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perspectivas Criacionistas na Ciência

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ABSTRACT Southern Baptist and Scientific Perspectives on Creation Science and Evolution James M. Threet Dr. Eric C. Martin, Ph.D. The evolution versus creation science debate is one that consistently gives both sides fits. This thesis sets about exploring that debate from a Southern Baptist perspective, as well as from the perspective of modern scientific thought. It begins by exploring what precisely is being explored; the pertinent history and background to these two competing ideas. From there, it transitions to exploring Southern Baptist history and theological convictions, and how those factor into an acceptance of creation science, and rejection of evolution. Following, the opposite side is looked at – what evidence leads scientists to accept evolution and reject creation science – and whether their stated reasons match their actions. Finally, it finishes by exploring one specific example of these ideas coming together – the Michael Polanyi Center at Baylor University. I will examine what factors brought the center to Baylor, why it failed, and what can be learned about the true nature of this debate from that incident. APPROVED BY DIRECTOR OF HONORS THESIS ______________________________________________________ Dr. Eric C. Martin, Department of Philosophy APPROVED BY THE HONORS PROGRAM ______________________________________________________ Dr. Elizabeth Corey, Director DATE:________________________ SOUTHERN BAPTIST AND SCIENTIFIC PERSPECTIVES ON CREATION SCIENCE AND EVOLUTION A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of Baylor University In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Honors Program By James M. Threet Waco, Texas May 2020 ii Table of Contents PREFACE 1 CHAPTER ONE 5 CHAPTER TWO 30 CHAPTER THREE 48 CHAPTER FOUR 62 CONCLUSION 79 REFERENCES 80 1 PREFACE Many scientists believe in a deity, and for a good amount of time science’s history, science has looked to confirm certain religious beliefs. There is a subset of scientists that has immense difficulty assigning any divine cause to the world’s natural processes because depending on one’s definition of a “natural process," invoking the divine might categorically exclude any natural process from existing— it is no longer natural if an outside being is directing it. This is one of the main tensions of science: where one can draw lines and boundaries around scientific beliefs and religious beliefs and how they can interact. Science certainly has not always had the notion of being “antireligious” forced upon it. Quite the opposite is true. For many years, science was used as further proof of the existence of God—just look at the tradition of natural theology. However, in recent times, it has become easier to reduce science - and human existencedown to various forms of carbon existing in a naturally directed universe shaped by small forces over millions of years. Some argue science and faith agree on every point, some that say science and faith absolutely cannot coexist, and a world of spectra in between, made even more complicated by the moving targets of both “what is science?” and “what is faith?” For me, it even involves a personal component. At this point, I make no claims about what I see as the correct answer. I understand that people on both sides of this topic have strong feelings, beliefs, and evidence for those feelings and beliefs. I am simply seeking out the truth of why this topic is such a hot-button issue. I grew up in a Southern Baptist, suburban megachurch near Dallas, Texas. In my own experience in the church, 2 there always seemed to be a suspicion regarding science. Especially when I was younger, there was this notion that certain things science held directly conflicted with what the Bible said – and, consequently, what we were supposed to believe. I guess you could say early on there was a sentiment that science was attacking our religion, and it was up to us to remain strong. Whether there was any actual, concentrated attack or whether it was simply viewed as one is yet to be seen. As I got older, this idea of a scientific attack seemed to morph into a focus on evolution. We all just...knew of the evolution controversy. Anytime it came up at church or school, everyone got quiet because it was always a topic that seemed taboo to talk about. I cannot place my finger on it. I just know that as I grew older and moved into science classes that taught at deeper levels, there was a looming cloud that, one day, my public school was going to teach me about that evolution “stuff.” Despite that, I was to maintain that evolution is inherently untrue and goes against everything in the Bible. This sentiment was not drilled into me, but certainly seemed to be a part of the culture. I can remember two, maybe three, distinct times I was taught about the “evils” of evolution. That being said, at least in my experience, it was not hellfire and brimstone regarding evolution being of the devil. It was framed not as an attack on anything we had been taught or the people who taught us, per se, but rather as a method to “equip us” for ideas we would run into not only in our high school biology classes, but as we entered the real world as well. I remember a common method, at least in the way we were taught, was a positivist approach. I was taught that, more and more, scientists were finding the Bible to be true and consistent with science. The Bible, in this case, meaning the literal reading of Genesis. Additionally, we were taught that more scientists had been rejecting evolution. Commonly, church leaders would even cite 3 scientific journal articles, which for a group of high schoolers was very convincing considering that none of us knew how to read critically or what reputable sources might look like. All of this was great...except I had never believed the two disagreed, until that point. In the following chapters, we will explore this huge, ageless question on a very small scale, looking only at one scientific issue, evolution, and the Christian responses to that issue, primarily focusing on the Southern Baptists. I have learned a great deal from this research. I learned how to go about looking for answers to hard questions such as looking for the true perceptions of Darwinism in his time, or what the thought process was in bringing the Polanyi Center to Baylor. Some of these were questions I didn't even know existed and, frankly, do not have correct answers. For instance, I had no idea that some of the biggest debates at a university have to do with its identity in the larger academic community. However, I gained a greater appreciation for that issue, and feel it will enhance my worldview going forward. These questions are not black and white, and can be indistinguishable shades of grey at points. That being said, I can say with confidence that I better understand the nuances of this discussion and the passion that comes to it from both sides. Indeed, the nuances do add a level of difficulty to this discussion, but it is within that discourse that I feel, based on all I have learned in writing this, that allows us to sharpen our views, however much they may clash with one another’s. If this work does nothing else, I am appreciative of it as it allowed me to explore a topic that means a great deal to me, regardless of the significance of this topic to others. I was able to engage deeply with the material and gain a greater appreciation for the process of acquiring knowledge. Hopefully, this thesis can help somebody understand 4 that these are difficult questions when it comes to science and faith, and there are no easy answers – even if that person is myself. 5 CHAPTER ONE Evolution, Creationism, and Intelligent Design In this paper, I intend to look primarily at three distinct things: Southern Baptist views on the origins of life, scientific views on the origins of life, and an example of what happens when those things come together. “Origins of life” refers to such as ideas as evolution, creationism, and intelligent design. My goals are to look at what each of these perspectives believe, why they believe those things, and what objections they have to the other perspectives. From the outset, it is important to define some of the key terms that will be referenced throughout this paper for three reasons: for the sake of clarity of these ideas, the fact that the precise word choice makes a difference in what idea is being conveyed, and that some of the terms tend to be incorrectly used interchangeably in common parlance (despite this not being a casual conversation topic). At this point, it is important to note that the definitions presented for the different terms and ideologies are often contested. Depending on who one asks, things like “intelligent design” means different things. Additionally, the philosophical implications of terms, like “Darwinian evolution” vary across worldviews. The reasons for this will be discussed later. However, for this paper, definitions are presented as charitably as possible, and are defined by those who subscribe to each ideology. 1.2 Evolution Evolution, in general, refers to how things change over time. Evolution in the biological sense covers a wide range of time and ideas, from Aristotle to Darwin to 6 current research in genetics. Evolution, for this paper, refers to the current scientific consensus regarding evolution through natural selection. However, this has not always been what scientists meant by evolution, and in some ways, is quite the opposite. As early as Aristotle, evolution was used to discuss nature. However, it was very much a teleological view of nature. Teleology is a philosophical idea which describes things as a function of their end, and was quite common in early science. Regarding evolution, teleology is “the belief that the structure or development of natural forms can only be explained by the purpose they are supposed to fulfill..”1 In Aristotle’s Scala Naturae, he looks at nature as moving from organisms such as plants, through to animals, with human creation being the top, most perfect creation. Moving on to a great philosopher of religion such as Augustine, he began to tie together some of these Aristotelian, teleological views to the Christian faith, saying in essence that “God is the designer of all creatures, and everything has a purpose and a place as ordained by Him.”2 At least early on, ideas of evolution, the nature of nature (early biology) and the divine were all components that were quite interwoven. For reasons that will be discussed later, the Aristotelian view of a progression of unchanging creatures leading up to the greatest good, humankind, is closely tied in with various religious views relating to the creation, both historically and in the present.3 1 Peter J. Bowler, Evolution, the History of an Idea (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), 5. 2 “History of Evolution | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy,” accessed August 7, 2019, https://www.iep.utm.edu/evolution/. 3 Bowler, Evolution, the History of an Idea, 5. 7 All of this runs in contrast to the “mechanistic” view would later come into thought by Descartes and would be cemented into biological understanding by Darwin, and which still dominates the current scientific view of evolution. Darwin might be the most common name associated with evolution, but he was hardly the first of his generation to work on ideas of how species come into existence and adapt to their environment. As Bowler puts it, “The events of the Darwinian revolution... began long before Darwin was born…” 4 Jean-Baptiste Lamarck was a French scientist roughly 50 years before Darwin. Lamarck built his theory on the hierarchy of complex structures, with the idea of spontaneous generation being the driving force behind the development of that hierarchy. Spontaneous generation, in the Lamarckian sense, was the idea that only the simplest forms of life could arise from the unorganized, through the interaction of electricity and “the nervous fluid.”5 Moving up the hierarchy represented a move from the simplest life forms at the bottom to the most complex forms at the top. Through this hierarchy, Lamarck was able to demonstrate the historical pattern of the advancement of organisms. The power of the nervous fluid creates more and more complexity in each successive generation. One of the big differences between Lamarck and Darwin is Lamarck does not use common ancestry of all things to explain the hierarchy; instead, each thing began its journey along the chain, so to speak, at different points. The most complex forms seen today are the results of the earliest formations of the simplest forms of life. The spontaneous generation continues, and the forms continue to become more complex. How an organism becomes more complex is dependent upon the organism's needs, as 4 Ibid., 2. 5 Ibid., 79. 8 determined by its environment. What things are used will gain more nervous fluid and continue to develop in complexity, while those that go unused will go away due to lack of nervous fluid. This is where the famous example of the giraffe necks comes in; In Lamarck's view, giraffes had to continue stretching their necks to reach food, and therefore developed a longer neck. This longer neck was heritable, and subsequently, longer and longer necks were developed. This runs in contrast to Darwin’s natural selection, where adaptations do not happen on an individual level, but instead over long periods. For Lamarck, indeed, some small changes occurred as a result of differing environments, but in general, everything kept evolving upward toward complexity. There were no species, but just different levels of evolution, depending on the time since spontaneous generation.6 Herbert Spencer is an important character to discuss here not so much because of any scientific contribution, but instead to demonstrate how these ideas fit into the grander scheme of life, beyond biological processes. Spencer was in many ways an early “social Darwinist," although not the only one of the times. This is ironic, because he was never a strong supporter of Darwin’s works (however, he did coin the term ‘survival of the fittest’ as a name for Darwin’s natural selection). Rather, he took Lamarck’s works and translated them into how they apply to a human society. In Spencer's view, the white race was both culturally and biologically the most advanced – the greatest complexity. Through laissez-faire capitalism, society develops a racial and social hierarchy.7 All this to say that, because of Spencer, the general idea of evolution was not a new idea when 6 Ibid., 79–81. 7 Bowler, Evolution, the History of an Idea. 9 Darwin’s ideas were published and distributed, and Darwinian evolution reached full force. 1.2.a Darwinian Evolution Charles Darwin was born in 1809. He went to school to be a doctor but was not well-suited to the sights and smells of medicine. Darwin had long taken an interest in nature, and very much enjoyed the work of Paley. In 1831, he took the opportunity to accompany Robert Fitzroy on his voyage to map the South American coast.8 During his time on the HMS Beagle, Darwin took notes of the things he saw in nature – most famously, his writings about the Galapagos Finches and the varieties of beaks they exhibited. After this trip, he wrote a groundbreaking book, On the Origin of Species, which posited that species evolve through means of natural selection, based on variation. From this book arose the basic form of the current theory of evolution. That is not to say the Origin of Species came quickly or easily. He sat on his data for almost 20 years before he began writing Origin of Species, revising his theory, seeking to make it as complete as possible, to avoid embarrassment.9 It was not until Alfred Wallace arrived at the same conclusion independent of Darwin and sent that paper to Darwin that he finally felt the need to publish his work.10 Concerning the impact of variation on organisms, Darwin begins with human examples of what he proposes nature mirrors. Selective breeding, or “artificial selection," 8 Ibid., 146–148. 9 Ibid., 164–172. 10 Ibid., 173–175. 10 as Darwin calls it, is a well-established practice in Darwin’s time. By selecting for the most favorable traits when allowing animals to breed, humans were able to create animals that best fit the human's purpose. Why then, asks Darwin, could nature not do the same thing? Because more organisms are born than the environment can support (based upon the work of Thomas Malthus), Darwin argues “that individuals having any advantage, however slight, over others would have the best chance of surviving and procreating their kind[.]”11 Darwin also flips this logic, and posits that any unfavorable trait would be destroyed down the line on reproduction. Through successive generations of progeny, only the organisms fittest survive in their current environment reproduce. Therefore, the most favorable traits – simply, the ones most suited to the environment – in a community are the ones passed down. This is the idea of natural selection.12 Darwin goes on to point out that for this process to be most clearly seen, organisms must live in relative isolation. By doing so, the process of natural selection causes the species to become more and more well adapted to that specific environment, whereas if the organisms were able to wander freely, they would be subjected to different environments and different selection pressures.13 The above illustrates how, through a variety of circumstances, life demonstrates an ability to change and adapt to an ever-changing environment. However, the question remains as to how this accounts for the origin of new species. Darwin gives the example 11 Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection; or, The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. (New York: Hurst and company, n.d.), 70. 12 Ibid. 13 Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection; or, The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. 11 of horses in different countries. Perhaps one country needs faster horses, and another country needs stronger horses. Through the consistent selection of either strong or fast horses, meaning horses that are slow or weak are not used in breeding, the changes will slowly aggregate. There will only be a slight difference at first, but as many years pass, the differences will become more obvious, ultimately leading to the formation of two distinct species.14 However good Darwin thought his evidence for natural selection to be, he was more than aware of the weaknesses in his theory, anticipating a “crowd of difficulties”15, which he addresses later in the book. The first issue Darwin notes is the lack of a transitional fossil record; "...why, if species have descended from other species by fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms?”16 This is a question of two different types of transitional forms - temporal transitional forms, where one can see the change in species over time, and spatial transitional forms, in which one can see the change in species across environments. To explain the former, Darwin points out that extinction is a natural result of natural selection; as organisms become more wellsuited to the environment, the less fit organisms die off. Why then is there not an abundance of fossils of these less fit organisms everywhere? To Darwin, the answer lies in the fact that the fossil record is indeed imperfect, which Darwin discusses at length in a later chapter. Essentially, because of the amount of time that must pass to form fossils, compounded by the fact that geological strata shift, and some organisms will never form 14 Ibid., 96–97. 15 Ibid., 149. 16 Ibid. 12 fossils, Darwin feels that the fossil record is a subpar indicator of natural selection. The latter, Darwin admits, gave him some trouble. It would seem that in the geographical area between two areas with distinct species, one would find an intermediate, hybrid species. However, that is not what has been observed. Darwin explains that the intermediate areas are too small for a distinct, intermediate species to arise – there are simply not enough other organisms to reproduce with. A second issue with his theory Darwin sees is the relation of an organism's structures to natural selection, both in the high complexity and in little importance. In the first case, the issue is explaining how complex structures, like an eye, can come from species that do not possess such traits. In the other case, the question is why, if natural selection brings about more perfect organisms, do structures with little to no utility exist? The first case is the idea that greater complexity can come from lesser complexity, which even Darwin admits that such an idea seems “absurd in the highest degree.” However, Darwin continues, "...if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist… then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, should not be considered as subversive of the theory.”17 Natural selection is the result of slow, gradual changes, each one resulting in greater complexity than the previous one. In the second case, Darwin does not see useless organs as examples of times natural selection has failed. Instead, he posits that these structures did indeed, at one point in the organism’s ancestry, have an important function, and were therefore perfected by natural selection. However, for whatever, they now are of little use. Indeed, 17 Ibid., 160–161. 13 Darwin concedes, they might be useless now. But if they were harmful, they would not exist anymore.18 It seems Darwin is hitting on an early version of discussing evolutionary pressures – the organ is not needed, but it is not causing enough of a negative variation to be harmful to the organism’s fitness. It is important to note that Darwin did indeed see some of the implications this theory had on the previously held beliefs of creation and addresses those issues in the final chapter. Regarding the immutability of species – the idea that species are fixed and do not change – Darwin realized that natural selection was in no way compatible. Perhaps this is important because the immutability of species is so closely tied to natural theology – that God created all species perfectly, and changeless; species were created precisely how they exist now. However, one must not overlook that Darwin addresses the religious responses to this in the paragraph prior. Darwin "...see[s] no good reasons why the views given in this volume should shock the religious feelings of anyone.” He goes on to quote “a celebrated author and divine” who wrote, “‘...it is just as noble a conception of the Deity to believe He created a few original forms capable of self-development into other and needful forms, as to believe that He required a fresh act of creation to supply the voids caused by the action of his law.’” This seems to be the view Darwin takes as well, which is especially reflected in the famous final sentence, that “there is a grandeur in this view of life with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one…”19 The overarching, general themes of Darwin’s finding have remained foundational to the discipline of science. In the time since Darwin, the definition of evolution has expanded 18 Ibid., 176. 19 Ibid., 474. 14 out to include “…everything from slight changes in the proportions of different forms of a gene within a population to the alterations that led from the earliest organism to dinosaurs, bees, oaks, and humans.”20 It will be addressed more in-depth later, but this expansion proves to be crucial in intelligent design attacks on evolution; much of their argument focuses on the genetic basis of evolution, and the extrapolation of those genetic principles to macro-scale changes in organism development. Our understanding of nature has come a great way since that time. Even if the particular semantics of evolution were different, the question remains as to where the split of religion and science came from, and for our purposes, particularly in Southern Baptist tradition. That is a question that will be discussed in more depth later, but for now, it is important to realize that these questions and discussions about how the observable universe and the understanding of that universe tie into what one believes about the divine, and that these are not new questions, nor easy to answer questions. 1.3 Creationism Creationism posits that life on Earth was created by a supernatural force, often a divine being. In the Christian sense, creationists prescribe the external force for the origins of life as a God, relying upon the creation account found in Genesis 1 and 2. Creationism is seen a great deal in the protestant faith, particularly fundamentalists. With creationism, there is very little room for evolution as the scientific community sees it. 20 Millstein, “Evolution.” 15 Because creationism is so closely tied to religious beliefs, there are a great number of different types of creationism. Defining creationism presents a unique challenge, as it seems the definition of what makes a creationist over the years has changed, and to this day, the word “creationism” conjures up many different ideas of what that means. For much of human history, creationism truly was the leading scientific theory. The belief that God created the Earth and all of its inhabitants as they are seen today – the immutability of species – was held, and science confirmed that truth. Therefore, it would seem if you believe that God created the world, you are a creationist. The issue arises as Darwinian evolution comes on to the scene. It would seem that now, the immutability of species is incompatible with this new idea of evolution. Even then, if one were to accept that organisms change over time, and through this process, new species can arise, there is a sticking point on the idea that God created the universe. If you believe God created the universe, and used evolution as the mechanism by which creation occurred, as Darwin did, does that make you a creationist? How does that compare with someone who decides to reject the idea that evolution occurs, and holds to the belief that all of nature exists as it was created? It would seem improper to place both of these groups, one that accepts evolution and one that rejects evolution, into the same category. As a result of this, there seems to be an obvious need for a distinction to be made between pre-Darwin creationism and post-Darwin, or modern, creationism, as creationism took on a new definition after Darwin’s ideas came into the discussion. PreDarwin creationists followed along with the scientific beliefs of the time, and might have changed as the evidence for evolution mounted, or might not have. Therefore, it is 16 reasonable to say that they should not be subject to the scientific scrutiny modern creationists undergo because they were up to date with the modern science of the time. Modern creationists can be broken down into two categories, young-earth and old-earth, and old-earth creationists can be broken down even further into gap creationists, day-age creationists, and progressive creationists. Young-earth creationists, perhaps the most popular form of modern creationism, was brought into being in 1963 by Henry Morris with his book The Genesis Flood. 21 Within, he lays out young-earth creationism as a science, as well as offers reasons why Darwinian evolution is flawed. According to famed young-earth creationist Ken Ham, young-earth creationists believe “God created the universe in six literal, approximately twenty-four-hour days, about six thousand years ago…”22 They do not accept the postulates that Darwinian evolution nor geology makes about the age of the universe and the changing of species over time.23 Gap creationists hold a very specific reading of Genesis to be true. They believe Genesis 1:1 is an instance of a first creation, and Genesis 1:2 is an instance of a second creation, which took six literal days, and is what Genesis describes. Between verses one and two is a massive gap, in which gap creationists say is when the fall of Satan occurs, that explains the evidence for the age of the Earth.24 21 Eugenie C. Scott, “ANTIEVOLUTION AND CREATIONISM IN THE UNITED STATES,” Annual Review of Anthropology 26, no. 1 (October 21, 1997): 268. 22 Ken Ham et al., Four Views on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design, Counterpoints. Bible & theology (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2017), 18. 23 Ibid., 13. 24 Scott, “ANTIEVOLUTION AND CREATIONISM IN THE UNITED STATES,” 270. 17 Day-Age creationists “consider the creation days as six sequential, nonoverlapping, long periods.”25 according to Hugh Ross, contemporary day-age creationist. The keyword in this case is “long." Essentially, day-age creationists believe the six “days” were much longer, perhaps thousands to millions of years long, which explains the age of the Earth.26 Both Gap and Day-Age theories arose quickly after Darwinian evolution came onto the scene, and were the most popular theories up until the early 20th century. At that point, progressive creationism became the dominant old earth creation theory, and still is today. The key to progressive creationism is that “each successive creative act prepares for the next, leading toward more diverse, complex, and advanced life, all the way up to humans.”27 Progressive creationism posits that God creates new species all at once that last for millions of years, and can undergo microevolution throughout that time. As Eugenie Scott puts it, “a created cat kind would have possessed sufficient genetic variability to differentiate into lions, tigers, leopards, pumas, bobcats, and housecats through the normal microevolutionary processes of mutation and recombination, natural selection, genetic drift, and speciation.”28 Essentially, the basic morphology and niche of each species is created by God and allowed to diverge to best adapt to its environment. This is similar to the young-earth creationist view that microevolution can certainly exist, but breaks down when you discuss the formation of new species.29 It is important to note 25 Ham et al., Four Views on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design, 73. 26 Scott, “ANTIEVOLUTION AND CREATIONISM IN THE UNITED STATES,” 270. 27 Ham et al., Four Views on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design, 71–72. 28 Scott, “ANTIEVOLUTION AND CREATIONISM IN THE UNITED STATES,” 270. 29 Ibid., 271. 18 that progressive creation is perhaps a bit broader than Gap and Day-Age, and therefore does not make specific claims as to the length of the days found in Genesis.30 Anti-evolution was strong in the 1920s in America. This was not the direct result of a specific event, but simply the length of time it took for Darwin’s ideas about evolution to emerge from scholarly discussions and reach the public consciousness, be perceived as a threat (specifically by fundamentalists) and grow into some form of action pushing back against evolution. Scientists were skeptical and continually scrutinizing Darwin’s ideas. Meanwhile, evolution was being taught more and more in schools, and the textbooks reflected that. Another thing that added to it, interestingly, were post-war attitudes. It seems that fundamentalists "identified organic evolution as the cause of the social ills plaguing modern civilization.”31 It seems like the perfect storm – evolution is being criticized and even denounced by some scientists, while it gains popularity in schools. By the mixture of these things, the movement to reject evolution outright and fall back on traditional ideals gained a footing. During the early 20th century is when creationism began to take the form that it is currently seen in today. William Jennings Bryan led the antievolution crusade. He too saw WWI as an example of the impact Darwin’s ideas had on human nature. Additionally, he felt that evolution was directly responsible for waves of young people losing their faith. Creationism was increasing in popularity and was making great strides toward a comeback. However, by the 1930s, it had mostly fallen out of favor for several reasons. For one, the Great Depression hit, shifting the focus for many from politics to survival. Additionally, the Scopes trial had proven to hurt more than it helped. 30 Ham et al., Four Views on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design, 13. 31 Ronald L. Numbers, The Creationists (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), 40. 19 Technically, the trial was a victory; evolution had been banned from the classroom. However, the momentum of the movement took a heavy blow. The creationists were not portrayed well by the media, and the inability for the creationists to come to a consensus on the specific theory of creation was exposed. Creationists continued to meet and discuss their views in various societies, but slowly faded away. However, come the 1960’s, creationism found a new energy, and a new branding, fueled by Henry Morris. As a result of Mclean v. Arkansas, a new type of creationism, called “scientific creationism” (or creation science) was formed. Another result of this trial was a precise definition of scientific creationism was given: Creation-science" means the scientific evidence for creation and inferences from those scientific evidences. Creation-science includes the scientific evidences and related inferences that indicate: (1) Sudden creation of the universe, energy, and life from nothing; (2) The insufficiency of mutation and natural selection in bringing about development of all living kinds from a single organism; (3) Changes only within fixed limits of created kinds of plants and animals; (4) Separate ancestry for man and apes; (5) Explanation of the earth's geology by catastrophism, including the occurrence of a worldwide flood; and (6) A relatively recent inception of the earth and living kinds.32 Important to note is the lack of specific biblical references, although the defining characteristics follow along the lines of the various types of creationism already discussed. Indeed, it would seem this definition most closely resembles young-earth creationist views, which is plausible, given the previously stated popularity of that view. Moving into the 1970s, an ideological shift occurred from outlawing the teaching of evolution, to simply allowing it to be taught alongside evolution.33 This would seem to be a concession, but as will be discussed later, they did not necessarily feel so, as the truth would ultimately prevail. 32 McLean v. Arkansas Bd. of Ed., 529 F. Supp. 1255 (Dist. Court 1982). 33 R. Numbers, “Creationism in 20th-Century America,” Science 218, no. 4572 (November 5, 1982): 543. 20 1.3.a Categorizing Intelligent Design Intelligent Design refers to another ideological opponent to evolution – the theory that there is some outside force driving evolution forward, that evolution does not function purely on its own. Generally, intelligent design theorists do not claim as to what the external source is, just that it exists. With intelligent design, there is still room for some evolution, just not without external forces. For our purposes, it is most important to note that intelligent design, as an academic discipline, does not connect itself to any biblical accounts of the origin of the world, and does not argue against the Earth being billions of years old. Intelligent design arose in response to creationism by eliminating references to Genesis and making no claims as to what the source of intelligence is, just that it exists. Where intelligent design falls both definitionally and ideologically is perhaps the most contested topic in this chapter. Evolutionists write off intelligent design as nonscientific and another form of creationism. Creationists also tend to include intelligent design as another type of creationism, usually as scientific creationism under a different name. However, hardline intelligent design proponents reject this categorization, and place intelligent design into its own, scientific category alongside evolution. For this work, I will put intelligent design and creationism together as one, with the caveat that, when necessary, ideas that are specifically related to intelligent design will be noted, as ID does present some thoughts and ideas that are unique in comparison to the rest of creationism. 