Is It Enough to Say the Evidence Supports Evolution or Should We Do More?

It’s a sad day when an article that essentially says “evolution is supported by the evidence” is a cause for celebration. But when it comes from Rachel Held Evans, a Christian who was taught that Darwin was wrong, we should be happy, right?

This idea [that evolution is false] was perpetuated at my Christian college, where one of the science professors liked to tell the story of how, as a sophomore in high school, he had dreams of becoming a scientist but could not reconcile the theory of evolution with the creation account found in Genesis. So one night, he took a pair of scissors and a newly purchased Bible and began cutting out every verse he believed would have to be removed to believe in evolution. By the time he was finished, he said he couldn’t even lift the Bible without it falling apart. That was when he decided, “Either Scripture was true and evolution was wrong, or evolution was true and I must toss out the Bible.”

The message to me and my classmates was clear: We had to choose — Christianity or evolution, faith or science, Darwin or the Bible. We could not embrace both.

I went on accepting this dichotomy without question until my late 20s, when my desire to have a more examined faith led me to look into the scientific evidence for myself.

It was overwhelming.

From the fossil record and DNA sequences, to ice rings and biodiversity, I found the evidence supporting evolutionary theory to be remarkably compelling and reasonable. This was not a far-fetched proposition concocted by God-haters to undermine the Bible. It was a cohesive, multifaceted scientific theory that consistently made testable predictions, many of which had led to breakthroughs in medicine and technology. I couldn’t just dismiss it as bogus; my intellectual integrity would not allow it.

Ok, so I’m still not happy.

I’m a fan of Rachel and I think her article is fantastic… for all the Christian readers who think she’s too accepting of science. Her book sounds great, too (though I haven’t read it yet). I sincerely wish more Christians thought like her.

But her professor was right.

Ultimately, you do have to choose between “scripture and evolution.” In the battle between faith and science, faith will lose every round. Sure, you can push a god into some corner where he has a negligible effect on evolution (“He started the process and then nature took over!”) but it’s just pushing a round peg into a square hole. Try all you want, but saying that science and religion are compatible is being disingenuous to both.

Something’s gotta give in both cases. Can miracles overthrow scientific facts? Has any “evidence” for a god ever withstood scientific scrutiny? The answer to both questions is “No.”

So if you want to “believe” in both, what are you giving up in the process? It’s intellectually dishonest to think faith and science can both be true.

And it gets tougher to read after that, because Rachel’s trying not to burn any bridges:

Now, let me stop right here to clarify that the point of this article is not to advocate a certain view of origins. I have great respect and love for my brothers and sisters in Christ who interpret the data differently, or who feel compelled by their particular interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2 to hold a young earth perspective.

It’s fine that this article isn’t a defense of evolution. And it’s perfectly fine (and admirable) to respect and love people you disagree with.

But why is it so hard to just say outright that those Christians are wrong?

Look! Even I can do it. They’re wrong.

I can go even further: They deny the facts and they trust the Bible literally at their own peril.

See? Easy.

I’m getting more and more frustrated by atheists (and some Christians) who think we should let people slide when they are so obviously wrong.

It’s one thing if it’s some harmless false belief, but scientific integrity is a big deal.

The Christians who believe in anything-but-evolution are ruining science education in this country. We’re all worse off because of their ignorance.

We need to call them out on it.

  • Jon Peterson

    They deny the facts and they trust the Bible literally at their own peril.

    It’s called “Faith”. They think it’s a positive thing. Calling them out on it just makes them happy with themselves.

  • Aric

    In all likelihood there is no one right way to handle the evolution debate. I think for many Christians accepting both evolution and the bible is as big of a step as they may be able to take at one time. Someone who believes they have to choose between religion and evolution may not investigate evolution. If they think the two might be compatible then they might learn more about evolution. Accepting that evolution is true will have an effect on how they view the bible, which in turn will open their thinking to more possibilities. It’s a process that will often end in giving up Christianity entirely. Just because we think we know where the path leads, doesn’t mean we need to force it on them.

    When talking with a creationist, maybe sometimes (not always) it would be best to say, “You believe that you need to choose between your faith and science, but I know many devout Christians who have accepted evolution and see no conflict with the bible.”

