Seeking truth and understanding are very important to me. I enjoy learning and gaining knowledge, and one enjoyable way I do that is by listening to other people share their views and opinions on various topics of interest. I may not necessarily agree on any or all topics, but at least it challenges me to examine what I believe and why I believe it, and provides me an opportunity to learn and grow.
I interviewed a good friend of mine, Dave Andrews, and he warned me that I may be surprised with some of his opinions. I certainly don’t expect everyone to believe everything that I believe; I’m just looking for good dialogue and honest discussion. Dave’s insight from a scientific perspective is both welcome and helpful.
- Dave, what is your scientific background and what degrees do you hold?
I consider myself a ‘scientist’ – but mostly because of ‘how’ I do my work – and not necessarily because of ‘what’ I do. I have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry – but I would hardly call myself a chemist. I left the field of chemistry in 1997 to peruse a career in software design. I am currently the senior software architect for a large corporation. However, I still consider what I do a form of science: It involves a LOT of math, testing, experimentation, research, questions, answers, theories, and everything else that you would encounter in a career in the natural sciences. I have been very successful at what I do because of my application of scientific methods to the field of software design. I still have a passion for natural sciences – particularly geology, bio-chemistry, astronomy, and particle physics. You will rarely find me fawning over an article on computing, new gadgets or the high-tech industry; these things don’t really interest me much at all – which is weird because it’s so much closer to what puts food on my table. I would much rather read about the developments at CERN, string theory, bio-chemical responses (in the human body in particular), or the latest use for graphene (or other materials).
- How did you become interested in science?
My love of the natural sciences started in kindergarten. When I was 5 year old, I had a teacher who introduced me to ‘rockhounding’; that is, collecting rocks and learning how to identify them. Learning how to classify rocks by color, hardness, and structure at such an early age gave me a thirst for understanding ‘why’ and ‘how’ these differences and similarities existed in other things. I would take apart my toys, crack rocks open with other rocks (or a hammer), melt things in the sun, create (sometimes very dangerous) concoctions from the various household chemicals I had available, and doing anything else that would teach me ‘how stuff works’. My methods are a lot more refined now, but I still have that same desire to know the inner-workings of creations: both man-made and natural. This desire, along with my aptitude for math is probably what ultimately led me to my current career. On the surface it looks haphazard, but the path makes sense if you think about it.
- What scientific research and work have you done?
When I was in college, and when I was a chemist, my work was primarily in the fields of inorganic and physical chemistry (rocks, minerals, and the structures governing atomic interactions). The only ‘real’ research-work I did was on the oxidation rates of vanadium oxide with L-ascorbic acid. Not surprisingly, I don’t find too many people who are interested in hearing about my research – and in all honesty, I’m not really too interested in it myself anymore.
- How would you describe or label your views on creation, evolution and the age of the earth (young earth creationist, old earth creationist, ID, progressive creation, etc.)?
Let’s face the facts: anyone who debates about creation vs. evolution is really arguing about the validity of the Bible. That’s what it really is all about. There are really only 3 key stances to be held:
A) There is no God and the Bible is false.
B) God exists, but the Bible is false.
C) God exists, and the Bible is true.
I personally, do not like to discuss genesis (that is, the origins of our universe) without first discussing the existence of God. The gap between “A” and “B” is huge compared to the gap between “B” and “C”.
However; if you were to corner me on the subject, I would summarize my theory on the matter of creation as follows:
There is a God who is the author, creator, and sustainer of all things. I believe that the Bible was written by man, but inspired by God and that it was not intended to be a scientific or historical textbook; but rather to serve as an expression of God’s Holiness, power and love; so that we may have a desire to know Him more and have an everlasting relationship with Him. That said, I do not think it belittles the value of scriptures in any way if I admit that it is possible that the Genesis account of creation is not accurate and that it lacks sufficient detail for us to possibly come to any sort of conclusion which scientifically explains the origins of our universe. Whereas I believe that it is entirely possible that God could have created the universe exactly as the Bible says, I contend that the physical evidence suggests that it was far more complicated than what the scripture alone leads us to believe.
- How have your views on evolution and creation changed over the years?
Have they ever! I think I have held every position there is to hold on the matter. I’ve heard some very convincing arguments – but they all have their flaws. I have my own theories – but they are just as incomplete as everyone else’s.
