Tuesday, January 12, 2010

This Weekend: Creation-Evolution Seminar

I just found out last night that the local SDA Church is having a 2 day Creation-Evolution seminar. It will be a presentation by the pastor John Kurlinski, who considers himself an expert on the subject, with a guest speaker Stan Hudson. The two have collaborated before. For example this program for Life Talk Radio charmingly called Sink the Beagle (page 9 of PDF). I have no idea who Stan Hudson is but he claims to have a Ph.D in "science" and maybe the author of this ranty little Spokesman Review article. Money quote:

Evolutionism is a faith-based theory of origins, just like creationism, and as such it is adhered to with religious fervor.

I doubt I'll be available or inclined to attend any or all of the seminar, so I can't comment on the content. I will say that I don't worship Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution is not a religion.

Evolution is based on the scientific method. There are tests that can determine whether or not the theory is correct as it stands, and these tests can be made. Thousands of such tests have been made, and the current theories have passed them all. Also, scientists are willing to alter the theories as soon as new evidence is discovered. This allows the theories to become more and more accurate as research rogresses.

Most religions, on the other hand, are based on revelations, that usually cannot be objectively verified. They talk about the why, not the how. Also, religious beliefs are not subject to change as easily as scientific beliefs. Finally, a religion normally claims an exact accuracy, something which scientists know they may never achieve.

Some people build up religious beliefs around scientific principles, but then it is their beliefs which are the religion. This no more makes scientific knowledge a religion than painting a brick makes it a bar of gold. So the answer is no, evolution is no more a religion than any other scientific theory.


perpetualstudent said...

That's funny. According to this page, he was a drop out geology major, who now has a doctor of ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is now a pastor of the Moscow, ID and Pullman, WA churches. As you know a D Min degree is as "sciencey" as they get. You owe it to your readers to sit through every moment, as they set up straw men versions of evolution that have nothing to do with the real thing and then knock them down with the greatest of ease.

Iron Soul said...

Thanks for the link. We'll see what happens this weekend. It would certainly be interesting and frustrating, but I have so little free time I just imagine I'll find something I'd rather do.

perpetualstudent said...

By the way did you notice that according to the Life Talk Radio program guide, your pastor has a PhD in "science" too. It's just such a funny way of saying it. Like their degree program accepted hand written dissertations that began, "Hello, my name is Kent Hovind ..." Just another example in how having the truth means that you can inflate your expertise and credentials.

Iron Soul said...

Yeah, Pastor John told me his PhD was in 'evolution' but in reality it is more like philosophy of religion.

Herb said...

What's fun to do is willingly volunteer to accept the assertion of an individual "in the ministry" who claims advanced education in evolution, but not to ask the questions he expects. Instead, excitedly seek explanations on helping you to understand Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, or gene amplification, or allopolyploidy, or Lynn Margulis's endosymbiotic hypothesis from this individual with such an advanced education in (and knowledge of) evolution.

I would expect any individual who has completed advanced studies in evolution to recognize all of these terms and how they relate to evolutionary theory and to at minimum be able to accurately and specifically describe in detail at least two of them. If the self-proclaimed expert fails in this regard you may politely opt to express doubt about his credentials and go on to suggest that he would be more credible to you if he practiced the famous and ancient rule of war: "Know thy enemy." If he lacks knowledge of and cannot comment in a way that conveys familiarity and education in the field, he has shown quite clearly that he has failed to understand the topic it is he claims to be arguing against.

On the other hand, if he actually is able to answer such an inquiry and display knowledge consistent with advanced studies in evolution, then it would be equally fun and fascinating to hear why he rejects evolution.

Iron Soul said...

Herb, I love it. I'm just not sure I'm smart enough on biology to pull it off. I might have to give it a try.

Lori said...

Herb, you've given the tests of a "false prophet". :)