Originally Posted by elfinbaby
Equuskia, of course there are Christian scientists that may not have a problem operating in the scientific community. I may have misspoke. However, I think there are plenty of Christian scientists who support creationism that are not respected in the scientific community. Am I mistaken that the examples of scientists you gave have been honored for their research in other areas? Not in creation science?
Many of these scientists were not
honored at the time of their research/discoveries. Many were scorned, ridiculed, silenced and even killed. And most of this scorn and ridicule was not from the scientific community, but from the Church and/or govt.
And let's take Darwin, since he is the subject of debate here. Now, Darwin was not the first to propose that species evolve. Greek and Roman atomists, one of the most notable being Lucretius, who wrote On the Nature of Things
, which in part explained atomic matter. On to Democritus, who refined the atomic theory and proposed that creatures were made of these atoms. Sextus, amongst other philosophers, blamed Democritus for the idea that it was man that created gods, and not the other way around.
|Some people think that we arrived at the idea of gods from the remarkable things that happen in the world. Democritus ... says that the people of ancient times were frightened by happenings in the heavens such as thunder, lightning, ..., and thought that they were caused by gods. (Sextus)
Now, in Medieval times, Christians had complete faith in the biblical recount of creation (which, really is not original because there are similar accounts from prior cultures, but that's another beast for another time), including the belief of "created kinds" (Baraminology). After the Protestant reformation and the invention of the press, which allowed wider access to the bible, more literal interpretations were used. Naturalists such as Carolus Linnaeus categorized an enormous number of species, and a new belief was developed that God created an original pair of every species, and that nature and social order was fixed. Nothing just happened naturally or spontaneously.
Darwin's grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, proposed that species were of common descent, and acquired "new parts" to adapt to stimuli and passed these on to its offspring. During this time, Robert Hooke was discovering fossils and linking them to extinct species. Strides were made in geology thanks to James Hutton and his uniformitarian theory. Jean-Baptiste Lamarck developed a theory similar to Erasmus Darwin and named it transmutation (avoiding the word evolution, which had a different meaning at the time).
Now England was starting to get real unhappy, because it was threatening the hierarchical social order. Natural history in English universities was dominated by clergy trained by the Church of England. Some of these theories, like Hooke's fossils, were modified to fit in with biblical accounts.
So, in comes Charles Darwin. He studied the theories by Lamarck and his grandfather Erasmus. He also studied theology and was convinced of William Paley's argument of "design" by a Creator. He studied many other works as well, before his famous trip to the Galapagos and the discovery of the finches. He published his findings, which were pressed and sold various times.
Darwin was severely ridiculed (complete with cartoons) because of his theories. Some considered his theories tantamount to atheism, and Charles Hodge stated that evolution did not seem to originate from a divine source. Notice that Darwin never stated what was the source, it is other people
who stated that his theory was atheist. "Survival of the fittest" is another phrase that is attributed to Darwin, but was printed in his fifth edition and credited to philosopher Herbert Spencer. It is also important to separate Darwin's work from Alfred Wallace's work, who did similar studies and also wrote a book titled The Origin of Species
The historian of science Peter J. Bowler has suggested that many of the "implications" attributed to Darwinism had little to do with Darwin's theories themselves. Many of the so-called "Darwinists" of the late-nineteenth century, such as Herbert Spencer and Ernst Haeckel, were actually very non-Darwinian in many aspects of their thought and theory, and even the biggest supporters of Darwin, such as Thomas Henry Huxley, were suspicious as to whether natural selection was really what caused evolution. Nevertheless, Darwin became quickly identified with evolution in general and hailed as the figurehead of many conceptual changes in both science and society, whether or not all of these ideas were stated explicitly or at all in Darwin's work itself.
Darwin's achievements were fourfold: Firstly, to propose a credible mechanism (natural selection); secondly, to provide a great deal of new evidence for evolution; thirdly, to present his ideas in a compelling book; and fourthly, to ally with other highly motivated and influential biologists and philosophers in a concerted effort to publicize and advocate his ideas. On every point, Darwin was successful.
About 99.8% of natural scientists acknowledge that there are scientific theories that support evolution. It is considered a fact as well as a theory. In the words of Stephen Jay Gould:
|Evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered.