The Battle Over Evolution: An Interview with Gerald Rau
The battle between creationists and evolutionists is among the fiercest in the culture wars. Modern American history--from the Scopes Trial to the rise of the Christian right--has served only to intensify the debate. But with so many voices and so much misinformation, it is difficult to understand all of the intricacies involved. Enter Mapping the Origins Debate: Six Models of the Beginning of Everything, a new book by Gerald Rau that seeks to explain what we're now seeing. He says that the battle is a deep struggle involving political, theological, and philosophical assumptions. “There is a war going on, but it is not a war between science and religion," Rau says. "Rather, it is a war about what science is, a war that is philosophical more than religious.”
Rau is an independent scholar with degrees in Biology, Science Education, Horticulture, Plant Breeding, Vegetable Crops and International Agriculture. He’s also the founder and chief editor at Professional English International, Inc., a team providing high quality editing services in English academic writing, based at National Chung Cheng University in Taiwan. In this book, he applies his extensive education history to the hot topic of evolution. While it’s a debate that’s raged for decades with no sign of letting up, Rau contributes a big-picture perspective, particularly relevant to Christians seeking answers about science, faith and our origins.
JM: Could you give us a brief overview of the six models?
GR: For a long time, there have been four widely recognized models of origins. The first, naturalistic evolution, is based on an atheistic or agnostic position. The second is theistic evolution, which claims God somehow used an evolutionary process to create. The third, old-earth creation, accepts that the earth is billions of years old, but says God created in distinct creative events, in the order recorded in Genesis. The fourth, young-earth creation, holds that God created in six 24-hour days within the last 10,000 years.
The six models comes from the way I divide theistic evolution into three separate models, based on differences in the way they interpret either the Bible or the scientific evidence. The first, non-teleological evolution, asserts that God created, but had no particular goal, and is simply watching the unfolding of events as they happen. The second, planned evolution, says that God had a plan, but creation was so perfect that he does not need to continue to intervene in natural events after the point of creation, although he may still be involved in human events in response to prayer. The third, directed evolution, claims that just as God is continually involved in human history to bring about his plan, in the same way he is continually involved in natural history, whether this is scientifically detectable or not.