Former Governor shares insights on science, religion
Laurinburg, N.C. – “Science is the new revelation. God gave us the minds to observe and the skills to examine. I don’t think He did it to confuse us.”
Former North Carolina Governor James Martin, Ph.D., shared this belief with the nearly 100 people in attendance for the Religion and Science Roundtable held Tuesday evening at St. Andrews University.
“God did not stop revealing to us after the end of the Bible,” Martin said. “What I believe is that the Bible was not intended as a science text. Modern science helps us understand how God did things. Evolution is how God did it. Science shows us the revelation.”
Martin traced the history of the conflict between science and religion from Galileo to Darwin to Hubble to Watson and Crick.
“There is a scientific issue with evolution,” he said after examining the work of Darwin and his contemporaries. “Micro-evolution is the origin of species, which Darwin observed. It works very well and is amply supported by the DNA structure. But macro-evolution, which relates to new Phyla, Classes, Orders and Families, is where the problem lies. Phyla are body forms. We went from four to 40 in a very short period evolutionarily. Some of those have now become extinct but we have had no new body forms since that time. This is not well explained.”
Martin then turned to the age of the Earth and the universe as a key factor in the discussion. He shared that the general agreement in the scientific realm is that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and the universe is 13.7 billion years old.
“Edwin Hubble studied the beginning of the universe in 1929 and estimated that the universe was between 11 and 15 billion years old,” Martin said. “He expected to see some objects outside our galaxy moving toward us and some moving away. What he observed was a shift toward the red. That meant all of the objects were going away from us except the stars in our galaxy. The further away from us the objects were, the faster they were moving away from us.”
As science has continued to explore the theory proposed by Hubble, now commonly referred to as the “Big Bang” theory, key pieces of information have come to light to support the idea of a guiding hand.
“There are 15 fundamental constants, like gravity, that if they had been slightly off, we would not exist,” Martin said. “The expansion of the universe wouldn’t have been able to happen. Are we lucky or what?”
Martin also shared a “dirty little secret” that chemists know: all natural proteins on earth are made up of left-handed or L-amino acids. All carbohydrates and sugars in nature are right-handed.
“Somewhere a choice was made,” Martin said. “What caused protein to favor L-amino acids exclusively? What caused DNA to be right-handed? Science is beginning to show a reconciliation.”
Martin is currently 15 chapters in to writing a book expanding on these beliefs, which he hopes to have to a publisher in the next three to four months.
“Science is beginning to show a reconciliation with religion,” he said. “Science and religion are different realms of truth.”
The Rev. Dr. Ron Crossley will present “Christ, Creation and Contemporary Cosmology: Part II” on April 17 as the second spring 2012 Religion and Science Roundtable. Crossley first came to St. Andrews in 1968 as Assistant Professor of Religion and served for 16 years as a faculty member and administrator. He currently serves as a guest lecturer in the St. Andrews General Honors Program and the St. Andrews Institute of Lifelong Learning.
The Religion and Science Roundtables are associated with the annual John Calvin McNair Lecture on Science and Theology hosted each fall by St. Andrews. The McNair Lecture was established by the 1857 will of John Calvin McNair who asked that "the object of which lecture(s) shall be to show the mutual bearing of Science and Theology upon each other...."
About St. Andrews University
St. Andrews is a student and teaching-focused University which offers a broad range of undergraduate majors in a curriculum that is global in scope and practical in its application. The quality of the St. Andrews educational experience has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and GI Jobs among others. In addition to its academic programs, the University has an acclaimed university press, men’s and women’s athletic teams, a nationally competitive equestrian program, and an award-winning pipe band. St. Andrews is a branch of Webber International University, Florida. Further information may be obtained by visiting the University’s website www.sapc.edu, calling 800-763-0198, or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.