Evolution and My Cochlear Implant

A couple months ago, I responded to a skeptic who commented on my blog about an event I spoke at in Montana. Interestingly, a response by RBH to the skeptic’s blog about this event stated this:

I wonder if Purdom knows that the cochlear implant she mentions as having received is in part due to the work of a former student of mine, an evolutionist.

As many scientists over the years have researched and developed the cochlear implant, there is no way to know which person he is referring to. However, RBH’s comment illustrates a very common misconception (or purposeful deception) about science.

The science that gives me hearing in the form of a cochlear implant is observational or operational science.  I call it the “here and now” science (no pun intended!) It’s the kind of science I did in the lab every day as a graduate student. This type of science gives us airplanes, MRIs, computers, cochlear implants, and cars. It is observable, testable, repeatable, and falsifiable. It has absolutely nothing to do with evolution. I guarantee that no one in the lab I worked or any other lab at my graduate institution referred to Darwin’s Origin of Species on a daily basis for guidance in their work. In fact, only one part of one graduate class I took was even devoted to the topic of evolution. We had more important things to learn that would apply to the observational/operational science we were doing every day in the lab.

Evolution and creation fall into the category of historical or origins science. This type of science is not observable, testable, repeatable or falsifiable. RBH has committed the fallacy of equivocation by relating the cochlear implant (observational/operational science) to a belief in evolution (historical/origins science). No one has a time machine that we can use to see how things came to be. So our presuppositions, or basic beliefs about reality, play a big role when doing this type of science.  Do we start with man’s ideas about the past or God’s Word about the past? In Genesis, God gives us an eyewitness account (His own!) of Creation, so we can understand how everything we observe in the present came to be. We can use God’s Word to help us develop models to understand how the world was changed by sin and Noah’s Flood. Evidence doesn’t speak for itself (contrary to popular belief), so our starting point or presupposition is very important in determining the truth about the past.

I am very thankful to all the scientists who have worked to develop the cochlear implant. It has profoundly changed my life for the better. It is likely that many of them did believe in evolution—however, believing that humans evolved from a single-celled ancestor over billions of years had no bearing on their research. I pray that they will “hear” the truth and acknowledge that God is the Creator of the human ear.