“When we are faced with the temptation of reducing our inner life to the level of intellect and emotions, as if the true spiritual life which is union with God were no more than deception, we need to hear the word: ‘And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God’ (Jn 17:3). This knowledge, or enlightenment, is the purpose of life. Light and truth constitute an inseparable pair, for we cannot find the way without light. Christ is the ‘Light’ and the ‘Way’, but in his freedom, man chooses between light, which requires a sustained effort, and darkness. St.Symeon the New Theologian expressed the heart of the problem in these terms: ‘He who is blind to the One is completely blind to all things. But he who sees the One is able to contemplate the whole.’ “ (Michel Quenot, The Resurrection and the Icon, pg 222)
Though the controversy between evolution and creation science is not always on my front burner, I do see articles on the topic from time to time that interest me. Such was the case of the interview with “self-described ‘evolutionist’” Lynn Margulis in the April 2011 issue of DISCOVER. Though an accomplished scientist who has contributed to an understanding of evolution, she doesn’t believe neo-Darwinism has the ability to explain evolution fully.
Margulis says, “Natural selection eliminates and maybe maintains, but it doesn’t create.” She says if you look at the studies of Gregor Mendel and his rule of heredity, you see stasis not change. “There is no gradualism in the fossil record.” Field studies show variations within a species and then suddenly a new species. Margulis thinks the critics of evolutionary theory offer valid criticisms of the theory, but she finds no scientific support for ideas of intelligent design.
Her alternative is the theory of “symbiogenesis” in which genetic changes enter into a species through their biological relationships with other species or even bacteria. She says most evolutionary biologists ignore the relationships between species, between “bacteria, protoctists, fungi, animals and plants.” She thinks neo-Darwinism is just too narrowly focused – even as it studies a genome it fails to take into account how species interrelate with each other and also with all other environmental factors.
Margulis shows that a scientist can hold unconventional and even unpopular views and yet still respect the scientific enterprise and be respected by it. She acknowledge in the interview that some scientists are not governed by a search for truth, but by what research will win them more grant money. She doesn’t resolve the divide between evolution and creationism, but she thinks critically about the problems both present and offers a scientific alternative.