What Are You Doing for Darwin Day?

A lot of you are part of local or college atheist groups. Are you doing anything special for Darwin Day (February 12th)?

The University of Washington Secular Student Union has a full slate of activities planned. And a nifty poster, too:

darwinday.png

A full list of Darwin Day activities around the world can be found here.


[tags]atheist, atheism, Charles Darwin[/tags]

  • Cade

    I’m a little wary of our Campus Atheist group promoting evolution. It seems to give the impression that evolution leads directly to atheism and should be opposed no matter what. I’d rather frame the evolution “debate” as between religion and science; not religion and atheism.

    What does everyone else think?

  • atheos

    We’re having a speaker from the local high school who’ll talk on the history of teaching evolution. That will be followed by a potluck. It’s being held at the local library.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    I’m a little wary of our Campus Atheist group promoting evolution. It seems to give the impression that evolution leads directly to atheism and should be opposed no matter what. I’d rather frame the evolution “debate” as between religion and science; not religion and atheism.

    What does everyone else think?

    That’s a good point Cade. Though even better than framing it as a debate between religion and science would be to frame it as a debate between certain types of religion and science. Religious people need to know that evolution doesn’t have to be seen as contrary to their beliefs.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ miller

    Mike,

    I agree, but I wouldn’t say it quite the same way. Thanks to a dispute in the blogosphere a while ago (see here), “framing” is now a loaded term. I would go further than saying we should “frame” it as a debate between certain types of religion and science, and say that it is a debate between certain types of religion and science. It is entirely possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist before evolution, or to be an intellectually fulfilled theist after evolution (insofar as it is possible to be an intellectually fulfilled theist or atheist period).

  • http://bjornisageek.blogspot.com Bjorn Watland

    Minnesota Atheists are getting together at the Science Museum of Minnesota. It’s about time we do something sciency since we laud it so.

  • Pingback: Darwin Day 2008: Viva La Evolution! | UW's Secular Student Union

  • Alicia

    Part of our discussion at secular student union is going to be directed toward this issue. Our hope is that people will understand more about the basic points of evolution and maybe learn that it can fit in with the rest of their world view.

  • http://ichthyologistbright.blogspot.com Laurie

    Here in Sacramento, we’re having a birthday gala a couple of days early.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com/ Siamang

    I think the framing has all been done. It’s over, and a few hundred atheists ain’t going to change the world about it. Darwin’s our dude now, because the believers absolutely will not go to the wall for science. We’ll got to the wall for science. We’ll take the rack and the iron maden and we’ll lie next to gallileo on the stretcher because we’ve got nothing more comforting to come back to.

    Belivers, they’ve got the next life. None of them will go to the wall for science like they’d go to the wall for jesus. Goddidit with evolution is an equally acceptable answer to THE BEST of these folks as Goddidit with creationism… because the first word explains it all.

    Anyway, the question’s been framed, and not by us. It’s over… science vs. religion is the way now… we can’t unframe it… ESPECIALLY not on an atheist board.. all you folks are doing is proving the science=atheism people right by even talking about this here.

    The ONLY way this frame changes is if religion changes it. Want to change the frame? Accept it as an atheist. The religion folks will have to wake up and start claiming science.

    The only way to win this is to accept the frame. Really accept it… force religion into hating its own position in opposition to science. Tell christians that their own use of the internet self-refutes their anti-science position.

    Make believers have to stand up and signify their support of science in order not to be seen as backwards cavemen. Don’t be timid… Ken Ham’s not worried about being a big gallumphing oaf. He’s got a multi-million-dollar megaphone selling fake Jesusauruses. Does anyone here really think that they can effect the frame at all? Sorry, but there are big mass-media players out there. They frame it, and they have framed it, and there ain’t shit you can do about it any more than you could unframe Coca-Cola or unbrand Nike.

    STOP with this feeling self-consciousness because *gasp* you have the temerity to stand up for science. What’s next, human rights?! Climate change?!?!

    This is the same (excuse me) bullshit that people were selling atheists after the 2000 election, how if we were politically progressive in America (or gasp, liberal), and we were out atheists, we should shut up about our political views so that the democratic party could woo religious voters.

    Shut up, or you’ll scare away those bigoted against you? No thanks. That’s a recipe for disaster.

    It’s the frame we’ve got. Use it. Hang it around their neck.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    The religion folks will have to wake up and start claiming science.