21 The reason for including intelligent design in creationism is two-fold. First, by placing intelligent design into creationism, it allows for a two-party debate, so to speak. One can make direct comparisons between the evolutionist camp and the creationist camp. Because two of the three parties, both evolutionists and creationists, place intelligent design into creationism, it makes sense to talk about intelligent design in the context of creationism. This will be especially important in the discussion of scientific rejection of intelligent design and creationism, as they are often treated the same. Second, and perhaps most importantly, intelligent design and scientific creationism do indeed vary on different points. However, both agree on the central point of the insufficiency of natural selection. Looking back to the McLean v. Arkansas definition of scientific creationism, William Dembski, leader of the intelligent design movement, points out in his book Intelligent Design that “intelligent design has no stake in tenets 1, 5, and 6.”34 From this, it becomes clear there are differences between scientific creationism and intelligent design. As stated before, intelligent design makes no claims about the age of the Earth or how it came about. Those are things that are disputed between intelligent design theorists.35 Additionally, Dembski points out that “design theorists themselves are divided on this question” of whether or not all life has a common ancestry. Dembski goes on to say that “tenet 2...is the one tenet of scientific creationism that overlaps with intelligent design.”36 I would argue this is why intelligent design can be placed into the 34 William A. Dembski, Intelligent Design: The Bridge between Science & Theology (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 249. 35 Ham et al., Four Views on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design, 13. 36 Dembski, Intelligent Design, 251. 22 creationism category – both theories posit that “mutations and natural selection are insufficient to bring about the development of all living things from a single organism.”37 This is precisely the opposite argument that Darwin makes for evolution – that natural selection is the process by which organisms evolve to become more fit in their environments. Both scientific creationism and intelligent design agree on the point that runs most directly in contrast to evolution. Dembski’s argument about the differences between scientific creationism and intelligent design only demonstrates that they are not the same thing, not that they are distinctly different things. This decision does not come without great thought, as it goes against precisely what intelligent design theorists believe. However, this decision to place intelligent design into the context of creationism is not an uncommon move when discussing these ideas. Michael Ruse, a leader in the creationism-evolution debate, also places intelligent design into the larger category of creationism, noting that “while there are certainly important differences between the position of most literalists and most ID supporters, the strong overlap should not be ignored or downplayed.”38 Ruse takes a slightly different approach to this argument, arguing that intelligent design fails to effectively separate itself from creationism in three different ways: politically, religiously, and morally. Politically, Ruse points out that the Discovery Institute in Seattle, which provides a great deal of the funding behind the intelligent design movement, is also known for its young-earth creationism views. Religiously, Ruse states that, “in their 37 McLean v. Arkansas Bd. of Ed., vol. 529, p. .. 38 Michael Ruse, “Creationism,” in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Edward N. Zalta, Winter 2018. (Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University, 2018), accessed October 15, 2019, https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2018/entries/creationism/. 23 correspondence and works written for followers," intelligent design theorists “make it very clear that the Designer is the Christian God of the Gospels.," despite claims to the contrary.39 Finally, in a moral sense, Ruse again looks at intelligent design writings, saying “[t]here is a very strong streak of anti-postmillennialism in the writings of ID theorists. They share the same concern about the moral values of the Creationists – anti-abortion, anti-homosexuality, pro-capital punishment, pro-Israel (for eschatological reasons), and so forth.”40 1.3.b Intelligent Design Intelligent design differs from creationism in the lack of an assignment of a specific divine being. But what makes intelligent design unique, as well as a purportedly legitimate scientific discipline? Dembski addresses this in Intelligent Design, saying: Within biology, intelligent design is a theory of biological origins and development. Its fundamental claim is that intelligent causes are necessary to explain the complex, information-rich structures of biology and that these causes are empirically detectable… Intelligent design properly formulated is a theory of information. Within such a theory, information becomes a reliable indicator of intelligent causation as well as a proper object for scientific investigation.41 Dembski goes on to further emphasize that intelligent design ought to be separated from the various forms of creationism because “intelligent design is compatible with everything from utterly discontinuous creation… to the most far-ranging evolution… For intelligent design the primary question is not how organisms came to be, but whether organisms demonstrate clear, empirically detectable marks of being intelligently 39 Ibid. 40 Ibid. 41 Dembski, Intelligent Design, 106. 24 caused.”42 It is through the lack of a commitment to a specific idea of the origins of life that intelligent design can differentiate itself. According to Dembski, not only do intelligent design and creationism differ in their mechanics and goals, but also their critique of Darwin and evolution. Indeed, both do critique evolution as flawed, but Dembski argues it is for very different reasons. “The design theorists’ critique of Darwinism begins with Darwinism’s failure as an empirically adequate scientific theory, not with its supposed incompatibility with some system of religious belief. This point is vital to keep in mind in assessing intelligent design’s contribution to the creation-evolution controversy. Critiques of Darwinism by creationists have tended to conflate science and theology, making it unclear whether Darwinism fails strictly as a scientific theory or whether it must be rejected because it is theologically unacceptable. Design theorists refuse to make this a Bible-science controversy. Their critique of Darwinism is not based on any supposed incompatibility between Christian revelation and Darwinism. Instead, they begin their critique by arguing that Darwinism is on its own terms a failed scientific research program – that it does not constitute a well-supported scientific theory, that its explanatory power is severely limited and that it fails abysmally when it tries to account for the grand sweep of natural history.”43 Not only do creationism and intelligent design have different ways of addressing the origins of life, but their reasoning for doing so also varies greatly. Intelligent design seeks these answers for scientific explanation, not religious affirmation. Darwinism, in the design theorists view, is inadequate scientifically. Therefore, a different route, such as intelligent design, must be pursued. Hence, intelligent design is a unique, scientific discipline. For better or worse, it is difficult to discuss the ideas of intelligent design and present them as a unique discipline without also discussing creationism, because much of how intelligent design is defined is based on how it differs from creationism. The discussion of what makes something “empirically detectable," as well as how evolution fails “abysmally” will be addressed in a later chapter. For now, it is simply 42 Ibid., 109–110. 43 Ibid., 112. 25 important to note how intelligent design theorists define their discipline, and how they reach that conclusion logically. Another idea unique to intelligent design that is important to mention at this point is “irreducible complexity” – something that Michael Behe, intelligent design theorists, demonstrates well in Darwin’s Black Box: “Since natural selection can only choose systems that are already working, then if a biological system cannot be gradually it would have to arise as an integrated unit, in one fell swoop, for natural selection to have anything to act on.”44 Behe gives the example of a bacterial flagellum, which is composed of three distinct parts all working together. From Behe’s view, it would be impossible for gradual evolution to produce this. Each part allows for the other parts to function, which simply could not happen if it developed slowly over time.45 A form of intelligent design seems to have been a common theory for the origins of life, such as in William Paley’s Natural Theology. Within, he famously discusses the human eye, and how through something so complex and so well suited to its purpose (a teleological explanation), one can see the works of God.46 However, as evolution, especially from Darwin, gained popularity and came into the public view, intelligent design seems to have gained a new momentum. Ron Numbers points to the 1920s as a time when there was a strong anti-evolution movement in the United States47, and the 44 Ronald L. Numbers, ed., Galileo Goes to Jail: And Other Myths about Science and Religion (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2009), 209. 45 Ibid. 46 William Paley and Matthew D. Eddy, Natural Theology or Evidence of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature, Reissued., Oxford world’s classics (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2008). 47 Numbers, “Creationism in 20th-Century America,” 544. 26 specific term “intelligent design” became very popular after Edwards v. Aguillar ruled that “it was unconstitutional to require teaching of ‘creation science’," but still allowed for the teaching of alternatives to evolution, so long as it was done for reasons of education and science, and not religion.48 All of this occurred in a time when much of the literature attacking evolution–and promoting intelligent design–came out, such as The Mystery of Life's Origins by Charles Thaxton, and Evolution: A Theory in Crisis by Michael Denton (1986). 1.3.c Theistic Evolution A discussion of intelligent design, creationism, and evolution is incomplete without at least briefly discussing theistic evolution. The central ideas of theistic evolution and intelligent design run incredibly close to each other, almost to the point of being indistinguishable. As mentioned above, creationism assigns the role of creator to God, while intelligent design makes no such claim. Theistic evolution also assigns God as the force behind evolution. Whereas intelligent design and creationism see the force as creator and guider of natural processes, theistic evolution sees God as setting the framework of evolution, and allowing it to play out naturally. This comes with its own set of philosophical implications. Can an all-knowing, omnipotent God truly allow anything to act naturally and undirected? If the result is foreknown, then evolution cannot be natural and undirected, and the argument fails.49 However, that is outside the scope of this work. The key to our discussion is to examine where theistic evolution falls on the 48 Numbers, Galileo Goes to Jail, 207. 49 “Theistic Evolution,” Answers in Genesis, accessed April 14, 2020, https://answersingenesis.org/theisticevolution/. 27 spectrum. I would argue it falls most closely to intelligent design, and sits between intelligent design and Darwinian evolution. As stated, theistic evolution and intelligent design have extremely similar ideas. The difference lies in the foundation of those ideas. Intelligent design starts from the place that the world was created, by some higher intelligence, and allows for God to fit into that space. Theistic evolution starts from the place that evolution guides the processes of the world, and fits God into that. What I am trying to say is, when you break the ideas down to their core, theistic evolutionists will cite evolutionary theory, while intelligent design theorists will look toward arguments from design. 1.4 Reasons for Contested Definitions Some of the confusion between the terms, especially between intelligent design and creationism, comes from some of the rhetoric surrounding the two ideologies. For intelligent design theorists, they feel that being tied to creationism hurts their cause. Not only because of the negative scientific stigma attached to creationism, but also because, in their view, intelligent design is significantly different from creationism. They are not trying to invoke any sort of deity, they do believe evolution occurs, and they do not contest that the world is billions of years old. The reason they reject the title of creationists is that they believe when taught and used appropriately, intelligent design can take down the ideas of evolution. They believe that the reason evolutionists fight so hard to keep intelligent design out of schools is “because the proponents of evolution know their theory will not stand up under the microscope of serious scrutiny.”50 Much of this 50 “Evolution Is a Myth,” Pathway to Victory, n.d., accessed August 9, 2019, https://ptv.org/devotional/evolution-is-a-myth/. 28 sentiment can be found in the Discovery Institute’s “Wedge document," which details plans to bring intelligent design into modern science. It will be discussed in-depth in a later chapter. Intelligent design is sometimes accused of being creationism in disguise by evolutionists. They see places like the Discovery Institute as having ulterior motives – portray intelligent design as an academic discipline and research venture to enter into the scientific body of knowledge, so that in reality, a modified form of creationism can be taught in public schools. A trojan horse, so to speak. This is why evolutionists commonly place intelligent design into the creationism category. Perhaps there is merit to this. It does not take a great deal of “reading between the lines” to interpret the “intelligent” part of intelligent design as God. For evolutionists, intelligent design being taught in schools is bad because it is seen as a pseudoscientific theory. If the goal of science is to explain our world by way of natural causes, then to evolutionists, intelligent design takes a step backward. 1.5 Relevant Parties which Subscribe to Each The scientific consensus is that evolution best explains the origins of life and natural diversity, and is therefore the overwhelming theory used by scientific organizations around the world. Creationism is used by several different religious organizations. For the time being, I will focus on the Christian use of creationism, as the Islamic use (and others) contain nuances with the philosophy of a divine creator that fall outside of the scope of 29 this paper.51 As far as the specific types of religious organizations in Christianity that subscribe to Creationism, it would seem the majority fall into the categories of conservative, protestant, fundamentalists.52 At points, intelligent design seems to rise out of the religious confines of creationism and is used in other contexts. Looking at who the leaders are in the field – people such as Michael Behe and William Dembski, it would seem to be a group led by well-educated people who take issue specifically with undirected, natural evolution being able to form even the most complex structures. Whereas creationists reject evolution on biblical grounds, intelligent design proponents seem to dismiss evolution on pragmatic grounds. The question is complicated by how the terms intelligent design and creationism are often used interchangeably. In the chapters that follow, I will explore in greater depth where these distinctions come from between evolution, creationism, and intelligent design. For now, let us transition toward examining all three of those things through a Southern Baptist lens. 51 Bowler, Evolution, the History of an Idea, 347–348. 52 Numbers, Galileo Goes to Jail, 216; Bowler, Evolution, the History of an Idea, 347. 30 CHAPTER TWO Southern Baptist views on Evolution and Creationism The debate between evolution and creationism is much more complicated than a conflict between two ideas. People take on several different perspectives on this issue, and it is nuanced by a variety of different factors, such as philosophical worldview and religion. In this chapter, I will examine more specifically how the Southern Baptist denomination views these questions, and what basis they give to their responses to those questions. 