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Can science contradict the Bible?

Published: 10 October 2015 (GMT+10)

In the origins debate, the assumptions one brings to the evidence determine the possible interpretations of the evidence we will entertain. Many people think that it is just biblical creationists who work this way, but everybody works this way regarding the deep past. Jeff C. from the United States writes:

Hello. First, I want to say thank you so very much for all you do. Evolution is truly changing societal views for the worse and CMI is definitely a valuable tool for the times! (1 Peter 3:15) I’m writing because I have a friend who believes creationists have a God complex. I would answer this challenge of his, but I know Creation Ministries could answer it much better and more clearly as it is somewhat of a “loaded” question: “I’m just trying to say that it doesn’t matter what science or geologist or historians or anybody find … If it contradicts the belief system of the Creationists they’ll find a way to disprove it and move on … It’s true and I can prove it … Give me ONE just ONE example of anything in science that contradicts the Creationists beliefs that they admit too … You can’t do it. They won’t allow it but yet scientists have many things that they honestly say they don’t know or don’t have answers fo…the Creationists have an answer for everything.”

CMI’s Shaun Doyle responds:

Your friend’s argument doesn’t follow. Just because someone doesn’t think anything will ever contradict a belief they hold doesn’t mean they have an answer for every objection to their belief. Biblical creationists confess ignorance on a lot of things, and we readily admit that there are unresolved issues in our interpretation of the physical evidence (see Unsolved mysteries for more information).

Moreover, we readily admit that there are plenty of interpretations of scientific evidence that conflict with biblical creation, though we would reject the interpretations, and not the data that they are based on. The question is not whether there are unresolved issues and debates within the creationist community; there is plenty of both (as a member of the editorial team for our peer-reviewed publication Journal of Creation, I can definitely say that there are many unresolved issues and debates in the creationist community; I edit many of the articles that discuss them!). The question is whether the physical evidence would contradict our understanding that Genesis 1–11 is historically accurate.

Well, Jesus believed and taught that Genesis 1–11 is historically accurate. Was God incarnate wrong on the basics of history? Christians are clearly bound to believe what Jesus taught. So yes, we are committed to the notion that no ‘scientific’ fact will contradict the Bible or Jesus (Though please see It’s not science for more information about the definition of ‘science’). But does this mean we have an answer for every objection raised against biblical creation? No. It just means that we believe there is an answer, even if we don’t know it yet. See Biblical history and the role of science for more information.

A parallel situation for secular scientists is abiogenesis. All ‘origin of life researchers’ believe that life spontaneously arose from non-living materials. If they didn’t, and thus believed that first life was designed, they’d stop looking for naturalistic explanations for the origin of life. However, they don’t know how it happened. Does that shake their faith in abiogenesis? No, it just means they believe the answer will come in the future. That strikes me as extreme gullibility; there is every evidence in the world that entities with coded information systems, such as first life had to have had, are only caused by intelligent agents. But does this fact dampen the evolutionists’ enthusiasm for abiogenesis? No. If anything, it galvanizes them into research, since they have an ‘obstacle’ to overcome. So why are they so confident that life had a naturalistic beginning? We know that no human designer could’ve done it (since that presupposes the very thing needing explanation), and natural causes are the only other causes we know of in our everyday experience, and all other possible causes are ruled out before the evidence is considered, so natural causes must have done it! This is spurious reasoning, to say the least, but it does give the impression of getting the secular scientist out of having to face an extraordinarily inconvenient fact against a fundamental thesis for his worldview. For more such problems for the evolutionary deep time worldview, please see Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels.

Helpful Resources

The Geologic Column
by John K Reed, Michael J Oard
US $15.00
Soft cover
The Creation Answers Book
by Various
From
US $14.00
By Design
by Dr Jonathan Sarfati
From
US $15.00
Evolution's Achilles' Heels
by Nine Ph.D. scientists
From
US $11.00

Reader’s comments

Patrick R.
"Actually, the friend's statement is being directed at entirely the wrong party. Let's fix it:

"If it contradicts the belief system of the evolutionists they’ll find a way to 'disprove' it and move on... Give me just ONE example of anything in science that contradicts the evolutionists' beliefs that they'll admit to... You can’t do it. They won’t allow it, but yet those who deal with real science have many things that they honestly say they don’t know or don’t have answers for... the evolutionists act like they have an answer for everything."

Look at how reluctant evolutionists are to admit that there is ANY question or doubt about evolution whatsoever -- saying things like "evolution is the single best-supported scientific fact in the world" -- and you'll see what I mean."

