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A Biologist’s Perspective

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March 29, 2012 Tags: Science & Worldviews

Today's video features David Fitch. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of BioLogos. You can read more about what we believe here.

Note: Today's video is courtesy of Satellite Pictures.

In today's video, Dr. David Finch, a biologist at New York University, discusses his thoughts on both Creationism and the effects of "new atheists" like Richard Dawkins. Finch voices his frustration that many "seekers of truth" ignore the scientific truth of evolution. He asserts that while Darwin was right about natural selection and the patterns of evolution, he was wrong in regards to genetics--the central mechanism by which biological change occurs. However, evolutionary science did not stop with Darwin, and modern science has made a lot of progress towards understanding how genes work in light of evolution.

Ultimately, however, Finch remarks that "science can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God." To him, those who proselytize atheism under the banner of "science" do a disservice to science. The goal of scientists is to understand the physical world around us, and most scientists go into their labs to discover something wonderful about the world, rather than to comment on the existence of God.

Commentary written by the BioLogos editorial team.

David Fitch is a professor in the Biology Department at New York University, teaching courses such as Molecular Genetics and Principles of Evolution. He received his B.A. in biology from Dartmouth College and his PhD in genetics from the University of Connecticut. His current research project involves using the developmental genetic model system Caenorhabditis elegans to characterize genes responsible for morphogenesis.

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Roger A. Sawtelle - #68791

March 30th 2012

From my point of view this narrative demonstrates much of the confusion with exists between evolution and theology.  Dr. Finch is a biologist and it is clear that his work is with genetics.  There is no problem with this.  However I am have repeatedly stated and no one has contradicted Evolution has two aspects, Variation which as he says is primarily about genes and Natural Selection, which is about which life forms thrive and which do not.

Dr. Finch said that Darwin was right about Natural Selection, so it would seem that Variation by genetic change is the only area of Evolution that needs to be examined.  That is not true.  It is the character and mechanism of Natural Selection that was never scientifically proven by Darwinism that is the real source of the conflict between Darwinism and Christianity. 

Thus Dr. Finch and most of his professional biologist friends are talking apples and oranges with those who question Darwinian Evolution on the basis of Malthusian Natural Selection.  This allows people like Dawkins & Dennett to claim that Darwinian is scientifically proven and supports their monistic, materialist world view when Natural Selection which is the engine of their view has not been proven.

Dennis Alexander says that symbiosis which is the basis of modern ecology is accepted as the basis of Natural Selection today replacing Malthus.  I take him at his word, even though Dr. Finch did not seem aware of this change and certainly Richards Dawkins is not. 

Ecology is the true basis Natural Selection, but ecology operates on a very different interdependent world view from atomistic Dawkins’ gene’s eye view.  Biology is limited to studying life forms and genetics to studying genes.  Ecology is interdisciplinary studying how climate change affects different life forms, and how life forms impact the weather.  Thus it is clear how specialists could get trapped within their speciality.

We need to point out how the ideology of D & D has limited the understanding of science in terms of evolution and ecology.

While Dr. Finch is right that science can neither prove nor disprove God, certain idelogues have tried to use “science” to justify a world view which is very hostile to the existence of God.  This is what theologians must challenge as well as the intellectual tricks that some atheists use to justify their faith.    



Marcus French - #68876

April 5th 2012

Dennis Alexander says that symbiosis which is the basis of modern ecology is accepted as the basis of Natural Selection today”

Could you point me to where you heard him say this?

Roger A. Sawtelle - #68878

April 5th 2012


Mea culpa.  Wrong Denis.  I should have written “Dennis Venema.”

Look at the beginning of pt 1 of the series continued above, Understanding Evolution. 

Thank you for catching the mistake.


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