    Except of course the fact that there are millions of liberal and mainline Christians who were never told they weren’t supposed to claim science in the first place. I’ve talked to plenty of folks who grew up Catholic or Presbyterian or Methodist or whatever who never realized that there was any debate about science and faith. In their version of Christianity both were equally affirmed. They didn’t know they needed to stand up for it, because they had never taken the Creationist fundies too seriously anyway.

    And to be honest, even though I grew up in a Creationist background, I had never heard of guys like Ken Ham until you all started mentioning him. I think he’s like Ray Comfort – both of them get way more press from atheists than they ever do in Christian circles.

  • Kate

    Erik and I visited the local UU church (not the one I belong to) that was hosting a special Darwin sermon for Darwin day. :) Hurray!

  • http://www.otmatheist.com/ Siamang

    And to be honest, even though I grew up in a Creationist background, I had never heard of guys like Ken Ham until you all started mentioning him.

    Are you seriously telling me that Christians in America aren’t aware of the multi-million dollar Creation Museum? The movement to get Intelligent Design taught in schools, as promoted by the president of the united states?

    Americans have let the fundies frame this entire debate as “science is anti-God.”

    Hell, Mr. Purpose-driven life himself teaches children that dinosaurs were Adam and Eve’s playmates. If that’s not what the majority of Christians believe, they certainly haven’t let the pollsters in on it!

    If we’re talking about “framing”, then we’re talking about changing the minds of the masses. That’s fighting it memetically, not individualistically.

  • http://www.robinlionheart.com/ Robin Lionheart

    To celebrate Darwin Day, I donned a chimpanzee avatar and joined the Monkey Parade on Second Life organized by the rather active Humanist group there.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    Are you seriously telling me that Christians in America aren’t aware of the multi-million dollar Creation Museum?

    Quite honestly, thus far I’ve not come across a mention of it anywhere except on atheist websites. (I’m not saying it hasn’t been mentioned, just that it hasn’t been mentioned enough elsewhere for it to enter my radar screen.)

    Siamang, I expect that you know that there are differences among Christians, even among conservative Christians, not just in what they believe, but also in what they emphasize as important. Not even all those who are Creationists really spend that much time making a big deal about it or crusading for it the way Ham does or the ID folks do. For instance, I don’t think I’ve ever heard Warren make a big deal about it unless directly asked… in fact he’s explicitly said that he’s not interested in fighting those kind of culture wars. Ham is much more well known on the fundamentalist end of the spectrum than he is among mainstream evangelicals. And I doubt anyone on the liberal end of the spectrum has ever heard of him, period, though if they have he would just be one more fundy for them to mock and dismiss, much as you all do here.

    I know that to atheists these distinctions might not mean much, but they are significant, at least in terms of knowing your audience and what needs to be done to “change minds”. And in terms of understanding that you’re not alone in this – that the “majority” of Americans who believe in Creationism is a slim majority (between 49-55% depending on the poll), which still leaves tens of millions of American Christians who are on your side of this debate. Do you really think that it’s only atheists in America who are fighting this battle? It’s easy (though not entirely accurate) to see the glass as half-empty, but, just to take one example, what about the fact that not only did all of the Democratic presidential candidates believe in evolution, 70% of the Republicans did too!? As has been often pointed out here, all of these candidates are Christians. So if all but 3 support evolution, that ought to say something. At the very least it ought to say things aren’t quite as bleak as you appear to be painting them.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com/ Siamang

    For instance, I don’t think I’ve ever heard Warren make a big deal about it unless directly asked… in fact he’s explicitly said that he’s not interested in fighting those kind of culture wars.

    Then why does he include it twice on his website for Saddleback families? Apparantly it’s in his top 50 questions. He’s chosen to make it a part of his ministry. If he doesn’t like it, he could demur and give an answer like he does for politics:

    What is Saddleback’s position on political and foreign policies?
    Answer: We have many different opinions at Saddleback. Because these issues are not in the Bible, we do not preach about them. We do talk about moral issues.

    He doesn’t. Instead he actively takes the creationist position, and teaches it through his ministry.

    which still leaves tens of millions of American Christians who are on your side of this debate. Do you really think that it’s only atheists in America who are fighting this battle?

    In this post you simultaneously assert that Christians are on my side of this debate and fighting this battle, AND that none of them have even MENTIONED the existence of the Creation Museum. If they’re actually fighting this battle, perhaps you could let them know where the battlefields are? Because Hemant was at the demonstration against the Creation Museum, which was billed and promoted as a demonstration for people of all beliefs who stand up for science, and I think he counted the number of Christians on one hand.