2.1 The Southern Baptist Tradition The Baptist tradition, as a whole, can be traced back to the protestant reformation. The distinguishing feature of Baptists is a belief in total immersion for baptism, and that only believers ought to be baptized.53 Southern Baptists can be traced back to the Baptist churches found in the early American colonies, and in England before that. However, the exact roots are disputed: Baptists have long been divided among three historical roots: some think that the first Baptist church was organized in 1609 in Amsterdam out of a Puritan-Separatist tradition that had embraced a general atonement; others hold to the first Baptist church really being formed in London, England, in 1641 from another Puritan-Separatist tradition with a Particular or Calvinist theory of atonement; and still others believe that Baptist life really began with the continental Anabaptist reformation of 1525. In recent years, most historians have conceded the honor to the little group of believers that surrounded John Smyth in Amsterdam in 1609.54 53 “Baptist | , Beliefs, Denominations, & Facts,” Encyclopedia Britannica, accessed May 1, 2019, https://www.britanHistorynica.com/topic/Baptist. 54 Jesse C. Fletcher, The Southern Baptist Convention: A Sesquicentennial History (Nashville, Tenn: Broadman & Holman, 1994), 19. 31 Allow us to look closer at John Smyth and his role is the formation of the Baptist denomination. Smyth went to school at Cambridge University and was ordained as an Anglican priest. However, he was very much a Puritan and ultimately became a Separatist. In 1606, Smyth became one of several ministers to a “Puritan conventicle”55 in England. However, because this group was non-conformist to the Church of England, Baptists were consistently persecuted, causing many to emigrate in search of religious freedom. This led Smyth’s group to leave England and move to the Netherlands, a bustling hub of industry with an emphasis on religious tolerance. Once in America, the first Baptist church founded is often credited to Roger Williams in 1639. This may seem odd, as Williams is not typically described as a Baptist, and one would be correct in having that objection. He “was a very independent thinker”56 and “did not remain a Baptist for long.”57 Moreso, being a Baptist seems to have simply been a stop on the journey for Williams, whose life is marked by ever-changing religious beliefs in search of truth.58 The first Baptist church that made it to the South was founded in 1696 in Charleston, South Carolina. Interestingly, it did not arrive in Charleston directly from England, but instead made a stop in Kittery, Maine. There were many factors for the move down south. One was that Charleston was more “religiously favorable”59, an 55 Ibid. 56 Ibid., 15. 57 Ibid., 17. 58 Ibid., 15–17. 59 Ibid., 14. 32 intentional move by the founders of the city to X attract settlers. Additionally, the attraction of cheap land and available timber cannot be overlooked, as many of the church members worked in the shipbuilding industry, and gathering materials in Maine had led closer to hostile Indian territory.60 Regardless, in 1845, the Baptists of the south gathered in Augusta, Georgia, and chose to split from the Baptists of the north due to conflicts regarding attitudes toward slavery. This, however, was not the first move. Earlier that same year, as the anti-slavery movement took hold in the north, abolitionists “persuaded the mission boards of the national Baptist body to refuse to appoint a slaveholder as a missionary.”61 From these events came the birth of the Southern Baptist Convention. Since then, however, they have denounced their past and have moved on to become a highly diverse denomination.62 The Southern Baptist tradition (at least concerning a relationship with God), is indeed centered around a personal relationship with God. They believe that “each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord.”63 Extending from this, there is not a strong, centralized belief system. Unlike many of the mainline protestant denominations, as well as Catholic tradition, there is no hierarchy of clergy past the leaders of the church (i.e., the pastor). “Southern Baptists are not a creedal people, 60 Ibid., 14–15. 61 Ibid., 2. 62 “Southern Baptist Convention | American Religious Organization,” Encyclopedia Britannica, accessed May 1, 2019, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Southern-Baptist-Convention. 63 “Southern Baptist Convention > The Baptist Faith and Message,” accessed May 1, 2019, http://www.sbc.net/bfm2000/bfm2000.asp. 33 requiring churches or individuals to embrace a standardized set of beliefs…”64– whereas other denominations may have a centralized canon which can be referred to in questions of beliefs and theology, Southern Baptists do not. Therefore, it is difficult to say precisely what it is that Southern Baptists believe. However, the Southern Baptist Convention does have a document, “The Baptist Faith and Message," which gives a general overview of what Southern Baptists believe. Additionally, a set of resolutions exists that describes more specifically the beliefs that the network of churches has voted to hold. 2.2 Southern Baptist Hermeneutics and Evolution In the Baptist Faith and Message, nothing is said in which the ideas of evolution are specifically addressed. However, one thing to note is the affirmation of the inerrancy of Scripture in section I.65 It makes sense to hold that the central book to the Christian faith is without error. However, that belief will later lead us into a more complex discussion of biblical inerrancy, the various ways inerrancy is applied, and how biblical inerrancy differs from biblical literalism. As far as cases where evolution has been specifically addressed, two resolutions have been passed that deal particularly with the topic of evolution. One was passed in 1980, in response to the book Early Man, which proclaimed many Christians had moved away from a literal belief in creation based on the Bible. In the resolution, the SBC says: WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message declares these doctrines to be literal as recorded in the Bible, Therefore be it RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, June 10-12, 1980 reaffirm our belief in a literal biblical creation and a literal heaven and hell. 66 64 “Southern Baptist Convention > About Us,” accessed May 1, 2019, http://www.sbc.net/aboutus/. 65 “Southern Baptist Convention > The Baptist Faith and Message.” 66 “Southern Baptist Convention > Resolution On The Book Early Man,” accessed May 1, 2019, http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/1106/resolution-on-the-book-early-man. 34 The second resolution, passed in 1982, states: WHEREAS, The theory of evolution has never been proven to be a scientific fact, and WHEREAS, Public school students are now being indoctrinated in evolution-science, and WHEREAS, Creation-science can be presented solely in terms of scientific evidence without any religious doctrines or concepts, and WHEREAS, Public school students should be taught all the scientific evidence on the subject of the origin of the world and life, and WHEREAS, Academic freedom and free speech should be encouraged rather than inhibited. Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention in session in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 1982, express our support for the teaching of Scientific Creationism in our public schools.67 In both of these resolutions, there is a commitment to the idea of creationism, perhaps the most famous opposition to evolution. I have discussed the general idea of creationism in the previous chapter and will address creationism in more depth later in this chapter. To dig a little bit deeper into all of this, let's go back to SBC beliefs and resolutions, and dissect what they are saying. First, look at the phrase “literal biblical creation." On the surface, this seems quite straight forward; Southern Baptists read the Bible literally regarding how the Earth was created. However, reading the Bible in a literal sense is a method which can be explored much deeper, beyond creation. It derives from the roots of the inerrancy of the Bible. Before proceeding, it is important to distinguish between “biblical inerrancy” and “biblical literalism," as they are often incorrectly used interchangeably. 67“Southern Baptist Convention > Resolution On Scientific Creationism,” accessed May 1, 2019, http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/967/resolution-on-scientific-creationism. 35 2.2.a Biblical Inerrancy Discussing inerrancy is not nearly as simple as it might initially seem. Indeed, inerrancy means error-free, but it is well-known that the Bible contains additions, deletions, and other transcriptional errors as a result of thousands of years of translation. As a result, there seems to need to be a distinction between a belief that the original writings in their original language are inerrant, and that the modern translations of the text are inerrant. And how exactly inerrancy is defined and applied is up to significant interpretation. Limited inerrancy, functional inerrancy, partial inerrancy, allowable inerrancy, secondary inerrancy, factual inerrancy, conditional inerrancy, and revelational inerrancy are all different versions of inerrancy that come up in these discussions.68 Essentially, the numerous types of inerrancy all stem from how abstractly one reads the Bible; the more abstractly one reads the Bible (symbolism, metaphors, allegories, etc.), the less inerrant they might view the Bible. For example, the idea of limited inerrancy focuses on the Bible being inerrant in matters regarding teaching and salvation; while the exact words and phrases might be altered, the idea is correct and what was intended by God. The International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, herein shortened to ICBI, was a coalition of spiritual leaders from across denominations that came together “to clarify and defend the doctrine of biblical inerrancy.”69 It was formed in the aftermath of Harold 68 Gordon H. James, Inerrancy and the Southern Baptist Convention (Dallas, Texas: Southern Baptist Heritage Press, 1986), 24–26. 69 “International Council on Biblical Inerrancy,” accessed May 2, 2019, https://library.dts.edu/Pages/TL/Special/ICBI.shtml. 36 Lindsell’s 1976 book The Battle for the Bible. Both of these issues arose out of concerns of fragmentation in the church regarding the doctrine of inerrancy.70 Out of the ICBI came the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy in 1978. Within, the Chicago Statement defines biblical inerrancy throughout 19 short articles of affirmation and denial. Of note for our purposes is article XII. Article XII looks into how the Bible is inerrant in all disciplines– that biblical inerrancy does not stop at the spiritual and religious realms. It states: We affirm that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit. We deny that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.71 This article is important because it helps provide us more in-depth insight as to the basis of Southern Baptist beliefs regarding the creation of the Earth. First off, there is a clear affirmation of the absolute inerrancy of scripture. Moving on from that, the Bible is not just true in matters of religion and spirituality; the Bible holds across all knowledge, regardless of what science might have said up to this point. Additionally, scientific evidence cannot disprove the Bible. All of this gets progressively closer to the root of the disconnect between Southern Baptists and biological evolution. 2.2.b Biblical Literalism One of the major questions that biblical inerrancy raises is whether an inerrant text means that the Bible must be read literally, or if there is still room for symbolic 70 “Take a Stand on Biblical Inerrancy,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, accessed May 2, 2019, https://billygraham.org/decision-magazine/may-2014/take-a-stand-on-biblical-inerrancy/. 71 “The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy,” Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, accessed May 2, 2019, http://www.alliancenet.org/the-chicago-statement-on-biblical-inerrancy. 37 readings of scripture. This is a question that would seem to be open to a greater number of personal interpretations, which makes it difficult to say precisely what the answer to that question is, as it very well could differ from person to person. Norman Geisler, who is regarded as a non-denominational theologian, addressed this in an interview with the Billy Graham Evangelical Association, whose namesake was a Southern Baptist minister. In cases like this, it is important to note the faith backgrounds sharing these ideas. Geisler says: Interpretation of the Bible is a distinct subject… Jesus said, ‘I am the vine, I am the door.’ No one looks for a doorknob or hinges, or leaves coming out of His ear.” The Bible has parables, and it has figures of speech… We adopt the literal method of interpreting the Bible as opposed to the allegorical method, where you spiritualize the meaning of the Bible. For those proponents, the resurrection didn’t happen literally, it was just a spiritual resurrection in the hearts of the disciples. The framers of the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy repudiated that view.72 It would seem, based upon this, that indeed there is room for some understanding of symbolism – the Bible ought not to be read rigidly in a literal form. However, that understanding applies only to the words used. When it comes to the ideas and events that the Bible communicates, those should be interpreted as literal. It should be noted that the phrase “exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science” seems to imply that there was some science out there that, whether actual or perceived, was challenging the truth of the Bible. Given this statement was released in 1978, a look into the historical context of the time might serve us well. Before digging into that, it is important to look more closely at where this foundation of strong biblical literalism comes from. It is difficult to discuss the roots of these ideas without discussing the ties that the Southern Baptist Convention has to fundamentalists and fundamentalist ideas. 72“Take a Stand on Biblical Inerrancy.” 38 2.3 Historical Context: The Fundamentalism Controversy There was a major division between conservative and moderate ideals within the Southern Baptist Convention in the years leading up to and into the 1980s. 1985 is when tensions reached a tipping point, at the annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas.73 Before proceeding, it is again important to address an issue regarding word choice and their connotations. In this episode, there are two major parties, which have different names depending upon which side of the debate one falls. One group is the progressive/moderates. The opposing party called them the progressives, while they called themselves moderates. Opposite of them are the fundamentalists/conservatives. The progressive/moderates called them fundamentalists, and they called themselves conservatives. For this paper, I will call them by the name that their party called them, but it is important to note that the names and meanings those names carry are disputed. For six years prior, a group of conservative Southern Baptists had led a concerted movement to have conservative presidents elected to the SBC each year. The election of Adrian Rogers as president of the Southern Baptist Convention in June 1979 was not the end of a campaign, but the beginning of one. Those who engineered the charismatic Bellevue Baptist pastor’s victory backed a battle plan that called for a patient but persistent tenyear effort.74 Moore would deny the accusations that he was a part of this campaign, stating in essence that he was not controlled by any of the particular big names in the Convention, such as 73 Nancy Tatom Ammerman, Baptist Battles: Social Change and Religious Conflict in the Southern Baptist Convention (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1990), 3. 74 Fletcher, The Southern Baptist Convention, 259. 39 Judge Paul Pressler and Paige Patterson. However, several inconsistencies have called this into question, including accusations of voter fraud.75 By influencing who becomes president, it also allows control of the nominees for other leadership positions, called trustees. The idea was to maintain a constant stream of conservatives in leadership positions to maintain conservative ideals, and eliminate any moderate ideals that might have entered in.76 Conversely, the moderate Baptists saw this as a takeover and feared how it would impact the denomination. In 1985, they knew they must make a legitimate effort to counter the flood of conservatives, or else face having their ideas pushed to the side. As a result, the 1985 Southern Baptist Convention meeting became crucial for both, as each passing year that a conservative president was elected would make it harder for moderates to regain their footing.77 The 1985 SBC election put incumbent conservative Charles Stanley against Winifred Moore for the moderates. Both men shared very similar theological views. The key difference came down to the interpretation of scripture. Moore was convinced that differing views on scripture and its interpretation could be tolerated so long as cooperation on mission support was maintained. Stanley was equally convinced that such toleration was dangerous to the denomination’s future.78 Whereas attendance at the annual meeting usually hovered around 22,000, SBC churches sent over 45,000 representatives, called “messengers," to cast their votes in 1985. Some 75 Ibid., 260–261. 76 Ammerman, Baptist Battles, 3. 77 Ibid. 78 Ibid., 4. 