Science + Christianity
Do science and religion conflict?
1859 and all that...
- Chris Knight is an apologist who worked as a research scientist for 22 years. He now co-ordinates the content on bethinking.org for the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF). View all resources by Chris Knight
In 1859, Charles Darwin published On The Origin of Species, and the debate about how his theory of evolution relates to the first few chapters of Genesis has continued ever since. In this anniversary year, many television and radio programmes, newspaper and magazine articles have covered and will cover these issues.
Bethinking.org does not promote any particular position on the interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis, but it does aim to provide well thought out and evidence-based perspectives on the whole "creation-evolution" debate, to help to inform Christians and non-Christians of the spectrum of opinions so that each person can think through the issues biblically and reasonably.
If you are wanting to get to grips with some of the material, links to the key articles currently available on bethinking.org are given below.
As a reminder of the need for "gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15), there are two articles that every Christian should read before entering this debate:
Ruth Bancewicz considers "Making Your Mind Up About The How of Creation" with some good advice as you enter the fray - including reading up-to-date material and reading authors who present the best arguments and counter-arguments for each side of the debate.
The ID debate
Peter S Williams and Denis Alexander have been carrying on a debate about their respective beliefs on Intelligent Design and Theistic Evolution through a number of articles. These are, in order:
The Alexander-Williams Debate on Intelligent Design Theory
Denis Alexander "Creation and Evolution?"
Peter S. Williams "Theistic Evolution & Intelligent Design in Dialogue"
Denis Alexander "Designs on Science"
Peter S. Williams "Intelligent Designs on Science: A Surreply to Denis Alexander’s Critique"
Denis Alexander has written two other pieces: "Is Evolution Atheistic?" and "Is it possible to be a Christian and believe in Evolution?" in which he distinguishes between evolution as a biological theory and as a philosophy, and examines the question whether belief in evolution inevitably leads to an atheistic worldview.
Peter S. Williams has also written two further pieces on ID theory. In a major aticle, he provides a critical review of approaches to the concept of 'specified complexity' in "The Design Inference" and in a shorter piece he critiques Horizon's examination of Intelligent Design theory in "‘The War on Science’: How Horizon Got Intelligent Design Wrong".
Three scientists and a theologian each present their various perspectives on "Is Intelligent Design Science?", which covers a wider remit than the title suggests.
With a wider perspective, three other scientists present their "Scientific perspectives on Genesis 1-3 ".
A theistic evolutionist and a young fossil creationist debate the issues in "Creation or Evolution: Do we have to choose?".
Finally, in "The Genius of Charles Darwin", Pete Hartwell critiques Richard Dawkins' recent three-part TV programme on Darwin.
Inevitably, the material on bethinking.org is only a small selection of the many talks and articles available, and there are areas of the debate that we barely touch upon. If you've come across a talk or article that you believe will help others think through these issues, please do let us know (with a weblink, reference or contact details if possible) and we'll do our best to get some of your recommendations onto the site.
© 2009 Chris Knight