WHY EVOLUTION IS A FAITH
How the Scientific Method Prevents Science from Proving Evolution!
Science cannot logically
prove that evolution actually happened because the scientific method itself, as
actually practiced by science, PREVENTS science from proving that evolution
As startling as it may seem, the scientific method as practiced by science does not allow science to prove that evolution actually happened and is the way that life came to be on the earth. Actually, I do not think evolution can be proved in any case because I think it is false. But even if evolution were true and could be proved, the scientific method itself does not allow such proof in science.
How can this be?
Evolution can be defined as the belief that life in all its variety came into existence over time through the operation of natural forces only. This is how evolution is taught in public schools.
The opposite belief is the belief that God supernaturally intervened, directly or indirectly, in physical processes to create life in all its variety. Those who belief in divine creation may believe that God's creative power was exercised suddenly or gradually, but nevertheless, there was supernatural intervention that produced life. According to this belief, life we see today in all its variety did NOT come into existence only through natural forces.
Although some people, in their personal beliefs, may merge the ideas of evolution with their belief in creation by believing that God guided a kind of evolutionary process, this is not evolution as taught by science and as taught in public schools. Public education allows for NO supernatural intervention in the development of life. Evolution as taught by science in public schools allows for no influences on the development of life but natural forces only.
Can science prove that evolution happened?
You cannot logically prove something by only looking at one side of an issue. You can only prove something by looking at both sides objectively with an open mind. This is basic.
In order to prove the truth of something logically, you have to look at all sides of an issue without bias. In the case of the issue of the origin of life, to prove logically that evolution as taught by science is the way life actually came into existence, it is not sufficient to prove that evolution is possible. It is not sufficient to prove that evolution can explain all the physical evidence, including the fossil record, the structure and chemistry of living organisms, and genetics. Science must also prove that no other explanation is possible, in other words, that evolution is the ONLY explanation that can consistently explain all of the evidence. In short, science must prove that divine creation never occurred and there were no supernatural causes that brought about the development of life on earth.
If both evolution and creation can explain the evidence, then you have no proof that evolution occurred. That is why supernatural creation must be disproved in order to prove evolution. Proving that evolution is possible is not proving that it happened.
Evolutionists point to physical evidence to try to show that evolution is possible, and they believe that evolution is actually the process by which all the species came into existence. But trying to prove that evolution as a process is possible and may have occurred, and trying to prove that evolution actually happened are two different things. A scientist could show that evolution is possible and may have occurred if he could demonstrate that evolution is consistent with all known evidence. But to prove that it actually did happen he would have to go a step further. He would have to prove that no other explanation is consistent with all the evidence. He would have to show that evolution is the only way life could have come into existence and is the only explanation that fits the evidence. So how could he do that?
The alternative to evolution is creation by God. To prove that evolution must have happened a scientist would have to prove that the evidence cannot be explained by supernatural creation or any creationist explanation. A scientist would have to show that creation cannot explain the evidence and therefore is impossible.
Can science prove that God did not create life in a way that is exactly consistent with the physical evidence? Can science prove that there is no God that has supernaturally intervened in physical processes to create life in all its variety that we see today?
No, science cannot prove that.
Consideration of Supernatural Causes Are Not Allowed in Science
To determine if any
creationist explanations for the evidence can account for the physical evidence,
you have to consider and evaluate proposed explanations for how supernatural
intervention could have resulted in the physical record. You have to consider
supernatural causes before you can rule them out according to evidence. But
science cannot consider supernatural causes. That is forbidden by the scientific
Science cannot examine both sides of the issue without bias, which is required for proof, because science has set limits on itself. Science limits itself to consideration of natural causes only. Science cannot rule out supernatural causes because science cannot examine or consider supernatural causes in order to prove logically that they cannot explain the evidence and therefore could not have occurred. Science can only look at one side of the issue. It cannot examine the other side to either prove or disprove it.
Science is a culture, a community, a process for trying to discover new knowledge, and a way of thinking. It is a way of looking at the world and a way of trying to discover knowledge. The foundation of this community and way of thinking is the scientific method. The scientific method is the only method for investigating questions of science that the scientific community will accept. It is the basis for discussion of scientific issues. Reasoning outside of the scientific method is not allowed in a scientist's work. And a basic premise of the scientific method as practiced by the scientific community is that no supernatural explanation for any physical evidence is even to be considered. In other words, the possibility that there is a God that might intervene in any physical process is excluded in scientific thinking. The scientific method therefore rules out even considering the possibility that God created life on the earth even before any physical evidence is examined. And the scientific method is the only method of investigation a scientist may use in his work.
