Christians: Are we evolving yet?

The Jeff Sanglseseses

Last night I saw that on my FB page someone had linked to a story about how, in response to the viralosity of this:

the church where it happened posted on its website this:

The Pastor and members of Apostolic Truth Tabernacle do not condone, teach, or practice hate of any person for any reason. We believe and hope that every person can find true Bible salvation and the mercy and grace of God in their lives. We are a strong advocate of the family unit according to the teachings and precepts found in the Holy Bible. We believe the Holy Bible is the Divinely-inspired Word of God and we will continue to uphold and preach that which is found in scripture.

Poking about that same website, I came across this:

which seems about right. (Confession: ’twas I who added the obnoxious and completely unhelpful “Heil!”: I hang my head in shame. Btw: the chap in the photo, holding the mic in one hand and, Michael Jackson-style, about to cup his more personal mic in his other, is retro-Rev. Jeff  “My Last Name is Missing a Vowel” Sangl, founder and spiritual leader of Apostolic Truth Tabernacle. He is the same guffawing galumph who in the video is sharing the stage and in every way possible encouraging the adorable Kid Pebble to sing his demoralizing ditty o’ degradation.)

My dazed wandering through the black hole of stupid that is the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle universe was interrupted by a reader emailing me a link to a story on the Gallup website about that organization’s recent poll, which showed that (to quote):

Forty-six percent of Americans believe in the creationist view that God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years.

And the second I had read that, another reader sent me this:

And boom: just like that I knew the fundies were right. Evolution is bullbleep.

Submitted for your consideration:

→ An entire congregation wildly cheers a little boy who, at the front of their sanctuary during a Sunday worship service, sings about how “homos” are destined for hell—and afterwards the pastor who could not contain his glee at that boy’s song posts on his church’s website how neither he nor anyone in his congregation teaches or condones hatred of any person for any reason.

→ Nearly half of all Americans believe that within the last 10,000 years God, in a moment, went “poof!” (okay, maybe not poof), and created humans in the form we are today.

→ A Christian waves money under the nose of a brother whom he is perfectly aware is deeply suffering, and says that he’ll gladly hand that money over, if only the brother will publicly humiliate himself by renouncing his cherished belief that God doesn’t condemn same-sex couples.

And we’re evolving?

Pffft. Right. And orangutans can design office buildings.

And that’s just the enervating anti-evolution evidence that crossed my desk in half an hour!

Darwin, clearly, was at best a hapless hack, and at worst a shameless charlatan.

Our species evolving?

An obvious goof

I’d say it’s devolving

And Christians are proof

Har!

Ahhh, yes. Nothing chases away those “The idiots are winning!” blues like writing funny photo captions and making up little songs.

But, finally: Away, ye blues! Let us, truly, be heartened. For doesn’t Gallup also deliver unto us the news that, for the third year running, the majority of Americans consider gay and lesbian relations morally acceptable?

It does!

They do!

We do!

And just like that I am back, baby!

Our progress is slow

We stumble; we fall

But one day we’ll know

That God loves us all

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • Mary Wisner Miller via Facebook

    I little walk through John’s mind. :-) Being John Shore.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mllocy Mark Locy via Facebook

    I was, momentarily, worried that you didn’t believe in the theory of evolution. But then I figured it had to be satirical. And, it was!

  • Fenbeast

    It’s always two steps forward, one step back. In evolution, there is selection — those that do not evolve in a manner consistent with survival die out. But nowhere does Darwin insist that the process of pruning the genetic tree is painless and consistently forward-moving. There are, in some views, what’s called “adaptive radiations” in which members of the species fan out into different ecological niches and transform over time into differing species. I think that’s what’s happening, in a cultural sense, right now. This is not something that I am overly comfortable with because the groups that are radiating into a more primitive “hate the other” niche tend to be, well… much more comfortable with competing in a violent fashion than the niche I favor.

    • Diana A.

      I think you’re on to something here. I agree with your feeling of discomfort too.

    • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

      Fortunately, cultural divides can be bridged to individuals in a way that DNA doesn’t (completely) change spontaneously in a single organism.

