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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Evolution and Religion Can Be Friends Farce

Charles Johnson, curator of the conservative leaning, Little Green Footballs, has become something of an anti-creationist bigot. Over the last year or so, he has turned his once enjoyable to read blog into a dumping ground for every crackpot news item he sees as bagging on creationism in defense of Darwinian evolution.

For example, over the weekend he cites a blog article put up by a group of atheists who call themselves the misnamed Louisiana Coalition for Science. They recently posted an article complaining against Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal, who has signed state educational legislation favorable to intelligent design being taught along side Darwinian evolution in the public school class room.

The article, a post written by atheist crank Barbara Forrest, grimly states how the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology is boycotting the state of Louisiana by not holding their national meeting in New Orleans for 2011. The last meeting in Boston had 1,850 participants, the letter from the SICB explains, and that means their boycott will keep nearly 2,000 brilliant scientists and graduate students from adding to the local economy in New Orleans just because the governor has supported those stealth creationist Discovery Institute dullards.

Ummm.

1,850 is not a significant number of anything. To put it in perspective, Grace Community Church has triple that amount of members attending on just one Sunday morning. About double that number for Sunday evenings. The Together for the Gospel conference from 2008 had nearly 6,000 pastors in attendance in Louisville. To suggest a tiny group of specialized educators and researchers is going to have any measurable economic impact upon the city of New Orleans with their boycott is laughable. They would make a much more significant point if they can get Mardi Gras cancelled for the year.

At any rate, following on the heals of the atheists boycotting Louisiana post is a second one by Charles noting some lawsuit against Berkley concerning their website listing misconceptions about evolution. The web page in question suggests that religion, code word for Christians in this case, and evolution can get along if religious people would just come to their sense about the way things are. Predictably, the page links to another pseudo-scientific group that is really just another clearing house for atheistic propaganda, the National Center for Science Education. That alone tells me the bias of these folks.

The merits of this lawsuit aside, I wanted to comment upon what the website actually says about religious people being "friends" with evolution.

The paragraph states,

Religion and science (evolution) are very different things. In science, only natural causes are used to explain natural phenomena, while religion deals with beliefs that are beyond the natural world.

The misconception that one always has to choose between science and religion is incorrect. Of course, some religious beliefs explicitly contradict science (e.g., the belief that the world and all life on it was created in six literal days); however, most religious groups have no conflict with the theory of evolution or other scientific findings. In fact, many religious people, including theologians, feel that a deeper understanding of nature actually enriches their faith. Moreover, in the scientific community there are thousands of scientists who are devoutly religious and also accept evolution.

Allow me to make a few observations.

First off, the first sentence is truly dishonest. Religion and science with "science" being equated automatically with evolution are said to be two entirely different things. Of course religion is typically understood by these people as blind faith in the non-existent supernatural. Evolution is automatically assumed to be bacteria-to-man, no divine being doing anything at all during the course of its process over billions of years. And again, Darwinian supporters believe this definition of evolution is never to be questioned, has been proven as fact, and is undeniably true. Hence the reason evolution in this case is equated with science.

Note also how the second sentence sets up a false dichotomy: science alone is the only valid means which can use natural causes to explain natural phenomena. Religion in turn, according to this contrast, is merely blind faith in non-existent things that supposedly go beyond the natural world. Creationist critics like Charles Johnson, and many in his lizard army, should understand that creationists have never been opposed to explaining natural phenomena with natural causes. Seeing that creationists clearly believe God created the world to function in a natural way (Because God told us so in His Word), natural phenomena is expected to be caused by natural causes. Thus, such an understanding of "science" is not exclusively an anti-creationist or even an anti-supernatural position. One can have a belief in the supernatural and hold firmly to natural causes causing natural phenomena.

A third observation is the vague comment in the big paragraph which tells the reader that many religious groups and even some theologians have no problem with the theory of evolution. The writer of these words continues to leave what is meant by "evolution" undefined for the reader, and presupposes it is non-life forming life and one celled organisms changing and mutating, and then changing again until we have modern man in his full glory without any "god" or outside supernatural force doing anything at all. The writer also doesn't tell the reader that the majority of those "religious" individuals referenced don't really take the Bible seriously as a revelation from God any ways. Usually these religious people or theologians are from hard core liberal denominations like the United Church of Christ and Unitarians, and they generally deny the supernatural to begin with.

Lastly is the heart of the disagreement. Critics like Johnson are often times ignorant of the core fundamentals which shape the dissent on each side in the debate. Heck, even anti-creationist apologists like Barbara Forrest are ignorant of the fundamentals. They are of the opinion non-evolutionists reject clear evidence that supports the bacteria-to-man evolution and for them to deny this reality places the creationists and IDers in the realm of the delusional.

The disagreement biblical creationists and IDers (who are not creationists, by the way) have with evolutionists has really nothing to do with science per se. Creationists are just as "scientific" as evolutionists. The true disagreement is with the presuppositions brought to the evidence and which is utilized to interpret it.

I as a creationist believe the Bible is God Word and I know it provides a clear revelation of God's creation of the world and all that is contained there in and ultimately man on the sixth day. The creation narrative of Genesis is not another ancient myth with no bearing upon the modern world. It is a reliable historical record of God creating in the span of six normal days as we understand days. The grammar of the text of Genesis cannot allow for any other conclusion. Evolution as this Berkley website defines it, is no where present in the text of Genesis. Thus, I as a religious person, as I take my faith just as seriously in creation as the evolutionist does in his "science," would have to abandon my faith to satisfy the whims of the evolutionist in order to be "friends." A compromise I am sure evolutionists like Barbara Forrest, whose criticisms of creationism is driven more for her hatred of God than defending the integrity of "science," would gleefully welcome.

And the alternative of the evolutionist abandoning his materialistic naturalism as the first principles which shape his understanding of the world, and embracing a God centered view of the origins of life, would be just as odious to them.

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8 Comments:

Blogger Escovado said...

Whenever I encounter Christian “theistic evolutionists,” I am reminded of Romans 1:20: "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."
The existence of God is superfluous in an evolutionary universe. Therefore, if evolution was true, then unbelievers would certainly have an excuse, since God would have made the universe in such a way that it would appear to have happened by chance.

6:48 AM, February 17, 2009  
Blogger DJP said...

atheist crank

Liquid water

11:25 AM, February 18, 2009  
Blogger Escovado said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:48 PM, February 18, 2009  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Hey E.,
I think you may be miss reading Dan's comment. He is merely saying that to say atheist crank is as redundant as saying liquid water.
get it?

Fred

1:53 PM, February 18, 2009  
Blogger Escovado said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:57 PM, February 18, 2009  
Blogger Escovado said...

Yo Fred,

I know what you mean. But it sounded to me like Dan was mis-reading my comment.

OK, so I deleted my "cranky" response! :)

1:58 PM, February 18, 2009  
Blogger Truth Unites... and Divides said...

I have met theistic evolutionists who disdain creationists and ID'ers almost as much as atheistic evolutionists.

Why the hard-heartedness by theistic evolutionists towards creationists and ID'ers?

As for myself, I'm rather irritated and irked by theistic evolutionists, but I don't hate them.

3:43 PM, February 20, 2009  
Blogger bruce said...

if everything reproduces after it's own kind, then sin = death.

if everything does not reproduce after it's own kind, then sin does not necessarily = death.

this is at the heart of it all to both sides. creationists know that there is a judgement day. evolutionists don't want to think that there will be a judgement and theistic evolutionists, when you start looking at the other parts of their theology, don't really "know" whether they will be judged or not.

7:34 AM, February 26, 2009  

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