I find issue with this. We say the evolution is iron-clad because we have so much evidence that it is almost impossible to be wrong. Most of the scientific community viewed evolution with major doubts when Darwin first published. Since then, the sheer amount of evidence and data has led to the scientific community saying that evolution is fact.

Also,"Evolution is truly changing societal views for the worse". Can you please explain, in exact words, how it is "changing societal views for the worse"? Because as far as I can tell, it isn't. In fact, less than 1% of prison populations are Atheists. (Under the assumption that those who believe in Evolution are Atheists).
Shaun Doyle
We obviously disagree that the preponderance of evidence favours evolution. What's more, we argue that very point in many of c. 10,000 articles on this website. Please use our search function and Q and A pages to investigate.

Regarding the reception history of evolution by the scientific world, it was nowhere near that simple. First, the likes of Huxley and Haeckel ran really good PR campaigns for evolution, and a good deal of compromise from the entrenched liberal clergy of the day helped 'grease the wheels' as well. Nonetheless, Darwin's ideas did indeed provide a more convincing explanation of biological phenomena, especially biogeography, than the Lyellian old-age creationist ideas that Darwin argued against. But with hindsight we can see that beating out an ad hoc explanation such as the 'centres of creation' idea is not hard to do. We might as well say that Copernicus' heliocentric model with circular planetary orbits is true because there's evidence that the Earth does in fact move. In fact, Copernicus' model was severely flawed; it was only when Kepler introduced elliptical orbits into the heliocentric model (which Galileo, an 'orthodox' Copernican, spurned), and when Newton provided a dynamical account of Kepler's model, that heliocentrism was validated conclusively.) Likewise, modern biblical creationists believe in biological change; even fast and quite radical biological change (we are not blind to e.g. the difference in dog breeds that has only occurred in the last few hundred years), but always within limits that can't be crossed naturalistically. And we would even agree with many of Darwin's biogeographical principles, though we believe they are better explained in the context of creaturely distribution after Noah's Flood.

As for the social evils evolution undergirds, modern ones include: the abortion pandemic, same-sex 'marriage' and the destruction of the family, the prevalence and legality of sexual perversion, the growing marginalization of anything Christian, even to the point of legal action against Christians for trying to live out their beliefs. And if we were to count all history tainted by Darwin's ideas, we would cite the Herero genocide, human zoo exhibits, eugenics, Nazism, and Communism as a few more examples.

As to the proportion of inmate atheists, do you have any studies to back that figure up? Were such surveys large and randomized? How did they define religious affiliation, religious preference or religious practice? Which country or countries were such studies done in? For you to cry 'evidence' for evolution so above and not provide any evidence to substantiate such a dubious and vague claim as this '1% of inmates are atheists' idea is an extreme double standard!
Noah D.
I think we Creationists need to get Spiritual. Bringing the presence of God along with the vast evidence for creation will really show people the awesome, loving creator behind our worldview. Pray and seek. "Not by might, nor by strength, but by my Spirit" says the Lord.
F. G.
Actually, the friend's statement is being directed at entirely the wrong party. Let's fix it:

"If it contradicts the belief system of the evolutionists they’ll find a way to 'disprove' it and move on... Give me just ONE example of anything in science that contradicts the evolutionists' beliefs that they'll admit to... You can’t do it. They won’t allow it, but yet those who deal with real science have many things that they honestly say they don’t know or don’t have answers for... the evolutionists act like they have an answer for everything."

Look at how reluctant evolutionists are to admit that there is ANY question or doubt about evolution whatsoever -- saying things like "evolution is the single best-supported scientific fact in the world" -- and you'll see what I mean.
Grahame G.
It's sad that so few understand logic.

You've picked the problem with the objection in your very first sentence (Sorry, second).

Trusting God and the Bible does not mean we know everything.

But it does mean that we have never encountered an objection that conclusively proves either God or the Bible wrong!

Our faith in God has never (and by faith we know it can never) be vain. We have a confidence (which is often called "hope" in the Bible) that we have and know the truth! All else will fail.

God complex. That has to be the biggest misunderstanding of the whole thing. It's quite the opposite. We KNOW we don't know everything. We KNOW we aren't God!!

We KNOW HE is and does!

Objections like this reflect very badly on the objector. It's actually Jeff's friend who has the God complex. It's he who rejects God and therefore thinks he is.

Thanks Jeff and Shaun. Great article!

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