Science in Christian Perspective
John A. McIntyre*
Department of Physics
Texas A & M University
College Station, TX 77840
From: PSCF 51 (September 1999): 144-145.
"Godless" evolution is dead! After seven score years of relentless Christian pressure, an authoritative scientific voice, The National Academy of Sciences, has withdrawn the claim that "evolution is an unsupervised, impersonal process."1 Critics of Christianity can no longer assert that evolution denies the possibility of a personal God Supervising the process of evolution.
The nature of the scientific pressure on the National Academy is described in another article in this issue of PSCF.2 There it is shown that the previous description of biological evolution contains a logical fallacy. By withdrawing the claim that "evolution is an unsupervised, impersonal process," the National Academy has eliminated this fallacy.
The logical fallacy used by evolutionists is the argument that there is no purpose behind evolution. This argument is a fallacy because the data of evolution are materialistic; the data are obtained with material measuring instruments. On the other hand, purpose and an agent of purpose (God) are outside the materialistic world. Thus, evidence from the materialistic world of evolution cannot logically be used to conclude that there is no God outside this materialistic world exercising purpose. It is as though Hamlet concluded that there was no Shakespeare because he could not find Shakespeare within the confines of the play.
This logical fallacy has appeared in official evolutionary literature as recently as the 1996 Statement on Teaching Evolution by the National Association of Biology Teachers.3 The key phrase in their statement is:
The diversity of life on earth is the outcome of evolution: an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable and natural process of temporal descent with genetic modification that is affected by natural selection, chance, historical contingencies and changing environments.
Here, the logical fallacy appears in the claim that evolution is unsupervised and impersonal. Since personal supervision lies outside the material world of evolution, evidence from materialistic evolution cannot logically be used to conclude anything about supervision from outside the materialistic world.
The above statement from the National Association of Biology Teachers is reproduced in Appendix C of the 1998 National Academy of Sciences publication referred to above, Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science. However, in Appendix C the statement has been modified by deleting the two crossed out words shown below:
The diversity of life on earth is the
outcome of evolution: an
unpredictable and natural process of temporal descent with genetic modification
that is affected by natural selection, chance, historical contingencies and
The National Academy version of the statement in Appendix C thus removes the logical fallacy previously used in the statement of the Biology Teachers.
In conclusion, the content of biological evolution is no longer officially claimed to be impersonal and unsupervised. Thus, the God of the Bible is no longer officially challenged by biological evolution. As a consequence, when opposing textbooks that continue to claim that evolution is impersonal and unsupervised,4 Christians need only point to the National Academy of Sciencesí definition of evolution that does not include this claim.5 The removal of such textbooks from the curriculum should naturally follow. The Christian belief in a personal God who supervises the processes of creation will, then, no longer be challenged by evolution.
1J. A. McIntyre, "Evolutionís Fatal Flaw," Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 51 (September 1999): 162ñ9. This paper was presented at the 1998 Conference of Christians in Science and the American Scientific Affiliation, August 2ñ5.
2Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1998).
3"Statement on Teaching Evolution," The American Biology Teacher 58:1 (1996).
4J. A. McIntyre, Evolutionís Fatal Flaw.
5Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science.