  • Christine McQueen

    “Our progress is slow

    We stumble; we fall

    But one day we’ll know

    That God loves us all”

    In the opinion of this weary Christian, those four lines say it all!

  • Jen

    Well many do confuse evolution with meaning something becomes better. All evolution means is that some trait served a purpose at one time or another allowing that trait to be passed on to off spring.

    • Diana A.

      There is this. :-(

    • Don Rappe

      The word “evolve” has a semantic as well as a denotative power.

  • Michael C

    A species will grow,

    Learn and evolve.

    But as Darwin knew well,

    We can’t take them all.

    (yeah, I know “evolve” and “all” is a bad rhyme. I’ve already told you I’m not word-good)

    • Kerry

      I like it :-)

  • Connie Roberts-Huth via Facebook

    So nice to see you didn’t wander off into the madness for too long! ;-)

  • Judith Ann Whiting via Facebook

    I like what someone else said: I don’t believe in the theory of evolution. I know it is a fact.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fyrecreek Kaede Fyrecreek via Facebook

    I agree that it seems the species is devolving. But maybe it’s not actually a step back and more like a healing crisis: the process of detoxification makes the symptoms much worse before the idiots and haters are finally eradicated. I think it’s going to be a long, long process because the viruses that preach hate while saying that they don’t preach hate breed like fleas. We just have to keep at it. Don’t stop the treatment because symptoms get worse before they start to get better!

    • Don Rappe

      “Breed like fleas.” Another reference to a very highly evolved species.

  • LeeAnn Haley via Facebook

    Reminds me of that old song: “You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear, you’ve got to be taught, from year to year, it’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear, You’ve got to be carefully taught.” This song was written by Jews(Oscar & Hammerstein) for South Pacific, a show about mixed marriages with Polynesians.

  • Diana A.

    I hope this one makes it onto Huffpost. I especially loved the paragraph about the “Heil!”

  • mike moore

    I like to look back on the past several thousand years and remind myself …. I can think of no time prior to now in which I’d prefer to live. Savagery and brute strength have, for the most part, been enough to rule the world … until recently.

    Today, a 13 year girl, if she’s smart enough and has access to a good computer, can shut whole nations down. Teenagers in Egypt can tweet their feelings/local actions and start multi-country revolutions. Global domination is a busy and new kind of business … just ask the kids writing code in the garage next to your house.

    I understand why these stupid people, about whom you write, can’t abide evolution, because then they would have to look back upon even recent history and see, through the eyes of natural selection, that their world, like so many cultures before them, will soon be a thing of the past.

    • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

      Yeah, cultural “evolution” and biological evolution… not really the same thing. We aren’t talking about a long enough time span for any of the changes in recorded history to be the result of evolution.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dkwells Diana Wells Miller via Facebook

    If a scientist could actually prove Darwin wrong via empirical evidence, he/she would become rich and famous. Clearly no one has managed to do so.

    • Melody

      But Lord knows AiG , Kirk Cameron, and their ilk keep trying relentlessly, all the while coming up with gradually more desperate and absurd claims to prove their points.

    • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

      Actually, some have tried with empirical arguments, made some interesting points, and they did get pretty famous (you know, for scientists). But “proof” (either way) is really not on the table.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gordon.herzog Gordon Herzog via Facebook

    Oh dear. Haven’t read it yet. I hope you haven’t been bitten by the pod people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ambra.bridges2 Ambra Bridges via Facebook

    I sometimes think the same thing but then I read your blogs as well as other sane Christian-based FB pages and the comments and it makes me realize there are indeed evolved people of faith, both mentally and spiritually. Those who think like the ones you mentioned will go the way of all obsolete species and die out eventually. I just hope I live long enough to see that day.

  • William George Cook via Facebook

    Natural selection states that even idiots are able to reproduce. However, as they are less fit to survive in *this* reality, they will quickly become isolated and only be able to reproduce among themselves. Therefore, and we may already are this happening, their genetic pool is greatly restricted and maladies form on the molecular level (see: unable to comprehend complex ideas and brain misdevelopings), causing a population that is less attractive to others and eventually choking that sub population out of existence.

