Husband and wife both scientists and creationists
Joel Tay interviews Michael and Shouchin Man.
Drs Michael and Shouchin Man are a husband-and-wife scientist couple who not only have exceptional academic credentials, but also head other teams of scientists at their respective world-leading research institutions. These are operated by prominent pharmaceutical and medical device companies in Indiana, USA.
The Mans are also Bible-believing Christians, heavily involved since 2014 in evangelism and church planting, especially among Chinese-heritage college students and young professionals. Despite their full life, they have successfully raised three children, currently all at university.
Both Michael and Shouchin grew up in China but moved to the USA for their graduate studies. Although they were indoctrinated in evolution by the communist education system, both of them are now strong biblical creationists.
“I became skeptical about evolution as a graduate student. I was especially puzzled by the lack of indisputable transitional fossils.”
He studied evolutionary biology when he was completing his Masters. He says this was helpful because:
“It opened my eyes to see that evolution is not the factual truth I was so dogmatically taught to believe when I was studying in China. Scientifically, I now regard evolution as an unsubstantiated hypothesis.”
After he received Christ in 1991, he studied biochemistry as a Ph.D. student. As Michael reflected on what he learnt about the three building blocks of life (DNA, proteins, and polysaccharides), he says:
“I realized that it would be impossible for these polymers (molecules composed of many smaller repeated parts) to have evolved simultaneously, and then integrated themselves into self-replicating organisms. This led me to read many books on biochemical evolution, and attend many creation seminars.”
Once he saw the design behind DNA, proteins, and polysaccharides, it was only natural for him to be fully convinced about creation.
Similarly, since Shouchin was never shown another alternative, she grew up believing evolution, even though she never found it to be very convincing. As she says, “The Truth will prevail if one has an open mind.”
Having worked as an analytical chemist for more than two decades after obtaining her Ph.D., Shouchin is now a principal scientist. Her role revolves around setting up quality acceptance criteria for drug products, developing and validating various test methods, and calibrating and qualifying analytical instrumentation. This includes the analysis of methods used in testing isotopes.
Science or pseudo-science?
Her professional background enables her to readily detect pseudo-scientific statements and unsound reasoning. The more she reflected on the subject of origins, the more she became aware of how evolutionists and creationists will often come to completely different conclusions about the same scientific data, because they start with different presuppositions. She says:
“Understanding this strengthened my faith in God’s Word. Although I was completely indoctrinated in evolution from an early age, by God’s mercy and grace, I was exposed to creation teaching, which made so much more sense to me.”
Having been in the same shoes as many of the intellectuals she is now reaching out to, Shouchin understands their objections and knows how to answer them. Both in academia and in her current research role, she has been very open about her Christian faith, and thankfully, unlike many in her position, she has not faced any major persecution. She tries to dig out the presuppositions of those of different opinions. She says:
“When I’m witnessing to someone, I always point out that the difference in our beliefs about life’s origins stems from our different starting worldviews.”
“It’s important for students not to confuse science with evolution. Both theists and atheists (naturalists) use science to explore and understand the universe; so science is neutral. However, their interpretation of the scientific data often differs drastically because they begin with different presuppositions.”
In their current ministry roles, they often explain how they became skeptical of evolution, even though they were indoctrinated in naturalism for more than 20 years. Then, after believing in God, they found that biochemistry, genetics, and molecular biology began to make more sense to them.
Now, Michael and Shouchin incorporate creation teaching in their discipleship training in order to instil a biblical worldview. This necessarily includes teaching Creation, the Fall, and Redemption; without a biblical foundation in creation, these other essential doctrines will not make any sense.
They insist on teaching Genesis to seekers and newcomers in their church. Often, they do this by spending two hours just addressing worldviews and questions related to belief in evolution, before finally delving into the text.
For Michael and Shouchin, Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone) is the foundation for both the church and for Christian ministry. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone, and the Bible is His testimony. As Shouchin says:
“If one can’t believe the first three chapters of the Bible, which speak about Creation and the Fall, why believe the rest of the Bible?”
As scientists they see design and purpose in the universe. Examples of design are all around us—the markings of design in a living cell, the cosmos, and the DNA code. They believe that the evidence better supports biblical creation.
But they also think that the evolutionary explanation is inadequate and self-defeating when it comes to social, moral, and worldview issues, e.g. altruism, purpose, and morality. The logical consequences of holding to a consistent naturalistic ideology, such as Nazism (and communism, under which the Mans have lived) has resulted in the bloodiest century (the 20th) the world has ever seen.
With Shouchin in strong agreement, Michael says:
“A strong Gospel-centred foundation for faith is only possible by first interpreting Genesis as plainly written. And we’re grateful for the literature published by CMI, which we’ve found especially helpful in our teaching from Genesis.”