The History of Life on Earth. Do Scriptures and Science Contradict Each Other?

  1. Lemma
  2. История жизни на Земле. Согласуются ли откровения и наука?
  3. Russian
  4. Asliturk, Miriam
  5. Modes of interaction > Atheism - Scientific theories and disciplines > Biology - Scientific theories and disciplines > Biology:evolution - Orthodox theological tradition and practice > Biblical interpretation - Modes of interaction > Orthodox critique of science
  6. 05-03-2018
  7. Бугрова, И. Ю. [Author]. История жизни на Земле. Согласуются ли откровения и наука?
  8. Русская Православная Церковь. Храм Живоначальной Троицы на Воробьёвых горах
  9. Evolution - Darwinism - Geology - Holy Scripture - Couvier, Georges - Lamarck, Jean-Baptiste - Watson, James
  10. Click Here
    1. <p>Бугрова, И. Ю., История жизни на Земле. Согласуются ли откровения и наука? <em>Русская Православная Церковь. <a href="">Храм Живоначальной Троицы на Воробьёвых горах</a>, 2017. </em>Retrieved from: <a href=""></a></p>
    1. The article studies how Orthodox Christianity and science see the development of life on Earth. The author is a geologist, and points out that in science, the validity of experimental facts is confirmed by the reproducibility of hypotheses: conformity to phenomena observed in nature, internal consistency, conformity with the laws of nature, and the ability to make predictions on the basis of these hypotheses. Meanwhile, Orthodox theology has also worked out a criterion for checking the truthfulness of knowledge: it has to correspond to the Holy Scriptures and their interpretations by the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church, the latter representing revelations from God.

      The author then demonstrates that many currently or until recently accepted scientific theories and concepts which turned out to be inconsistent or lack evidence. Such is the case with Cuvier’s catastrophism. Cuvier, relying on European geology and paleontology, suggested the development of the earth via sudden violent and unusual events. His theories, mostly unpopular today, are still quoted in classical scientific textbooks. Similarly, the evolutionary theory created by Lamarck and subsequently developed by Darwin lack evidence. Thus, no definite paleontological evidence has been found for the emergence of large systematic groups of organisms in an evolutionary way (the author points out that Darwin himself complained of their absence).

      The author also argues that it is impossible to imagine how complex organs such as an eye would have appeared in the process of evolution. It is equally impossible to understand where creativity, conscience and human intelligence emerged from. The author quotes Nobel laureate biochemist James Watson who said that “Darwin's theory [was] accepted not because it [could] be observed or proven through logically consistent data, but because its only alternative [was] implausible.” In other words, the author stresses, “natural evolution” simply represents the major foundation of atheism.

      The author is also sceptical about new theories trying to find a compromise between Scriptures and science. One of them is the so-called “Flood hypothesis”, based on the assumption that the layers of terrestrial deposits, with some exceptions, were formed as a result of the Great Flood that washed away all the living and inorganic material into the ocean. Other attempts of compromise include the concept of “God-controlled evolution” (in which the Creation Days are viewed as geological periods or eras). This latter theory, according to the author, is both inconsistent and contradicts the Holy Scriptures.

      The author sees the way out of the seemingly dead-end contradiction between the Scriptures’ model of world creation and the scientific paradigm in the work of Archpriest and scientist Georgui Neifakh who, after examining the existing explanations of the history of earthly life, suggested that science should admit that it simply cannot yet answer the question of how the world came into existence, and how and why it has changed. Such an attitude, the author argues, can be viewed as a manifestation of scientific conscientiousness.