  • NewEnglandBob

    I’m getting more and more frustrated by atheists (and some Christians) who think we should let people slide when they are so obviously wrong.


    We need to call them out on it.

    Amen to that. Letting believers alone to practice their beliefs is the correct and necessary freedom of religion. But when they thrust it upon the public stage then accommodationism (it used to be called appeasement in the 1930s) is wrong and harmful.

    Secularists must be vocal and militant to defend rationality and critical thinking to preserve freedoms and fight to do away with the ignorance, intolerance, bigotry of those who try to control the world by attempts to thrust their woo on all others.

  • Ron in Houston

    I could spend all my time calling out wrong information. There is simply a lot of wrong information in the world.

    As long as they’re not trying to influence public policy which would impact me, then I don’t waste my time trying to correct other people’s firmly held misinformation.

  • Peter

    Where does one get these special versions of the bible that are printed on only one side of the page?

  • For Satan I Sing

    But Ron, please note that there are christian groups in the US actively trying to push religious doctrine in schools and trying to push legislation to make everybody live a ‘good Christian life.’ Now, whether or not it’s happening specifically to you or not, you could not be so selfish as to not care about the intellectual integrity and rights to free thought and action (as long as you’re not harming anyone else) in this country.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    Most people tend to like easy answers to complex questions. Saying “God did it” is the most easy “cop-out” answer possible to any proposed question. Saying “God did it” will always be popular for the intellectual lazy, the uneducated, and those who can’t separate their thinking from their religious emotional conditioning.

    I agree that ultimately one must choose between science and bible literalism. Most religious people end up with a middle ground with taking the bible to be partly metaphorical but never forcing themselves to be pinned down on exactly which parts are metaphorical. It would be interesting for someone to have the courage to color code a bible with the following types of passages:
    1. metaphor
    2. proven true
    3. proven false
    4. hearsay
    5. myth
    6. unknown (can only be accepted on faith)

    It would also be difficult to find two people to agree on which passages got assigned to which color-code.

    There is, of course, the Jeffersonian Bible.

  • littlejohn

    My bullshit detector is bleating like a Corvette alarm on a Saturday night.
    Does anyone really believe some professor purchased a new bible and cut it up? For one thing, there is printing on both sides of the page. It’s OK to make up stories if they raise the glory of gawd.

  • Roger Rotge

    As long as they’re not trying to influence public policy which would impact me, then I don’t waste my time trying to correct other people’s firmly held misinformation.

    Well put, Ron. I do it the opposite way. I do waste my time and energy every chance I get. I even coined a term for it: theomasochism. For some strange reason, I embrace the pain that comes when discussing science and religion with the believers. I know this isn’t for everyone. It’s probably some psychosis that I have no choice of accepting or rejecting. Whatever causes it, I try to make the person(s) I am debating understand why their conclusions are less likely than those discovered by science. So, like other good mental disorders, I try to recruit others into talking to creationists. I rarely succeed.

  • Citizen Z

    But her professor was right.

    Ultimately, you do have to choose between “scripture and evolution.” In the battle between faith and science, faith will lose every round.

    Whoa, wait. I’m not sure that’s entirely true. I’m with you on the irreconcilability of faith and science, but I have seen little in the Bible that contradicts evolution, certainly not so many verses that if you cut them out you “couldn’t even lift the Bible without it falling apart”.

    You could be generous and say the professor was using the word “evolution” as a shorthand for a variety of scientific concepts, particularly cosmology. Certainly the first two chapters of Genesis would be gutted. But beyond Genesis, what in the Bible contradicts evolution? Serious question.

  • Jonas

    But beyond Genesis, what in the Bible contradicts evolution? Serious question.

    Here is where I think Christianity, and other faiths have more to offer. — Some semblance of Morality, some common ritual to celebrate growth and change in ones family, acknowledgment of life’s work when one passes.

    Where religions, and I’ll include mine – Judaism, are wrong are the beliefs which lead to irrational morals, or actions. — refusing blood transfusions, or medical care, even vaccinations. Going to great lengths to abide by Kosher rules (see movie: Religulous) double standards with respect to Sexual Orientation.

  • Peter

    The existence of an intercessionary god contradicts one of the fundamentals of evolution: no skyhooks.

  • Aric

    Just an interesting tidbit. Did anyone notice that the creation story in genesis gets the order of events correct?