A recent Nova program I saw on PBS entitled, "Judgment Day, Intelligent Design on Trial", described a trial involving the Dover school board in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania over the issue of whether or not intelligent design is science and may be taught as science in the public schools. Irreducible complexity was used as an argument to support the idea that there is scientific evidence that life came about through intelligent design, not evolution. This program describes intelligent design as promoted by Discovery Institute and quotes from a pro-intelligent design book entitled, "Darwin on Trial" by Phillip E. Johnson. On December 20, 2005 the court made its decision that intelligent design is not science.
What I found especially significant in this program were statements made about attempts to introduce supernatural causes into science. One speaker said, "With the scientific revolution, the work of Galileo, Newton, and others banished supernatural explanations from science." A pro-evolution speaker also said, "...when you loosen the walls around what is science and permit the supernatural, permit deities, you are really destroying what makes science so vitally important to the progress that our civilization has witnessed over the last four or five hundred years, you're going back to before the scientific revolution, and that's a pretty scary thing."
Ask any scientist, "In your work with other scientists and in your scientific writings, can you suggest supernatural causes for the evidence you examine in your work? Would that be accepted in the scientific community as a valid explanation for the evidence?" The answer would be, no. Why? Supernatural explanations are never accepted according to the scientific method as practiced by the scientific community. Science NEVER considers supernatural explanations for evidence.
Science requires that scientific theories be empirically testable and be based on multiple observation, often in the form of controlled, repeatable experiments. This alone excludes consideration of supernatural causes for physical evidence. The intervention of God is not subject to repeatable experiment. God chooses when and how to intervene in physical processes, and such choices are not predictable in their details.
In science, the scientific method is the lens through which all physical evidence is evaluated. The scientific method is the basis for all reasoning that scientists are expected to employ in their work as scientists. Reasoning outside of the scientific method is not allowed. This approach, when applied to the origin of things, denies even the possibility of a creator God before any evidence is even examined. One who adopts this method in exploring the origins of things has no choice but to search only for physical explanations for any evidence he finds. The scientific community is made up of hundreds of thousands of scientists who spend their whole lives evaluating physical evidence and proposing explanations from this point of view. Millions of man-years have been expended to explain fossils, radio carbon dating, DNA, etc. from an evolutionary point of view.
Scientists and science teachers may challenge those who believe in creation to explain some point of physical evidence, such as radiocarbon measurements, fossils, or evidence regarding the rate of genetic mutations, and say to a believer in creation, perhaps a young student, "How can you explain this apart from evolution?" Then the student or believer in creation is expected to come up with an alternative explanation in the next couple of seconds or the teacher may say, "See, there is no explanation apart from evolution, therefore this proves that evolution is true." But that is not logical. If a student does not think of an alternative explanation, that is not proof that there is no explanation. To be fair, not only should the student have an equal number of years to explain the evidence according to intelligent design, the same number of years scientists have had to explain it according to the theory of evolution, but the student would need access to the original physical evidence itself as well as the equipment and training needed to examine the evidence, not just published reports of the evidence after it has been selected and interpreted by those who accept and practice the evolutionary faith.
The point is, the whole field of study of the physical evidence in life and in the earth is dominated by a community of scientists who are biased right from the beginning of their education and training against belief in a creator God who can intervene in natural processes, and therefore their conclusions and explanations are untrustworthy. To use an analogy, if this were a court case, if a prospective jury member had such a degree of bias one way or another, he could rightly be dismissed from being on the jury.
Science behaves as if God and the supernatural do not exist. But science has never proved that God and the supernatural do not exist or that God has never intervened miraculously in physical processes. This is an assumption without proof.
Science excludes the consideration of supernatural causes from its studies of physical processes. The supernatural is strictly beyond the scope of science.