    As has been often pointed out here, all of these candidates are Christians. So if all but 3 support evolution, that ought to say something. At the very least it ought to say things aren’t quite as bleak as you appear to be painting them.

    Actually Brownback, Huckabee, Tancredo raised their hands, Duncan Hunter, and Ron Paul subsequently also denied evolution. The presumptive nominee, John McCain has said that he advocates making students aware of multiple theories and has been cozying up to the ID folks including giving a speech at the Discovery Institute.

    So I count half of Republicans against evolution, and one leaning and/or willing to pander.

    I don’t think things are as sunny as you’re willing to paint them!

    But remember I’m responding to Cade who said upthread that it wouldn’t be good “framing” for people to see atheists standing up for evolution. I’m saying “screw the framing at this point… whatever framing that exists, it aint’ because of us, and the change won’t be because of us either. Stop worrying about that and stand up for science.”

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    In this post you simultaneously assert that Christians are on my side of this debate and fighting this battle, AND that none of them have even MENTIONED the existence of the Creation Museum. If they’re actually fighting this battle, perhaps you could let them know where the battlefields are?

    Maybe some of us feel that it’s actually a more effective strategy to simply ignore idiots like Ham. Why should we give the Creation Museum any more publicity than it already has? Should I post a denunciation of it on my blog so that all my conservative Christian friends and family members who read it can find out about it and make plans to go?

    I mean, if a legal battle needs to be fought over ID in the schools, then fine, we can fight that battle. But when it comes to silly Creation Museums, the less attention they get, the better IMHO. The more the rest of us Christians isolate and ignore them, the more irrelevant they become.

    I don’t think things are as sunny as you’re willing to paint them!

    Maybe not, but you’re making it sound like we’re all either against you or simply apathetic.

    But remember I’m responding to Cade who said upthread that it wouldn’t be good “framing” for people to see atheists standing up for evolution. I’m saying “screw the framing at this point… whatever framing that exists, it aint’ because of us, and the change won’t be because of us either. Stop worrying about that and stand up for science.”

    I think his point was to stand up for this not as an atheist, but simply as supporter of science. Unless you go around with a big scarlet A on your chest so that all of your opinions are immediately labeled as “atheist opinions”, I don’t see any reason why your atheism even has to be brought into it.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com/ Siamang

    Here’s another question, Mike (let me know if I’m mad-dogging you).

    Here’s what I think. I think that there are some Christians who are anti-evolution, and some that aren’t. The ones that aren’t have let the ones who are run roughshod to the point where Americans understanding of evolution comes in just about last among industrialized nations in the world. Wait. We beat Turkey, so next to last. Slovenia kicks our ass in this department. Frigging Slovenia!

    And lets face it… atheists are fighting back… and when we fight back we give the creationists ammo. “AHA… see, it’s all those ATHEISTS who want you to teach evolution! Seee! Seeeee!” But if we DON’T fight back, we slip further into the dark ages. It’s win-win for creationists.

    The ONLY way to win this one is to wake up the science supporting Christians. Let’s wake em up. Let’s use the creationists frame and say “religion is traditionally threatened by science, and so fights back… it has to, for its own survival. Faith has always found knowlege as a threat.” Yes, let’s get these people pissed off as to what’s been done in the name of Christianity.

    Because really, I cannot possibly argue from my point of view that Christians should embrace evolution. I’m suspect, immediately, because of my beliefs. I can’t say that evolution acceptance doesn’t promote atheism, because first of all I don’t actually know that it doesnt…. it might! And second of all, I’m a compromised voice. Third of all, I cannot create or promote the theological support bulwark that evangelicals like Steve Martin, Stephan Matheson and Cliff Martin are just beginning to attempt, that allow a bridge between their beliefs and the science they’re attempting to bring into an integrated worldview.

    So I propose that all atheists can do is to say “yep! Religion does battle against science.” I don’t think it’s required to always be true, but I do think it’s true enough of the time to repeat it, especially in America at the beginning of the 21st Century.

    I’m assuming this will peeve off Christians who accept the science. As anonymous might say “this is acceptable to us. In fact, we encourage it.”

    If I have to be honest, I have to say “I don’t know… maybe teaching evolution DOES cause people to be atheists.” I certainly hope that teaching demonstrable falsehoods about the age of the earth to children should be a warning signal making people wonder if they can trust their preacher’s answers to harder questions. So in that way, teaching science can only deconvert people who were rasied to reject that science.

