Science in Christian Perspective





From: JASA 18 (June 1966): 54-55.

It is a truism that a scholar must, at times, feast off the mind of others lest he be stifled by his own muddled thoughts. With this in mind, the following quotes are given and editorial remarks made as appropriate.

"It is, of course, possible that both evolution and special creationism together may account for the state of living objects as we know them. It is always possible that the larger groups of plants and animals were specially created. Biology is not in a position to prove otherwise because the demarcation between the various phyla, as they are called, is clear and distinct and too large to be accounted for by evolution on the basis of the available data. Their connection by evolution is really assumed by a process of extrapolation." Fothergill in Evolution and Christians.1

"We are entitled to say that on a varietal, species or even generic level, evolution is certainly true, but the farther we get away from the species-we find a progressive diminution in the degree of certitude until we reach the phyla where there is little evidence, either direct or indirect, that these groups have actually evolved from fewer and fewer phyla until we arrive at the original progenitor of all things. The phyla, in fact, stand apart and distinct in the light of our modem knowledge of them, and they all appear fully formed, or determined, in the rocks. That is the fact." Fothergill in Evolution and Christians.

"Modern selectionists often define evolution in a limited sense to suit their purpose. If they show-that a population has changed, that is evolution . But that is not evolution in the more complete sense of Darwin of an ultimate descent of all organisms from one or a few primordial ancestors." Fothergill in Evolution and Christians.

"He (Dewar) asked, if organisms are full of vestiges -, why are they not also full of nascent organs asthey should be on the evolutionary theory?" Fothergill in Evolution and Christians.

"Thus, in my (Fothergill) view, these three successive kidneys (in vertebrate embryos) are a necessary and beautiful device for meeting the needs of the embryo while the final type of kidney is being developed." Fothergill in Evolution and Christians.

One should not assume that Fothergill is a "Special Creationist" from the above quotations but he does touch on some of the weaknesses of the evolutionary theory which are all too often neglected. I agree with all of the material in the quotations and have said much the same thing in the pages of this magazine mi

the past. In addition to the weaknesses quoted above, there are other objections to evolution. In science, however, a theory is not rejected if there are some objections to it and scientists will continue to support evolution until the weight of evidence against it is greater than it is at the present day. As Fothergill implies above, the growing mass of evidence for speciation or change at the lower taxonomic levels which is accumulating at an accelerating pace, cannot be used as evidence for evolution in the larger sense or that the present taxa have come from simpler organisms.

"If there were no freedom, if all the vicissitudes of life, the pains and pleasures, the beauty as well as the ugliness were due only to accidents, if everything were as meaningless as a game of poker, if our ideas were simply jokes and our spiritual life were nothing but stupidity or hypocrisy, then I would prefer to quitto die at once." George Sarton in Science, Religion and Reality, ed. by Joseph Needham, 1955.2 Here is something for the pure mechanists to ponder.

"Has our century produced philosophers superior to Plato or Socrates, artists who surpass the medievals, keener thinkers than the men of the renaissance or greater writers than the Elizabethans?" Charles Hum.mel.3 I might add, on the other hand, that our present day scientists are equal or superior to those of former years. Granting that my conjecture is true, I wonder what the reason for the difference is?

"I am a religious fanatic. I am very irrational in my religious beliefs. I go so far as to believe in God, whom I cannot empirically prove.-My mental, spiritual and moral being are based primarily on my faith in God. -Faith is a little word, and the thought of it is rejected by many, but when something works, man has a tendency to trust it." George Reynolds in MSU State News, March 5, 1965. Mr. Reynolds also made quite a point of the faith which the scientist has in his fellow scientists.


1. Longmans, London, 1961. 2. G. Braziller, New York, 1955. 3. President, Barrington College, Barrington, Rhode Island.

JUNE, 1966

Continued from page 50 attempt to make his Christian faith relevant to his discipline any more than a business man should be excused from making his faith relevant to his business ethics. A problem arises, however, when one is called upon to demonstrate that his conclusions are indeed Christian and not simply a matter of his own opinion or judgment. One must not hide behind his Christian faith as a cover-up for narrowmindedness or shoddy thinking. Further, the Christian must hold his judgments in love and not condemnation, for as John Locke pointed out, a man may think that he is right but he can never know it. In the same manner as the Christian is admonished to be ready to give to every man a reason for the hope that is within him, so the Christian teacher of political science should be ready and willing to share with his students his own conclusions or judgments based upon both his Christian faith and his professional training, with an explanation of the processes by which he arrived at his answers. The instructor must then encourage the student to do his own thinking and come to his own conclusions, even though the conclusions of the student differ from those of the professor.


1. (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1951), p. 4.

2. The Elements of Political Science (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1952), p. 9.

3. Kenneth W. Thompson, "Political Science," Christian Faith and the Liberal Arts, ed. by Harold H. Ditmanson, Howard V. Hong, Warren A. Quanbeck (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1960). John H. Hallowell, "Political Science," Religious Perspectives in College Teaching, ed. by Hoxie N. Fairchild, et. al. (New York: The Ronald Press, 1952).

4. Francis J. Sorauf, Political Science: An Informal Overview (Columbus, Ohio: Charles E. Merrill Books, Inc., 1965), pp, 10-21.

5. James R. Cameron, Frederick William Maitland and the History of English Law (Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1961), pp. 82-99.

6. Arthur Bentley, The Process of Government (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1908). Charles Merriam, New Aspects of Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1925).

7. Sorauf, Political Science: An Informal Overview, p. 13.

8. The Future of Political Science (New York: Atherton Press, 1963).

9. E. Earle Stibitz, "A Religious Point of View in Teaching the Liberal Arts," Liberal Education, May, 1959, pp. 249-262.

10. D. Luther Evans, Essentials of Liberal Education (Boston: Ginn and Company, 1942), p. 126.

11. Mark 12:30-31.

12. Matthew 25:40-42.

13. Reinhold Niebuhr on Politics, ed. by Harry R. Davis and Robert C. Good (New York: Charles Scribner's sons, 1960). pp. 84-91.