Yet excluding consideration of supernatural causes is not proof that there are no supernatural causes. Indeed, some scientists do believe in a creator God who created the universe. But those scientists keep those beliefs out of the scientific work they do that is accepted by the scientific community and is taught in the public schools. They do not propose in the work they do and papers they write that the cause of certain evidence is supernatural intervention. That is not allowed by science. And if a scientist does propose supernatural explanations for physical evidence, such explanations are kept out of science teachings in the public schools.
The Limits of Science
So science has set limits on
itself. It chooses not to consider the supernatural in its investigations. It
limits itself to consideration of physical causes only.
For atheists, this does not seem like a limitation. Atheists generally do not believe in supernatural causes. They think they do not exist. But that is a choice the atheists make. They cannot prove it logically.
Science is not wrong to limit itself to examination of physical causes only. This limitation for science has advantages in the investigation of everyday processes. It forces science to do the work of looking for physical causes for physical processes. Science is not equipped to study God and the reasons why God may have created life the way He did. The limitations the scientific method imposes on science are useful for examination of everyday repeatable processes and laboratory experiments.
The scientific method works fine in the laboratory and in investigating everyday processes because God allows the universe to follow the natural laws He has created and does not ordinarily interfere with natural law. He does not make His presence known by constantly intervening in the physical operation of the universe. God wants man to be able to work with matter and energy and to be able to control his environment to a degree, and physical processes need to be predictable for men to understand and work with them. Also, it is not God's will to reveal Himself to mankind at this time in such a way that men cannot deny His existence. At this time, God is giving mankind a free choice about this, and so He stays in the background right now. But that does not mean that God did not create the universe, or life itself. This assumption, that God never intervenes in physical processes, does not work well in explaining how things came into existence in the first place or the past history of how everything came to be the way it is. When scientists use the scientific method in the laboratory, they are using it properly, but when they try to use it to explain the origins of life, they are using for a purpose to which it is ill suited, and it fails miserably.
Science may be within its limits when it investigates whether evolution is possible or not.
Science exceeds its self-imposed limits when it teaches that evolution is not only possible but that it happened. When evolutionists teach that life came into existence through natural forces only, they are crossing the boundary of science into the realm of faith. There is no logical justification for saying that supernatural intervention never occurred unless you first examine without bias and disprove supernatural explanations for the physical record of life on earth. Science not only has not done that, it cannot do that according to its self-imposed limits of the scientific method.
Some opponents of evolution use the term "intelligent design" to refer to the concept that life shows design by an intelligent being. This is sometimes promoted as a scientific theory without stating who the intelligent designer is. But scientists know that the term "intelligent design" refers to design and creation by an intelligent God. And in the minds of most scientists, to even consider such a possibility as an explanation for physical evidence would be a violation of the scientific method.
Therefore, scientists within the scope of their scientific work and teaching CANNOT accept creation by God or intelligent design. They have no choice but to try to fit all physical evidence into the evolutionary framework. They are required to be biased against creation even before they look at the evidence, and they have no choice but to explain the evidence in evolutionary terms. If a scientist thought he found evidence of creation, he could not even succeed in publishing it in mainstream scientific journals. Although a minority of scientists may personally believe in a creator God who controls and intervenes in the universe, those scientists must keep those personal views out of their scientific work and teaching. And the scientific community as a whole rejects the idea of a creator God. This rejection is based on the community's faith in the scientific method, not on logical proof.
Therefore, science cannot examine whether or not supernatural causes can explain the physical evidence, and thus cannot prove that supernatural causes cannot explain the evidence. Without proof that supernatural causes cannot explain the evidence, there is no proof that there were never supernatural causes for life on earth. And without that, science cannot prove that God did not create life.
If God created life, evolution is false. If science cannot prove that God did not create life, it cannot prove that evolution is true.
This is why the scientific method does not allow evolution to be proved. It does not allow science to examine supernatural causes in order to eliminate them as possible explanations for the evidence. The scientific method does not allow creation by God to be disproved, and thus does not allow evolution to be logically proved.
Can Science Disprove Creation by God?
If a scientist wants to prove
that evolution definitely happened by showing that no creationist explanation is
consistent with the evidence, how would he go about doing that? He has a bigger
job than just showing that the physical evidence suggests an earth older than
6,000 years. For one thing, not all creationists believe that the earth is only
6,000 years old; some people, like myself, believe the earth is several billions
or at least hundreds of millions of years old, and that life existed on the
earth millions of years ago as indicated in the fossil record, but that God
nevertheless designed and created life. Even among those that think the earth is
only 6,000 years old, many of these people have explanations for the physical
evidence consistent with a 6,000 year old earth. A scientist may not agree with
these explanations, but can he prove them wrong logically?
