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Evolution as a Science of the Unrepeatable Past

Antagonists of the theory of evolution reject it on the basis that it is unproveable. It is true that the theory of evolution cannot be completely verified by direct observation of every part of the process. This is true of all theories that provide explanations for processes that involve immense periods of time. Peacocke comments: ‘the postulate of past biological evolution cannot be falsified in the sense of Karl Popper, by performing repeatable experiments whose outcomes are inconsistent with the postulate [that evolution has occurred] - nor can most theories of geology and of cosmology.’Peacocke, AR, God and the New Biology (London: Dent 1986) p35 - also God, Humanity and the Cosmos pp65-69 on Popper and falsificationism.

Evolutionary biology, then, is akin to Big Bang cosmology, and much of astrophysics, in that it offers models to explain processes which are historically particular, and could never be duplicated in a laboratory. (In the case of cosmology this is because the energies involved are too high; in the case of evolution, because the timescales are too long.) Such sciences have an especially broad scope for dialogue with descriptions of the Christian God. The reason is that those descriptions tend to emphasise a Being who cannot be put to experimental test, but who is everywhere creative, and active in every part of history.See  Big Bang Cosmology and Theology for discussion of the shifting dialogue between Christian theology of creation and Big Bang cosmology. See God, Humanity and the Cosmos, Chs. 6 & 7 for examination...

Email link | Feedback | Contributed by: Dr. Christopher Southgate and Dr. Michael Robert Negus
Source: God, Humanity and the Cosmos  (T&T Clark, 1999)

Topic Sets Available

AAAS Report on Stem-Cells

AstroTheology: Religious Reflections on Extraterrestrial Life Forms

Agency: Human, Robotic and Divine
Becoming Human: Brain, Mind, Emergence
Big Bang Cosmology and Theology (GHC)
Cosmic Questions CD-ROM Preview...
Cosmic Questions Interviews

Cosmos and Creator
Creativity, Spirituality and Computing Technologies
CTNS Content Home
Darwin: A Friend to Religion?
Demystifying Information Technology
Divine Action (GHC)
Dreams and Dreaming: Neuroscientific and Religious Visions'
E. Coli at the No Free Lunchroom
Engaging Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence: An Adventure in Astro-Ethics
Evangelical Atheism: a response to Richard Dawkins
Ecology and Christian Theology
Evolution: What Should We Teach Our Children in Our Schools?
Evolution and Providence
Evolution and Creation Survey
Evolution and Theology (GHC)
Evolution, Creation, and Semiotics

The Expelled Controversy
Faith and Reason: An Introduction
Faith in the Future: Religion, Aging, and Healthcare in the 21st Century

Francisco Ayala on Evolution

From Christian Passions to Scientific Emotions
Genetic Engineering and Food

Genetics and Ethics
Genetic Technologies - the Radical Revision of Human Existence and the Natural World

Genomics, Nanotechnology and Robotics
Getting Mind out of Meat
God and Creation: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives on Big Bang Cosmology
God, Humanity and the Cosmos: A Textbook in Science and Religion
God the Spirit - and Natural Science
Historical Examples of the Science and Religion Debate (GHC)
History of Creationism
Intelligent Design Coming Clean

Issues for the Millennium: Cloning and Genetic Technologies
Jean Vanier of L'Arche
Nano-Technology and Nano-ethics
Natural Science and Christian Theology - A Select Bibliography
Neuroscience and the Soul
Outlines of the Science and Religion Debate (GHC)

Perspectives on Evolution

Physics and Theology
Quantum Mechanics and Theology (GHC)
Questions that Shape Our Future
Reductionism (GHC)
Reintroducing Teleology Into Science
Science and Suffering

Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action (CTNS/Vatican Series)

Space Exploration and Positive Stewardship

Stem-Cell Debate: Ethical Questions
Stem-Cell Ethics: A Theological Brief

Stem-Cell Questions
Theistic Evolution: A Christian Alternative to Atheism, Creationism, and Intelligent Design...
Theology and Science: Current Issues and Future Directions
Unscientific America: How science illiteracy threatens our future
Will ET End Religion?

Current Stats: topics: >2600, links: >300,000, video: 200 hours.