Theologian Hits Back at Writer’s Claim That Evolution Is ‘Settled Science’

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. hit back today at a writer’s claim that evolution is “settled science.”

Mohler published a rebuttal to Tom Krattenmaker’s recent op-ed for USA Today titled “Evolution Is Not a Matter of Belief,” calling the headline “one of the most misleading … imaginable.”

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At the center of Mohler’s rejoinder was a reaction to Krattenmaker’s claim that evolution should be embraced as fact.

“In a time of great divides over religion and politics, it’s not surprising that we treat evolution the way we do political issues. But here’s the problem: As settled science, evolution is not a matter of opinion, or something one chooses to believe in or not, like a religious proposition,” wrote Krattenmaker, who described himself as a progressive. “And by often framing the matter this way, we involved in the news media, Internet debates and everyday conversation do a disservice to science, religion and our prospects for having a scientifically literate country.”

Krattenmaker’s point is that “belief” isn’t the same in religion as it is when speaking about science. In the faith world, he argues that religion involves accepting moral and spiritual truths.

In the realm of evolution, he said belief is more about calling something “an accurate account of what we observe” or something that is simply “scientifically valid.”

Mohler, though, charged that these arguments are flawed, claiming that there is certainly scientific consensus, but that there is no definitive “settled science.” Science, the faith leader argued “is never settled.”

“The very nature of science is to test and retest hypotheses and to push toward new discoveries,” he wrote. “No Nobel prizes are awarded for settled science. Instead, those prizes are awarded for discoveries and innovations.”

Mohler also charged that any belief — be it religious or scientific — requires that individuals embrace “basic presuppositions.” Like theology, he said that science must follow this same pattern. These baseline ideas are often the springboard for resulting theories and, though unprovable, without these unsubstantiated presuppositions, the attached theories cannot stand.

In order to function from an intellectual standpoint, he said both faith and science must follow suite.

“That anyone would deny this about evolution is especially striking, given the infamous gaps in the theory and the lack of any possible experimental verification,” Mohler wrote. “One of the unproven and unprovable presuppositions of evolution is uniformitarianism, the belief that time and physical laws have always been constant.”

He added, “That is an unproven and unprovable assumption.  Nevertheless, it is an essential presupposition of evolutionary science. It is, we might well say, taken on faith by evolutionists.”

And while Krattenmaker said that evolution is merely “a process by which species change over time,” Mohler hit back, claiming that the dominant theory of evolution centers upon the notion that something essentially came from nothing.

The two did agree that simultaneous belief in both God and evolution is possible.

Read Mohler’s complete argument here.

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