    • Don Rappe

      The facts contraindicate your theory that idiots are less able to survive. Well I know that the Neanderthals had a greater brain to body ratio than modern humans. Insects put mammals to shame when it comes to survivability”. Nothing survives like a mosquito egg.

    • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

      Actually, humans still tend to mate for looks over brains, so, according to your view, we should be getting prettier but dumber. In reality, we all tend to survive (in this part of the world) past the age of reproduction – and people of all traits reproduce and smarter people not proportionally more – so it’s somewhat irrelevant. We’ve started adapting the environment to us, not the other way around.

  • Nicole

    I would never scoff at anyone who believed that the world was created by God. I still believe that. I don’t think God is limited in how he/she would choose to create the world–whether allowing it to evolve over eons or bringing a fully realized world into being in a moment. And when the scientific community stops calling evolution a theory, so will I. They know better than I do on that front.

    • Melody

      It’s not simply believing God created the world. It’s trying to impose that view because they don’t want to be alone in believing a likely myth (remember, there were similar accounts of the earth’s beginnings around the time Genesis was written, such as Gilgamesh). They’re also afraid to admit that their beliefs might be a myth, because they think that would unhinge everything on which their faith is built. So what do they do? They vote for politicians based on whether they officially hold to this mythological belief and cause an outcry if one doesn’t. Then like Answers in Genesis and Josh McDowell, they’ll go to insurmountable, convoluted, and sometimes outright ridiculous lengths to prove that science reflects their mythology. That is laughable, IMO. If you want to believe in creationism, that’s fine. Just don’t tell someone else they should, because it’s not credible.

      • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

        Oh, agreed. That goes with any element of faith. And I would never try to prove creation scientifically; it’s not provable, imo. That’s why it takes faith. Nor would I try to change anyone’s mind about it. But I’m not stupid or an idiot and I do believe in a God with the imagination and ability to create. No one else has to believe that and you’re welcome to believe it’s not a credible way to think. What’s not credible to me is the idea that homo sapiens and their understanding of the universe is the be-all-end-all of truth and reality. That if it doesn’t make sense to us, it cannot be true. Sorry, but we’re just not all that and a bag of chips.

        • Melody

          For what it’s worth, Nicole, I don’t think anyone who believes in the creation of earth is stupid or idiotic. It actually infuriates me when certain people (often anti-theists) ridicule people simply for having those beliefs, beliefs that hurt no one. I myself am on the fence about it, because, of course, I don’t know. I would like to believe it, but I’ve recently come to see its similarity to other creation myths, so I’m not sure. But I’m with you on the fine arts thing: I have a Master of Music and am very much in touch with using imagination, whether real or not. That’s why I will always believe in God and spirituality, because I have to believe there’s something beyond what science can prove. I say educate yourself for your own benefit, not for anyone else, because at the end.of the day, whether the earth was created or resulted from a Big Bang, it really doesn’t matter. We’ll never really know, so don’t try to change your beliefs on this matter because someone says you should. You’re not like the people I described; you’re the kind of person the world needs. We need more fine arts majors. ;-)

          • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

            Agreed! :) Thank you…I love your post. I’m with you–there’s no way to know how the whole thing began, so why stress over it. Over the centuries, Christianity has been so bent out of shape that we’re terrified to let go of any part of what we’ve been taught to believe. The scariest thing I’ve ever done is question the validity of Paul’s letters and the concept of hell. But I’ve found that changing your beliefs doesn’t mean everything you believe is then destroyed. God is just separating the wheat from the chaff in my mind and heart. And it’s a beautiful thing. :)

          • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

            I don’t see why other similar myths would make it LESS credible. If it were true that the earth was created so recently, you would expect very old civilizations (that were thereforearound since the earliest times) to agree on, say, how long they were around. What you’re describing is actually a consistency of accounts, which should support the idea, not undermine it. Just thought that was interesting.

          • Melody

            I see what you’re saying, Christine. What I meant was that while there are creation stories similar to the one in Genesis, there are many others that are unrelated to this one. And when I look at the Hebrew Bible in relation to other mythology, I see the type of supernatural events described in epics such as Homer and Beowulf, which, of course, have no relation to the events in the Bible. I’m not saying it didn’t happen or couldn’t have happened. But as far as credibility, there’s no point trying to prove it, because, despite the claims of Answers in Genesis, we can’t. That’s why, scientifically, it isn’t credible.

