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Proclamation Index

The Great Creation-Evolution, Science-Faith, Debate Revisited, Part I

Two years ago this Spring-at 7pm on the evening of April 20, 1996-nearly 2000 people made their way into the Alfond Arena at the University of Maine (Orono), to witness a live, unrehearsed Creation-Evolution debate, sponsored by AIIA. Dr. John G. T. Anderson represented the evolutionist point of view, and Dr. Gary E. Parker presented evidence for creationism. John Greenman of Maine Public Television moderated the exchange, and a number of local media outlets covered the event, among them WHCF-FM in Bangor. WHCF subsequently sold audio tapes of their broadcast. This month and next, AIIA revisits that historic debate by excerpting a few key, revealing (but not necessarily sequentially arranged) portions of what was said, based on transcripts from those tapes. Dr. Anderson: "Science to me is clearly differentiated from my religion, and it's differentiated in this manner. Science is about doubt. Science is about questioning. We never intend to prove things in science. We only disprove them. This can be very disheartening at times, because what many of us are looking for is some truth." Dr. Parker: "Well let me suggest to you that nothing is really easier or more natural than finding and recognizing scientific evidence of creation." Dr. Anderson: "Well, I can put out to you as a challenge-if you could find living together truly modern and truly ancient forms; if you could show me a fossil human in rocks from the Precambrian, then I would have no option under my theory but to say, 'This has been falsified. This theory does not meet the facts as they are presented.' As a scientist my job is to go on looking for that human in the rocks of the Precambrian. I take nothing that I can avoid on faith. Rather I am doubting everything. When I come to my religion, on the other hand, the first requirement of my religion is faith. And at the point that I resort to faith I cease to be a scientist. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. There are many things that science doesn't address. Science is not about what ought to be. Science does not give me guidance as to my moral behavior. So there's a vital need for religion in conjunction with my science. But's it's also vitally necessary for me to recognize when I stray from my science into my religion and from my religion into my science." Dr. Parker: "Supposing you've been reading a fantastic novel, and you get to the end of the novel and you say, 'Wow! That was really neat. I wonder where I can buy a bottle of that ink.' You'd never say that, would you? You realize that the ink didn't write the book. There is a natural chemical tendency for ink and paper to stick together, but at random. If you want coded information, somebody's gotta act on the ink using the properties of the ink and the paper but nevertheless imposing a created relationship. The credit for the book doesn't go to the ink and the paper. It goes to the author of the book. Similarly, when you look at the genetic code, the credit doesn't go to the 'ink and the paper'-the DNA and the protein. It goes to the Author of life-the God who created to begin with." Dr. Anderson: "Were Dr. Parker to show me fossils of Australians in the same rocks as those blue green algae, I would have a very hard time reconciling that with my notions of evolution by natural selection." Dr. Anderson: "It's important to realize that evolution by no means precludes the existence of God. Evolution does not address the question of the presence or absence of God."

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