  • J. J. Ramsey

    littlejohn:

    Does anyone really believe some professor purchased a new bible and cut it up?

    That’s the story that Kurt Wise told. I wonder if Ms. Evans had heard her science professor tell Wise’s story and attributed it to her professor by mistake, or if her professor was Wise himself.

  • Jeff

    Rachel grew up in Dayton, the location of the Scopes trial. The Christian community there is still vehemently opposed to evolution.

    why is it so hard to just say outright that those Christians are wrong?

    1. Because saying it that way would cause her to be shunned by her community, which contains her support system.

    2. Because she’s been taught from childhood she’ll go to hell for saying/believing such a thing.

    3. Because it seems disloyal to her. She’s also been taught that these are her “brothers and sisters in Christ” – essentially, an extended family (see no.1).

    The book hasn’t been out for very long. It doesn’t have any one or two-star reviews yet on Amazon (although those will be appearing shortly). The several three-star reviews fall into two camps – those written by non-believers or liberal-ish Christians who feel sorry for her for not being able to extricate herself from the fundie mindset, and those written by evangelicals who feel sorry for her for falling away from or being confused about her faith. A comment after one of the latter type contained the following:

    “I don’t see how it could be possible for there not to be a biblical worldview.”

    That pretty much says it all.

  • http://religionandmore.wordpress.com Chris

    As someone who used to be a devout Christian themselves I can testify (if you pardon the word) to how easy it is to rationalise almost anything to fit with your personal faith, even if it does not agree with scripture.

    I studied all the sciemces, I never once found myself questioning the scientific truths that I was learning, yet I also never questioned that I was learning about God’s creation. I was able to justify underage sex, underage alcohol consumption, drug taking, homosexuality, blaspheming etc… yet I never questioned my faith or thought myself to be a bad Christian.

    If the only difference between these types of believers and nonbelievers is that the believers have a different personal understanding of their ultimate origin and destiny, then I think it is to be celebrated. Rather a world where the scientific method and worldview is rationalised into a religious stance than one where it is shunned…

  • J. J. Ramsey

    Aric:

    Did anyone notice that the creation story in genesis gets the order of events correct?

    Sorry, but it didn’t: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CH/CH801.html

  • Jeffrey Eyges

    I learned this from one of the other comments:

    “She cried when she learned that her grandfather voted for Bill Clinton, thinking he would now be sent to hell when he died.”

    With an upbringing like that, I’m surprised she’s capable of critical thought at all.

    It also demonstrates how monstrous the belief system is, and why it should be considered child abuse and outlawed – an opinion with which I’m sure Rachel would not agree.

  • ACN

    The comments on that article are CRAZY!

  • http://publishr.blogspot.com sovereignjohn

    I wish Christians would follow their Bible. They would live like the Amish and secular society wouldn’t have to drag them kicking & screaming. They said man could never fly. They said man would never go to the moon. Yet today every Christian uses our Science cellphones, automobiles, planes and Television sets. All of which if the world was totally Christian would never have been invented. Go live with the Amish Christian and stop trying to tie Science by our hands and feet.

  • Lara

    Whops, published too soon.

    Frankly, it boggles my mind that this is still an issue. I went to a Catholic school for 13 years – K through 12 – and my mom is still a hardcore believer, and I never questioned evolution nor was I ever taught to do so. We learned how old the earth was, we were taught evolution, we knew dinosaurs came millions of years before man. We were also taught the story of Genesis. Looking back I have no idea how they reconciled the two, bit somehow for 13 years of religion and science classes co-existing I was never confused about the history of the universe. Somehow they did, and the contrast between history and religion in no way led to my leaving the church. I’ll have to ask my mom about it. I think I believed in God-guided evolution. That is, Genisis was just a metaphor because early people couldn’t grasp the vastness of time or space required for the earth to come into existence, and since then evolution has happened with God keeping an eye on it. (Note: I no longer believe this.)

  • Chris

    Medawar:

    The purpose of scienti c enquiry is not to
    compile an inventory of factual information,
    nor to build up a totalitarian world picture of
    natural Laws in which every event that is not
    compulsory is forbidden. We should think of
    it rather as a logically articulated structure
    of justifiable beliefs about nature.

