It needs to be understood and evaluated as science, not as philosophy.I want to make this point as strongly as I can, because what I present here is science.
Also clearly, they did not want to talk about evolution, even as I emphasized that this concept is at the core of every life science from genetics to biochemistry to ecology, and that the term "evolution" is used to describe not only the emergence of new species on this planet but also the emergence of the cosmos from the Big Bang.
We live in an evolving creation, I asserted, and we really cannot understand what science is reading and finding in the Book of Nature unless we understand evolution.
I've chosen this title for the essay on biological evolution because it has become clear to me that most Christians know little about the scientific details of evolution, either about the enormous amount of evidence already gathered to support evolution or the dominant theory that explains how it happens, natural selection.
This is true both of Christians who accept evolution and support teaching it in the public schools of the United States and those who reject it and oppose its teaching.
Yet, the topic made some of them uncomfortable, and others may have hesitated to speak up in class out of a concern that their point of view might cause conflict with other students.
Attempts to draw them into discussion following presentations that dealt with evolution by their fellow students or myself were more often than not met with silence.But they are the extremes that exclude the middle, and the middle is this: evolution as science is not a materialistic philosophy; it makes no assertions about any realm of reality outside of nature; it makes no claims for or against the existence of God or the notion that we live in a created universe.The philosophical system that totalizes reality is better referred to as "Evolutionism." As an "-ism" combined with Scientism, the view that only science offers the way to truth, it competes with young earth Creationism and its "Intelligent Design" variant.All the more reason, then, for me to explain, as best I can, what evolution is or is not.Since this essay is aimed primarily at an audience of Christian students, I will include among my sources the writings of several scientists who are evangelical Christians.I would ask the reader who approaches this assertion with skepticism to try to set aside, to "bracket" as it were, any negative views or feelings, and listen to the voices of scientists, including their fellow Christians, as they explain evolution.Like Big Bang and the history of the universe, biological evolution is such a broad and complex topic that I can do little more than summarize its most important features."Evolution" is commonly presented as a materialistic philosophy by both its young earth and intelligent design opponents and those at the opposite end of the spectrum of opinion who claim that the material world is all there is.Whether you read the works of anti-evolutionists like young earth creationist Ken Ham and intelligent design advocate Phillip Johnson, or evolutionary materialists like scientist Richard Dawkins and philosopher Daniel Dennett, you will find these strange bedfellows of conservative Christians and atheists agreeing on one thing: if evolution explains everything in reality and if you accept it, then you can throw religion and belief in God out the window.One student told one of my science colleagues that when he was exposed to evolution in a previous course, he became physically ill.I hope and trust that such a reaction is rare, but it does point up the difficulty I and others face in trying to help students armed and armored against evolution by religious authority figures to let down their defenses and listen to another point of view--to understand evolution in a different and positive light.