Isn't accepting evolution ultimately destructive of religious/supernatural faith?

Per the Slate article linked below, in the end, no matter how were parse it or dance around it, isn’t accepting evolution as a fact ultimately destructive of supernaturally based faith? Aren’t the attempts, at various levels of sophistication, to weave them together or hermetically seal them into philosophically separate areas, rationally dishonest, or at worst craven intellectual cowardice?
Evolution vs. Religion - Quit pretending they’re compatible.

I’ve thought for a long time that creationism deserves a mention at the beginning of the class, simply to explain why it will not and should not be taught along side evolution. My Bio 101 professor mentioned it when he began teaching evolution, along with the idea that life has extraterrestrial origins. He then went on to talk about abiogenesis and to say that since we don’t know what the initial spark of life was, we weren’t going to focus on it. I still think this is the best policy.

And I still see no problem with believing in God and thinking that the theory of evolution has merit.

This article exemplifies what Professor Rodney Stark said to Dennis Prager the other day- most if not all Creationist or ID vs Evolution debates aren’t waged between fundamentalists vs scientists but between two opposing circles of fundamentalists.

I totally believe in the Creator God, Father & Son & Spirit, but the idea that He may have utilized evolutionary techniques doesn’t bother that belief. I definitely
think He did it over billions of years.

However, I think believers that God did it in 144 hours 6000 years ago have a better grasp on the ultimate meaning of life that believers in mindless matter in motion developing into all this, no matter how long.

Nope. Not for me, anyway. Your mileage may vary.

My knowledge of and acceptance of evolution has deepened my Christian faith. If I were forced into a model in which the only way I could be a Christian was to embrace Young Earth Creationism and reject evolution, I’d reject the model. I suppose in that sense it would be destructive of my religious faith. On the other hand, I suspect I’d just find a new religion.

One of the things I consider a basic tenet of Christianity is that we are to love God with all our minds as well as hearts and souls. I’ve read the Bible; I know it has two contradictory accounts of creation within the first two chapters of Genesis. The more I learn of evolution and cosmology, the more I marvel at the intricacy and wonder of the universe and the Entity that created it. To me, it’s as if I’ve been given a marvelous puzzle and, even as I watch others try to solve it and figure it out for myself, I realize that the One who created it must have been even more marvelous. It’s a bit like crossword puzzles, if you will. Solving a crossword is easy enough and amusing enough, but I figure creating the crossword puzzle and figuring out how to get all the words involved to fit together must be much more difficult, at least the good ones.

I don’t see evolution and faith as mutually exclusive. I don’t see science, evolution, or cosmology as providing a “better answer” than religion. Why limit God to flicking the first switch? Why not see His presence throughout the process of evolution at both macro and microlevels, even in the happenstance of a bunch of moths in Lancashire which gave us a chance to see natural selection in action after Darwin had come up with his theories? A god who can be damaged by the acceptance of evolution is much too small a god for me. I’ll take a truly, transcendent one, if you please. Oh? Extra fries come with that? Better still! :wink:


Weisberg presents a false dilemma supported by vague references to polls. That religion as taught is often (not always) incompatible with evoutionary science is probably true. The fact that several of the strongest scientific supporters of evolutionary theory were Christians tends to argue against his thesis. (Even his allusion to Darwin is overstated: Darwin was never a strongly religious person to begin with. He came from a family with several non-believers and apparently expressed religious beliefs only as long as he was influenced by his college studies. His “decision” to study for the ministry had actually been made for him by his father as the choice of a practical career for dreamy youth in early 19th century Britain.) On the other hand, Dobzhansky, who applied Mendel’s studies to Darwin’s theories and played a significant role in creating Neo-Darwinism was a deeply religious Orthodox Christian and remained so throughout his life.

I don’t know what Weisberg’s agenda is, but he is cherry-picking his arguments.

To those who’s faith is not dependent of using it to explain the natural world, I don’t think it would be problem.

It’s a big step in destroying the faith of people who believe on God only because they use the concept to explain what they don’t understand in the real world, “the God of the gaps”. I don’t think there’s many like that though.

