I have kept this blog password protected all year, but since reading this article on The New Scientist website I feel I can come out of the cold.
When I was 21 I was sworn into the Anglican Church on the basis of a baptism and confirmation of my faith in the values and beliefs of Christianity. All I had read at the time were the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. My exposure to science was limited, but I’ve gone on to gain three science degrees – a BSc(Hon), MSc and MScEcon.
Over that period I have decided I do not wish to follow any way of life prescribed by any religion. I do however like the Christian message of tolerance and forgiveness, accept that the Old Testament’s conception of vengeance means that forgiveness can’t exist without it, like black can’t exist without white, or day without night. However, I put my faith in science so that it will be able to answer the questions about God one day, even though it can’t at the moment.
So what I am about to present may not be able to be proven or disproven by today’s science, but one day it definitely will be able to, if my faith becomes fact. When Charles Darwin wrote the “Origin of Species”, his theories were based on the best evidence available at the time, and many have been supported by modern science, others not. I think the ‘Great Flood’ story in the Bible was based on an actual event like a tsunami as historians suggest, and the writer of the story changed it to encourage people to believe in a higher power, called God.
The battle towards science and religion is on the basis that science can’t prove God, so that creates a conflict. Atheists regard this to mean God doesn’t exist. Christians, for example regard this to be that just because one can’t prove a higher power like God exist doesn’t mean it can’t – and they strongly believe God does exist and they see the prophets who gave voice the Bible as proving that. Both of these positions are protected in the UK by the Human Rights Act and Equality Acts.
I would like to suggest a consolidated view of evolution theory and creationism theory, where both can mutually exist and neither be wrong. This may be wide of the mark for devotees, but open minded scholar may find it thought provoking. I invite people to leave comments, and if they’re fair and balanced and non-offensive I will approve them.
Consider Adam and Eve. It is claimed that when they disobeyed God that he forced Eve to have more pains in pregnancy and because they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil they both had better decision-making abilities. Interestingly, scientists have discovered a biological ancestor of ours, called Lucy, who was the missing link between earlier claimed ancestors and more obvious less old findings. The difference between Lucy and primates was primarily that she had better decision-making capabilities (like post-sin Adam and Eve) and better child rearing capabilities (like post-sin Eve). Some coincidence, eh?
The Bible tells us that Adam and Eve and had three sons, who both had three wives – but it doesn’t say where they came from and the vicar of the church I was confirmed at couldn’t say either. It was this passage in Genesis 3 that started the loss in faith I had, as I could only assume at the time they were their sisters, but we all know that that causes evolutionary deformities and birth defects.
However, when I re-read Genesis 1 to 3, I had this strong sense that there was life outside the Garden of Eden. Genesis 1 appears to create beings (maybe Neanderthals) prior to createWhat if it followed that after God banished Adam and Eve from it that with their new knowledge and breeding capabilities they created their three sons, whose wives could only have been primates?
As wild as this may sound, scientists don’t know whether our ancestors species could or could not cross-fertilise with other species. If we have the view that science and religion are both compatible, then we can’t rule this out. It could be that Lucy was the offspring of one of Adam and Eve’s sons being crossed with a primate, and could explain why we have over 99% the same DNA as a chimpanzee, as we share a common ancestor.
As a scientist I think that for evolution theory to be at least 95% provable, it needs to be repeatable. At present only ‘natural selection’ is one of the few premises proven beyond reasonable doubt. But it may be that with advancements genetic science we could one day know whether the split between the primates that led to us and the ones that led to chimpanzees was because of those primates cross fertilisation with an advanced life form?
If evolution theory is to be proven at least 95% right, we will either have to replicating our ancestral path or find examples of other evolved life on this or other planets.
We could, through ‘DNA regression’, match fossil records to a hypothesised ‘pre-human genome’ through advancing genetic research to the extent where we can generate a 3D computer model of what an organism would look like based on its DNA – as with dinosaurs in the sci-fi Jurassic Park. Then we can using this and doing the same with chimpanzee DNA, see what our common ancestor looked like. After that we could using embryonic research replicate it – then we will have the answers!
The other alternative is to find evidence of earlier intelligent life before us, with no links to us, from billions of years before we came into being, even before the dinosaurs, or on other planets. But then again, would this not confirm that Genesis 1, where ‘God’ tells people to go forth and multiply, is at a different point in history to when we existed, as is depicted in our creation through Adam and Eve in Genesis 3.