Biologos and Science: The Case of the OOL

by Cornelius Hunter

Evolution is at a Tipping Point

Evolutionists claim their theory is a fact and one way they support this claim is by construing the relationship between religion and science according to what is known as the Warfare Thesis, a mythological retelling of history where scientific skepticism is marginalized as anti intellectual. But the Warfare Thesis is more than merely a perversion of history. When Biologos appeals to the Galileo Affair, for example, to support its evolutionary beliefs it is propagating a false history, but the misrepresentations do not stop there. The Warfare Thesis also relies on a false witness of science.

The Galileo Affair is the posterchild of the Warfare Thesis myth. As the story goes, poor old Galileo was a great scientist just doing his job when, after inventing the telescope, discovered the Earth goes around the Sun and this led to a firestorm of religious opposition from biblical literalists who naively and dogmatically referred to those passages of Scripture that say the Sun revolves around the Earth, and all this led to merciless persecution, torture and imprisonment of Galileo.

Furthermore, just as the literalists opposed poor old Galileo in the seventeenth century, so too they are opposing the innocent evolutionists today. If you admit that Galileo was right about heliocentrism back then, then you must agree that evolutionists today are right about mutations creating the species. It is just good solid science at work.

But this is a false argument on every count. First, this retelling of the Galileo Affair that we hear so often today is all wrong. Galileo did not invent the telescope, he did not discover, or otherwise prove, heliocentrism, he was not just a humble scientist, the serious opposition and legal problems he faced did not stem from biblical literalists, the Scripture does not say the Sun revolves around the Earth, and Galileo was not tortured and did not go to jail.

Yes, there were those who viewed heliocentrism as violating scripture, but generally they were easily dissuaded. There was much more serious resistance that Galileo would face. For example, his ideas unquestionably violated Aristotelian physics and ideology which not only was still active but at times had been elevated practically to the status of official church doctrine. Furthermore (i) Galileo’s caustic personality, and his penchant for humiliating people and making enemies (including his one-time friend, the Pope), (ii) the fact that leading astronomers of the day by no means were in agreement on this cosmological question and often held to opposing views, and (iii) the turbulent politics of the day, all conspired to make the going tough for Galileo.

It is misleading and a misrepresentation of history to hold up the Galileo Affair as an example of biblical literalism opposing scientific progress. Yet there it is.

But false history is not the only fruit of the Warfare Thesis, it also leads to false science. Just as historians prevaricate on the history, scientists prevaricate on the science. Consider, for example, the origin of life (OOL) problem…

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Darwin’s God: Biologos and Science: The Case of the OOL