    But if what you’ve taught me is correct… that there are vast numbers of sensible Christians out there… and things aren’t as bleak as they seem… then we need to wake them up.

    Here’s a hypothetical Mike, If I insult you, and say “Christianity is anti-science, christians stick their heads in the sand or worse when it comes to modern biology. Christianity is a haven for people who wish science hadn’t progressed since at least Ptolemy…” will you

    A: think Siamang is a jerk and start to embrace Creationism.
    B: think Siamang is a jerk, but that doesn’t change what you think about the evidence for evolution.

    I’m betting it’s b. I’m betting all well-educated, thoughtful, open-minded (buttering you up here) Christians will go with B.

    But what I’m wondering is, will it be a more fired-up B than before?

    If the drumbeat heard by these Christians across the nation is “Religion? That’s for luddites and cavemen!” will it cause this silent majority to rise up and say “I’ll teach THEM to call my community ignorant! I’m finishing my dissertation in evolutionary biology and then running for school board!”

  • http://www.otmatheist.com/ Siamang

    I think his point was to stand up for this not as an atheist, but simply as supporter of science. Unless you go around with a big scarlet A on your chest so that all of your opinions are immediately labeled as “atheist opinions”, I don’t see any reason why your atheism even has to be brought into it.

    Because they ASK. What do I do, lie? The creationists in Dover called Sunday school teachers on the board atheists. Hey, at least they have a defense…. they were sunday school teachers and youth-group leaders at their church. I can’t do that! They’d say to me “what are you, somekinna atheist?” “uuuuummmm…. yeah but hold on, it’s not like that!”

    The minute you stand up for evolution in this country, someone confronts you with religion. Period. They’ll ask you your beliefs, or they’ll “tell you” your beliefs. If you have a pro-evolution group, you’d better find a Christian somewhere to be a figure-head president of it. Which is just stupid.

    Why can’t I be honest? Hell yeah a shitlotta atheists support evolution. We kick ass in this department. Yeah, maybe it made us atheists. Maybe atheists have a big old man-crush on Darwin because he got us past the Original Sin dogma and allowed us to see ourselves as having natural origins rather than supernatural ones. Let’s be honest… this stuff is threatening to people, and for the right reasons. Science is the study of the world as God or Nature actually created it, and it necessarily is going to conflict with what people used to think the origin of man was like.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com/ Siamang

    But when it comes to silly Creation Museums, the less attention they get, the better IMHO. The more the rest of us Christians isolate and ignore them, the more irrelevant they become.

    I call this the “ignore it and maybe it’ll go away” strategy. As Dr. Phil might ask “how’s that been working for you so far?”

  • Karen

    I disagree with the ‘ignore it’ strategy. It’s weak and it doesn’t work. It never has and it never will. The only way to change things that are wrong is to speak up about them and educate people, not let them stew in their own ignorance and hope it all goes away somehow.

    As an evangelical I was well aware of creationism, Hugh Ross, the ICR, Ken Ham and all his compadres. I never went to their seminars, but I heard about them and read pamphlets that were handed out at church about their “good work” battling atheistic science. PZ Myers was recently featured on a Christian radio station debate and I noticed they were sponsoring a trip to the creationism museum for their listeners. So I hardly think that stuff is under the radar, at least for evangelicals and fundamentalists.

    Mike C., I think it would be wonderful if your church did something to commemorate Darwin Day. Do you have any plans to do so?

  • Ben

    What Are You Doing for Darwin Day?

    This:

    Freethinking residents from New York state are invited to attend the first ever IHS Legislative Advocacy Day. The all day event will occur in Albany on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2008 which is also Darwin Day (an international celebration of Charles Darwin’s birthday).

    Throughout the day, groups of freethinking New Yorkers will meet elected state officials to advocate in favor of: the expansion of stem-cell research; comprehensive sex education; same-sex marriage rights; and the separation of religion and government. If the passage of the so-called NYS “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” is still pending, participants will explain why this is bill is potentially very dangerous for putting religion above the law and discriminating against the nonreligious…

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    Mike C., I think it would be wonderful if your church did something to commemorate Darwin Day. Do you have any plans to do so?

