Why believe in God in an age of science?
A lecture for secular university students
by Dr John G. Hartnett
Published: 29 May 2014 (GMT+10)
Students at the University of Adelaide, South Australia, at a lecture given by the author.
[The following is a brief summary of a lecture (see picture) with this title presented by Dr Hartnett at the University of Adelaide, South Australia (where he works as a research professor of physics) on 4 April 2014. The event was co-sponsored by an Adelaide church which put up posters around the university the week before. About 50 students and staff attended the lecture which took place within the less-than-Christian-friendly philosophical and ideological environment of a typical Western university. As Dr Hartnett comments (see picture of posters): “This is a climate where, for example, Marxism is promoted despite the fact that the ideology caused the deaths of 100 million humans in the 20th century alone.”]
Poster at the University of Adelaide promoting Dr Hartnett’s lecture, alongside others about Marxism and revolution.
In the year 2009 the world scientific community celebrated the Year of Darwin—200 years since the birth of Charles Darwin and 150 years since the publication of his book On the Origin of Species.
You might ask the question: What did Darwin actually discover? Why make such a big deal? Evolution is their reason. They say something like: ‘We observe small changes in organisms in the lab and hence given sufficient time you can extrapolate those small changes from lifeless molecules into microbiologists. Sufficient time is all you need to make this complex universe, people included.’
And we are often told that Darwin’s legacy—evolutionary theory—is compatible with the Bible (or religion). ‘Don’t worry, you can be a Christian and believe evolution.’ ‘God used evolution.’ Statements like that have become commonplace. But is that true?
Atheists are sometimes clearer in understanding the problem than churchmen. Prof. Richard Dawkins, atheist, evolutionist and an anti-creationist explains it this way:
Many atheists, in the fight to keep creationism out of schools, decide it’s best to say that believing in God and evolution isn’t incompatible. But I’m a boat-rocker—I make the case that it’s difficult to believe in God if you understand evolution.1 [emphasis added]
Prof. Peter Bowler, evolutionist, science historian and author (and staunch anti-creationist), from Queen’s University, Belfast, puts it this way:
If Christians accepted that humanity was the product of evolution—even assuming the process could be seen as an expression of the Creator’s will—then the whole idea of Original Sin would have to be reinterpreted. Far from falling from an original state of grace in the Garden of Eden, we have risen gradually from our animal origins. And if there was no Sin from which we needed salvation, what was the purpose of Christ’s agony on the cross? Christ became merely the perfect man who showed us what we could all hope to become when evolution finished its upward course. Small wonder that many conservative Christians—and not just the American fundamentalists—argued that such a transformation had destroyed the very foundations of their faith.2 [emphasis added]
Evolutionism says that earth history is really a record of death and bloodshed and survival of the fittest.
Evolutionism says that earth history is really a record of death and bloodshed and survival of the fittest. Adolf Hitler applied this type of thinking in Nazi Germany where he not only killed six million Jews but also millions of others including Polish Catholics, Gypsies and many others. He applied the principle of ‘Life not worthy of life’ and killed some 250,000 ‘Aryan’ Germans just because they had some physical or mental handicap. He was helping evolution along, by killing off the weak.
It was not just Nazi Germany, but the Allied nations as well. In fact, even before World War II, evolution had inspired forced sterilization programs in Lynchburg, Virginia, USA.
An advertisement in Nazi Germany reads: “60000 Reich Marks. This is what this person suffering from hereditary defects costs the [German] community during his lifetime. Fellow citizen, that is your money, too.”
In 1947, evolutionist Sir Arthur Keith wrote:
The German Führer, as I have consistently maintained, is an evolutionist; he has consciously sought to make the practice of Germany conform to the theory of evolution.3