This February, the world will be celebrating the 152nd anniversary of the Origin of Species and the 202nd anniversary of the birthday of Charles Darwin. Deemed as Darwin Day and administered by Institute of Humanist Studies, the day will be filled with all sorts of fun activities, such as lectures, conferences, and plain old birthday parties in various areas worldwide (see www.darwinday.org or www.humanists.org). Media agencies & major pop-culture websites will cover the organizations efforts to celebrate the occasion and most of their audience will acknowledge the headline and reflect, “Oh yes, thank God for Darwin,” then carry on with life as normal.
This will be a very welcome celebration for some few people around the world. But, the more there is a push for this annual celebration, the more Christians will be bashed and pushed out of the public square. Not to mention the label of Intelligent Design as Creationism or non-science. So what ought the Christian to do on Darwin Day? Here are some possible responses:
- Use the day as an occasion to learn about Darwinism, the Origin of Species, theories of Micro & Macro evolution, Biological processes of natural election, research performed in the Intelligent Design movement to raise awareness. This learning can help us discuss the limits of Darwin’s ideas and understand the compatibility of Science and Christianity with families, friends, coworkers, etc on appropriate occasions. Information can be found at God and Evolution or Interview with Dr. Michael Behe (from www.apologetics.com).
- Organize an international Intelligent Design Day to raise awareness of the results of scientific research in the fields of biochemistry and astrophysics that point to design.
While Christians can be appalled at how the gatekeepers of scientific knowledge in the ivory towers of academia attempt & succeed in holding minds hostage to this view, these may be helpful in beginning the dialogue.
Before we disagree with those who “know” Darwinism is a “fact” of the universe, we ought to figure out why we disagree. Do we have a wrongful bias to Darwin and theories of evolution? Can I really learn the truth about evolution, natural selection, the big bang theories, the age of the universe theories, what the Bible has to say about evolution or astrophysics, etc. We all could use a little academic honesty and confess that we are not the experts on everything. Let me help start a mutation of our worldview by introducing 4 basics views on relationship between science and religion.
#1 Conflict View
This is the most common perception of our day. It’s the battle between Scientific Materialism and Biblical Literalism. Each sees themselves as THE path to true knowledge, at the expense of religion (subjective) or science (conspiracy to prove atheism). It’s one or the other. Media likes the conflict and is biased to the side of science
#2 Independence View
This view shows a separation but not war between human discovery and revealed truth. That is, science is limited to the natural realms; to the objective, public, & repeatable data. Whereas, religion is limited to the spiritual realms; to order, beauty, & inner-life experiences.
#3 Dialogue View
This view is the historical one: Christianity had a strong influence in establishing the right worldview for science. Methodologies are not distinct. Scientist have faith & theologians have reason (scientist must trust their instruments; theologians must think critically). Both sides rely on personal judgment and authority.
#4 Integration View
This view develops a unified worldview where God’s action in Nature is plausible. In this view one must be very aware of naturalistic presuppositions and limitations. It’s Scientific Apologetics where one can use scientific data to argue for the existence of God.
Without going into the reasons, the 4th view is what I recommend. Perhaps you can research for yourself which view is best to hold. You see, there are many things to learn and we can prepare intellectually to use the celebration to our advantage.
Overall, we need to reclaim the intellectual influence in the western world that we lost. We have to take on the giant – science. God’s perspective should be our perspective here. As a result we can be ambassadors not soldiers; winning friends and influencing people. We tend to want to preach at them and score points, winning the battle – but losing the war.
Hopefully, at the end of Darwin Day, the fittest of these views on science and religion will survive.