Evolution vs. Creationism by Verda Kamal The origin of mankind has been a topic of interest for everyone, from a microbiologist to the layman, for hundreds of years. Different theories had been postulated to explain it but none of them elucidated the process as well as the theory proposed by Charles Darwin in 1859 known as ‘The Darwin Theory. ‘ The latter came as a shock to the monotheistic religious groups who believed a divine power to be responsible for the creation of humanity rather than just an evolutionary process.
The Catholics were one such religious group which, while opposing ‘The Darwin Theory’ conducted research to scrutinize the idea in detail. The Darwin Theory is accepted globally and is an integral part of the students’ textbooks but some of its aspects still seem dubious and it seems to go against the teachings of Catholicism i. e. altogether denies the existence of the Omnipotent and Omnipresent God Almighty. The Darwin Theory bases its concept on three main ideas: microevolution, natural selection and speciation.
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Microevolution is concerned with mutations in the DNA of an organism who, in this case, is a human. Natural selection brings out the notion of ‘the survival of the fittest. ‘ In the same way, speciation deals with the emergence of an altogether new species which is unable to mate with a member of its previous species (Evolution of Man-Theory Concepts). So basically, Darwin stated that the similarities between humans and chimpanzees (or apes) are not due to coincidence but are present due to the fact that both of them evolved from a common ancestor.
On the other hand, ‘The Theory of Creationism’ portrays a totally different picture. According to the Catholic Christians, God is the sole Creator of man and the process of creation is not that easy to explain as it is not the work of a human being but the work of someone divine. The supporters of the ‘Darwin Theory’ claim that they have sufficient support for the theory from the fields of anthropology, paleontology and molecular biology.
A careful analysis of the evidence shows that the support is insufficient as while using anthropology, human skeletons did not only resemble those of apes but also got mixed up with the skeletons of sheep-a big drawback for the theory fans. If we take in account the field of paleontology, the fossil data shows missing links which are significant enough to cause a problem. Here, the concept of ‘convergence’ also comes into the picture which states that anatomical features arise because of the need for specific functionality i. e. f two organisms appear alike, it doesn’t mean that they are related in any way (Evolution of Man-Theory Concepts). A question posed to the followers of Darwin by the opponents is that “science is said to rely on observation, replication and experimentation but the theory of evolution has not even been observed, let alone replicated? ” They answer it with the notion that “the scientists do not observe the concepts of theories but their consequences” giving examples like that of the Copernicus’ heliocentric theory which states that the Earth revolves around the sun.
It hasn’t been observed yet but is widely accepted because its predicted consequences have been confirmed by various scientists and this theory forms the basis of various others. The Catholics then argue that the theories of ‘evolution’ and ‘gravity between the Earth and sun’ are quite different as the latter still has sufficient evidence to support it while the theory of evolution just seems to hang in the air. Greg Getek Soltis, in his book, ‘Evolving Catholic Perspective on Creation,’ wrote, “Hype and hope rather than proof and truth account for the evolutionary paradigm’s parade down Science’s Main Street. The proponents of ‘The Darwin Theory’ repeatedly voice, what they consider to be a fact, that ‘it is impossible for science to go against religious beliefs as science has nothing to do with religion. The Book of Genesis is merely a book of religious revelations, not a textbook of astronomy or biology! ‘(Soltis). On the other hand, the Catholic religious scholars believe that science and religion go hand in hand and that science is used to explain religion and, therefore, the presence of a Divine Entity.
A Catholic Aquinas expert from Boston College, Steven Pope, combined the two different perspectives saying that “Evolution is God’s way of creating. ” However, Edward Furton from the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania disagrees and says that one of the basic teachings like “treat others the way you would like to be treated is incompatible with a philosophy of the survival of the fittest. ” The problem is like St. Thomas Aquinas said, “it is just as rational to claim that the world has existed for all eternity as it is to claim that the world was created at a specific moment”(Soltis) i. . we cannot just say that a theory is right because it can’t be proved wrong or there exists no other theory to replace it. The debate between Evolution and Creationism can go forever but without adequate evidence, we cannot reach a definite conclusion. The Theory of Evolution answers some of our questions on the origins of mankind but it cannot answer them all. The religious scholars, like those of the Catholics, keep looking onto the issue through their own spiritual lens while the ‘Darwin Theory’ cohorts view the same matter through a different i. . more rational lens. A consensus cannot be reached until the two groups agree to look through the others’ point of view. Research is still going on and more needs to be conducted to reach a solution to our queries and abridge the gap between religion and science. As St. Thomas Aquinas said, “Faith should not trump reason but the two should coexist. “(Soltis). Works Citing Page Ayala, Francisco. “Arguing for Evolution. ” The Global Spiral. Metanexus Institute. 27th January 2000. Web. 9th September 2010. url: http://metanexus. net/magazine/ArticleDetail/tabid/68/id/2564/Default. aspx “Evolution of Man-Theory Concepts. ” All About Science. AllAboutGOD. com. 2010. Web. 29th September 2010. url: http://www. allaboutscience. org/evolution-of-man. htm Soltis, Greg Getek. “D) evolving Catholic Perspectives on Creation” The Global Spiral. Metanexus Institute. 6th November 2009. Web. 29th September 2010. url: http://metanexus. net/magazine/ArticleDetail/tabid/68/id/10930/Default. aspx