How can a scientist prove that intelligent design never occurred? How can he prove that no logical self-consistent creationist explanation for the evidence is possible? To put it another way, how can he prove that every creationist explanation is inconsistent with the evidence? Many or most of those who believe in creation believe in a God that can do anything, create anything out of nothing, change anything, and perform any miracle. How could a scientist prove that such a God did not design and create life and the different species of life outside the normal workings of physical law, and do it in a way that is consistent with the physical evidence?
Since such a God is capable of creating any kind of life, at any time and in any way He chooses, there is no question of whether an all powerful God is able to create life the way it appears in the fossil record and in life forms today. The question becomes, why would God choose to create life the way that He did? And that becomes a theological question, which science cannot deal with. Not knowing God's reasons for every choice He makes does not prove that God did not create life.
How could a scientist, following the scientific method, even approach such a problem? The scientific method does not allow for supernatural explanations of evidence. So even if it were possible to prove that the evidence cannot be explained by creation, a scientist could not do it in the course of his work. To do this, he would have to consider, evaluate, and then rule out supernatural explanations for the origin of life. He would have to get involved in theology in order to try to rule out any explanation that God created life in a way consistent with the evidence. He can try to do this as a private individual, but it can't be part of his work, his writing, his publishing, and his teaching as a scientist because the scientific method rules out consideration of supernatural explanations for evidence.
You can't know from scientific experiments and observations what God may have done in the past. You can't use scientific experiments to prove that God did not create life. The best a scientist can do is to try to show that evolution is possible, but he can't prove it actually happened.
Evolution Is a Faith
Why do scientists and
teachers believe evolution in the absence of logical proof? I think that for
many scientists and educators, evolution is a faith. It is like a religion for
them. They believe it because they want to believe it. In this respect, they are
like millions of people who believe their religious ideas because they want to.
Just as millions of people who practice their traditional religious beliefs and
customs find that belief in God and in an afterlife comforts them, so many of
those who believe in evolution find comfort in the idea that there is no God
that has the authority to tell them how to live their lives and they will never
be held accountable by a higher power for what they do in this physical life.
Most people have a built-in bias against God telling them what to do. Some people deal with this by choosing religions that express their own inclinations and opinions, and some deal with this by denying the existence of God altogether. The theory of evolution, as a faith, despite its lack of logical proof, enables those who believe in it to believe that there is no God that intervenes in human affairs and has the authority to tell men how to live.
One might define "faith" as a strong belief in something without objective physical evidence and proof that can be seen and examined, especially in regard to religious thought. The belief, without logical proof, that there is no God who has supernaturally intervened in physical processes to create life, would certainly fall into that definition. It is not a religious faith, actually. It is an anti-religious faith. And in the educational system and scientific community, the majority who practice this faith are in a position of power and influence that enables them to put enormous pressure to conform upon those who do not want to accept this faith.
There is another problem with evolution, and that is the way it is taught in the schools. Though it is called a theory, it is not taught just as a possibility of how life and all the species might have come into existence. It is taught as fact, as the way life actually came to be. One of the principles that the scientific community claims to follow is that for a theory to qualify as scientific, it should be considered provisional or tentative, admitting that it might not be correct rather than asserting certainty. Yet that is not how evolution is taught. Evolution is presented in the classroom and textbooks as a certainty. No room is allowed for doubt about whether evolution actually occurred or not. Yet evolution is unproved and unprovable. What is happening is that the scientific and educational communities are trying to impose their faith in evolution upon their students. And in many cases they are succeeding.
Evolutionists can become quite vehement in their defense of their faith in evolution, and many of them become offended or angry if you call evolution a faith and unproven. But they are being emotional, not logical. The only way you can know something is true is to prove it, and the only way you can prove something by the physical evidence is to show that your explanation covers all the facts and that no other explanation can explain all the facts, which evolution never attempts to prove.