40 even came by the busload, sponsored by their respective party. Charles Stanley earned the endorsement of Billy Graham, which all but sealed the presidency. However, the ensuing nomination process was not as quick and easy as it had been in the past.79 Biblical inerrancy was the primary point of contention between the conservative and moderate ideals. ...the inerrancy controversy, as some called it, divided churches, associations, and state conventions; but churches tended to follow pastors, associations tended to follow dominant churches, and state conventions tended to follow state leadership. Suspicion, distrust, acrimony, and poorly substantiated charges were rampant.80 The late W.A. Criswell, famed Southern Baptist preacher from the historic First Baptist Dallas, essentially told those attending the Pastor Conference portion that “the life or death of the denomination depended on affirming the inerrancy of the Bible.”81 It seems to represent a major turning point in Southern Baptist history, and the history written indicates the conservative side won, but has been subjected to numerous attacks by the moderates. There are two important things for us to note from this episode. One is how central inerrancy is held in the Southern Baptist tradition. It would seem that much of what the denomination bases its beliefs on is rooted in an inerrant text. What type of inerrancy and why it is so important is to be seen, but this is an idea that holds great weight when comparing the reading of scripture to what Darwin says about the earth. Secondly, it ought not to be overlooked that a commitment to fundamentalism, whether perceived or true, could perhaps shine a light not only on where the need for inerrancy 79 Ibid., 3–6. 80 Fletcher, The Southern Baptist Convention, 260. 81 Ammerman, Baptist Battles, 5. 41 comes from in the Southern Baptist tradition. From this episode, it becomes clearer what forces influenced a potential return to fundamental ideas. 2.4 Reading Scripture Contrary to Evolutionary Theory As Ron Numbers says in Disseminating Darwinism, “No region in the world has won greater notoriety for its hostility to Darwinism than the American South.”82 This idea is quite widely accepted by scholars and lay folk alike. However, Numbers continues, “the South was far less uniform in its opposition to Darwinism than most scholarly accounts suggest. The very success of Darwinism in the South contributed significantly to the outburst of anti-evolutionism in the 1920s.”83 From this outburst, the role religious views played in the rejection of Darwinism can be seen. To look at how religion contributed to views on Darwinism, it is helpful to look at a different dispute, before the ideas of evolution had even been released to the public. In the mid-1800s, new views regarding geology were sweeping the nation. Specifically, geological science was showing that the Earth was much older than previously thought. This presented a problem to the biblical view (at the time) that the Earth was only a few thousand years old. Out of this arose “fears about maintaining the harmony between Genesis and geology…”84 In fact: Numerous Southerners in the years before 185985 openly pushed for reinterpreting Genesis in the light of modern geology…For example, Michael Tuomey...sought to accommodate the findings of geology by inserting an immense span of time between “in the beginning” and the much later 82 Ronald L. Numbers and John Stenhouse, eds., Disseminating Darwinism: The Role of Place, Race, Religion, and Gender (Cambridge [England] ; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 123. 83 Ibid., 124. 84 Ibid. 85 1859 is the year Darwin published On the Origin of Species 42 Edenic creation. Similarly, the paleontologist and physician Robert W. Gibbes assured members of the South Carolina Institute that Mosaic silence on the date of the original creation permitted Christians to accept the notion that “the earth has been inhabited by animals and adorned with plants during immeasurable cycles of time antecedent to the creation of man.86 The importance of this is two-fold. First, that ideas regarding the interpretation of Genesis through the lens of new scientific discoveries existed before Darwinism, and secondly, at least at a time contemporary with Darwin, these ideas regarding Genesis were not being rejected outrightly in the South. That being said, as the 1850s progressed, signs of a growing wariness toward science began to show. One such example of this is the formation of a professorship on science and religion by the Columbia Theological Seminary in South Carolina, created “to forearm and equip the young theologian to meet promptly the attacks of infidelity made through the medium of the natural sciences.”87 Indeed, there seems to have been at least some concern over the (perceived) threat that science posed to religion. The man chosen to fill the role was James Woodrow, a chemist who was also an ordained Presbyterian minister. Inaugurated in 1861, Woodrow began as the chair, and understood the complicated position he was in, with Darwin’s book having been released only two years prior. “Woodrow at first adopted a cautious stance in his new position. He was, after all, a social and theological conservative who professed to believe in ‘the absolute inerrancy’ of the Bible…[f]or twenty-four years he taught that evolution ‘probably was not true,’ but that ‘even if true, it did not contradict or in any way affect the truth of the Scriptures.”88 However, in 1884, he revisited the evidence, and his mind was changed. That being said, Woodrow was no Darwinist. 86 Numbers and Stenhouse, Disseminating Darwinism, 125. 87 Ibid. 88 Ibid., 126. 43 Although Woodrow had come to believe that divinely guided evolution had produced man’s body, he insisted that his soul had been ‘immediately created.’ And because of ‘insurmountable obstacles’ connected with the biblical story of Eve, he continued to hold, as a biblical inerrantist, that both body and soul of the first woman had been specially created…to harmonize his evolutionary views with the Mosaic account of creation, he adopted the day-age reading of Genesis 1...89 Upon this change of course, controversy about evolution and Woodrow himself brewed within southern Presbyterian circles. Woodrow’s colleague, theologian John Lafayette Girardeau, feared shrinking enrollments should the seminary come to be known as the “Evolution Seminary." As reported in the Southern Presbyterian Review (which Numbers points out was edited by none other than Woodrow himself), Woodrow was attacked “not apparently for his views as given in the address, but on account of...the whole brood of Evolutionists from the beginning, especially the atheistic part of it, most of his assailants seeming to have not read the address at all.”90 However, Woodrow’s story does not end there. He would obtain support from the seminary board, on the grounds that the Bible does not state the mode of creation. But the attacks were unrelenting, and Woodrow’s opponents managed to restructure the seminary board, call for Woodrow’s resignation, and fire Woodrow when he refused – all allowing them to form “a New ‘Anti-Evolution’ Seminary.” Even after Woodrow left the seminary, he was still subject to numerous trials for heresy, and the southern Presbyterians spent a great deal of time reconciling how Genesis fit together with evolution, ultimately settling on the rejection of evolution and affirmation of direct creation by God.91 89 Ibid. 90 Ibid., 127. 91 Ibid. 44 Some key elements from this affair might help us discuss the forces at play in these issues later. First, there is a certain attitude toward evolution: that of a “zerotolerance policy," so to speak. In Woodrow’s case, it did not matter what he had said about evolution or any of the theological implications it carries. All that mattered was that he was sympathetic to such an idea. In this “zero-tolerance” group, there seems to have existed a blind devotion to the idea that evolution of any type inherently cannot exist in Christianity, and must be squashed at all costs; because of certain religious convictions, somethings must be excluded without question. Directly extrapolating that finding toward any of the modern rejections of evolution by Christian institutions would seem to be something of a fallacy. However, as has been said with other things, it is important to note that these ideas did exist, and perhaps the factors that led to those ideas still exist today. It is important to keep these ideas in mind and leave it open for potential exploration. Along those lines, it is also important to note that issues regarding evolution and theology did not constrain themselves to one specific denomination. Rather, these questions about the origins of life span across those types of boundaries. In my personal experience, there are three objections to evolution from Southern Baptists that are most common. The first is evolution takes God out of the picture. Indeed, evolution does not need a divine being to function. However, my rebuttal is that evolution in and of itself does not require the divine to be eliminated. You can choose to take God out of the picture by the way you read the Bible, but in the same maneuver, the Bible can also be read in a manner where science agrees with everything. The second is that evolution is simply a theory and has never been proven. To me, this seems to be using semantics to dodge direct interaction with the topic at hand. 45 Indeed, evolution is a theory, but that is because, by its very nature, it cannot be proven definitively. Einstein's explanations of gravity are also “just theories." I have found several satirical sources on the internet where the objections to evolution based on it being a theory are translated to how gravity would be seen under the same lens. Another common objection I have seen is that evolution creates an entirely random and pointless universe. Indeed, evolution is not a march toward some goal, but it is not random, and it is not pointless. Natural selection takes out any amount of randomness from the picture - it is the organisms that are best suited for their environment that continue to breed. If anything, that is the point of evolution – to keep the most desirable traits of a species in the gene pool. There also seems to be this idea that to believe in evolution, that life began spontaneously and that all of the organisms currently living came from a single cell, requires more faith than to believe in a divine creator. I find this to be simply absurd, especially with my faith. For starters, both creation and evolution require a spontaneous start to life. Additionally, I would argue that if you truly believe in the God you say you believe in, an omniscient, omnipotent God, who can do the impossible, then it would only further a belief in evolution. The fact that God could generate life out of nothing, and make life in such a way that all of the organisms that have lived or ever will live can come from that start, and that all of these organisms possess this capability to adapt and change as the environment necessitates it, at least to me, is as great of a proof of God as anything. If you say evolution is impossible because X, Y, or Z would violate the laws of nature, you diminish the role of the divine. You are saying there are some things he cannot do. 46 One aspect of the rejection of evolution I can be more sympathetic to is the moral reasonings. If, from a biological point of view, the entire purpose of life is to survive and advance your genes, then what is the role of morals and ethics? Why do humans demonstrate care and compassion to anyone besides ourselves and those who can help us? Why are humans not actively trying to eliminate the weak and conquer our communities? There is much written about these ideas, but these questions exist outside the scope of exploring theories regarding the origins and evolution of life. One thing I have found consistently in objections to evolution is the accusation that those who hold to evolution are rather inflexible to any sort of scrutiny to the theory. Whether they meant to or not, this accusation encompasses a huge part of my reason for this work – to seek out why it is that evolution is so rigid in its placement in the scientific canon. This topic will be addressed more in the later chapters, but why is it so taboo to talk about other theories of the origin of the universe? If the evidence for evolution is so overwhelmingly strong, then why are those who present evidence (whether credible or not) to the contrary so vehemently attacked for doing so? If the theory were so robust, would not a quick fact check or a redirect to the evidence quickly get rid of any dissenters? Something to consider in this conversation is the type of dissent seen toward evolution might be coming from a place other than true scientific inquiry, perhaps economic, religious, or otherwise. The motivations for these rejections will be discussed later For Southern Baptists, if the Bible is the word of God, and entirely true, then a literal reading of Scripture ought not to pose any problem. Indeed, it is a logical sequence moving toward a conclusion. This is a point, however, where much of the tension 47 between the Southern Baptist tradition and evolution comes from. In this view, evolution and the Bible absolutely cannot exist. That is a fact. Temporally, it does not work. For biological evolution, it is well established that the process of natural selection takes hundreds of thousands to millions of years to occur. It simply could not have occurred in six days – people on both sides of the argument would agree with that. 48 CHAPTER THREE Scientific Views of Evolution and Creationism 3.1 Introduction In previous chapters, I have explored the ideas and beliefs behind both evolution and creation science, as well as explored specific distinctions within creation science, particularly between intelligent design and creationism. Moving on from there, I looked at the religious roots of creation science, and how those factor into the reasons that creation science subscribers reject the ideas of evolution. My goal with this chapter is to look at the opposite side; to evaluate the scientific basis for evolution and ultimately, not to look so much at why intelligent design is rejected, but why it is rejected so strongly, seemingly without so much as a second thought. 3.2 Reevaluating the Distinction Between Intelligent Design and Creationism Before looking at scientific perspectives on things such as intelligent design and creationism, it is important to step back and take another look at the language used to describe these things. In looking at the different Southern Baptist perspectives of evolution in chapter two, the differences between creationism and intelligent design were parsed out, and the more subtle differences that can be found within the same category were explored. However, it is important to note that science views the ideas of creationism and intelligent design as the same. Take note of how the terms creationism 49 and intelligent design are used interchangeably by a variety of sources. For this chapter, in the interest of maintaining unity, the term creation science will be used. This raises the question of whether this is a proper way to approach these ideas, in the interest of being fair and charitable to them. I would argue that in the context of modern scientific perspectives, this grouping is a good way to look at them – the primary reason having to do with simplicity. For the sake of evaluating these ideas in comparison to modern scientific thought, the nuances of each idea are of little importance. Rather, it is the general idea of there being some sort of intelligent being that, by definition, must exist outside of the natural that modern science takes issue with. Why one believes in such beings and what evidence they may have (whether it be the Bible or mathematical models) is not relevant for a discussion about scientific thought on these ideas. 3.3 Vehement rejections of creation science Many of the strong, outright rejections of creation science are derived from the religious nature of the discipline. They come from the basis that religious views do not work as scientific theories. The thing to note here is the arguably unnecessarily strong language used when discussing religious views of creationism. One of the common themes of a rejection of creation science is that it is religion disguised as science. American biologist Jerry Coyne says on the matter: While ID advocates argue that the designer is not necessarily the Judeo-Christian God – it could, they say, be an alien from another planet – this is disingenuous. The Christian roots of ID, and the private statements of its proponents, show that it’s intended to replace the “disease” of naturalism with purely Christian metaphysics.92 92 Jerry A. Coyne, Faith versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible (New York: Viking, 2015), 154–155. 50 Take note of that line “the private statements of its proponents” – I will discuss that later. For now, the important thing to note is this is a common theme. Peter Bowler’s objection to creation science also comes from a position that it is religion disguised as science. At the start of his argument, he says “The creationists make no secret of their distaste for the ‘atheistical’ philosophy of evolution, but they present their case in an ostensibly scientific form that does not refer specifically to the Genesis story.”93 Regarding why it is that creationists do this, Sober explains in Philosophy of Biology: Creationists claim that scientists fail to be open-minded when they dismiss the hypothesis of intelligent design. Are evolutionary biologists therefore guilty of unscientific pigheadedness? Creationists press these questions because they have a political agenda. They wish to reduce or eliminate the teaching of evolution in high school biology courses and to have the biblical story of creation taught in the public schools. As a strategic matter, they realize that they cannot admit that their views are religious in nature. To do so would frustrate their ambitions, since the U.S. Constitution endorses and the courts have supported a principled separation of church and state. To avoid this problem, they have invented the term ‘scientific creationism.’ Scientific creationists attempt to defend creationism by appeal to evidence, not by appeal to biblical authority. If theirs is a scientific theory that is just as well supported as evolutionism, then creationists can argue that the two theories deserve ‘equal time.’94 As Bowler ends his argument of disguised religion, he goes a step further, saying: The most disturbing aspect of modern creationism is not its plausibility but its open admission that the whole theory is based on Genesis. For all their talk of ‘scientific creationism,’ members of the Creation Research Society are obliged to declare their belief in the literal truth of divine revelation.95 Finally, he makes perhaps his strongest rejection of creation science as it relates to literal interpretations of the Bible, saying "...a return to the literal word of the Bible cannot solve 93 Peter J. Bowler, Evolution, the History of an Idea (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), 339. 94 Robert T. Pennock, Tower of Babel: The Evidence against the New Creationism (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1999) ,28. 95 Bowler, Evolution, the History of an Idea, 347. 51 the dilemmas of modern life, any more than it can solve the scientific problems of evolution.”96 Richard Dawkins, British biologist and famed atheist, has what I feel is the strongest rejection, and makes it quite clear where he stands on the topic: Nearly all peoples have developed their own creation myth, and the Genesis story is just the one that happened to be adopted by one particular tribe of Middle Eastern herders. It has no more special status than the belief of a particular West African tribe that the world was created by the excrement of ants.97 This discussion of creation science and religion brings us to a kind of subobjection to creation science, the claim that intelligent design theorists are religious, and therefore that shows that intelligent design is inherently religious. Robert Pennock, a philosopher of science known for testifying in Kitzmiller v. Dover, says “There is one important item of information that we will want to watch for in anyone who promotes ID creationism as a scientific theory. We need to check out their ID card and determine the identity of the intelligent designer!”98 He goes on to cite the examples of intelligent design theorists Fred Heeran and Bill Dembski commonly using biblical references in describing the intelligent designer. This idea that a person’s religious commitments influence their scientific inquiry, whether true or not, raises an interesting set of questions. Is it fair to judge someone’s research based on their identities and beliefs, or as Coyne said it, their “private statements”? Where does the line get drawn between a person's research findings and their convictions? It would seem improper to say 96 Ibid., 348. 97 Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, 1st American ed. (New York: Norton, 1986), 316. 98 Robert T. Pennock, Tower of Babel: The Evidence against the New Creationism (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1999), 231. 52 someone’s findings are invalid due to their gender or race. A statement such as “He only supports the theory of gravity because he is a male” seems ridiculous and wildly inappropriate. Why then, does a person’s religion seem to be fair game in this debate between evolution and creationism? In looking at modern scientific thought as a whole and their perspectives on intelligent design, this serves as an important part of the larger picture. It establishes the overwhelming support that evolution has in the scientific community, as well as firmly rejects any notion of controversy, and provides an argument for why intelligent design is not considered science. The vehement rejection of intelligent design is relevant in the context of understanding how these ideas of the origins of the universe fit into our personal beliefs. Put another way, understanding why science rejects intelligent design is helpful to understand how it informs our religious worldview. Additionally, the question of why science sharply denounces creationism is crucial for our discussion to make sense of science's stated views on the matter versus what their actions indicate. 3.4 Other ideas relegated to the outside Discussing various perceived controversies about evolution in the scientific community, the AAAS says: ...there is no significant controversy within the scientifc[sic] community about the validity of the theory of evolution. The current controversy surrounding the teaching of evolution is not a scientific one. Science is a process of seeking natural explanations for natural phenomena.99 99 Ibid. 53 With this, the AAAS makes a firm stance that no such controversy exists in the scientific community, as well as establishes their definition of science, which will be important for discussions of whether intelligent design fits into that category. Regarding controversy between creationism and biology, Pennock says “As a problem for science, however, the ‘creationism debate’ is a non-issue”100 He goes on to explain that any perceived controversy is essentially a one-sided issue. The similarity to the AAAS stance on the issue ought to be noted. Creationists like to bring up quotes from various scientists that question certain parts of evolutionary theory. Pennock concedes, Of course there are many unanswered questions about evolution, as there are in any other areas of science, and scientists point them out all the time and often argue with great agitation about their solution. But within the big picture these are matters of detail; the core framework is firmly in place.101 Pennock says the conflict is not between creationism and biology, but rather the attacks creationism launches on biology, and even on the scientific process. As Pennock says, any sort of alleged controversy between science and creation is rather insignificant in the view of the scientists. Elliott Sober makes the argument in Philosophy of Biology: I believe that some of the hypotheses defended by creationists are testable. In some respects, this theory is like the doctrines of phrenology and the ideas of flat-earthers. If this is correct, then the reason for keeping creationism out of the public schools is not that creationist theories are Religion (with a capital R), while biology courses are devoted to Science (with a capital S). Rather, creationism is similar to other discredited theories that do not deserve a central place in biology teaching. We exclude the ideas of phrenologists and flat-earthers not because the ideas are unscientific but because they have been refuted scientifically. Equal time is more than creationism deserves.102 100 Ibid., 38. 101 Ibid. 102 Elliott Sober, Philosophy of Biology, 2nd ed., Dimensions of philosophy series (Boulder, Colo: Westview Press, 2000). 54 I agree with Sober’s comparison of creationism to flat-earth theory, insofar as its (perceived) relative placement within scientific thought – that it is not rejected on religious grounds, but rather by scientific refutation. Because it has been proven repeatedly that the Earth is spherical, nobody in science takes flat-earth theory seriously, and it shows in the lack of response scientists demonstrate. As Pennock said, scientists see it as a non-issue. There are several similar examples: alchemy, turning lead into gold, was once a leading scientific theory. However, the impossibility of such a thing occurring is now well known, thanks to advancements in physics and chemistry. Sober mentions phrenology, where it was believed the shape and makeup of a person's skull could provide evidence of their mental capabilities. I bring these examples up to examine how these ideas fit into science today. As far as alchemy and phrenology go, they were, at one point, the leading scientific theory of their time. However, as knowledge progressed, their limits were seen, and science as a discipline moved on to new leading theories. I would argue the same is true of creation science. Looking to writers like Paley and Bacon, it can be seen that, at one point in time, creation by a divine being was seen as a sort of starting point from which all science began, and ultimately what all science pointed back to. However, more naturalistic explanations, like natural selection and descent with modification, proved to have better explanations for the world, and science moved toward working on those. Science progresses as knowledge progresses. Coyne concurs on this, saying It’s a bit Whiggish to criticize early natural theology. At the time it could be seen as science, for it had the positive agenda of understanding nature using the best available explanations.103 103 Coyne, Faith versus Fact, 154. 55 It would be an unfair assessment to say creation science has been bad science all along. It is important to understand how it fits with current views and to understand the nature of science. However, if creation science is going to be placed in this category of ideas of the past, shouldn’t it be treated like one? As seems to be indicated above, whether a particular person believes the earth is flat, that elements can transmute, or skull size correlates to intelligence seems to concern mainstream science very little, because there is no reason to be concerned. Compare that to something like claims that vaccines cause autism. Like flat-earth theories, science has proved there to be no connection between vaccines and autism over and over. However, the response by science to vaccine claims is typically much stronger than the response to flat-earth, and for good reason - it boils down to a public health issue. The need for proper education on vaccines is crucial; the need for education on the Earth’s shape is not. So why does science say creationism is an annoyance like flat-earth theory, but react like it is a danger like vaccines and autism? If it is a non-issue, then why expend the time, energy, and resources to continue showing strong opposition to it? It would seem that the need for such strong attacks ought to be reserved for situations where scientific ignorance has a much larger impact on society, like the safety of vaccines. Scientists rarely clash overviews on these ideas that have been moved to the periphery...except for instances where it endangers others. Something does not add up – on one hand, science writes creationism off as a relative non-issue, but on the other, demonstrates vehement rejections, like earlier in this chapter. 56 3.5 Scientific Reasons for acceptance of evolution and rejection of creation science In many ways, scientific rejection of creationism boils down to objective evidence. As Pennock says, "...scientists are supposed to reject a theory when the evidence is against it, even if they desperately want to believe it, and to accept a theory when the evidence supports it, even if they would rather not do so.”104 Science rejects creation science and accepts evolution because the evidence for evolution is stronger; it provides a better explanation for the origins of the Earth without having to appeal to supernatural objects. This is the idea of methodological materialism; that from material causes of matter, energy, and the interaction of the two, natural causes are found. Bowler points out some examples of what evolution is better suited to explain. For one, advancements in genetics research has helped explain natural selection in more complete ways, while creation science relies on miracles for the same thing. Also, the fossil record can be better explained, and predicted, by evolution. Bowler points out that evolution's ability to explain the fossil record and creation sciences inability is what begins to break creation science down as a legitimate scientific theory. With creation science, the only explanation for why fossils show up where there is the divine will, and therefore cannot offer a scientific theory free of the supernatural.105 However, intelligent design proponents contest that methodological materialism and an appeal to the natural is not true science. Bill Dembski says that one cannot simply 104 Robert T. Pennock, Tower of Babel: The Evidence against the New Creationism (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1999), 354. 105 William A. Dembski and Jonathan Witt, Intelligent Design Uncensored: An Easy-to-Understand Guide to the Controversy (Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Books, 2010)., 29. 57 assume that the correct explanations will always be material. He asks in response to methodological materialism, “But what if the ‘natural explanation’ for something isn’t the true explanation? What if the true cause for, say, the origin of the universe was a creative intelligence at work?”106 Whether or not an intelligent designer qualifies as a supernatural being seems to be the crux of the entire dispute. In an intelligent design view, an intelligent agent does not have to be supernatural. Pennock points out that intelligent designers commonly point toward NASA’s SETI projects as an example of scientific searches for intelligence.107 In science’s view, an intelligent designer must exist in the supernatural, as the existence of an intelligent designer implies either an origin outside of that designer, or omnipresence, both of which are supernatural occurrences. 3.6 Academic Institutions on Evolution To establish a starting point for looking at modern scientific thought, it is important to see what the bodies of modern science say about both evolution and intelligent design as a scientific theory. To start, I will look at the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS), and finish more specifically focused on Baylor, a place founded on Baptist principles, which places a strong emphasis on being a preeminent research institution anchored in the Christian tradition. The American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) is “the world's largest multidisciplinary scientific society” and publisher of the well-known 106 Ibid. 107 Pennock, Tower of Babel, 228–229. 58 Science journals108. In a 2006 statement on the topic, the AAAS states that “[e]volution is one of the most robust and widely accepted principles of modern science. It is the foundation for research in a wide array of scientific fields and, accordingly, a core element in science education.”109 This supports the idea that evolution is the leading theory in modern scientific thought regarding the origins and progression of life. The question remains why creationism is so strongly rejected by science. It would also seem important to look at what the AAAS has to say on the matter, to see if their statement provides further insight. Regarding creation science, the AAAS says, Many of the proposed bills and policies aim explicitly or implicitly at encouraging the teaching of ‘Intelligent Design’ in science classes as an alternative to evolution. Although advocates of Intelligent Design usually avoid mentioning a specific creator, the concept is in fact religious, not scientific. In an October 18, 2002 resolution, the AAAS Board underlined the inappropriateness of teaching Intelligent Design in the science classroom because of its significant conceptual flaws in formulation, a lack of credible scientific evidence, and misrepresentation of scientific facts.110 This part of the statement seems to require a bit of unpacking, particularly the line that says, “Although advocates of Intelligent Design usually avoid mentioning a specific creator, the concept is, in fact, religious, not scientific.” The AAAS offers no further explanation nor citation to support why intelligent design is religious and not scientific. The immediate issue I see is making unsubstantiated claims about the philosophical basis of such large ideas like how life began and how the world formed, especially when those claims change the fundamental ability for those ideas to be used in a discipline. By calling intelligent design religious, the AAAS can effectively exclude it from being 108 “Mission and History,” American Association for the Advancement of Science, accessed February 12, 2020, https://www.aaas.org/mission. 109 “AAAS Archive,” accessed February 12, 2020, http://archives.aaas.org/docs/resolutions.php?doc_id=443. 110 Ibid. 59 included as science. However, it does not seem fair that one can write-off an idea in such a manner without backing up their claims. Before looking at how the AAAS might back up some claims, one should know that the idea that intelligent design is religious and not scientific is not exclusive to the AAAS. It would be helpful to evaluate where this idea comes from. Having learned some of the history of the Baptist issues with evolution in the previous chapter, how does Baylor reconcile the two? On the biology department website, Baylor states: Evolution, a foundational principle of modern biology, is supported by overwhelming scientific evidence and is accepted by the vast majority of scientists. Because it is fundamental to the understanding of modern biology, the faculty in the Biology Department at Baylor University (Waco, TX) teach evolution throughout the biology curriculum. We are in accordance with the American Association for Advancement of Science’s statement on evolution. We are a science department, so we do not teach alternative hypotheses or philosophically deduced theories that cannot be tested rigorously.111 To better understand where the Baylor statement fits in the larger context of evolution in academia, it might be helpful to look into the history of this statement. Talking to Dr. Robert Doyle, Baylor Biology department chair 2004-2016 allowed for such insights. For starters, Dr. Doyle is the person responsible for getting the statement put together. He says when he took the Baylor job, he received a great number of phone calls from parents, students, and religious leaders asking what Baylor’s stance on evolution was. He thought it would be appropriate to put together a statement for the website to which those calls could be referred to. He formed a committee made up of faculty from multiple disciplines, who collectively formed the statement, and presented it to the department for 111 “Mission and Core Values,” Department of Biology | Baylor University, accessed February 12, 2020, https://www.baylor.edu/biology/index.php?id=961818. 