pepperdine-science.jpg“Do you believe in evolution?” It’s a common question, asked in countless schools, churches, debates, and surveys. However, as Douglas Swartzendruber, professor of biology at Seaver College, notes in his essay “Scientific Knowledge and Belief in God”, it’s a question based on some incorrect assumptions about both science and faith.

First of all, the question carries with it an underlying assumption that one cannot accept both evolution and faith in God the creator. Such a dichotomy is simply not the case. Furthermore, the question implies that evolution itself is a belief system. While scientific knowledge can be seen as a type of belief system, it is a wholly different system because it is based on independent verification and falsification. Evolution is based on observable facts from the world of biology. As Swartzendruber writes, “Asking about belief in evolution is akin to asking about belief in light.” Just as the scientific theory of light provides the best explanation for the paradoxical characteristics of light, so evolution provides the best explanation for the characteristics of life.

Ultimately, science is not the only source of truth, and scientific truth does not conflict with the understanding of the world that religion provides. Swartzendruber holds to his university’s affirmation that “truth, having nothing to fear from investigation, should be pursued relentlessly in every discipline.” Likewise, both science and religion should not be feared, so long as they are both grounded in truth.

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