    Nietzche:

    One should not understand this compulsion to
    construct concepts, species, forms, purposes, laws
    as if they enabled us to x the real world; but as a
    compulsion to arrange a world for ourselves in
    which our existence is made possible: we thereby
    create a world which is calculable, simpli ed,
    comprehensible, etc., for us.

    What your science teachers told you (or told your friend who told you) is wrong. So maybe we should stop strutting around like we’re the heirs of some scientific “truth” because there is no such thing.

    In line with what you have slowing been intimating over the past few months, maybe you should rename the site from “Friendly Atheist Blog” to “Pompous Atheist Rant”, or are there already enough of those?

  • Aric

    JJ Ramsey, thanks for the link. I just read it and re-read genesis and it was worse than I thought. I must have been careless last time I read it. What really kills it for me is the sun, moon, and stars coming after plants…

  • Jamssx

    Why does religion get a free pass when it comes to criticism? I believe The Rangers will win the Stanley Cup. I go through rituals and visit the great temple of MSG, but for some reason this belief and faith in them does not allow me to write off my tickets against my tax. A belief should be treated the same whether its religious or otherwise. You are free to believe what you want, but I am also free to tell you, that it is my opinion you are a moron for doing so, whether that’s where/how you worship, who you vote for or what team you support. (Though in modern politics the last two seem to have become the same, but that’s a different rant.)

  • Erp

    If Rachel grew up in Dayton, her professor probably was Kurt Wise as he teaches (or taught) around there.

    I suspect that a literalist might consider any verse where God is described as creating man or a man(or any other creature) as contradicting evolution which would allow a fair bit more of chopping. Joshua having the sun stand still would go if evolution is shorthand for modern science in general. Massive exodus from Egypt contradicts archaeology/history. David/Solomon’s powerful kingdom contradicts archaeology/history (though there is a bit more leeway that the Bible has some info correct here).

  • JulietEcho

    Congratulations, Chris! You helped FA meet its weekly quota of comments criticizing Hemant for being either too friendly or too mean!

    “Friendly” is about the attitude you present. You can still criticize the beliefs and actions of others while being friendly. There are plenty of occupations and role where you HAVE to be critical and stand up for something that may be unpopular – ask police, parents, teachers, judges, or journalists, for example.

    Hemant has chosen to write a blog that deals with some controversial (read: unpopular) subject matter, so the content is going to rub some people (read: you) the wrong way. That doesn’t mean, however, that he’s “pompous” or “strutting” or that an entry outlining an opposing view is a “rant.” Hemant is perhaps, out of all the people I’ve had the pleasure to meet, the BEST at separating his criticism of beliefs from his treatment of people as individuals.

  • Jeffrey Eyges

    If Rachel grew up in Dayton, her professor probably was Kurt Wise as he teaches (or taught) around there.

    Kurt Wise – Stephen Jay Gould’s biggest mistake.

  • Jeff

    @Chris: In line with what you have slowing been intimating over the past few months, maybe you should rename the site from “Friendly Atheist Blog” to “Pompous Atheist Rant”, or are there already enough of those?

    [Smirk!]

    Pompous enough for you?

  • littlejohn

    Of course, the same sort of “cutting up a bible” story circulates about Thomas Jefferson.
    There is no doubt that he created a bible with the christ miracles excised – copies still exist.
    It’s the literal claim of “cutting it up” that almost certainly can’t be true, due to the simple fact that modern books have printing on both sides of the page.
    This would be nit-picking if whoever started the story didn’t feel the need to embellish it with the detail that the book was “falling apart.” We all exaggerate a bit for effect, but people ought to keep it plausible.

  • Jeff

    If Rachel grew up in Dayton, her professor probably was Kurt Wise as he teaches (or taught) around there.

    Kurt Wise – Stephen Jay Gould’s biggest mistake.

  • Chris

    I suppose if following Hemant has taught me anything it is that some people are so attached to their beliefs that it may well be impossible to convince them otherwise.

    Thank you for making it clear for me. I’d settle for the mostly friendly atheist, but it seems I’m really looking for the humble atheist.

    The others are well advised to advance their own knowledge by doing some hard thinking rather than searching for statements, made by people with a label you don’t like, which are easy to contradict with “but scientists tell us the opposite is true!”

  • Jeff

    @Chris: I suppose if following Hemant has taught me anything it is that some people are so attached to their beliefs that it may well be impossible to convince them otherwise.

