Creation or Evolution?

“When it comes to the origin of life there are only two possibilities: creation or spontaneous generation. There is no third way. Spontaneous generation was disproved one hundred years ago, but that leads us to only one other conclusion, that of supernatural creation. We cannot accept that on philosophical grounds; therefore, we choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance!”[1]  (emphasis added)

[1] Wald, G. (1954, May). The Origin of Life. Scientific American, 191, p. 48ff.

This is of course a serious and fundamental issue.  This short post was an extract from an answer on a social site where Dan had answered a question which I obtained permission to copy.  It is crisp and concise and manages to get across the scientific dissatisfaction with the paradigm.  This will always be a heated issue and there are bigots on both sides.  This is not really an issue about who is more scientific but really about what your metaphysical presuppositions are.  Thus, though some of the quotes are from those long since dead and some probably need a little more context or expansion, e.g., more can be found on Corner here and the controversy surrounding the Etheridge quote here; similarly, a rather tortured refutation of Nilsson here, what is said in these quotes shows that evolution is more of a metaphysical commitment than a robust scientific theory.  The famous and influential Stephen J Gould who was something of an apologist for evolutionary thought for 30 years, proposed a novel theory known as punctuated evolution in 1972 primarily in an attempt to get the “evidence” of the fossil record to concur with evolutionary “theory” better.  He had directly refuted the conventional Darwinian notion of gradual change in proposing his theory and said exactly that – it was not an option that evolution did not happen, we just have to come up with a way of fitting the evidence to the theory.

Though some impressive Christian thinkers such as Alvin Plantinga have argued there is no reason why in principle God could not use the process of evolution in a creative way, I do not think his work is arguing that evolution did in fact take place.  Plantinga’s later work was much more concerned with the refutation of naturalism and demonstrating it was incommensurate even with evolutionary thought.  I include the link to his talk below.

To avoid the charge of “creationist”, let it be clear that I do not believe in a 6-day creation and neither do I believe the Bible teaches that, even when a young Christian and full of zeal, I wrote extensively in that vein.  Genesis 1-2 record the re-creation of the Earth after it had been destroyed by a the judgment of a previous race of men.  However, neither do I believe a credible scientific account of evolution has been given that stands up to examination.

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