Science textbooks usually begin with definitions of common terms like law, hypothesis, and theory. Laws are typically defined as statements describing the relationship between various observed phenomena or observations that have been made so often they are accepted as being universally true. They describe events but do not explain them. In contrast, hypotheses are “educated guesses” which attempt to explain observations. Theories are broader explanations which have been tested many times and correlate findings from many areas of research.
Science changes as new discoveries are made, so neither laws nor theories can be “proven” without a doubt. Some laws of science have held up well to the test of time, though. For example, the Law of Gravity is upheld every time you drop something. The First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics have also been affirmed time and again; matter and energy are interconvertible, but have never been observed being created or destroyed, and spontaneous reactions involve a net increase in disorder. Likewise, there have been no observed contradictions to the Law of Biogenesis – all observations confirm that life comes only from pre-existing life.
What about Evolution, though? Some books call it a “Law;” others a “Theory,” but remember, to be considered a Law, the phenomena needs to be based on so many observations that it is accepted as universally true. Who has ever seen a reptile turning into a bird, or an ape-like creature turning into a man? Who ever saw non-living chemicals spontaneously turn into a living cell? Who was there to document the birth of the universe?
Unfortunately, textbooks continue to indoctrinate students with the “evidences of evolution.” They camouflage the issue by defining evolution simply as “change,” or “change in gene frequencies.” They extrapolate from color changes in moth populations or increased resistance to penicillin in a bacterial population to Evolution as the “unifying theme of biology.” They assume that homologies and “vestigial organs” indicate common ancestry and draw evolutionary “sequences” even though the intermediate steps are missing.
In reality, Evolution is not a scientific law at all. It is a belief about the past just like Creation is. While either idea can be used to interpret the “evidence,” neither can be “proved” scientifically – both require the exercise of faith.
The human mind is very creative. It can always come up with an alternative to avoid simple faith in God’s Word. Calling Evolution “science” makes this rejection of the Genesis account seem more acceptable, but according to Romans1:20, “…the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”
Originally Published in the September/October 1996 Think and Believe.