    Oh, crap – there goes my irony meter again.

  • http://denkeensechtna.blogspot.com Deen

    But beyond Genesis, what in the Bible contradicts evolution? Serious question.

    Well, anything that references Genesis as historic truth would have to go. But it’s much worse: No Adam and Eve = no original sin = no reason for Jesus to be crucified.

  • Chris

    Jeff: “there goes my irony meter again”

    The literal meaning: you detected irony.
    Your actual meaning?: accusation of hypocrisy.

    Irony: the use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning.

    Does anyone know who first said “never get into a battle of wits with an unarmed man”?

  • Jeff

    No, I meant “irony”.

    As a result of your complaints, I perceive you as a Christian. Christians consistently make the same accusation – “Atheists believe what they want to believe”, blissfully unaware that it pertains to them far more than it does to us.

    If I’m correct, and you’re a Christian, then I’m right; it’s ironic.

    If I’m wrong, and you aren’t a Christian, then you’re right; it isn’t ironic. You’re just a smug douche.

  • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

    The anti-evolutionists insist that there’s no reason to be moral if we came about by “pure chance”, so I guess by their standards, any verse mentioning morality would have to go.

  • Ron in Houston

    I suppose if following Hemant has taught me anything it is that some people are so attached to their beliefs that it may well be impossible to convince them otherwise.

    Even though he’s a math teacher, I hope this is one lesson that Hemant can convey to ALL his students.

  • Silent Service

    @ TooManyJens,

    I’ve always loved that argument from Fundies. I always toss back at them that I won’t be turning my back on them ever. A minor crisis of faith and they could be out on a killing spree tomorrow.

    I have to admit that they are the ones that scare me the most. I imagine that they were quite abused as children to be that scared of eternal punishment.

  • Ren

    Literal interpretation of scripture interestingly enough is a “protestant” thing, Catholics in general accept Evolution as fact and justify this by contextualizing the writing… they do accept Adam and Eve as factual individuals, and there was original sin but Pope John Paul II was open to the possibility that they were not human but perhaps hominids… as for the Genesis in general the interpretation is in recent years not literal, time reflects only that “creation” happened in a period of time… in that sense I believe the Catholic Church is much more serious and open to scientific evidence than most Protestant denominations (Bible Belt Evangelicals especially). Interesingly enough there are many scientists and artists amongst the ranks of Catholic clerics. From John Philoponus (c.490–c.570) who theorized about the nature of light and the stars to Blaise Pascal(1623–1662) and Gregor Mendel (1822–1884) the father of modern genetics… I am still an atheist and believe that political manipulation is the most evident product of religion… but many great human beings have been religious and have generated great improvements for humanity…

  • Jeff

    I imagine that they were quite abused as children to be that scared of eternal punishment.

    It’s ubiquitous throughout their subculture, but I think it’s a chicken-and-egg thing. It reinforces their negative self-image. They develop a preference for abuse.

    I came across this online not long ago:

    Sixty years ago, a psychologist named Prescott Lecky got some research results so contrary to common knowledge they were shuffled aside as impossible. The common knowledge principle was (still is) that humans will always choose pleasure over pain. Lecky found people suffering with low self-concepts are the exception; they seek confirmation of their low belief in themselves – which is to say, given a choice, they will rather be in the company of a person who puts them down.

    In 1945 this little bit of heresy expired quickly and psychology pushed ahead believing people with low self-concepts should all the more hungrily seek reward and pleasure. Lecky’s findings were junked.

    But fifteen years ago William Swann and his colleagues decided to give the idea another shot. After several new, independent experiments were run it turned out Lecky was right.

