John Sanford tells of his pilgrimage from theistic evolution to skeptic of aspects of Darwinian theory:
Q. Doctor Sanford, when did you switch from atheism to a Christian world view?
A. About 20 years ago.
[Objection and discussion]
Q. Twenty years ago?
Q. And so– and I think you said that you were a theistic evolutionist for a period of time after that. You know, why– why was that?
A. I had been trained in evolution and everything I had ever thought was in terms of evolution. For me, it was a– as clear as the world around us. It was just uncontestable. But in retrospect, I had not critically assessed much of what I believed. I believed it based upon very little, without critical assessment.
Q. So would it be fair to say that while you were an atheist, you didn’t find any personal reasons to critically analyze the theory or to challenge it?
A. Yes. Well, as an atheist, there’s no– there’s no alternative hypothesis because if– if no one– and there’s no designer or creator, then you have to believe that the universe created itself.
Q. So you– 20 years ago you became a Christian and then at some subsequent time and you– let me ask you this; do you use evolutionary biology in your operational science?
A. I don’t use it. And when I was an evolutionist, I would have argued that evolutionary theory is critical to being a good scientist. I actually realized that it’s– my best science has been done since that time. I’ve also realized that historically all the founding fathers of science were non-evolutionists and many of them were anti-evolutionists. So I realized that good science is not in any way conditioned upon accepting the evolutionary theory.
Q. The– is it fair to say then that– well, you– you switched from Christianity– from atheism to Christianity 20 years ago and then there was a period of time where you were a– I think you described a theistic evolutionist; is that correct?
Q. And then during that period of time, did you have any cause or reason to or did you challenge or critically analyze evolutionary theories?
A. I– I did not generally question the– the documents that I had been taught. They were like foundational beliefs and I did not generally question them.
Q. And then at some point in time something caused you to begin to question it?
A. So I had–
Q. Is that correct?
A. Yes. I had friends who basically said, have you looked at the other side? And I said, what other side? I honestly had been at Cornell at that point 20 years and I really did not know that there was a– a legitimate position which could contest evolutionary assumptions.
Q. And so then you began to look at it critically?
A. I began to look at it critically and for several years I was intrigued by alternative explanations for many different things. And so this was a– a time of great intellectual excitement for me. So looking at alternatives to evolution, I did not find mental– mentally deadening but rather incredibly stimulating.
I encourage everyone to read his entire testimony to get a fuller understanding of his views of the relevant science. He provides a very interesting analysis of the differences between the operational sciences and the historical sciences.