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Do any of the UCSB scientists believe in creation instead of evolution?
Question Date: 2013-12-11
Answer 1:

No scientist *believes* in any theory, not even theories like the theory of gravity that have literally planets' worth of evidence backing them up. This is because all theories, including gravity (and, yes, evolution), are incomplete, and will eventually be overturned by new theories as more and more evidence becomes available. Using gravity again as an example, we don't use Isaac Newton's theory of gravity anymore; we use Albert Einstein's theory instead, and we're pretty sure that Einstein's theory is also incomplete, too, just more complete than Newton's theory. The same is true of the theory of evolution, and yes, I can name several things that Charles Darwin was wrong about and how today's paleontologists and evolutionary biologists are using new, better theories of evolution.

Religion, by contrast, doesn't rely on evidence. Religion takes truths based on faith, and these truths are not to be questioned. For this reason, a Creationist believes that the universe was divinely created as described in scripture and that there is no amount of evidence that will sway him or her from this belief (after all, what if the evidence is fabricated somehow?). A common misconception among Creationists is that evolution is a belief system as well, and for some non-scientists they are correct, but not for scientists. Scientists believe in the scientific method, the process of learning through observation, experimentation, and testing existing ideas to see where they fail, and then creating new ideas to account for the new observations. You don't believe in theories; you test them.

I should point out that the misconception goes both ways: many academic scientists who are not religious and don't understand religion mistakenly assume that all religious people are Creationists. This is no more true than saying that scientists believe in evolution. Many, if not most religions, including most sects of Christianity, do not see divine creation of the universe and the theory of evolution as incompatible, as the passages in scripture that apparently contradict evolution may actually be metaphorical and be talking about the relationship between God, humanity, and the rest of the universe, the nature of good and evil, and how a person should live his or her life, and have nothing to do with the actual mechanisms by which the universe operates such as evolution or gravity. Science, meanwhile, cannot say anything about God or morality because it has no way of measuring either, which is not to say that they don't exist, only that science cannot answer questions about them. Religion can.

In short, scientists at UCSB (or anywhere else) do not hold evolution as something that they believe in the way that a Creationist believes in Creation, but the overwhelming majority of UCSB scientists accept a revised version of the theory of evolution due to the equally overwhelming body of evidence in support of such a theory.

Answer 2:

I don't know about UCSB scientists, but I know several scientists at various institutions/universities who believe that creation and evolution are not mutually exclusive. That is, they generally believe in some higher power that created the universe. The specific beliefs of these people vary, but the general gist is that the higher power that created that universe either created the mechanism for evolution to take place, or "guides" evolution.

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