The gifts of science are worth celebrating

As I Was Saying

As I Was Saying is a forum for a variety of perspectives to foster faith-related conversations among our readers with the goal of mutual learning, even in disagreement. Apart from articles written by editorial staff, these perspectives do not necessarily reflect the views of The Banner.

Here is a poem that I learned at an evangelical “Bible camp” when I was a teenager:

Once I was a tadpole, long and thin.
Then I was a froggie with my tail tucked in.
Then I was a baboon in a tropical tree.
And now I am a professor with a Ph.D.

This came to us with a warning about the evolutionary views held by most of our high school teachers.

Most of my fellow campers seem to have taken the warning seriously, but I had my doubts. For one thing, I liked the teachers who taught science at my high school, and I had a hard time believing they meant to be undermining my faith.

But one of the older people who worked at that camp, a college student, told me that evolution as a mechanism for change was not a real threat to Christianity.

He showed me a book by a Christian scholar who said that the real conflict was the added “isms.” Evolutionism, as a worldview, teaches that everything happens by chance. Creationism, on the other hand, is the big-picture view that all that has happened in the history of the universe is in fact the unfolding of a divine plan.

And now I am a professor with a Ph.D. — and that “ism” way of putting the case still seems right to me. To be sure, there are people who want to use scientific investigation as a means of undermining faith. But there are also many others who still teach silly poems to teenagers to create distrust of high school teachers. I see the need to be on guard against both camps.

But, thank God, those camps are not mutually exclusive. Large numbers of us, including many fine scientists, accept the gifts of scientific investigation with deep gratitude.

Shortly after that Bible camp experience, I learned to sing, at a Billy Graham meeting in Madison Square Garden, what was then a new hymn (actually an old one imported from Sweden): “O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hand has made . . .  then sings my soul . . . How great Thou art!”

This weekend there will be a large gathering in Washington to celebrate the achievements of the natural sciences. I am glad that they are meeting. We have been hearing some of that Bible camp type anti-science talk from some well-known public leaders in recent days. I can’t be at the Washington event,  but I will be there in spirit. And to express my solidarity with those folks, I will sing the hymn about “awesome wonder!”

© 2017 Religion News Service, used by permission.

About the Author

Richard J. Mouw, retired president of Fuller Theological Seminary, is newly appointed Senior Research Fellow at Calvin University's Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics.

See comments (3)


I find it ironic nevertheless, that an educated scientist with a PhD would equate anti-evolutionism with anti-science.  To say that "We have been hearing some of that Bible camp type anti-science talk..." is not much different than reciting "silly" poems by the other side.  In other words, the accusation is nonsense, is bearing false witness, and has less credibility than the sarcasm of the silly song.   Many of those who are against evolution, are certainly not anti-science.  

It is actually the evolutionists who are anti-science.  They believe in evolution despite the evidence not because of the evidence.

 For example, the scientist Dr. Mary Schweitzer (who discovered soft tissue in dinosaur bones) remarked:

“I had one reviewer tell me that he didn’t care what the data said, he knew that what I was finding wasn’t possible … . I wrote back and said, ‘Well what data would convince you?’ And he said, ‘None.’” (Not exactly a scientific comment on the reviewer’s part.)

Obviously because the implication of finding soft tissue in dinosaur bones is that they not nearly as old as purported by the evolutionists but more likely merely thousands of years old, in sync. with the Biblical time line.

And, realizing that Richard Mouw is not a scientist at all perhaps explains his lack of understanding of the issue.  Let me put it this way, if someone was to deny 5% of scientific conclusions, but accept all the rest, would that make him anti-science?  If someone was to abstain from 5% of all food, but eat all the rest, would he be against eating?  

It is clear that conflating the issues of evolution and science, as if the only science that existed was evolution, is a good way to avoid actually looking at the evidence, and a good way to avoid the real issues.  Like many other adhominems, it is an unscientific approach to debate.