Apologetics, Science, and the Debate between Evolution and Creation
by Navy Christian
I’m a big fan of apologetics in theology. I don’t debate all that often, but I’m trained in religion (MAR-Liberty) and I can present most theological arguments regarding Calvinist doctrine, theology, fall of man, etc. I’m certainly no celebrity of course. There are far better men and women out there who know way more than me and how to apply that knowledge. Just the same, I hone my skills with periodic debates and I want my children to understand apologetics as well. My wife and I bought our oldest an Apologetics Bible, which teaches him how to defend the scriptures at different points throughout the Bible. Presumably, our two younger children will also be brought up with apologetics.
Before I go any further, a definition is required. Apologetics is not the art of saying you’re sorry. Rather, it is the art of giving a defense. From the Catholic Encyclopedia: Apologetics means, broadly speaking, a form of apology. The term is derived from the Latin adjective, apologeticus, which, in turn has its origin in the Greek adjective, apologetikos, the substantive being apologia, “apology”, “defense”. The fact that I use a Catholic definition is ironic since I often provide a defense for Protestant views against Catholic dogma. Let me therefore use a standard dictionary definition: systematic argumentative discourse in defense (as of a doctrine). Essentially it’s the same definition.
Most of Creationism is about apologetics. Read through the Answers in Genesis website and much of what you’ll read is why the flood strata (which, as I gather is the same general strata as the Cretaceous period strata in evolutionary science) can prove that the flood is responsible for the death of dinosaurs and only took a few years to develop. I’m still working on this. In fact, I probably won’t really get to the dinosaur issue until I’m at a stopping point in my research on cystic fibrosis (and possibly other autosomal recessive genetic mutations).
Let me remind you of the ExamineScience Project’s methodology: We are going to look at modern science from its own perspective and determine if it allows for God. Then we will look at Creationism and find out if evolutionary science answers some of the questions that the Bible asks but doesn’t answer.
The key to the first part of this is a massive and lengthy review of the scientific data. Key to the second part is a review of the Bible, which will include apologetics. I believe they will both play a role in my life and research in the future.
However, one cannot be used in debating the other. For example, modern scientific data cannot be used to dissuade someone from believing in the Bible because scientific data cannot refute apologetics. Conversely, presenting a defense of the Bible cannot dissuade someone from believing in evolutionary biology. This was proven out in the recent Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate.
Let me give you an example of what I mean. In a supposedly scientific article on the Answers in Genesis website (first published in the Journal of Creation), the author provides ample evidence as to why apologetics and science don’t mix well.
“For most creationists, the extinction of the dinosaurs, as well as other extinctions, is not a mystery. In fact, the extinction of the dinosaurs and many other creatures has an easy answer—they simply died in the Genesis Flood (except those dinosaurs likely taken on the Ark, which probably died soon after the Flood).”
This is not a scientific argument. The rest of the article discredits the scientific theories of why the dinosaurs died out. Again, this is not scientific, but apologetic. Another example is the ICR’s explanation of old earth creationism, wherein unscientific, apologetic debate is used to counter the ideas of OEC.
By the way, I’m not becoming an evolutionist (at least not in the Richard Dawkins vein). Evolutionists have plenty of apologetic persons as well, Bill Nye being one of them, as well as Dawkins (in his many writings against creationism), and others. I think both sides present a defense for their beliefs instead of letting the science tell the story…a story, I hope, which will lead to the God of the Bible being the creator of the world.
As said in other posts, my desire is to be as non-biased as possible, but the reality is that we will all have to pry through the biases of others and ourselves before we find the truth. As always, sign up at this link to keep up to date with additional research!