60 approval. It was approved, and that is the same statement that is found today. He says they reference the AAAS statement because being a fellow of the AAAS is “the highest honor we can give in our field," and therefore it seemed appropriate to use as the basis for their statement. Another way to look at where Baylor’s statement on evolution places it within academia is to compare it to other institutions. A simple internet search reveals that Harvard, known worldwide for its academic prestige, contains no reference to their statement on evolution...because they do not have one – they do not see it to be necessary. However, Liberty University, “a Christian academic community in the tradition of evangelical institutions of higher education”112, is quite open about their beliefs that creationism is, in fact, science – “Creation Science” classes are a part of the core of the undergraduate biology major. Two classes are offered. Students have the choice between two of these classes to fulfill the requirement. One, entitled “History of Life," is described as “an interdisciplinary study of the origin and history of life in the universe. Faculty will draw from science, religion, history, and philosophy in presenting the evidence and arguments for biblical creation.” The other class, “Origins," is described as: An in-depth study of the biblical and scientific views of the origin of the universe, life and man. Evidence and arguments for creation and evolution will be discussed. This course is designed for students with a strong science background or a very strong interest in the origins controversy.113 112 “Purpose & Mission Statement | About Liberty | Liberty University,” accessed February 25, 2020, http://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=6899. 113 “General Biology (B.S.) - Resident < Liberty University,” accessed February 26, 2020, https://catalog.liberty.edu/undergraduate/colleges-schools/health-sciences/biology-chemistry/generalbiology-major-bs/general-biology-bs-resident/?_ga=2.149410806.1110526651.1582673424- 1095867129.1582673424. 61 It seems quite clear that Baylor seeks to mirror modern scientific thought in its curriculum, a noble goal if an institution wants to be taken seriously as a place of research. Granted, this comparison of three places is a small sample size when comparing the notions various schools have about evolution, but I think a lot more can be taken from this than meets the eye. One might say Baylor lies closer to Harvard on the spectrum, as they both refuse to teach creationism, whether it be implicit or explicit. However, the fact that Baylor finds a posted statement necessary while Harvard does not should serve as some indication of institutional culture as a whole. That is a topic outside of the scope of what I am trying to say, but it is worth noting that the need for a statement provides some amount of evidence for how evolution is thought to be perceived by the Baylor community. 62 CHAPTER FOUR Evolution and Creation Science in Academia So far, I have explored the details of both creation science and evolution. I have looked at their respective foundations and histories, as well as their opposition to each other. However, I have spent most of this discussion dealing with one or the other; I have not spent much time exploring when the two ideas come together. One can glean a great deal of information regarding the roots of these issues by looking at historical examples of what happens when these two viewpoints are forced to coexist. Particularly, I want to look at the historical example of the Michael Polanyi Center at Baylor University. It should be noted that Baylor is not distinctly Southern Baptist, in that it is not tied to the Southern Baptist Convention – instead, Baylor’s ties to the Baptist denomination come through the Baptist General Convention of Texas. The SBC and the BGCT have worked closely together in the past, and share some ideals, but are not the same thing. However, for the sake of comparison, Baylor functions in this capacity well. That being said, this is simply one example of a time when these two ideas come together. It is not representative of every time these ideas come together, just one time in one place. I want to explore what can be learned from this time in Baylor’s history, and how that applies to Baylor’s present and future, as it seeks to become a tier-one research institution with a Christian foundation. 63 4.1 The Michael Polanyi Center 4.1.a History of the Michael Polanyi Center The story of the Michael Polanyi Center for Complexity, Information, and Design, shortened to the Michael Polanyi Center, or simply MPC, begins with a meeting between Dr. William Dembski, well-known intelligent design theorist mentioned in previous chapters, Donald Schmeltekopf, provost at Baylor during the time of the MPC, and Michael Beaty, director of the Institute for Faith and Learning. Schmeltekopf says he was intrigued by Dembski’s research, and the intersection of purely naturalistic science versus non-naturalistic science, where intelligence can exist. Schmeltekopf felt, and President Sloan agreed, that such an endeavor would fit well into their vision of making Baylor the intellectual intersection between academia, faith, and culture. That being said, it should be noted that neither Schmeltekopf nor Sloan were scientists, and perhaps this decision should have been made (or at least discussed with) someone closer to the academic field being impacted. Regardless, this led to Dembski giving a presentation114, a summarized version of which appears on Dembski's website. He begins by discussing the need for a place where science and faith can coexist, saying “so long as naturalism dominates science, there is no possibility of integrating science and faith.” Naturalism is the belief that the universe is governed by entirely natural laws; that there is no room for the supernatural or spiritual in explanations of how the world works115. As far as how it 114 Donald D. Schmeltekopf, Baylor at the Crossroads: Memoirs of a Provost (Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2015), 75. 115 “Naturalism | Philosophy | Britannica,” accessed April 14, 2020, https://www.britannica.com/topic/naturalism-philosophy.https://www.britannica.com/topic/naturalismphilosophyIbid. 64 relates to what Dembski is doing: he is arguing that the problem with science is that it is inherently naturalistic, and therefore misses out on other explanations for the universe that do not fit within the boundaries of nature. That is one of the reasons for the MPC that will be discussed later.116 I think this presents an interesting space for discussing the purpose of science. Indeed, science stops short of explanations outside of nature. However, that is exactly the point: science exists to give natural explanations for the world. I concede that maybe the correct explanation is not a natural explanation, and therefore science misses out on the ability to correctly explain it. However, this is simply a risk that must be taken with science. Sure, science could be expanded to include supernatural explanations. However, there are two issues with that. One, it seems like a slippery slope. What then is scientific versus non-scientific? Two, it could become a roadblock in scientific progress. If an inquiry into the natural causes of a phenomenon fails, then one could easily call it “supernatural," and the exploration stops there, because, by definition, one cannot hope to adequately explain the supernatural by any other means. Dembski feels that an academic setting is the best place for this, particularly one such as Baylor.117 Dembski says in the presentation that he envisions the MPC serving in a similar space as the Santa Fe Institute, performing multidisciplinary research focused on “those 116 “The Michael Polanyi Center,” last modified August 16, 2000, accessed February 17, 2019, https://web.archive.org/web/20000816024912/http://www.baylor.edu/~polanyi/index.htm. 117 “Intelligent Design at Baylor University,” accessed February 28, 2019, https://billdembski.com/documents/2007.12.MPC_Rise_and_Fall.htm.https://billdembski.com/documents/2 007.12.MPC_Rise_and_Fall.htmIbid. 65 places where science and faith are in meaningful conversation”118. He desires that the MPC be a place that: ...will focus especially on facilitating dialogue between proponents of naturalism and intelligent design. The MPC will provide a non-threatening setting where proponents of diverse views can candidly discuss their differences. Emphasizing dialogue will be especially important in the early stages of the MPC to build trust with the university community. We need at all costs to avoid the impression that the MPC is a tool for proselytizing the Baylor community into some particular point of view. The MPC will stress open and frank discussion, giving all academically rigorous points of view a place at the table.119 I would like to take a brief pause here to preview a key point: the idea of the MPC providing a non-threatening setting, as well as building trust with the community. Dembski has later said this statement was "... is incredibly naïve. The naturalists were out to kill the MPC as soon as they saw what it was trying to accomplish.”120 As the chapter progresses, I will look at both sides of this issue. It is significantly more complicated than maybe conveyed here. Dembski goes on to discuss how the center will operate in terms of what will be explored, and who will explore it. He says: The Michael Polanyi Center will initially be a visiting institute. Thus, besides support staff, the center will initially have no permanent researchers who are not also Baylor faculty. This will keep the MPC properly connected to the university community as well as keep a steady stream of exciting visitors coming through its doors. Visitors will be invited for talks, discussions, symposia, and conferences. Fellowships for extended periods of research at the MPC will have to await separate funding.121 118 “Intelligent Design at Baylor University.” 119 Ibid. 120 Ibid. 121 Ibid. 66 A common complaint regarding the MPC, and Dembski in particular, is his affiliation with the Discovery Institute, a conservative think tank in Seattle, Washington. Both Dembski and Gordon were fellows of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Renewal of Science and Culture. Commonly, this fact is pointed out by opponents to creation science, and cited as a reason that intelligent design is simply creationism in disguise – and the evidence doesn’t necessarily refute that argument. This comes from the Discovery Institutes well-known “Wedge Strategy", which was a paper put out that described how they plan to implement intelligent design into the school curriculum. They are a decidedly intelligent design focused group, making no claim to creationism. However, the beginning of the Wedge document makes rather explicit references to ideas of creation, such as saying in the introduction: “The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built...yet a little over a century ago, this cardinal idea came under wholesale attack by intellectuals drawing on the discoveries of modern science. Debunking the traditional conceptions of both God and man, thinkers such as Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud portrayed humans not as moral and spiritual beings, but as animals or machines who inhabited a universe ruled by purely impersonal forces and whose behavior and very thoughts were dictated by the unbending forces of biology, chemistry, and environment.”122 These ideas of creation of man by God, as well as an attack on this idea by science, is enough for many opponents of creation science to say the Discovery Institute and its affiliates ultimately strive for a creationist view of the universe. Whereas previous attempts by other organizations (as detailed in chapter 2) had focused on eliminating evolution from the curriculum, the Wedge Strategy focuses on 122 “The Wedge Document | National Center for Science Education,” accessed April 2, 2020, https://ncse.ngo/wedge-document.https://ncse.ngo/wedge-documentIbid. 67 having intelligent design taught alongside evolution. Within, the Discovery Institute details a three-part strategy for doing so, with phase I beginning in 1999. Phase I would involve research and writing, with phase II being marked by publicity, and phase III being a cultural change123. Opponents to intelligent design are quick to point out that the Polanyi Center and phase I of the wedge strategy seem to follow in very close correlation. Additionally, if one were to compare Dembski's 5-year plan and the 5-year plan of the Wedge document, they feature several similarities beyond their common start time; they both seek to begin with research, and then branch out to public debates and greater dissemination of the ideas of intelligent design. Despite no formal declaration, these similarities and Dembski's affiliation are too much for many to overlook as simply coincidental. Beyond the MPC activities, Dembski also saw the potential for an intelligent design society to be administered through the MPC. It would be called the International Society for Intelligent Design (ISID) and would provide a forum for intelligent design proponents that previously did not exist - a commonplace to convene and share ideas. Dembski saw this as a mutually beneficial relationship – ISID members would benefit from the MPC’s resources, and the MPC would have direct contact with the body of intelligent design thinkers. Having the two entities in the same place was also seen as a great benefit, as “the MPC should quickly become the premier place for intelligent design research.”124 Dembski had big plans for the MPC as a whole. However, the ISID never came to fruition, and its story as far as Baylor is concerned ends in the letter. However, 123 “The Wedge Document | National Center for Science Education.” 124 “Intelligent Design at Baylor University.” 68 such a society was ultimately formed in 2001, albeit separate from Baylor, but is altogether disbanded at this point.125 According to Schmeltekopf, the presentation led to some tense but lively discussions between the science faculty and Dembski, and further discussions with faculty seemed to indicate that such a “center for the study of the relationship between faith and science” would be well-received. At this point, it is appropriate to stop and acknowledge that this is one of the largest disputes in the written history of the Polanyi Center: whether or not the faculty were consulted, how much input the faculty had in the decision, and what they were told. As stated, according to Schmeltekopf, he felt the faculty had been consulted an appropriate amount – that the establishment of such a center should not raise any issues. This is a sentiment that Sloan has echoed; in a speech in response to some faculty pushback, Sloan said "...there is a legitimate place [in higher education], and here at Baylor as well...for administrative initiative in academic matters.”126 The Baylor Center for Jewish and American Studies is the example he uses – it was founded at the same time as the MPC, in the same manner, but was not subjected to the same faculty scrutiny after establishment that the MPC was. This would seem to establish two things. One, at least at this specific point in time at this specific university, the administration had the power to implement academic initiatives as seen fit. Two, on some level, this was not a significant issue, as the faculty did not always react negatively to these decisions. What seems to remain is the ideas that are being studied; if it was not how it was established, 125 Ibid. 126 Schmeltekopf, Baylor at the Crossroads, 77. 69 does it not have to be the ideas it was established for? This goes back to the idea that creation science yields a stronger response than seems necessary. However, I would be remiss to not discuss the opposite side of this. Dr. Charles Weaver, III, chair of the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Baylor, has stated numerous times that the center was established with little to no faculty input. Schmeltekopf and Sloan acknowledge that things could have been handled better regarding faculty input, but maintain that the faculty were consulted.127 The Michael Polanyi Center was established in October 1999 under the leadership of President Robert Sloan, in a “windup” to the “Baylor 2012” initiative. “Baylor 2012” was a ten-year plan set in motion in 2002 by President Sloan, with the goal “to ascend to a unique leadership position in higher education while remaining grounded in our strong Christian mission." “Baylor 2012” will be discussed in significantly more depth at the end of the chapter, but keep it in mind for now. Dr. William Dembski was named director of the center, and Dr. Bruce Gordon, a Canadian philosopher of science and intelligent design theorist, was named deputy director. Bill Dembski earned his B.S. in psychology, his M.S. in statistics, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Chicago, and a Master of Divinity from Princeton.128 Much of his research throughout his academic appointments has focused on intelligent design. Specifically, he looks at mathematical models for evidence about how the world was created. He gained a great deal of popularity in 1998 with his book The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through 127 Ibid. 128 “William A. Dembski - Discovery Institute,” accessed February 18, 2019, https://www.discovery.org/p/32. 