    A typical experiment goes like this (they vary in detail). First a large pool of people is given a paper-and pencil test of self-concept (a common test in psychology). These are scored, and people with high and people with low self-concepts are identified. Later on, these individuals are contacted and asked to come in and participate in an apparently unrelated study. When each one comes in, he is asked to sit down and write a personal essay about himself, about a page. Next, a person he’s never seen before comes in the room. He comes over, picks up the essay. He reads it, and either exclaims (depending on the flip of a coin just before he came in the door), Well I can see from your essay you’ve got a great personality, honest, intelligent, popular – or – Well I can see from your essay you’re not so great, not very bright, unpopular, also a phony. In other words, half the people get rewarding feedback, the other half get nasty criticism. Now comes the main point in the experiment. All of the essay writers are asked how much more time they would like to spend with the person who read their essay. Results? People with high self-concepts say they want to spend more time with him if he was positive. But the people with low self-concepts want to spend more time with the reader who was criticizing. It appears they choose more pain over pleasure. Apparently, more important than pleasure is to be with somebody who verifies the way you see yourself. “Yeah, that’s pretty close to the way I am,” and “He sums up pretty close to the way I feel,” were typical explanation for the choices of people who felt low about themselves. This effect is especially marked in depressed people.

    Swann, W. B., Stein-Serrousi, A., Giesler, R. B. Why people self-verfiy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1992, 62, 392-401.

    Swann, W. B. The trouble with change. Psychological Science. 1997, 8, 177-183.

    Swann, W. B., Wenzlaff, R. M., Krull, D.S. and Pelham, B. W. Allure of negative
    feedback: Self-verification strivings among depressed persons. Journal of
    Abnormal Psychology.
    1992, 101, 293-306.

  • TychaBrahe

    I think the question we need to ask ourselves is, what exactly is our goal vis-a-vis religion? Is it our goal to remove religion from the face of the Earth, to have everyone “grow up” and no longer need to believe in magical beings who guide our lives? If so, first, you will have a long and profoundly frustrating wait.

    If a person wishes to practice some religious tradition, to sit in a house of worship, or to pray, or to sing hymns, what skin is it off my nose? I do object to attempts to make education–especially science education–and law conform to someone’s religious doctrine. The revisions to Texas science and history texts disgust me, but the campaigns by American fundamentalists to have African nations imprison or execute gays is even more disgusting.

    The only thing that bothers me about the Amish is their unwillingness to vaccinate. That they appear to me to be wasting their lives in backbreaking labor is really not my problem. The Muslim demand that women hide themselves behind burqas or niquabs, that they are denied an education, and that the laws and punishments are draconian does bother me. That they eschew pork and purchase meat from halal butchers does not affect me any more than the eating habits of the many vegetarians and vegans I know. (More bacon for me!)

    There are times when life feels hard and the day-to-day grind gets us down. If it makes people happy to believe that Jesus loves them, or that Allah calls upon them to be generous and give to charity during the month of Ramadan, or that with devotion to science education, the future will look like Star Trek, who cares? *I* think it’s silly to give up a Saturday to religious rituals or get up early for church on Sunday. But if it makes someone else happy and feel connected to some deity and some greater purpose, why should I complain about that?

    My personal pick up is remembering how Carl Sagan described all of the heavier-than-iron elements that are needed for life being made at the heart of a supernova. I am connected through our astronomical heritage to every person on this planet, every planet in the solar system, and even to nearby stars. If there is life on planets orbiting Alpha Centauri, they are my remote cousins, sharing a common stellar heritage.

    You can say that this is feel-good nonsense, however much it is based on science, and I admit that it is. But if it gets me through the dark times, does it matter to you if I use it as my lantern?

  • Chris

    I’m second generation “has no need for and has been luckily unexposed and ignorant of religion”. So, no, I’m not Christian.

    What is really hypocritical is the advice that Christians should throw away one book just to deify another. There is not a dichotomic choice, as Hemant asserts in the original post, between “scripture and evolution”. There are infinitely many alternatives. No one is the “truth” so don’t arrogantly claim one is.

    This is easier to accept once one understands that evidence does not equal theory. More importantly, “evidence supports theory X” is the most one can say. Evidence can rule out theories but can never confirm one and only one.

  • Jeff

    You can say that this is feel-good nonsense, however much it is based on science, and I admit that it is. But if it gets me through the dark times, does it matter to you if I use it as my lantern?

    But there are important differences, which I think are fairly obvious:

    1. You don’t think everyone who disagrees with you deserves to burn in hell;

    2. You aren’t beating children over the hear with it.

  • http://struckbyenlightning.wordpress.com LinzeeBinzee

    So she looked at the evidence for evolution critically, but with an open mind. Great! But why doesn’t she do the same thing to her Bible? Why does she accept Christianity on faith but feel the need to justify her acceptance of evolution with evidence?