    I’m not sure. I’ve been thinking about it, but it’s complicated. There are a number of considerations:

    1) I don’t preach sermons, I lead discussions. So I could bring up evolution, but it wouldn’t just be a one-sided endorsement. I’d have to let the creationists in our church contribute to the conversation too. This could be a good thing overall, but as the pastor I have to be very careful about not abusing my authority and just imposing my views when it comes to controversial topics like this. My goal is NOT to just tell my congregation what to believe, but to lead them in a process of learning how to think about their beliefs for themselves. I’m working for transformation, not domination.

    2) That being the case, I need to be strategic about how I approach the issue with the creationists in my church. Out of 20 of us, there are probably 3 or 4 creationists left, and if I brought it up in this group discussion context they might feel ganged up on and get defensive. I’m not sure that would really produce the transformation I’m hoping for. I think a more effective strategy might be one-on-one conversations with these people, and in fact, that’s exactly what I’ve done over the past few years. I’ve had conversations, passed books along, engaged in email dialogues, and then given them the space to process it all for themselves. As a result several have changed their minds, a few are more agnostic about it than they were before, and the few remaining creationists have relegated it to the category of “non-essential” beliefs and agreed to disagree. So all that to say that I’m not sure what good bringing it up again in a group context would do for the process I’ve been engaged in with these folks.

    3) I also have to “pick my battles” so to speak. I’m not saying this issue is unimportant, but so is Fair Trade, and environmentalism, and Darfur, and debt relief, and global slavery, and gender equality, and war, and consumerism, and immigration, etc… I’m attempting to awaken people and change minds on all of these issues. I’m taking fairly conservative people here, some of whom have never voted Democratic in their lives, and trying to get them to totally reorient their worldview and their assumptions about what their faith is all about, and I can’t afford to move too quickly or push them on too many things all at once. And quite honestly, science education ranks somewhat below quite a few others on this list in order of priority for me. So again, it’s a strategic thing.

    Anyhow, it’s not that I haven’t engaged with my community about this issue. I’m just trying to do it in ways that I think will be more effective in the long run than a “Darwin Day” service. I’m sorry if this was more information than you were looking for. I just wanted to give you a picture of how complicated the process of “spiritual formation” can be at times.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    I call this the “ignore it and maybe it’ll go away” strategy. As Dr. Phil might ask “how’s that been working for you so far?”

    I’m not saying we should ignore the debate itself. I just don’t see why I or other theistic evolutionists ought to give more publicity to the Creation Museum. If it comes up, then I’ll say something, but I’m not going to around telling other Christians about it. As I’ve said, I have several creationists in my congregation, (not to mention my extended family and my blog readers) and if I made a big deal about it to them, they’d probably actually be more likely to go see it.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    Here’s a hypothetical Mike, If I insult you, and say “Christianity is anti-science, christians stick their heads in the sand or worse when it comes to modern biology. Christianity is a haven for people who wish science hadn’t progressed since at least Ptolemy…” will you

    A: think Siamang is a jerk and start to embrace Creationism.
    B: think Siamang is a jerk, but that doesn’t change what you think about the evidence for evolution.

    Sorry Siamang, but I reject the premise that you have to be a jerk about it at all. I understand that you can’t personally make the argument to other Christians about how their faith isn’t necessarily opposed to evolution, but you can acknowledge this with other Christians such as myself who can, and join in common cause together with us.

    I don’t know if there’s any way of proving this one way or the other, but I think it’s just wrong to assume that all the people going to bat against the ID folks in this debate have been atheists. I think you’re just as likely to find progressive Christians engaged in the debate too. I only have anecdotal evidence, but, for example, a while back I was included in a PBS documentary about Evolution, and the final episode was about the religious debate. One part featured a school district where the students were pushing to have ID included in the classroom, and several of the pro-evolution teachers who were resisting this noted that they too were Christians, they just didn’t think those beliefs ought to be taught in a science classroom. This would be just one example of the kind of thing I’m talking about.

    The other part of the episode featured my conservative evangelical school, Wheaton College, and several of my science profs, all of whom are theistic evolutionists. In fact my profs’ big complaint after the documentary came out was that PBS had painted it as if Wheaton used to be strictly creationist and only recently became open to evolutionary viewpoints, whereas in reality theistic evolution has long been accepted there. These profs of mine would be another example of how even conservative Christians are engaged in the process of helping promote evolutionary science among fellow Christians.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com/ Siamang

    But couldn’t the opposite happen? Couldn’t some Christians, including members of this silent majority, upon noticing that the Creation museum has the world laughing at American Christians, finally decide that this has gone too far, and undertake the cause of changing the minds of their friends and family?

