The Case for a Creator: Images of Evolution
- Wednesday, May 12, 2004
- Are science and faith doomed to always be at war? Was I right to think that a science-minded individual must necessarily eschew religious beliefs? Or is there a fundamentally different way to view the relationship between the spiritual and the scientific?
- Does the latest scientific evidence tend to point toward or away from the existence of God?
- Are those images of evolution that spurred me to atheism still valid in light of the most recent discoveries in science?
When I first began exploring these issues in the early 1980s, I found that there was a sufficient amount of evidence to guide me to a confident conclusion. Much has changed since then, however. Science is always pressing relentlessly forward, and a lot more data and many more discoveries have been poured into the reservoir of scientific knowledge during the past twenty years.
All of which has prompted me to ask a new question: does this deeper and richer pool of contemporary scientific research contradict or affirm the conclusions I reached so many years ago? Put another way, in which direction - toward Darwin or God - is the current arrow of science now pointing?
"Science," said two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, "is the search for the truth." And that's what I decided to embark upon - a new journey of discovery that would both broaden and update the original investigation I conducted into science more than two decades ago.
My approach would be to cross-examine authorities in various scientific disciplines about the most current findings in their fields. In selecting these experts, I sought doctorate-level professors who have unquestioned expertise, are able to communicate in accessible language, and who refuse to limit themselves only to the politically correct world of naturalism or materialism. After all, it wouldn't make sense to rule out any hypothesis at the outset. I wanted the freedom to pursue all possibilities.
I would stand in the shoes of the skeptic, reading all sides of each topic and posing the toughest objections that have been raised. More importantly, I would ask the experts the kind of questions that personally plagued me when I was an atheist. In fact, perhaps these are the very same issues that have proven to be sticking points in your own spiritual journey. Maybe you too have wondered whether belief in a supernatural God is consistent with what science has uncovered about the natural world.
If so, I hope you'll join me in my investigation. Strip away your preconceptions as much as possible and keep an open mind as you eavesdrop on my conversations with these fascinating scientists and science-trained philosophers. At the end you can decide for yourself whether their answers and explanations stand up to scrutiny.
Let me caution you, though, that getting beyond our prejudices can be difficult. At least, it was for me. I once had a lot of motivation to stay on the atheistic path. I didn't want there to be a God who would hold me responsible for my immoral lifestyle. As the legal-affairs editor at the most powerful newspaper in the Midwest, I was used to pushing people around, not humbly submitting myself to some invisible spiritual authority.
I was trained not only to ask questions, however, but to go wherever the answers would take me. And I trust you have the same attitude. I hope you'll be willing to challenge what you may have been taught in a classroom some time back - information that might have been eclipsed by more recent discoveries.
Scientists themselves will tell you that this is entirely appropriate. "All scientific knowledge," said no less an authority than the National Academy of Sciences, "is, in principle, subject to change as new evidence becomes available."
What does this new evidence show? Be prepared to be amazed - even dazzled - by the startling new narrative that science has been busy writing over the past few decades.
"The Old Story of Science is scientific materialism," wrote theoretical physicist George Stanciu and science philosopher Robert Augros. "It holds that only matter exists and that all things are explicable in terms of matter alone." But, they said, in recent years "science has undergone a series of dramatic revolutions" that have "transformed the modern conception of man and his place in the world."
This astounding "New Story of Science" - with its surprising plot twists and intriguing characters - unfolds in the coming pages, starting with an interview that rewrites the books that first led me into atheism.
Taken from The Case For A Creator by Lee P. Strobel. Copyright 2004 by Lee Strobel. Used by permission of The Zondervan Corporation.
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