          • Diana A.

            Yeah, I agree with you on that.

    • John (not McCain)

      Your ignorance of what the word “theory” means when educated people use it is telling. Clue: it doesn’t mean “guess.”

      • http://rindle.blogspot.com Lyn

        Gravity is also a theory. Yet, no one throws themselves out a third-story window because “it’s only a theory.”

        • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

          I admit, my Masters Degree is in Theatre Arts, so touche, my friends. Although I am quite clear that it doesn’t mean “guess.” I assumed it meant a scientific idea based on evidence but for some reason hadn’t been proven. But you throw gravity in that mix and, indeed, I don’t get why that’s called a theory (because we can’t see it or touch it?). I will go do some checking and educate myself. Thanks :)

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            Nicole: See Julia Link’s comment above.

          • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

            Oh, thanks!

          • Allie

            What you thought was a theory is actually scientifically known as a “hypothesis.” Theory = proven, within the limits of science, which accepts that things regarded as proven today may come unraveled tomorrow. Hypothesis = what ordinary people call a theory.

          • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

            Thank you, Allie. Really helpful!

          • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

            Yay! Definitions.

          • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

            I know. They rock, huh? :) I just posted about it on my blog for fun.

        • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

          I think there’s a debate in science now (feel free to correct me if I’m remembering this wrong) on at what point gravity should be considered a law vs. a theory. We are getting ever closer to understanding what gravity actually is and how it works with quantum mechanics than the mere predictbility of gravity in Newtonian physics.

      • FishFinger

        “when educated people use it”

        Stop being so pretentious. The conventional meaning of “theory” is still “more than a hunch, but still not proven”, just like “dinosaur” means “big prehistoric lizard” and doesn’t include contemporary birds (even though the scientific definition does). It doesn’t matter if you are educated or not, language allows you to use it that way.

        • http://rindle.blogspot.com Lyn

          The term has a specific and defined meaning in scientific circles, just like “force”, “energy”, and “star” have precise scientific meanings, but a broader use outside scientific circles. The Theory of Evolution is a phrase used in scientific circles and has, therefore, the precise, scientific meaning, not the broader meaning that the general populace puts on it. It’s perfectly acceptable for Joe Citizen to look up in the sky, see the planet Venus, and comment on the bright star up there. It’s not acceptable for an astronomer to call Venus a star in scientific literature. If you hear an astronomer talking about a star, unless he’s using finger quotes, he means the precise scientific meaning. When you hear a scientist talking about a scientific theory, he’s not talking about a guess, a hypothesis, or a hunch; he’s talking an established, observed, tested factual model of reality. Because our understanding is getting more complex and accurate, nothing in science is ever “proven”. That doesn’t mean scientists go around thinking gravity is suddenly going to fail. It merely means they’re open to refinements and well-supported alternatives.

          • FishFinger

            I know those things. It’s just that Nicole used “theory” in the conventional meaning, not the scientific one. John then claimed that only ignorant and uneducated people use the conventional meaning, which is a really stuck-up point of view.

          • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

            Thanks, FishFinger! I did appreciate gaining a better understanding of the term, though I was also happy to throw around my Masters. ;) Uneducated, indeed!

    • http://rindle.blogspot.com Lyn

      The problem is the binary assumption that one must either believe in 1) Neo-Darwinian evolution with all speciation and evolutionary events caused by random and undirected processes and that that is the only interpretation allowed by the scientific evidence or 2) a God-created Earth and everything in it, ex nihilo, 10000 years ago or less, and that that is the only interpretation allowed by scripture. That creates a false dichotomy and results in a scientific community that is often hostile to faith and a faith community hostile to science.

      It doesn’t have to be this way. Scripture, properly studied with respect to the limitations and strengths of Ancient Hebrew, and cross-referenced to all the creation accounts and mentions both in and outside of Genesis, reveals there’s no reason to assume a young earth and many, many reasons to assume an old one, and no reason to assume a hanging-out-in-space point-of-view when the text specifically states the viewpoint is *from the surface of the earth*. This is important in understanding that the appearance of the sun, stars, and moon is *not* the creation of those bodies, but the appearance of them to the surface of the earth.