And by the way, it wasn’t Darwin’s discovery of evolution that caused him to lose his faith, it was the death of his daughter.

That’s a very good point, but it only gets you so far (back in time). You can keep pushing God’s intervention further back: He didn’t create Man, but he created life. He didn’t create life, but he created the universe. Ultimately, though, if God does not interract with the natural world, what is the difference, to us, between that and there being no God at all?

There is no point in introducing religion in a science class. No matter how you do it, you’re going to get a lot of people upset. Teach religion in comparitive religion class and science in science class. Science has absolutely nothing to say about the existence or non-existence of God. Science, by definition, deals only with the natural world. Since God is a supernatural being, he is beyond the scope of science.

So if God is the cause of suffering in this world,

“Iaa-Ia-Ia-Ia-Ia, ftagn, Cthulhu, Cthulhu
Iaa-Ia-Ia-Ia-Ia, Shub-niggurath”

Well, I think it’s pertinent to the discussion. Just say that there are three main opinions on where life came from: supernatural, natural, and extra terrestrial. Then say that science can only deal in the natural so that’s what we’re going to study. I’m talking about five minutes at the beginning of that section of the course.


Religion =/= Christianity, people!!!

NO, no a thousand times no, evolution and science are not incompatible with religion. Evolution is incompatible with SOME teachings of SOME religions, but not religion itself.

I don’t view the Divine as supernatural, outside of nature or as the molder of human beings in his/her image. It is part and parcel of nature, immanent in all creation. Therefore, evolution itself **is **(part of) Divinity.

But God doesn’t interact with the natural world. He did a creation event of some kind, and then sat back and let the world roll on. Sure, according to the books he showed his face once in a while back in the olden days, and tried setting up his kid in the family business, but over the last 100 generations of man, nada. And none of that fundamentally altered the nature of living things. So God’s intervention is relegated to the distant past in any event. Why is believing that God had to hand-craft every individual piece of the creation separately better than belief in a “prime mover” God who created a oneness that necessarily unfolded to form a universe, an earth, and life? (Disclaimer: I’m not a believer myself.)

God(s) is/are supernatural, but to the extent followers claim a specific mechanism or timeline (ie young earth creationism) doesn’t science have a good deal to say about the credibility of that supernatural claim?

If, at some point you have to keep moving and abstracting God to higher and higher levels on the ontological shelf to keep him out of the way of a rationalist broom, doesn’t the the notion that there is a force or being we can meaningfully worship personally begin to lose some focus?

Not really, because if God is omipotent, he can do what the YEC folks say-- mix up the data so it looks like he didn’t do it.

It does for me. I’m not arguing for the existence of God. I’m just saying that evolution doesn’t, per se, make God meaningless because the process of eveolution doesn’t kick in until after life comes into being. There’s still plenty of time to push God back as the prime mover. But at some point, you do run out of time.

Now you’ve got me curious. What is the “ultimate meaning of life” and how do you know that your grasp of it is all that great?

I’d suggest getting acquainted withTeilhard de Chardin.

The Vatican didn’t like what he had to say at first. But 15 years after his death I was studying him. In theology class. At a Catholic university.

Well, maybe it’s just a failing of my imagination, but I would think that if you go back far enough, at some point you reach something that has always been there, and everything came from that. What that is, of course I don’t know. But I would believe it’s there from natural means, and the religious will always be able to say it was created by whatever they happen to worship. I suspect there will be some ultimate first thing that neither side will be able to prove was natural vs. supernatural. I personally hope that by the time science discovers this whatever-it-is, that religion is just a memory, but the pessimistic side of me says probably not.

Einstein helped us out with that one. Time and space are not two independent things. As you extrapolate back to the big bang (or whatever beinning turns out to be true) you literally reach time = 0. Or, more accurately, time doesn’t exist prior to the existence of the universe.

Of course that theory might get supplanted by something else eventually. In fact, if the past is any guide, it almost certainly will. :slight_smile:

Well, maybe the Big Bang is as far “back” as science can take us. Since there was no “before” the BB, then there cannot have been a cause, and maybe the BB is the thing that can never be proven to be natural or supernatural, which prevents the God Of The Gaps from being totally eliminated.