Is Evolution Scientifically Settled?
JUNE 5, 2021
by Dr. Fazale Rana
(SD) Is evolution scientifically settled?
(FR) For many Christians, bold statements about “evolution as established fact” raise doubts they hesitate to address—or even to admit. In our new book, Thinking about Evolution: 25 Questions Christians Want Answered, my coauthors and I seek to change this response.
(SD) What’s the significance of the book’s timing?
(FR) In some respects, this book is timeless. I often encounter people who believe that since “evolutionary biology can explain everything in nature,” we don’t need God. For these people, evolution keeps them from faith. We want them to reconsider. The book is timely because many Christians also assume the case for biological evolution is unassailable and struggle with how to fit evolution into a Christian framework. This book shows real scientific concerns surrounding evolutionary theory; the theory does not have an all-encompassing explanatory power.
(SD) What led you to take a Q&A approach?
(FR) It’s impossible to produce a comprehensive book on such an expansive topic as evolution. The Q&A approach seemed like a more manageable way to address it. The questions we chose reflect what people typically ask about key issues surrounding the relationship between evolutionary theory, the Bible, and Christianity. This book will help curious Christians and non-Christians think through the intersection of creation and evolution on their own.
(SD) Why work with multiple authors?
(FR) Legitimate, diverse scientific and philosophical concerns with the evolutionary paradigm do exist. What better way to show this reality than by having three PhD scientists and a philosopher of science collaboratively make the case that evolution is scientifically—not just theologically—insufficient.
(SD) How were the authors chosen?
(FR) Selection was based on our different areas of expertise. The now late Sue Dykes, a distinguished paleoanthropologist, was an obvious choice. Mark Perez is an articulate philosopher of science. Anjeanette Roberts and I have both published research in the molecular life sciences from different vantage points. These various backgrounds made us a well-balanced team to tackle the questions posed in the book. We have all encountered scientific reasons to be skeptical of evolution.
(SD) What do you hope this book will accomplish?
(FR) I’d consider this book successful if it helps Christians—especially those completing high school or college biology courses—develop a contextual framework for examining evolution in light of their faith. Many Christians feel the tension between scientific credibility and commitment to their faith. One option is to embrace evolutionary creation (sometimes called theistic evolution). Another option is to realize that shortcomings within evolution leave room for further investigation and pose no threat to Christianity. I also hope Christian readers will gain a set of tools to engage in conversations about evolution and to do so from a position of confidence.