- How old would you suggest the age of the earth and universe are, and can you support this from scripture?
I believe that the universe and earth are significantly older than mankind. I would say that scripture ‘somewhat’ accurately gives us an account of the creation of mankind – which makes us about 7 to 8 thousand years old. May I note: this is actually pretty close to what the mitochondrial RNA suggests as well as population growth calculations. However; I am unsure what to think about the age of the earth itself – as well as the age of the rest of creation (apart from mankind). I guess that would put my beliefs (concerning age) close to those of the ‘gap’ theorists. The arguments in the book ‘Thousands, not Billions’ are very convincing, but I still think there’s a ‘gap’ between the creation of the universe and that of earth as well as a gap between the creation of earth and mankind.
- Some outspoken evolutionists such as Richard Dawkins and Billy Nye suggest that it’s child abuse if we teach children Creationism or anything other than scientific evolution and origins. How would you respond?
I find it shameful for them to villainize people who hold beliefs other than their own. Creationists could easily say the same thing about them. Besides, in my opinion, neither evolution nor creationism are ‘true’ science. They are theories: logical conclusions which are rooted in assumptions and loosely tied to ‘true’ science. Neither one can ever be proved. The only ‘true’ science is that which can be experienced, observed, or measured. Unfortunately, there are very few things in life which fall into the category of ‘true’ science. Nearly everything requires faith in concepts and ideas which have weak foundations – but that’s the nature of life. It is a very big step to turn a theory into ‘truth’ – you need to have measurable, repeatable fact (true science) directly tied to every input and output of the theory. Some theories may seem more sound than others, but at the end of the day – a theory requires faith. On the surface, it seems foolish to put your faith in things that can’t be proven – yet it’s absolutely unavoidable – so we are either all fools, or there is nothing wrong with ‘faith’. I prefer to believe the latter.
· Please comment on the following topics in relation to how they impact evolution and the age of the earth and universe:
- Genetics and DNA
DNA and RNA are software – evidence that all living things have been ‘engineered’ – and not the product of chance or mutation. I have been writing software since I was 8 years old, I’m proficient in over a dozen languages, and have yet to find anything as robust and elegant as DNA or RNA. It is amazing, and absolutely impossible to have been generated through (even millions of years of) evolution. There is no possible way for a self replicating system to build itself without a designer.
I actually took a course on archaeology when I was in college. I never worked so hard for a lousy ‘C’ in my life. Definitely not my thing. It is science – but not a ‘true’ science: everything is hypothetical. I am not trying at all to de-value or demean it; it’s just that you have to make up for missing data via supposition and extrapolation. I have never been good at reading ‘hints’ – so I don’t pay a lot of attention to the subject – though what is found is very fascinating.
- Missing links and human evolution
There is no ‘missing link’. We have better chance of finding evidence of the existence of faeries. I suppose it’s possible that we might find some bones which appear to be that of a missing link – but it’s all guesswork and supposition; not true science. True science is spoken with numbers. Mitochondrial RNA proves that humans have only been around no more than 8000 years. Population growth calculations confirms this same age. Written historical record confirms this same age. I suppose that it takes some amount of faith to trust the data – but it’s far less than the faith required to believe we evolved from an animal with a different number of chromosomes.
- Dinosaurs and fossils
I love dinosaurs and fossils. They are evidence of incredible change which has taken place on earth. The plants were different, the animals were different, even the air and water were different. There are a lot of good theories out there – and they all suggest that there was some sort of global, catastrophic event which changed the earth. This, I believe – but extrapolating anything more requires logic outside the realm of science.
- What are your thoughts on The Fall of Man and God’s curse?
I believe that the fall of man was a real event. I have mentioned before that I believe that genesis is a summary; therefore, I believe that the story of the fall of man is also a summary. However, whatever the details are, I believe that it affected every single part of God’s creation. The fall of man is far more significant than just a tarnished relationship between God and man; it caused a chain reaction which has deteriorated all of the creation.
- How does Jesus fit into Genesis, and what role does he play in the whole Biblical picture?
The Bible can be divided into four parts: Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration. Jesus is the means (redemption) by which the creation (everything) is to be restored. Hebrews 1 tells us that this was the plan from the very beginning of creation.
Thanks, Dave, for your valuable contribution!