70 Small Probabilities. Within, he demonstrates that the information required for evolution to work, especially with the genetic code, is mathematically impossible. There had to have been some external, intelligent force that inputs such information.129 This appears to be the general view of most intelligent design scientists, in what is called the Conservation of Information theorem.130 The Evolutionary Informatics Lab, which will be discussed later, perhaps says it best: “If Darwinists don't add a full measure of active information to their primordial soup, it won't cook.131 The MPC itself states that it has four main purposes. To surmise, the first is to pursue research in the foundations of science in historical and cultural contexts.132 The Center sought to engage in scientific research that was not under and philosophical constraints "...or associated with a materialistic or naturalist agenda.” Secondly, the Center looked to find how science interacted with the other disciplines, such as the humanities and arts. Third, it continued the question of the coexistence of religion and science. Finally, they wanted to develop mathematical concepts that support the theory of an intelligently designed world.133 It was housed on the fourth floor of Pat Neff Hall, and operated quietly for six or so months, until April of 2000.134 129 Scott Buchanan, “Whatever Happened to Intelligent Design Theorist William Dembski?,” Letters to Creationists (blog), March 20, 2017, https://letterstocreationists.wordpress.com/2017/03/19/whateverhappened-to-intelligent-design-theorist-william-dembski/. 130 This also seems to be an area many scientists attack with vigor 131 “FAQ - The Evolutionary Informatics Lab,” accessed February 18, 2019, https://www.evoinfo.org/faq.html. 132 This seems to be a very Kuhn-ian idea 133 “The Michael Polanyi Center,” August 16, 2000, https://web.archive.org/web/20000816024912/http://www.baylor.edu/~polanyi/index.htm. 134 Tinker Ready, “Baylor Faculty Upset over Science and Religion Center,” Nature Medicine 6, no. 6 (June 2000): 613. 71 From April 12-15, 2000, the center held a conference, called “The Nature of Nature." Leading intelligent design scientists came to Waco, such as Steven Weinberg, Nobel prize winner in physics, and Christian de Duve, Nobel winner in physiology or medicine.135 As the conference went on, the previously uninformed faculty began stirring. On April 18, three days after the conference ended, the Baylor faculty senate came together and voted 26-2 to dissolve the center, citing “creationist undertones." President Sloan would ultimately reject the vote two days after that, stating that faculty had been consulted and the center had a legitimate reason for existence.136 This led to further tension between the faculty ideas for what the university should be, and the President’s view. Through this discourse, a compromise was reached: An eight-person committee made up of faculty from a wide range of academic institutions would be formed to look into the “legitimacy and validity” of the work the center was doing. After 6 months of deliberation, the committee released its report on October 17, 2000, with four recommendations. First, the center would be absorbed into the preexisting Institute for Faith and Learning. Secondly, the center was to double down and broaden its research areas, limiting itself not just to intelligent design, but other areas as well. Third, a committee of Baylor faculty was to be formed to review the science and religious aspects of the center’s research. According to Dr. Charles Weaver, currently a professor of Neuroscience at Baylor, this was important because it would subject the center to peer 135 “Baylor’s Polanyi Center To Host Inaugural Naturalism Conference,” Media and Public Relations | Baylor University, last modified April 6, 2000, accessed February 18, 2019, https://www.baylor.edu/mediacommunications/news.php?action=story&story=2937. 136 Beth McMurtrie, “Baylor Faculty Objects to New Center on Religion and Science,” The Chronicle of Higher Education; Washington 46, no. 35 (May 5, 2000): A19–A20. 72 review, forcing defense of their ideas.137 It was a matter of accountability to academia. Lastly, the center will no longer bear the Michael Polanyi name – another contentious issue. 4.1.b Namesake of the Michael Polanyi Center Michael Polanyi was a physical chemist from Hungary, and a pretty wellestablished chemist at that. He worked at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Fiber Chemistry, then in 1923 became the director at the Fritz Haber Institute for Physical Chemistry. In 1933, he went to Manchester University to become the chair of Physical Chemistry. In 1948, he shifted his focus away from physical sciences and became the chair of Social Studies before stepping down and becoming a senior research fellow in 1959 at Oxford. He retired for good in 1961. Despite all of this, some of what he is best known for is his philosophical writings, especially in the philosophy of science.138 He did much work with epistemology, specifically focusing on tacit knowledge. In his work Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy, Polanyi argues that the things we know are rooted in tacit knowledge, and therefore cannot be fully communicated to other people.139 According to the Michael Polanyi Center website itself140, Polanyi “turned to philosophy at the height of his scientific career” because he did not like how current scientific philosophy affected research. He argued against the reductive nature of science; that many aspects (social, psychological, religious, scientific, etc.) affect each 137 Ibid. 138 “Michael Polanyi,” The Gifford Lectures, August 18, 2014, https://www.giffordlectures.org/lecturers/michael-polanyi. 139 “Michael Polanyi.” 140 It should be noted that while we should read charitably, in the interest of eliminating bias, one should be cautious when utilizing primary sources such as the MPC website to find facts. 73 other in different ways, and that none can be disregarded. In application to nature, he was positing that biological systems cannot be reduced down to physical and chemical laws. As for why he was the namesake of the center: His concern for the unhealthy effects of philosophical naturalism in science, his recognition that reductionism as a universal strategy in the sciences must fail, his emphasis on the need for multiple levels in the understanding of any phenomenon, and his realization that there needs to be a significant dialogue between science and religion, make Michael Polanyi the ideal representative for the center that bears his name.141 It seemed things had calmed down for the most part, and the center would return to relative obscurity, with a diminished role than might have been previously projected. However, this is where the story becomes quite strange. Following the release of the report, Dr. Dembski sent out an email commending Baylor for standing up in the face of opposition. He then said those who had opposed the center had “met their Waterloo." This was not in the spirit of academic exploration and collaboration, and two days after the release of the report and his email, he was demoted to research professor, where he would continue research of intelligent design. Dr. Gordon was promoted to director.142 After that, the MPC slowly fizzled out. Dembski has since said that the Waterloo comment was meant to be ironic; the faculty opposition had squashed what the MPC was meant to be, and he was acknowledging that. He goes on to say that the fact the comment 141 “The Michael Polanyi Center.” 142 “Polyani Center’s Future Is Unclear,” last modified July 14, 2003, accessed February 17, 2019, https://web.archive.org/web/20030714155145/http://www3.baylor.edu/Lariat/Archives/2000/20001024/artfront02.html.https://web.archive.org/web/20030714155145/http://www3.baylor.edu/Lariat/Archives/2000/2 0001024/art-front02.html 74 caused such a stir is further evidence that, again, “the naturalists were out to kill the MPC as soon as they saw what it was trying to accomplish.”143 4.2 ID at Baylor After the Michael Polanyi Center However, the story of intelligent design research for Dembski at Baylor does not end there. Instead, it transitioned to the Evolutionary Informatics Lab, run by current Baylor engineering professor Dr. Robert Marks. Dr. Marks hired Dembski in 2006 for the lab, where work went on in 2007. However, this project was rather short-lived, for much of the same reasons that the MPC failed. This type of research was found to violate the university's views, and the website was removed from Baylor’s servers. However, the website is still online (albeit on a third-party host) and states: “We are a group of STEM (science/technology/engineer/math) professionals who focus on the role of information in the modeling and analysis of evolutionary processes and related phenomena.”144 Following the dissolution of the Evolutionary Informatics Lab, Dembski would go on to work at a variety of seminaries. According to his website, he stopped teaching in 2013 and retired from intelligent design research in 2016. He still holds to all of his intelligent design claims, and has left the possibility open for a return to researching the topic more. He still blogs about a wide variety of things, and currently researches how education and technology aid in human freedom. I would like to pause here for a moment and consider the implications of removing research due to conflicting views. It seems to me initially that this causes a 143 “Intelligent Design at Baylor University.” 144 “The Evolutionary Informatics Lab - EvoInfo.Org,” accessed February 18, 2019, https://www.evoinfo.org/. 75 conflict with statements of academic freedom, in that it seems to be directly limiting the academic freedom at a place where academic freedom ought to be, and is said to be, held in high regard. Indeed, I would argue it goes back to the last chapter, where creation science seemed to garner harsher criticisms than might seem to be warranted. However, I think there is strength in the argument that engineers should not be performing research that relates to biology. For any claim that their academic freedom was being limited, the counterargument can be made that they are violating reasonable academic standards by trying to make claims outside of the scope of their work. Perhaps by looking further into why this research, both with the MPC and the Evolutionary Informatics Lab, was banned at this university at this particular time, one can infer about the broader state of affairs. 4.3 What was the Baylor 2012 Initiative Baylor 2012, in a nutshell, was Baylor’s first concentrated attempt at becoming a tier-one research institution. It featured 12 “imperatives” that guided the decisions of the administration to move from a regional, denominational school to a nationally renowned university. These imperatives had to do with recruiting the best faculty and students, developing robust student life, excelling at academics, and maintaining world-class facilities.145 Comparing where Baylor was in 2002, and where Baylor is now, it would seem that Baylor accomplished at least some of those goals. However, things were not so clean-cut. As the Waco Tribune summarized it in 2012: 145 “85361.Pdf,” n.d., accessed April 3, 2020, https://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php/85361.pdf.https://www.baylor.edu/content/services/ document.php/85361.pdfIbid. 76 It was a time of slashed tires, sports scandals, alienated alumni and no-confidence votes by faculty. Controversies related to Baylor 2012 cost two college presidents and a provost their positions.146 Some of the strain came from the aggressive building and hiring campaigns, meaning tighter finances and increased tuition. Along those same lines, some even questioned whether tier-one status was a noble goal for Baylor to pursue. When any academic institution strives for that goal while maintaining a religious commitment, it usually means making sacrifices between one or the other. For Baylor, many of the questions focused on hiring practices, such as necessary religious commitments, or does it remain strong to its religious ties, perhaps at the cost of getting the very best. In many ways, it was a tipping point in Baylor’s history. For some, a refusal to cut ties from religious commitments demonstrated a conservative inflexibility, while for others, the very idea of allowing for loosening hiring restrictions showed Baylor was becoming increasingly liberal. 4.4 How did the MPC fit into the Baylor 2012 Initiative I would argue that the MPC was, perhaps unknowingly, Baylor’s attempt to satisfy both parties and have the best of both worlds. A reaffirmation to a faith-centered focus, while also expanding the scientific research of the school. As Dembski alluded to, Baylor was a great place to do such research. Dr. Susan Bratton, Environmental Science professor at Baylor, confirms this, saying “Sloan rightly assumed the science-humanities 146 J. B. SMITH jbsmith@wacotrib.com, “Baylor 2012 Still a Work in Progress 10 Years Later,” WacoTrib.Com, accessed April 3, 2020, https://www.wacotrib.com/news/baylor-2012-still-a-work-inprogress-10-years-later/article_c1c76ff9-7afc-5a53-9cab-2cef6375bb08.html. 77 interface was a good place for Baylor 2012 to invest. He picked a newsworthy line, however, rather than one most stakeholders would support.” Indeed, it seems to have backfired. As a result of the science faculty’s opposition, Baylor was “exposed” to its people as a place where evolution is strongly defended – something to be sensitive to at a Baptist university, for reasons discussed in chapter two. On the flip side, the fact Baylor allowed its name to be associated with intelligent design at a time when it was trying to move up the academic ladder was a demonstration of how conservative values get in the way of academic exploration. Therein lies the reason the MPC and Evolutionary Informatics Lab failed; they were negatively impacting the university, both internally and externally. Nobody seemed to be content; the researchers involved were constantly subjected to outside criticism, and those same outside critics felt their university name was being tarnished. Being even further distanced from the MPC now, it can be viewed through a more objective lens. Donald Schmeltekopf made some fascinating reflections on that time in Baylor’s history in his book Baylor at a Crossroads. In the fall of 2000, Schmeltekopf delivered a rather influential speech to the faculty, where he presented two possibilities: We can either maintain our present course, with appropriate fine-tuning along the way, or we can aspire to much higher levels of accomplishment and thereby become an academically and intellectually powerful university, indeed, one of the top two or three Christian universities in the world.147 However, for all the excitement surrounding that speech, he acknowledges that things “had taken a decidedly ugly turn”148 with the establishment of the MPC: 147 Schmeltekopf, Baylor at the Crossroads, 70. 148 Ibid., 74. 78 The controversy surrounding the Polanyi Center and its work came as a surprise to me. I had no idea the creation of a research unit to investigate the intersection of religion and science would prompt such hostile reactions...the widespread objection to the center was not based on how it was done, but what was done. That is, there was fundamental opposition to a research unit dedicated to the proposition that philosophical naturalism, implicitly embraced by many scientists in the academy, is ultimately unsatisfactory, philosophically or theologically.149 Schmeltekopf’s observation of hostile reactions is similar to my own. When creation science ideas are rolled out as potentially challenging to evolution, the reaction is stronger than what their statements on such matters might lead us to believe. Scientists are rather nonchalant about creation science until it is compared to evolution. I think Schmeltekopf is right when he says this comes from a place of fundamental opposition to the idea that philosophical naturalism is unsatisfactory. However, this is not a bad opposition to have. As seen in previous chapters, a type of naturalism guides many of the principles of scientific inquiry. It provides the borders of what can be explained with science. Perhaps a fundamental opposition is a protection of a discipline; it keeps science robust, in that its objectives remain the same. I would like to finish by very briefly examining where this puts Baylor at now. Baylor is in the midst of its second earnest attempt of gaining tier 1 status. According to Dr. Doyle, Baylor 2012 had no hope of making Baylor tier one. However, if it were not for Baylor 2012, Baylor would not be in the position it is now to achieve such a goal. All that being said, I think the same questions remain: Can Baylor reach such a goal while maintaining its Christian roots? What types of sacrifices must be made to achieve that? Is tier-one truly what Baylor should be striving for? Answering these questions is well outside the scope of this thesis, but I feel they are important questions to be discussed. 149 Ibid., 81. 79 CONCLUSION Through this thesis, I have evaluated a variety of views regarding the origins of the universe and how humans came to be. I explored the importance of language in this discussion, and the nuances behind why language matters so much. I evaluated these ideas from a Southern Baptist perspective and looked at how various theological convictions played into those ideas. Indeed, a quick answer to the question involves a literal reading of Genesis, but a more in-depth answer would involve the moral and theological implications of that literal reading. Next, I examined the scientific evidence for evolution, and how that forms a response to creation science. Scientists around the world reject quite strongly to ideas of creation science because there is a lot at stake. They do not want to entertain the ideas that stop the progress of science. Finally, I explored the Michael Polanyi Center at Baylor, a specific instance when these two ideas were forced to coexist, and saw what that can teach us about the nature of this debate. 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