To rule out creation or intelligent design, an evolutionist would have to show that no creationist explanation is consistent with the evidence. If he cannot do that, then he would have to be content merely to acknowledge that evolution is one possible explanation for life, but not the only one. But if he takes that route, he is in conflict with how evolution is actually taught in schools. It is not taught as a possible way life may have come into existence, it is taught as the only way, the one way, the way it definitely happened.
No scientist in his work or his private writings has ever proven that God did not create life. And if God did create life, then evolution is false.
Those who believe in evolution have made a choice to believe something they cannot prove from physical evidence, whether they realize it or not. Evolution has never been proved. It is a faith held by those who choose to believe it.
Evolution is a faith taught in the public schools. It is a faith that God has not intervened in the past in physical processes to create life in all its variety.
Evolution as Taught in the Public Schools Is Unconstitutional
The constitution forbids
government and its agencies from promoting religious beliefs or interfering in
the free exercise of religious beliefs. In other words, as the courts have
interpreted the First Amendment, the government should be neutral in regards to
particular religions and religion in general. It should not take a stand for or
against any religious belief.
Evolution is a faith. It is a belief based on choice, but not on proof of evidence that can be seen and examined. It has never been logically proved to have occurred, and cannot be proved by science using the scientific method. It is not a religious faith, but in a sense it is an anti-religious faith. It is a faith that there is no creator God who has intervened in physical processes to create life. As such, it is a faith that directly contradicts the Bible and the religious beliefs of many students and parents of students in public schools. Many parents teach their children their family religious beliefs and traditions, and the public, government supported schools teach a faith directly contradictory to those family religious traditions. This is not the neutrality in religious matters that the constitution requires of the government.
In effect, the way evolution is taught in public schools violates the first amendment rights of parents and students by seeking to indoctrinate students in a faith contrary to their own religious faith. This violates the clause that says that government cannot prohibit the free exercise of religious beliefs.
If evolution could be logically proved as true, then it might be constitutional to teach it as truth in the public schools. But science cannot prove evolution to be true, and therefore evolution is a faith, something believed by the choice of the believer without proof. And since it is a faith that is against the Bible, it is a faith directly contradictory to the faith of the parents of students and the students themselves of many families who have faith in the Bible, and that is prohibited by the constitution.
If the theory of evolution was taught in public schools only as a possible way life could have arisen, it might be constitutional. But when evolution is taught as the way life definitely did arise and that supernatural intervention never occurred, it becomes a faith and unconstitutional. And that is exactly the way it is taught in science class in all or almost all public schools. Students are taught that evolution happened.
If students were told that the teachings of science about the origins of life are limited to consideration of natural causes only, and that science cannot consider, evaluate, or disprove supernatural explanations for life, that might help to make it constitutional. But to the best of my knowledge, that is seldom if ever the practice in public schools.
Evolution, though it is
taught in schools as fact, has never been proved by science. It CANNOT be proved
by science because you cannot prove the truth of any controversy by only looking
at one side, and science does not and cannot look at the creationist point of
view objectively. To prove that all life came into existence only through
natural forces, which is exactly what evolution claims, you have to prove that
God did not create life and there was no supernatural, intelligent intervention
in the design of species. Science has never done that and cannot do that. The
scientific method does not allow science to examine the creationist point of
view, and thus science cannot disprove it.
Therefore, evolution is a kind of faith. Those who believe it do so because they choose to believe it, not because they are able to prove it logically. It is a theory based on the belief, unproved, that there is no God who intervenes in physical processes and who has created the earth, the universe, life on this earth, and our human minds. That is their choice. But the educational system has adopted that choice and faith and tries to impose it on those who pass through the educational system, and to do this it has to package evolution, not as faith, but as science and as proven fact.
Nevertheless, evolution as taught in public schools is a faith and as such it is unconstitutional.
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RELATED WEBSITES OF INTEREST:
Intelligent Design and the Creation of Species is a public domain article I have written that covers many of the same points as this article, but explains the creation account in Genesis and offers a possible explanation for the fossil record. You may browse it or download it from my web site at http://www.ptgbook.org/creationofspecies.htm.
Preaching the Gospel is a public domain full-length book I have written that explains how to prove that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, what the true gospel is, and how to preach the true gospel effectively. It also explains what Bible prophecy predicts for the United States and the whole world in the years soon ahead of us. You may browse it or download it from my web site at http://www.ptgbook.org.