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The Great Creation-Evolution, Science-Faith, Debate Revisited, Part 2

Two years ago this Spring-at 7pm on the evening of April 20, 1996-nearly 2000 people made their way into the Alfond Arena at the University of Maine (Orono), to witness a live, unrehearsed Creation-Evolution debate co-sponsored by AIIA and Campus Crusade (Orono). Dr. John G. T. Anderson represented the evolutionist point of view, and Dr. Gary E. Parker presented evidence for creationism. Last month and again this month, AIIA revisits that event by excerpting some key and revealing (but not necessarily sequentially arranged) portions of the exchange that night.

Dr. Parker: “Supposing I asked you a question-‘Can aluminum fly?’ Well, aluminum can’t fly by itself, but what if you take that aluminum, stretch it out in a nice long tube with a tail, put some engines on it and so on-then it flies! We call it an airplane. Did you ever wonder what it takes to make an airplane fly? Take the little man out of the cockpit, study him-he doesn’t fly. Take the engines off, study them-they don’t fly. Take the wheels off, study them-they don’t fly. In fact, what? There’s no part of an airplane that flies. The huge Boeing 747s are a collection of 4.5 million non-flying parts. What does it take to make an airplane fly? The answer is something every scientist can logically infer from his observations. Something every scientist can use to formulate and test hypotheses. What does it take to make an airplane fly? Creative design and organization. Creative design and organization.”

Dr. Anderson: “It’s very important also to consider the meaning of theories vs. facts. It is a theory that the sun will rise tomorrow. I do not need to wait for the dawn in order to be sure that it will rise. Based on all of my knowledge and all of my past observations I am confident that that will be true. As a scientist, however, I will go out and look for the dawn. In my faith I occasionally choose to sleep in, and the dawn will still come. Evolution by natural selection is a theory in the sense that it’s an organizing system of ideas around which we can make predictions. The more times those predictions are justified by our observations, the more confident we are that our theory has some resemblance to the truth. At the same time, as with (the) discovery of continental drift, few things would give me more satisfaction than finding unquestionable evidence against this theory that I have dedicated a great deal of my professional life to. Once again I am waiting for Crocodile Dundee to be embedded in Precambrian rocks.”

Anderson: “The Second Law of Thermodynamics is explicit that in a closed system entropy tends to increase, and we don’t regard the earth as a closed system. If you were to use that sort of an interpretation of the Second Law, you might as well argue that a baby couldn’t possibly be created from a fertilized egg because the baby is getting more and more complicated from the first stage of division on.”

Parker: “The Second Law does not say that you can take just random collections of amino acids and shine sunlight on them and get life out of it. For instance, if you’re driving down the freeway and you run out of gas, you can say, ‘Thank goodness I brought my lunch. I’ve got a peanut butter sandwich. That’s got enough energy to get me back home.’ And it does, but energy is not the only thing, is it? You stuff the peanut butter sandwich in your gas tank and nothing happens. The energy has to be appropriate to the problem at hand. And no evolutionist ever proposed any kind of energy source that would put amino acids and DNA nucleotides together in a way that would make sense biologically. Now when you get to the universe, of course, then we are talking about a closed system. There isn’t anything outside the universe according to evolution.”

Anderson: “If the universe is closed, then by Dr. Parker’s logic, God would be contained within the universe and would become a portion of His own creation, which raises some very interesting theological questions which would certainly take the rest of evening to discuss.”