There was an interesting discussion today on Scot McKnight's blog, The Jesus Creed, dealing with the relationship between faith and science. RJS, a guest poster, has been leading a discussion about Francis S. Collins' book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. The discussion was about whether a literal interpretation of Genesis was torpedoing our attempts at reaching out to scientists. RJS' question for the board was whether scientific discoveries should change our hermeneutic (especially of Genesis 1–11). I encourage you to read the discussion as it was interesting.
The thing that threw me was the following statement from RJS, before she outlined the evidence for a 4.5 billion year old earth and the common descent of the species:
"So what are the generally accepted facts? As you read what follows remember this key point: NO serious scientist doubts this basic outline – except a few with a prior conviction that evidence from scripture trumps all else."
Now, I never claim to be a scientist. I studied evolutionary biology in high school and then got the "Young Earth" theory at Cedarville. I was exposed to the street level arguments in both discussions, but I hardly understand the technical arguments. Personally, I believe in a relatively young earth. I think there are gaps in the geneologies in Genesis, so I am willing to grant that people have been around for 50,000 years. But I have not been convinced by the evolutionists that the earth HAS to be older than that.
And this is where RJS' comment struck me--the phrase "NO serious scientist." There is a lot implied in this phrase. It essentially means that if you hold to a young earth you are not a serious scientist. You may be a scientist, but you are not a serious scientist. And if you are not a serious scientist, well then you are a fanatic fundamentalist. Do you see the power play in this language? There are the evolutionists (us), and then there are the lunatics (them).
To me, evolution is more of a metanarrative than science. It is a framing story that helps scientists do what they do. And as it functions as such, I am all for it. If evolution helps scientists develop cures for diseases and iPods that hold more music, great. But why do they feel the need to impose their metanarrative on the rest of us? Over 90% of people in the world believe in God, so their attempts are largely failing. But still, scientists carry themselves with this implied authority that because they are scientists, we should listen to them.
Scientism, or naturalism, or evolutionary biology, or whatever you want to call the rejection of the spiritual doesn't answer the questions that I am asking. Can't they be comfortable agreeing to disagree?
On a side note, Francis Collins and RJS are both Christians. I don't know where RJS stands, but I think that Collins supports some kind of theistic evolution. I am sure that both of them are brilliant and they can well defend their positions. I bet they are both great people, too. I am open to the idea that Genesis 1–11 should be interpreted figuratively, but I think Romans 5 implies that Paul interpreted the Adam narrative "literally" (whatever that meant to him). I don't see the need to adapt my metanarrative to match that of evolutionary biology. Why do scientists insist that I agree with them?
Maybe I'm a fundamentalist afterall.
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