      Likewise, one can reject the notion that all life and the complicated informatics found in genetic materials is the result of mere undirected processes without also rejecting the sheer genius and beauty of the evolutionary family tree, the ancientness of the earth, or the findings of biology, paleontology, cosmology, geology, astronomy, astrophysics, archaeology, and anthropology.

      All because people have this silly dedication to an either-or dichotomy that is purely manufactured.

      • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

        Thanks–great post. I have changed my beliefs on creation simply by reading the Bible and allowing God to grow my ideas of what is possible. I don’t have a problem with evolution or science–in my mind, it is all based on what has been given us by the Creator. I definitely lean toward the earth being very old. And I really like what you said about how the creation story is from the surface of the earth, which it certainly is. I have believed for a long time that those early verses in Genesis point to an earth that had already existed for a long time prior to this particular part of the story.

      • Allie

        Yes, if you regard Genesis as being from the perspective of a primitive man being shown how things happened, it’s surprisingly accurate, at least compared to other creation myths which say things like “licked into shape by giant cow.”

        Also, “and the morning and the evening were the second day” has an undefined meaning since the sun hasn’t been created at that point, and a day is defined by the movement of the sun in relation to the earth. My husband’s idea is that the seven days of creation refer to how long it took to reveal a vision of creation to the witness who wrote about it.

        • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

          I like that! :)

        • http://rindle.blogspot.com Lyn

          A lot of it has to do, honestly, with the precision of English vs the breadth of Hebrew. The Old Testament only has about 8000 words. “Yom” the word translated as “day” means a couple of dozen different things, everything from “the period time between the rising and setting of the sun” to “the time period from one sunset to the next” to “several years” to “a long but finite period of time” to “eternity”. Likewise, the phrase “and there was evening and morning, day one” (note that evening precedes morning in the verse) is just as literally translated “and there was an ending and a beginning, time period one.”

          The general take of the early church fathers was that, given no other reason to believe otherwise, Yom probably meant a 24-hour time period, but there was no textual reason it couldn’t mean a longer or shorter period of time. (Actually, most of them were using the Septuagint Latin translation and didn’t even read or know what Hebrew word was used, so their arguments concerned whether the Latin word meant a 24-hour day or some other time period.) Indeed, I can’t remember whether it’s Augustine or Aquinas, but one of the two believed creation was instantaneous and the Genesis 1 account was entirely poetic.

          They had other reasons to believe in a short creation day that has nothing to do with scripture. There was a common eschatological belief that the earth would exist for only 6000 years, corresponding to the 6 days of creation and the idea that “a day is as a thousand years” to God. These 6000 years would be followed by Christ’s return and his millenium rein, corresponding to the 7th day of rest. Using this theory, they tried to determine when Christ would return (preferably soonish) to encourage and comfort their flock.

          Therefore, based on this entirely cultural and eschatological theory, in defiance of the scripture saying no one would know the day nor the hour, they posited a young earth, because an old earth would screw up their eschatological theory. Origen, of course, messed all that up by arguing the earth was probably 10000 years old, maybe a bit younger.

          The point being, this was the culture and assumptions under which the young earth theory was proposed– because people wanted to determine when Christ would return. Completely, absolutely, non-scriptural and not informed by any particular dedication to a literalist reading, which is a very modern idea.

          I’ll note that I’ve read one astrophysicist who converted to Christianity after digging through scriptures for over a year, looking for scientific inaccuracies and finding none when he considered the language limitations. He described the Genesis 1 account as being very clear and concise unlike other sacred writings, with an almost scientific approach to its description– what events led up to this, the initial conditions, the vantage point of the observer, the events laid out in order, and then a summary statement.

