Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Kruse Kronicle: Science and Christianity (Part 7)

Kruse Kronicle: Science and Christianity (Part 7)

Here is another thought-provoking essay on Science and Christianity in which Michael Kruse shows how Darwin drew together all the unconnected threads that had accumulated over the years into a theory of how species might have arisen.

He points out the tensions between differing world views:

"....The two major challenges for me are about the participation of God in the natural world and why a loving God would create a world with such violence and destruction. For others, Darwin’s model raises issues about the authority and reliability of scripture. There is also the issue of evolution as a model for scientific research versus Darwinism as an ideology for interpreting all physical and metaphysical issues. Many Christian scientists have little problem embracing the former without the latter...."

Many people fail to see a difference between science and technology, or between Darwin's theory and Social Darwinism.

One fascinating historical quirk is that library of the Brunn monastery, where Gregor Mendel performed his experiments on inheritance in peas, had a copy of The Origin of Species (1859) with handwritten notes in what was believed to be Mendel's handwriting. Darwin conceded that he had no explanation of the inheritance of traits, and this remained a major gap in the evolutionary model. Mendel published his paper on inheritance in peas in 1865 and it was essentially unnoticed until 1901 when it was "rediscovered". What did Mendel think about this? Did he realize that he filled Darwin's gap with his observations on inheritance? If so, why did he remain silent?

Another distinction I would like to make here is between the general theory of evolution that Darwin proposed in The Origin of Species, and the specific theories that have grown up around it (i.e. single-cells to human beings). Even many creationists accept most of what Darwin wrote; they call it "microevolution."

I look forward to seeing where Mike is headed with his series.

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