• Question: Do you believe in the 7 day creation or the Big Bang and Evolution.

    Asked by olirara to Daniel, Jon, Louise, Sharon on 24 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Jon Copley

      Jon Copley answered on 23 Jun 2010:

      I don’t “believe” in the Big Bang, or Evolution – because they don’t actually require my “belief”.

      Rather, what I “believe” is that the scientific method can produce a reliable understanding of what happens in the world around us (and actually that does require “belief”, because I can’t logically prove that I’m not just a brain in a vat being fed the illusion of the world through wires, like in the Matrix).

      Now, when you plug all the available evidence so far into the scientific method, evolution by natural selection is the only possible conclusion that pops out of the other end to explain the diversity and patterns of life that we find. And the same is true for the Big Bang, when you plug all the evidence found so far about how the Universe works into the scientific method.

      So if someone doesn’t accept those conclusions, then they are rejecting the whole scientific method, which also underpins chemistry, physics etc. So people who reject evolution as an idea are not just rejecting one idea in biology – they are actually rejecting science itself. And from what I see, science seems to work pretty well when it comes to explaining other things.

      Of course, because of how science works, we can’t ever say that something (like evolution or the Big Bang) is ever “true”, in the very strict sense of that word. But we can say that it is utterly improbable to be wrong. And that’s the conclusion you get from applying the scientific method to the available evidence.

      If someone doesn’t believe in evolution, of course that is fine – anyone should be free to believe whatever they like. But as I hope I’ve tried to explain, not to “believe” in evolution is actually not to believe in science, as a reliable way of understanding the world around us.

      But if someone in science thinks that evolution may be incorrect, then in science they would have to disprove it, through new evidence and experiments. So far that hasn’t happened. In fact, so far the more evidence we’ve collected, the less likely it looks that evolution could be wrong as an explanation.

      Of course, we’re all free to believe whatever we want to believe. I personally don’t believe in the seven day story of creation, but that’s just my choice. But accepting evolution or the Big Bang isn’t about belief, other than the belief that science works.

      Now, doubt is where all science should start, and when I talk to people who have doubts about evolution (which actually includes some of my students when they start at university), I like to point them to how dog breeds have changed dramatically in just the past 50 years (you can see it in photographs of dogs from dog shows over that time). For some breeds, like Bassett Hounds, the shape of their skulls has changed dramatically, over just a few generations. That’s because people have selected which dogs can breed, to create those changes in their offspring.

      And if we can do that, then why can’t nature? That’s all evolution by natural selection is saying – that depending on who survives the trials of life and gets to breed, we see changes in species over generations. What I can’t believe is why that is so hard for many people to accept as an idea.

    • Photo: Sharon Sneddon

      Sharon Sneddon answered on 23 Jun 2010:

      I believe in the big bang and then evolution as it makes the most sense to me! What about you??

    • Photo: Louise Dash

      Louise Dash answered on 24 Jun 2010:

      There’s an awful lot of scientific evidence, both direct and indirect, for the big bang and the theory of evolution, all of which directly contradicts the story of the 7 day creation found in Genesis. Every religion seems to have a different idea for how the universe formed and how we got here, some of them are really beautiful. I don’t believe in any of them as truth though, because the scientific evidence against them is overwhelming!