As the title of this website confirms, I'm a noob when it comes to science and philosophy. I've sought the answers to spiritual questions for many years and would like to take a moment to gather my thoughts together on the subject of evolution. Disclaimer... I DO believe in God and I'm not seeking to add a spiritual creationist slant to this post, only to layout the clear and concise facts in an easy to understand format. Please feel free to comment as I'm not just seeking answers for myself but rather anybody else that may face the same spiritual dilemma as mine. In the rest of this article I've laid out several important questions and answers that are commonly discussed amongst religious and non-religious alike.
1. Christians think the Earth is only 6000 years old?
Millions of Christians, possibly as many as half, believe the Earth is only six thousand years old. (For an explanation see this article Why shouldn't Christians accept millions of years?). They believe this based upon James Ussher the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland between 1625 and 1656 who published a chronology that purported to establish the time and date of the creation as the night preceding Sunday, 23 October 4004 BC, according to the proleptic Julian calendar. To this day, many Christians have since held his work in high esteem and think the earth is 6000 years old.
Obviously the above statement gives much fuel to the debate of evolution. Many scientists clearly cite the fact that we've known dinosaurs to exist. We've found Neanderthals and craters on the moons and planets to suggest that the earth and its surroundings have been around way longer than 6000 years. We also know that even if the Earth were suddenly placed in front of the Sun 6000 years ago, the planet would still be too cold to support any life whatsoever.
To the defense of many Christians, they recognize the thought of the earth being 6000 years old as ludicrous and an obvious miscalculation due to a lack of scientific facts for the time in which this hypothesis was written. However, to those that do believe this, Science clearly comes out on top in this argument.
2. If there is no God where did matter come from?
Many religious people use this argument to prove that things do not magically appear from nothing, so therefore the universe cannot magically build elements and spread them out through a sudden burst of hydrogen in the so-called Big Bang.
Scientists state that the simple theory above is just as flawed as the belief in a God, as God would've had to just spontaneously been created from nothing. If that's not possible then there cannot be a God. There really seems to be no sound answer to this question. One way or the other, something was spontaneously created from nothing at some time (or something outside the scope of time itself).
Nobody wins this argument. Faith cannot be proven, as it is a subjective feeling of one's conscious being. Science has not yet been able to prove why the universe exists.
3. How could dead matter turn into living and breathing organisms?
Religion argues that things are just too perfectly aligned for us to be here by mere chance. They know extinct species existed before them such as dinosaurs and Neanderthals but how did they come to be? Humans have no record of spontaneously seeing new species of animals springing up out of nowhere. If humans sprung from monkeys in a couple of hundred thousand years, how come we haven't seen any such alteration in humans or other species of animals in the past 10,000 years of documented human history? It seems there should be more crossovers amongst us, excluding race and language.
We will avoid digging too deep into molecular biology to debate this question. Keeping it simple, most scientists state that single cell organisms turned into multi-cell organisms until arriving at a new species of animal over thousands of years. Multi-cell organisms eventually gained the ability to sprout wings and grow eyes to adapt to their surroundings. They cite real world examples such as cave crickets and cave fish that are literally born with no eyes because they have adapted to life in the dark. This is pretty compelling evidence towards their case.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia (blind animals)
Science seems to have the upper hand on this debate. A recent article from the University of Michigan was just released that proves the living bacteria E. coli, which normally have no ability to survive and reproduce within an oxygenated environment containing citrate. However, after a controlled 20,000 generations of E. coli were re-produced in the lab the bacteria evolved to a new strain, capable of eating the citrate to enable its ability to reproduce. This is a pretty scary discovery for religious folks who state evolution is not possible. To learn more about this discovery please visit E. coli caught in the act of evolving.
I plan to expand this article in the near future. I encourage anybody that has any questions about anything that I've written to comment below. I will do what I can to incorporate all questions into this post. I'm not trying to discourage anybody's religious beliefs. I only hope that my search for answers can help others in the search for theirs.