and set the universe in motion but no longer actively directs physical phenomena. Others are theists, who believe that God actively intervenes in the world. Many scientists who believe in God, either as a prime mover or as an active force in the universe, have written eloquently about their beliefs.
“Creationists inevitably look for God in what science has not yet explained or in what they claim science cannot explain. Most scientists who are religious look for God in what science does understand and has explained.”
— Kenneth Miller, professor of biology at Brown University and author of Finding Darwin’s God: A Scientist’s Search for Common Ground Between God and Religion. Quote is excerpted from an interview available at http://www.actionbioscience.org/evolution/miller.html.
“In my view, there is no conflict in being a rigorous scientist and a person who believes in a God who takes a personal interest in each one of us. Science’s domain is to explore nature. God’s domain is in the spiritual world, a realm not possible to explore with the tools and language of science. It must be examined with the heart, the mind, and the soul.”
— Francis Collins, director of the Human Genome Project and of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health. Excerpted from his book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (p. 6).
“Our scientific understanding of the universe . . .provides for those who believe in God a marvelous opportunity to reflect upon their beliefs.”
— Father George Coyne, Catholic priest and former director of the Vatican Observatory. Quote is from a talk, “Science Does Not Need God, or Does It? A Catholic Scientist Looks at Evolution,” at Palm Beach Atlantic University, January 31, 2006. Available at http://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/Coyne-Evolution.htm.
Excerpts of Statements by Religious Leaders Who See No Conflict Between Their Faith and Science
Many religious denominations and individual religious leaders have issued statements acknowledging the occurrence of evolution and pointing out that evolution and faith do not conflict.
“[T]here is no contradiction between an evolutionary theory of human origins and the doctrine of God as Creator.”
— General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church
“[S]tudents’ ignorance about evolution will seriously undermine their understanding of the world and the natural laws governing it, and their introduction to other explanations described as ‘scientific’ will give them false ideas about scientific
methods and criteria.”
— Central Conference of American Rabbis
“In his encyclical Humani Generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII has already affirmed that there is no conflict between evolution and the doctrine of the faith regarding man and his vocation, provided that we do not lose sight of certain fixed points. . . . Today, more than a half-century after the appearance of that encyclical, some new findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than an hypothesis. In fact it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers, following a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines. The convergence in the results of these independent studies — which was neither planned nor sought — constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory.”
— Pope John Paul II, Message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, October 22, 1996.
“We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as 'one theory among others' is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. . . . We urge school board members to preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge. We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth.”
—“The Clergy Letter Project” signed by more than 10,000 Christian clergy members. For additional information, see http://www.butler.edu/clergyproject/clergy_project.htm.