    Does not compute.

  • Brian

    The jehova’s wittness have recently launched two colourfull magazines attacking evolution, they are also critic of young earth creationists. Their whole thing is based on ID and criticizing evolution.

    The watchtower is a very strong advocate for ID and their literature shows this very often. They print in more than 200 languages.

    I don´t think we are doing enough to educate people. These relligious groups are better at reaching people. It´s sad.

  • Julianna

    @Chris: There is more to life than literal definitions. In this case, it’s called situational irony.

  • http://yetanotheratheist.net Yet Another Atheist

    Chris: Evolution is fact.

    There is overwhelming evidence to support it, such that we are comfortable in saying that it is scientific fact.

    Are you going to go around saying that the evidence supports the theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun? True, it does, but the evidence is so overwhelming that it’s considered fact.

    I have no idea where you’re getting this “throw away one book just to deify another” idea. Deify what other book? Maybe the thousands that provide overwhelming evidence in favor of evolution?

    You’re not making much sense, Chris, I have to say.

  • Roxane

    There’s a difference between accepting something as true because your parents, preachers and an ancient text say it’s true, and accepting something as true because of a massive body of scientific evidence. We aren’t guilty of “deification” when we do the latter.

    Strictly speaking, in neither case is a book being “deified.” Christians may hold the bible, which deifies god, in very high regard, but they don’t pray to it. And nobody deifies either “Origin of Species” or Darwin. Geneticists are continuing to argue about the details of how evolution works–that doesn’t look like “deification” to me.

    To say that atheists “deify” Darwin is simply the use of a charged word to annoy us–a semantic cheap shot. In general, cheap shots don’t advance anyone’s argument.

  • http://healingincarnations.wordpress.com Unity

    “Ultimately, you do have to choose between “scripture and evolution.” In the battle between faith and science, faith will lose every round.”

    From my perspective – faith and science go hand in hand, science helps one to further understand the exact workings of the physical world around us through rational thought processes. Evolution to me does not disprove that there is a creator, nor does my belief that there is a creator signify that evolution is not a rational explanation for the transformation of life on Earth. The dichotomy between the viewpoints only exist if either view is narrow and black/white mentality.

  • Skepticat

    My mother instigated this argument with me just the other day. She began from a compromise position (God could have used any means, including the Big Bang, to create the universe – I just don’t know) and went straight to trying to convince me that Darwin recanted on his deathbed and either you believe the Bible or you don’t.

    When she started bragging how she had always taught the facts of evolution in school but had then told kids they could believe what they wanted, I made a snarky comment like “just like they could believe in germ theory of disease or gravity if they wish”. I didn’t mean it to be so offensive but she took it that way. I had to clarify my position that yes, we are all free to believe what we want but there are consequences we must suffer when we believe lies or do not accept facts. When I gave an example of how pertussis and other diseases are coming back because of the anti-vaccine crowd, she suddenly changed the subject then had to go.

    I find that she is typical of most Christians in the South. She doesn’t really want to have a discussion about the facts. She just wants to remain secure in her hazy belief that facts don’t matter because God’s taking care of it all.

  • Parse

    @TychaBrahe,
    For what it’s worth, the majority of Amish vaccinate. The claims that they don’t (and that they don’t suffer from Autism like the rest of humanity), originate from Dan Olmsted, who has an active interest in making that claim appear true. More details can be found here.

    Other than that, I agree with you spot on.

  • Anthony

    But beyond Genesis, what in the Bible contradicts evolution? Serious question.?

    Medicinal science, rejected in Exodus 15:26, Matthew 9:22, Mark 5:34, Luke 8:48, James 5:14-15, and 2 Chronicles 16:12.

    Giants, as claimed viewed in Numbers 13:33, Deuteronomy 2:20-21, Joshua 18:16, and 1 Samuel 17:4. No ‘human’ species (which giants are understood as) is known (or even logically possible) to have existed.

    Naturally handicapped become explained with natural processes, instead of Exodus 4:11 and Leviticus 21:17-23.

    As well as the approach to morality, both within and outside of our species, that rises when you realize that ALL LIFE IS EQUAL AND EQUALLY PRECIOUS.

    Not to mention that without Adam/Eve/original sin…I don’t need to explain that.
    —–

    Did anyone notice that the creation story in genesis gets the order of events correct?

