Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thoughts about evolution and religion

When someone tells you they don’t “believe” in evolution, ask them what they mean by that.

If they mean that some species evolved from other species in a process that took billions of years, but that God kicked the process off, and perhaps guided it along the way, then if you're an atheist you may disagree with them, but they’re not actually contradicting anything that science tells us. Even Darwin admitted this possibility in The Origin of the Species:

I see no good reason why the views given in this volume should shock the religious feelings of any one…A celebrated author and divine has written to me that “he has gradually learnt to see that it is just as noble a conception of the Deity to believe that He created a few original forms, capable of self-development into other and needful forms, as to believe that he required a fresh act of creation to supply the voids caused by the action of His laws.”
Indeed, since God’s role in creation is not a falsifiable hypothesis, science has nothing to say about it one way or the other. Of course, that being the case, it does not belong in the science classroom.
If, on the other hand, when they say they don’t believe in evolution, they mean that God created all species in their current forms during a one-week period some six thousand years ago, and that man and dinosaurs roamed the earth side by side, then they’re flying in the face of a large body of scientific evidence, and someone needs to sit them down and explain very gently that the Flintstones aren’t real. The Flintstones
Flintstones image used according to the Fair Use provisions of the US Copyright code.

Michael Isenberg is the author of Full Asylum, a novel about politics, freedom, and hospital gowns. Check it out on Amazon.com

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