          The problem is with folks who want to take a literalist approach to the translations, without properly understanding the breadth of meaning that a word in Hebrew could have. Another example is the genealogies. We see words like “father”, “son” and “begat” and think direct line, but “ab” (father) could also mean grandfather, great-grandfather, ancestor, male head of state, an unrelated older male from whom you inherited a position, and so on. All those meanings are just as accurate as “father”. The same broad meanings apply to the other terms. But people get all bent out of shape if you suggest that, for instance, Moses’ “father” Amram was probably a distant ancestor and not his actual father, even though that’s an equally literal reading. They get hung up on the exactness of the translation and forget that Hebrew was no an exacting and precise language and had a tiny vocabulary compared to most modern languages.

          • Don Rappe

            Important ideas Lyn, thanks. The conclusion I draw is that the originators and transcribers of scripture would regard the modern bibliolatry as ridiculous if they could have conceived of it. I doubt they could have imagined near universal literacy.

        • Diana A.

          I like your husbands idea!

    • Don Rappe

      Same thing with the theory of gravity and electrodynamic theory!

  • Tim Mason via Facebook

    The Theory of Devolution! Brilliant!

    Let’s start a church and push devolutionism in schools… and of course we’ll be exempt from all taxes. Gordy, can you help with that part?

  • Julia Link

    I know this is a little off-topic, but as a biology teacher, I attended an education conference on teaching evolution in which we were told not to use the pharase “believe in evolution”. Instead we should say we “accept the evidence for evolution (by natural selection).” We “believe” in things we can’t necessarily prove – whereas evolutionary theory is testable and has been proven. One more thing, as most readers of this site probably already know because there are very intelligent readers here! a “scientfic theory” is an explanation of something that has been tested over and over and is accepted as fact. As opposed to the word “theory” in everyday language which is just basically a synonym for “idea”. So there’s your biology lesson for the day. :)

    • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

      Thanks, Julia! I just dragged out my dictionary because I clearly was going on the “everyday language” concept of “theory” as an unproven idea. Which, according to the dictionary, it does mean. But it also means everything else that has been said: statements or principles that explain a group of facts, especially if they have been repeatedly tested and are widely accepted.

      English! One word should not have opposite meanings!

      Thanks, everyone!

      • Don Rappe

        My belief in the consistency of English usage is raveling!

        • http://rindle.blogspot.com Lyn

          I think there are two forces contributing to the issue with the general public’s ill-informed understanding of scientific terminology– 1) the scientific borrowing of common terms and making them more specific, like limiting the meaning of “star” and 2) scientific terms escaping into the wilds of the public vernacular and setting up housekeeping in ecological niches where they were not originally native.

          • vj

            “scientific terms escaping into the wilds”

            You guys are really cracking me up this morning! Thanks!

        • vj

          Har! ;-)

      • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

        Yeah, that’s a much better definition that “proven”, which has it’s own scientific meaning. There is a distinction between “scientific theory” and “scientific law”. It think here the major difference is that you can’t run an experiement (let alone a reproducible one) in a law which makes evolution observable. You CAN do that with, say, gravity or thermodymanics, because they can be reduced to manageable-sized experiements. Evolution, but virtue of the time involved, cannot be “proven” scientific usage) in the same way. It thus remains a “theory” (scientific usage), which, while much more than a mere idea, does not come with the same testibility, and therefore certainty, of a “law” (sceintific usage).

        In any case, I agree that “belief” is absolutely the wrong word to use in relation to evolution, not so much because evolution is certain, but because belief is not empirical. (Except perhaps that you could say that you believe in science/empiricism – i.e. that you believe that observation corresponds to truth, which is a necessary assumption is saying that scientific fact is true but cannot itself be demonstrated empirically.)

        • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

          Should be running experiments “in a lab”, not “in a law”. Touch confusing… Wow, that whole post was an editing fail. I did re-read but it’s late. Apologies.

        • Steve

          Actually, we understand a lot more about how evolution works than gravity. Yes, we can observe gravity and very accurately describe its effects. But we don’t actually know how it works on a fundamental level. Reconciling relativity with quantum mechanics, resulting in a quantum mechanical theory of gravity, is one of the biggest outstanding questions of physics.

          A law isn’t necessarily better than a theory. Laws don’t even attempt to provide any explanations for what is observed. That’s what theories do. Many laws are just mathematical formulas, describing how things are related. That doesn’t preclude a theory describing why they related and why they behave as they do.

