In the last post, we heard from ecologist Dorothy Boorse about her exposure to evolution during her childhood through college years. Now she reminds us that love comes before being right—even on evolution.
I have the privilege of studying ecology, a discipline in which competition, symbiosis, natural selection, and adaptation are central. So is the concept of limits. God made a world in which materials and energy are limited, but He himself is not. The natural laws of the living world drive species to differentiate and to fit their changing environments. There are many disputes amongst people about evolution. Aside from broadly saying that God used a lot of evolution in the creation of species, I won’t remark on any details. Some I don’t even have an opinion on. However, it is helpful to me to look at evolution the way I might see laws of physics, such as those driving evaporation, plate tectonics, or the force of gravity. I see it as similar to water poured on the ground of a hillside. As it rolls downhill, it forms rivulets. You might not predict exactly the placement of any one tiny steam as it passes a clod of soil, but you know the water will subdivide and you know that it will run downhill. I believe evolution is unpredictable in the way that the actual placement of gas bubbles in a boiling pot may be unpredictable, but the temperature at which it will boil is clear. There are laws that govern living things, and the laws of survival in a changing environment are one such set.
Unfortunately, I have found as an adult that, while my internal sense of wholeness comes from feeling like the science I understand fits with my faith I dearly hold, my world is often divided. In churches I hear one thing, in the secular world another. Dear friends dismiss what I know about with a wave of the hand; scientists on list serves mouth off about people of faith.
I am especially pained by the rancor exhibited in polarized public debates on almost any topic. In order to live in this polarized world and to have a complex, nuanced view, I’ve taken some approaches that I think imperative...