Prominent Scientist’s Take-Down of Critics’ Fiery Claims That ‘Evolutionary Biology Discredits the Bible’ or That the Bible ‘Discredits Science’

A prominent scientist and author who has had an eclectic career in media and academia believes that critics who “claim that modern evolutionary biology discredits the Bible” and those who say that “the ancient biblical story of creation discredits science” are both “mistaken.”

Dr. Michael Guillen, a former Harvard University instructor who holds a PhD in physics, mathematics and astronomy, provided a detailed statement to TheBlaze about where he stands on the ever-contentious evolution debate, breaking down each piece of the confounding puzzle.

And Guillen knows a thing or two about the ceaseless debate over science and religion, as he recently published a new book on the subject titled, “Amazing Truths: How Science and the Bible Agree.”

Image source: Shutterstock
Photo credit: Shutterstock

It is his belief in finding commonalities between faith and science that drives his unique approach to the evolution issue.

“The subject at hand is important to science because evolution is the conceptual foundation of today’s biology,” Guillen wrote in a detailed statement to TheBlaze after taping an appearance that will air Friday on The Church Boys podcast. “It’s equally important to the Bible because nowhere is evolution explicitly mentioned in the Genesis account of creation.”

He continued, “But the subject is complicated because evolution is actually three theories in one – the evidence for which ranges from solid to non-existent. It’s also complicated because, even though the Bible is infallible (or so I believe), we who read and live by it are not.”

From there, Guillen went on to discuss the differences between micro-evolution, macro-evolution and radical evolution, breaking down what he believes to be the level of real-world evidence for each paradigm.

“According to micro-evolution, species are constantly adapting to changes in the environment. The scientific evidence for this is solid – as anyone who keeps up with news about drug-resistant bacteria understands clearly,” he wrote. “Moreover, there is nothing about micro-evolution that overtly contradicts Scripture. So I see no disagreement here whatsoever.”

The scientist went on to explain that macro-evolution is a bit different, as it involves species themselves changing and morphing. Guillen provided the example of fish, over enough time, evolving into humans, saying that, in that case, the evidence is “suggestive but inconclusive, no matter what anyone says and notwithstanding our careful reading of the fossil record.”

In order to be certain of the realities surrounding macro-evolution, the scientist said that one would need to have enough time to observe a plant or animal in the act of morphing from one species to another.

Then, he moved on to what he called “radical evolution” — the most contentious of the three paradigms.

“According to radical evolution, all species on Earth originally developed by chance from inorganic matter (which, physicists hold, sprung into being from nothing),” he wrote. “Here the biological evidence is virtually non-existent, notwithstanding lively and creative speculation about the possible effect of electrical jolts on inorganic molecules, seeds of life raining on Earth from outer space, and so forth.”

Guillen went on to discuss that the Bible recounts a creation scenario in which God “spoke everything into being” in six days, though there is debate over the actual length of each of these “days,” which he said are referred to as “yamim” in the original Hebrew.

Photo credit: Shutterstock
Photo credit: Shutterstock

That in mind, Guillen said that there are a number of questions worth considering.

“But how long were each of those yamim? And once God had created the original complement of terrestrial species, could the forces he set into motion cause them to change and diversify?” he wrote. “The fact is, a sincere reading of Scripture allows for more than one enlightened interpretation – each of which is ‘literal.'”

In the end, Guillen said that the debate over evolution mirrors past battles that have unfolded over issues such as whether the sun or the Earth were at the center of the universe. While debates like these are, many times, resolved in time, he said that it is often problematic when people take a stance that says that only the Bible or science can be accurate, as it is often simply interpretations of either that are off-kilter.

“I don’t get worked up about today’s hyper-impassioned debate over evolution. As I explain in the book, science and the Bible are like a strongly married couple who see eye-to-eye on the fundamental truths about the universe,” he wrote. “Like any married couple, they inevitably will have their disagreements. And, yes, some of them will be doozies, like today’s about evolution. But in the end, truth does not contradict truth.”

