It’s Not About Supernaturalism: My Ultimate Salvo Against Creationism
January 14, 2011
My last post on Dr. Mohler’s article on evolution needs further clarification. Thanks for the feedback on that post. Mohler’s framework should be roundly rejected, and here’s why:
Dr. Mohler wants to frame the issue as a matter of naturalistic presuppositions in a systematic worldview: “The entire intellectual enterprise of evolution is based on naturalistic assumptions, and I do not share those presuppositions.” This is one of the most careless — and surely one of the most harmful — statements I’ve ever read on this issue. When geneticists discovered the cell degeneration in cancer victims, did they do this on “naturalistic assumptions”? Of course. When physicists discovered the speed of light and applied it in astronomy to gauge the distance of galaxies, did they do this on naturalistic assumptions? Of course. So, when these same geneticists measure the variations in the genetic code and determine enough variables that point toward hominid origins of millions of years past, are they working on naturalistic assumptions? Of course. When the astronomers measure the time it takes for light to reach us from distant stars (billions of years), are they using naturalistic assumptions? Of course. When geologists measure the substrata of the earth and create models (billions of years) to account for the accumulation, are they using naturalistic assumptions? YES!
I trust that you see where I’m going with this. Mohler discredits evolution because evolutionary conclusions arise from naturalistic assumptions, but Mohler would have to discredit all of natural science. The work of the scientist always follows upon naturalistic assumptions: that’s the whole point of what they’re doing — discerning properties and effects in nature. This has absolutely nothing to do with a belief in the reality of supernatural occurrences or divine governance: some scientists believe, some don’t. Whether they believe or not has nothing to do with their calculations as geneticists, astronomers, and geologists. Every example I provided in the previous paragraph stands regardless of whether you believe in supernatural agency.
Mohler’s epistemology of science is the quintessence of what we call “fundamentalist,” “sectarian,” or “anti-intellectual.” It is deeply harmful to the church. It creates suspicious and closed minds in the pews, and it forces any congregant, who wishes to pursue the great calling of being a scientist, to reject his or her faith. More importantly, the lordship of Christ in our lives does not require an Ancient Near-Eastern cosmology, nor does a modern cosmology harm our witness to his mighty works in Israel and the Church.