    Listen, I’m just putting forward a counter proposal to see if people like the idea. It seems to me that all of our atheist handwringing about how we must always be careful to state “hey, you can be a theistic evolutionist… evolution isn’t a threat to religion” isn’t going to have the effect we’d like…coming from ATHEISTS! Only Christians can make that statement.

    Maybe we stop trying to make that statement and leave it to the Christians to square their beliefs with science. It’s not our job to do that.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com/ Siamang

    I only have anecdotal evidence, but, for example, a while back I was included in a PBS documentary about Evolution, and the final episode was about the religious debate. One part featured a school district where the students were pushing to have ID included in the classroom, and several of the pro-evolution teachers who were resisting this noted that they too were Christians, they just didn’t think those beliefs ought to be taught in a science classroom.

    Maybe I shouldn’t jump to a conclusion, but I’ll bet dollars to donuts that they DIDN’T mention the beliefs of certain OTHER pro-evolution teachers, did they? Always when a pro-evolution show talks about evolution, they find the christian professor who says “and hey, i’m a CHRISTIAN!”. They NEVER EVER EVER say “of the 12 biology teachers in the district, 9 are Christians and three are atheists!” Nope. It’s 9 Christians, who are the majority!… did we mention the Christians?!!!!

    I know that there are some terrific people out there working on this, Ken Miller being one of them… and even he comes out and talks about his belief in God..you know he’s got to speak shibbolleth and give all of his christian props (though he’s a Catholic, which you can almost hear a collective groan among the lobbyists, dang, so CLOSE!) I mean, there’s absolutely no REASON I should know the religious beliefs of Ken Miller. They have no bearing on the science or the evidence involved, or his writing of the textbook that was challenged as being “laced with darwinism” at Dover…. except that it’s vital to this stupid argument over whether we should teach 19th century science or 21st century science in biology class.

  • Karen

    Mike C., what about a discussion about Darwin Day and how churches respond or do not respond to this event? Is science education something that Christians should think about or prioritize? Should differing viewpoints be reflected in church? Is there a way to reconcile the bible and evolution?

    I think you could do it in a way that would be non-threatening to the creationists in your midst, and could lead to a lot of various opinions, ranging from “why should we bother with science in church?” to “what a great idea!” to “Darwin was an evil atheist but at least he converted to Christianity on his deathbed!” ;-)

    Yes, you have many other things to talk about, but you also have (I assume, given the month vacation that many pastors take, plus holidays) at least 40 other Sundays to bring those topics up – and only one where Darwin gets some priority in churches around the country.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    Mike C., what about a discussion about Darwin Day and how churches respond or do not respond to this event? Is science education something that Christians should think about or prioritize? Should differing viewpoints be reflected in church? Is there a way to reconcile the bible and evolution?

    Well, like I said Karen, I think all of those conversations are worthwhile, but are going to be more effective as one-on-one discussions – and are ones that we’ve already been having for some time now. It’s just a question of goals – am I just trying to make a statement or actually change minds? I think celebrating Darwin Day formally would likely only achieve the former and not the latter.

    Anyway, I want to make it clear that I’m not doing nothing on the issue. I’m just doing something different.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    Couldn’t some Christians, including members of this silent majority, upon noticing that the Creation museum has the world laughing at American Christians, finally decide that this has gone too far, and undertake the cause of changing the minds of their friends and family?

    Have been doing that for over a decade now.

    It seems to me that all of our atheist handwringing about how we must always be careful to state “hey, you can be a theistic evolutionist… evolution isn’t a threat to religion” isn’t going to have the effect we’d like…coming from ATHEISTS! Only Christians can make that statement.

    Actually, I think it could be quite effective for an atheist to say in a debate with a creationist “Look, I’m not attacking your religious beliefs. I’m supporting science, but science and faith don’t have to conflict. I believe in evolution because I believe the evidence shows it to be true, not because I’m trying to disprove your faith.”

    I think this would go quite a long way actually, because a lot of Creationists I know have this paranoid belief that evolutionary theory was actually deliberately created as an attack on Christianity. They think that the prmiary goal of evolutionary scientists really is to destroy faith. If you can convince them that you’re not their enemy, and that all you’re after is the truth, then that will diffuse a lot of animosity and perhaps help open some minds.

    And here’s the thing, that’s a message that is going to be better coming from you as an atheist. I can tell my Creationist friends “Listen, evolutionists are not out to get you or your faith. They are just trying to be honest to what they see as the truth.” But it’s going to be more convincing if they hear it straight from the source.


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