In the end, Guillen believes that people will realize that the debate over evolution, like many other perceived conflicts between science and religion, is the fault of peoples’ interpretive frameworks and not scripture or science.

Read more about his new book, “Amazing Truths: How Science and the Bible Agree.” Also, you can read Guillen’s entire statement on evolution below:

Evolution is one of the most contentious issues today among people who hold dear the discoveries of science and the teachings of the Bible. Many of the former claim that modern evolutionary biology discredits the Bible. Many of the latter claim that the ancient biblical story of creation discredits science. I believe the evidence is that both camps are mistaken.

The subject at hand is important to science because evolution is the conceptual foundation of today’s biology. It’s equally important to the Bible because nowhere is evolution explicitly mentioned in the Genesis account of creation.

But the subject is complicated because evolution is actually three theories in one – the evidence for which ranges from solid to non-existent. It’s also complicated because, even though the Bible is infallible (or so I believe), we who read and live by it are not. My Catholic friends get around that complication by believing in the infallibility of the Pope, whose interpretation of Scripture is considered unassailable.

According to micro-evolution, species are constantly adapting to changes in the environment. The scientific evidence for this is solid – as anyone who keeps up with news about drug-resistant bacteria understands clearly. Moreover, there is nothing about micro-evolution that overtly contradicts Scripture. So I see no disagreement here whatsoever.

According to macro-evolution, species themselves can change – can evolve, for example, from a fish into a human, given enough time. Here the scientific evidence is suggestive but inconclusive, no matter what anyone says and notwithstanding our careful reading of the fossil record – and for good reason. For us ever to be certain, we would need to document over a long period of time an existing plant or animal in the act of actually morphing from one species to an entirely different one.

According to radical evolution, all species on Earth originally developed by chance from inorganic matter (which, physicists hold, sprung into being from nothing). Here the biological evidence is virtually non-existent, notwithstanding lively and creative speculation about the possible effect of electrical jolts on inorganic molecules, seeds of life raining on Earth from outer space, and so forth.

According to the Bible, God spoke everything into being. And he did it, we’re informed, in just six days – six yamim, in the original Hebrew. But how long were each of those yamim? And once God had created the original complement of terrestrial species, could the forces he set into motion cause them to change and diversify? The fact is, a sincere reading of Scripture allows for more than one enlightened interpretation – each of which is “literal.”

Impassioned debates such as this are not new. Centuries ago people disagreed about whether the sun or Earth was at the center of the universe. The disagreement was just as heated as today’s about evolution. It appeared to pit science squarely against the Bible. It took people to the brink, seemingly forcing them to take sides. But that’s not how it played out.

For starters, the disagreement was not between science and the Bible. During Galileo’s lifetime – roughly from the mid-16th to the mid-17th century – it was science that promulgated the belief in an Earth-centered universe, a hold-over of Aristotelian cosmology. The Church went along with it because it appeared to conform nicely with its interpretation of Scripture (e.g., Psalm 104:5, “He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.”). That is why the Church tried and convicted Galileo for disagreeing, not because it was scientifically benighted, as is commonly claimed nowadays.

In the end, the conflict was resolved: the sun is at the center of the solar system (not the universe). But the only casualties of the long, bitter debate were the people who had claimed hysterically that the veracity of science itself or the Bible itself was on the line. Neither of them was; only our imperfect interpretations of the scientific evidence and Holy Scripture were.

For these reasons and others that I discuss in my newest book, Amazing Truths: How Science and the Bible Agree, I don’t get worked up about today’s hyper-impassioned debate over evolution. As I explain in the book, science and the Bible are like a strongly married couple who see eye-to-eye on the fundamental truths about the universe. Like any married couple, they inevitably will have their disagreements. And, yes, some of them will be doozies, like today’s about evolution.

But in the end, truth does not contradict truth. I’m quite confident that one day, we will discover the disagreement was our fault, not science’s or the Bible’s. The marriage will survive and be stronger for it. And we ourselves will be the wiser and our faith will be deeper and broader than ever before because of it as well.

Front page image via Shutterstock.com.

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