  • Kerry
  • Cherie

    I think I understand why Dawkins says religion is child abuse. God help this kid if puberty brings some unexpected surprises….

    • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

      Religion being child abuse and bigotry being child abuse are very different things.

  • Robert

    From the Gallup link:

    “Across all three questions, women, adults aged 18 to 34, and Democrats are more supportive of gay rights than their counterparts. Nonreligious Americans are much more supportive than Christians. Among Christians, Catholics are more supportive than Protestants. Residents of the South are far less supportive than those in the East, Midwest, and West.”

    76% of adults 18-34 say gay/lesbian relationships should be legal.

    As John has said… it’s just a matter of time.

    • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

      Legal? Relationships? Please tell me you meant that 76% of that group thinks gay MARRIAGE should be legal – not that 24% of them think gay sex should be recriminalized.

      • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

        I think Gallup has to use the same questions they’ve used over time in order for the results to have any meaning. So, yes, the question was whether or not same sex relationships should be legal. If they change the wording of the question, it becomes disconnected from the historically gathered data.

        • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

          Yikes! Only 3/4 of young adults believe that such relationships should even be *legal*? And that’s viewed as *progress*?? Wow. I feel… bad for you all and completely disconnected from your reality.

          • Melody

            Well, compared to 10 years ago, that IS progress. Also…ONLY 3/4? That indicates a vast majority of young people today, which means a higher percentage in the next generation. What country are you in that 75% is such a low number?

          • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

            For legality of relationships alone? In *that* age group? I’d think where I am the number would be in the 90+% range with most being insulted to even be asked such a ridulous question. (Canada, btw) We’d nicely top 3/4 on the legality of *marriage* for *all* age groups I would think – but it helps, of course, that’s we’ve had gay marriage country-wide for six years already. The idea that *anyone* really (let alone 18-34) would answer on a survey that gay relationships at all should be outlawed would be mind-boggling here. Even those who think homosexuality a complete sin are pretty much resigned to marriage equality and generally wouldn’t think to criminalize anything – gay relationships were decriminalised country-wide here since 1969 (and you had Texus holding out on decriminalization until we nearly had our first gay marriages here). The idea of a full 1/4 of people born since then wanting to back that far… would be unthinkable here. I’m shocked, though, that it is where you are either.

          • Diana A.

            I think in the United States, conservative Christianity has a much stronger hold on people (even young people) than in other countries. I know that my church-going nieces and nephew are much more conservative than their nonchurch-going counterparts–but the church-goers all attend fairly conservative (all right, downright fundamentalist) churches while the nonchurch-goers range from agnostic to just not terribly interested in religion.

            Meanwhile, I continue to attend my liberal mainline church with the leadership that wants to dance around the issue of how welcoming to be toward the gay community because they think some people aren’t ready for that yet and many congregation members who want to pretend that no Christian pastor would ever endorse–oh, I don’t know–breaking the wrist of a boy who behaves too effeminately or putting gay people behind electric fences to die, or having the government put gay people to death, or applauding a four year old boy for singing about homos not going to Heaven–oh dear me no, no Christian would ever behave like that! And even if they do, that’s not our problem. Why we’re just daisies in a field of cow pies (metaphor borrowed from Rita Mae Brown.) Why should we be tarred with their brush?

            So yeah, this country is crazy.

          • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

            I get the greater influence of churches, particularly evangelical, but I think my surprise was more that there is only a very small group according to that survey that disagrees homosexual relations are moral, but understands that it would be inappropriate (read: gross violation of human rights) to leaglly impose that on others. A full 24% in that age group obstenibly favouring government grack-downs on people private sexual practices seems, well, contrary to the freedom I understand people feel America stands for. I was surprised.

          • Diana A.

            People don’t think through the ramifications. They think “oh, it’s just the gays,” in the same way that the Germans probably thought “oh, it’s just the Jews,” during the years before there were actual concentration camps. There’s no understanding that an authoritarian/discriminatory government ultimately impacts everyone.

  • FishFinger

    I know this is a humorous entry and all, but I think I have to add this: evolution is not some sort of constant improvement process. It does not have a goal, it’s just constant change and adaptation. There’s no such thing as “devolution”; even if our far future descendants all become retarded drooling manbabies, they’ll still be “more evolved” than us.