    It doesn’t. That link the one person provided is an accurate comparison of reality with the Bible in the order of events.

    —–

    Here is where I think Christianity, and other faiths have more to offer. — Some semblance of Morality, some common ritual to celebrate growth and change in ones family, acknowledgment of life’s work when one passes.

    Morality is perfectly explainable without a faith in ANY god, let alone a monotheistic one. Confucianism is a good example of this. Not to mention that ‘Biblical Morality’ is simple at best and barbaric at worst.

    Change itself is a cause for celebrating change, demonstrated by marriages among other examples.

    Growth itself is a cause for celebrating growth, demonstrated by birthdays among other examples.

    And I won’t even get into ‘acknowledging what one does in life’ because that’s a part of “honor” and “fame”, which I can literally write [and have written] 10 pages on in one sitting just from memory.

    So overall, that claim at best shows no consideration of the “secular” nature of what “faiths have more to offer”.

  • http://denkeensechtna.blogspot.com Deen

    Evolution to me does not disprove that there is a creator

    No, but it does mean that a creator wasn’t necessary. It also makes it highly unlikely that you were created in the image of your creator. You can’t pretend that evolution has had no impact on your view of God. And they don’t go hand in hand as equals. Religion had to change to accommodate science, not the other way around.

  • Citizen Z

    Thanks, Anthony. In fact I just remember another one: the absurd story of Jacob in Genesis 30:37-43. Gets genetics completely wrong.

    There are infinitely many alternatives. No one is the “truth” so don’t arrogantly claim one is.

    I think I see your problem Chris. Sorry if I sound pompous, but I’m one of those “arrogant” people who thinks the Earth revolves around the Sun.

  • Pseudonym

    sovereignjohn:

    Yet today every Christian uses our Science cellphones, automobiles, planes and Television sets. All of which if the world was totally Christian would never have been invented.

    Sounds like something that we could look up given the big wide Internet. Taking them in order:

    Martin Cooper – Couldn’t find a reference to religion or lack thereof.

    Karl Benz – Married in an Evangelical Lutheran church, couldn’t find anything more specific than this.

    The Wright brothers – Brethren.

    Philo Farnsworth – LDS.

    So in summary, the accuracy of this statement is at most 50%, probably lower.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    I really don’t think that denying evolution is a religious thing. I think it is an American thing. Honestly there are religious people in Europe and Australia and we don’t have an issue with science deniers. Actually to be fair we do have a problem with American science deniers trying to import their crazy into our countries but that’s an American thing.

    Sorry America.

  • Jeff

    Sorry America.

    No, we’re sorry – or we ought to be. We’ve allowed these lunatics to commandeer our society, and now the insanity is spreading.

    If America were some jerkwater third world country, we would have been quarantined decades ago.

  • False Prophet

    Obviously, Rachel’s prof was wrong on logical grounds: there are millions of Christians who also accept evolution. But I guess they wouldn’t be “real Christians” in his eyes.

    J. J. Ramsey Says:

    Aric:

    Did anyone notice that the creation story in genesis gets the order of events correct?

    Sorry, but it didn’t: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CH/CH801.html

    Even before we get to the scientific answer, the creation story in Genesis 2 already places events in a different order than the account in Genesis 1. So the Bible doesn’t get anything “correct” because it doesn’t even agree with itself.

    When you read the explanation of literalists on this apparently contradiction, they borrow a page from the contextualists and say, “well, the story in Genesis 2 explains how God personally loves us enough to create us”. So they’re willing to see the Bible literally, until it’s inconvenient, then it’s “metaphor”.

    It’s one of the reasons I say there’s no such thing as a Biblical literalist: Christians just pick-and-choose the Bible passages that reinforce their prejudices. Liberal Christians focus on Jesus helping the poor and sick and brush over his tolerance of tyranny and slavery; the Christian right focuses on the six passages condemning homosexuality and the zero(!) passages condemning abortion, and ignores the hundreds of passages where God says to help the poor and give away all your possessions.

  • Justin

    It’s entirely possible for a Christian to remain a Christian and not accept the Bible as literally accurate. The either-or opinion automatically assumes that all Christians must also be dispensationalist, literalist, and fundamentalist. C’mon, Hemant, I thought you were trying to understand Christians better.


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