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January 04, 2006

On Godless Evolution

How does one believe in God and Science?

They seem to be divergent but they are not. For me they are reconciled. So I find it disturbing that some are following a line of reasoning that will take them into battle with the scientific community of which I am a part. Over at Palos Verdes Blog I found the following:

Among the intellectual elites in the National Academy of Sciences, 95% of biologists are materialists and therefore atheists. Those at the top of the profession have a profound influence on what is taught in the schools.

Is there any doubt that these “proponents of evolutionary biology go well beyond science to claim that evolution both manifests and requires a materialistic philosophy that leaves no room for God, the soul or the presence of divine grace in human life.” No wonder many parents are legitimately concerned about what their children are learning.

To many religious conservatives, Darwinists are “hell-bent on cramming atheistic materialism down the throats of impressionable children, in the guise of science, thereby robbing their children of the faith that has saved Western civilization from the fate of godless nations.”

To answer the second paragraph, I have doubts, and these doubts are born of (what I hope to be) a sophisticated understanding of human nature and the aims of religion and science. Nobody quite put it so simply as the Dalai Lama in his 'Ethics for the New Millenium', but he didn't put it so briefly that I'd like to retype it here. I'm simply say that I believe that people inherit attitudes about Science and Religion and then gradually learn some corner of their offerings.

For one thing, I don't believe that scientists can design away or argue away the soul. Whatever the soul is, it is inevitable. Simply because one might have an extra-relgious explanation doesn't change the materiality or nature of it. When people's souls are satisfied, that's the ticket. And people will continue to satisfy that hunger. There's another scientific explanation for not acknowledging or explaining away the soul, denial.

Secondly, I believe for scientific and religious reasons, that we are inherently moral. My understaning of one theory of evolutionary biology, as well as hearsay from my brother Doc, the cop, is that after you beat somebody unconscious it takes a very deliberate effort to move from aggrevated assault to murder. We are instinctually averse to killing. As I have said before, I believe that we are endowed by God (in his image) and as a consequence of the fall of Adam, the very same moral capacity as God - the ability to distinguish good from evil. This corresponds to God's own sense of good and evil exactly in the same way everybody sees red as red, otherwise free will makes no sense at all. It is because of this identical correspondance that we understand religion as good beyond the personal reclamation of the soul.

Think about it from another way. If all we were required to do is 'steal into heaven', that is to say do the very minimum that Jesus required, we all might as well be the theif on the second cross. But we understand that the Good News is useful in the affairs of mankind while we are here on Earth. That's why weighing in against atheists is considered a good thing in the first place.

Evolution is what it is. That Christians fight it is pure silliness.

Posted by mbowen at January 4, 2006 07:55 AM

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"That Christians fight it is pure silliness."

That is a very bold and elitist statement don't ya think?

Posted by: Dell Gines [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 4, 2006 08:28 AM

"Whatever the soul is, it is inevitable. Simply because one might have an extra-relgious explanation doesn't change the materiality or nature of it. When people's souls are satisfied, that's the ticket. And people will continue to satisfy that hunger."

Thank you for this. I think a puzzle-piece just slipped into place.

Posted by: Laura(southernxyl) at January 4, 2006 12:04 PM

It is a bold statement. As I was writing it, I was thinking of the Scopes Trial and Christians fighting evolution based on biblical interpretations of the age of the planet. That's silly.

I know there's more to it than that, but I still think it's the same silliness that believes that the majesty of God can be eclipsed by Darwin's theory, or that an atheist agenda can disrupt that which God imbues in humanity.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 4, 2006 12:48 PM

01 05 06

Thx Cobb. I have been waiting for something like this for a while. I have also stated similar things before and they fell on deaf ears. Keep it up!!! To me, I don't find too many distinctions between believing that a wavefunction collapses when I take a measurement or believeing that there is a Supreme being. Each belief requires faith in something that cannot be proven or really disproven. Unfortunately many scientists have forgotten what a postulate is and how postulates are accepted as a foundational basis for a discipline and cannot be proven or really disproven. Ergo the wavefunction. Good post. Sorry for rambling!

Posted by: mahndisa at January 5, 2006 02:46 AM

Got to fight bruh. Always, I look at it more pragmatic than that. If the final destination is God, then what difference does it make if evolution is true or false? It as nothing nor subtracts anything of spiritual value (from a personal Christian perspective) so if indeed, it causes people because of the way it is presented to disbelieve, why not fight it as a matter of practicality and apologetics?

Posted by: Dell Gines [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 5, 2006 02:12 PM

Dell, the answer is not to fight evolution but to fight the evolution/Christian dichotomy. There shouldn't be one. It isn't necessary at all. If evolution is being taught that way, that's wrong and it needs to stop.

From the standpoint of science, truth should be desired destination. From the standpoint of religion, ditto. Those two things eventually have to merge, or at least not contradict each other.

Posted by: Laura(southernxyl) at January 5, 2006 03:03 PM

Well let's take it from a purely missionary standpoint. If I was a godless pagan and I believed that there was some spirit in the elderberry bush and it was this spirit that got rid of my headaches, would it be part of the missionary's duty on the grounds of the first four commandments to disabuse the notion?

Is that pagan's soul in jeopardy if he continues to mix berries in his tea to get rid of headaches?

So now a scientist comes along and says, it's not a spirit in the berries, it's an analgesic.

Is it the missionary's job to redefine the physical world so that pagans don't recognize spirits or so that pagans don't worship spirits? I say it's the second, and that nobody prays to Darwin or attends the Church of Evolution.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 5, 2006 04:42 PM