Bournemouth University’s Chaplain claims evolution cannot explain human nature.
The relationship between evolutionary science and religion is an age-old debate, but as a priest with a scientific background Dr Bill Merrington has experience with both.
Dr Merrington is a forensic science graduate with a masters in theology and a PhD in psychology, but his belief in God and his desire to “care for others” lead him to also become a priest.
“I accept evolution theory, but I think there are questions in it.”
Evolution theory vs. religion
In September, the Guardian and YouGov investigated the public’s attitudes to evolution in relation to their religious beliefs.
They found the majority of adults accept evolution theory, but in that majority 12% (of UK respondents) said they found it difficult to accept evolution in relation to their own personal beliefs.
Like the majority, Dr Merrington has “no problem” with accepting the Big Bang or chaos theory and does not see a conflict between science and religion.
“All the famous scientists going back in history were priests. There was never a question that religion was opposite to science,” he said.
For Dr Merrington the evolutionary debate is not about whether God created the world in 7 days, or what was behind the Big Bang, but about human nature.
“One of the fundamental theories of science is that all theories are incomplete. So, you have to say evolution theory is incomplete – that it is flawed in parts.”
He asks: “Why is there kindness? Why is there love? Why do people give food to foodbanks?
“Evolution will say that because humans survive in groups we support the group, but that doesn’t answer why people go the second mile. That says something to me.
“How do you understand someone’s mind? It’s very complex. Your results aren’t quite so measurable.
“Science is a lot more measurable but if you really get in to it there are still a lot of grey areas.
“I’m currently doing research into tears, and interestingly we are the only animals that cry.”