  • http://www.facebook.com/natalie.jones.3348 Natalie Jones via Facebook

    Devo!

    • mike

      Are we not Men?

  • Cathy Elings-Sysel via Facebook

    I’m just going to go crawl under a rock now and wait for the dark ages to pass.

  • Elizabeth Potter Graham via Facebook

    You had me frightened with the headline.

  • Susan Rogers St Laurent via Facebook

    That little kid’s stupid, hateful song has been stuck in my head today. Ack!

  • Curt Naeve

    I’m so glad you encourage us to keep a sense of humor, I’m finding that more and more difficult. Thanks!

  • Matt

    Oh man, this is exactly what I needed. Thanks for cheering me up, John!

  • mike

    I don’t believe in evolution.

    I believe that observation and analysis, tested, refined, and repeated, lead to knowledge.

    Among that knowledge, the theory of evolution is a clear result.

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

    I don’t know the details of how the origin of the universe became or how species became what they are today? And you know what? Neither does anyone else. It all happened before any of us was born. We are left with a few clues, a couple things people wrote down as they pondered things and a whole lot of guesswork.

    Science is willing to adapt as it learns new information. For the most part it never bothers to ask the who, but more the what, the where, the how, the when and the why. Religion, at least in this topic, tries to cover the who.

    On the who, I can concede that God had a hand in things, likely a big ole hand. Matter, atoms, inertia etc. had to come from somewhere, at least I think it did…did it?

    It is the rest of the “w” questions that religion doesn’t do a good job of covering, despite their best efforts. The problem is, that in Christianity, depending only on the bible for the exhaustive evidence of what happened before even the writers of the Genesis prose was born, is a bit of a stretch. At least for me.

    • http://rindle.blogspot.com Lyn

      The awesome thing about astronomy is that it’s a bit like time travel. When you look at, say, a star that’s 40 light years from earth, you’re looking at that star as it existed 40 years ago. For all we know, that star might be completely gone now. The image of “empty space” full of galaxies that the Hubble ultra deep space took a few years ago? Those galaxies are over 10 billion light years away, which means we’re looking back in time 10 billion years when we look at that picture.

      It isn’t the same as looking all the way back to the beginning and it doesn’t show us life on earth, but people who say we can’t know what the distant past was like, that we can only guess, haven’t thought through the implications of light speed. God gave us a window on creation in absolutely amazing ways, placing us in an area of space where we can actually *see* and then painting an image we wouldn’t enjoy till long after many of those stars are burned out.

      When I look up at the night sky, to realise that God hung all those stars in place, in a particular order, at specific times and places through billions of years, to reveal Himself to us… Well, what is revealed is a creator of immense and incomprehensible power, patience, and imagination.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

        THAT made me think of the Psalmist who pondered about the heavens. I had forgotten all about light speed, and that the night sky does give us a rather vivid glimpse to that which occurred so long ago.

      • Nicole

        Lovely! I wonder what the sky will look like at the end.

      • Nicole

        Oh, for gosh sake. I keep forgetting which email uses which avatar!

      • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

        That is dependent on certain assumptions on which as science is based – in this case that the laws of the universe are constant. You can’t know how far back you are looking unless you first assume that the speed of light has always been constant. Not to say it isn’t, just a reminder that science is always about probabilities and includes necessary assumptions. Those astronomical observations are still interpreted within a paradigm.

      • vj

        Lovely, Lyn!

        On a related note, South Africa and Australia have just been jointly awarded the contract to build a Square Kilometer Array (SKA) radio telescope that astronomers are planning to use to ‘see’ much further back into time/space. On Sunday, a guest preacher at my church shared the thought/belief/idea that this massive scientific instrument may one day be the means by which the returning Christ appears in the sky… which would be a really cool intersection of science and faith :-)

  • Lek K

    Thanks for this, nice slant.

    May I share a joke, which I’m afraid is politically incorrect (apologies to my gay friends) but since YOU mentioned it, John:

    “did you hear about the gay magician? He disappeared with a poof.”

    (sorry)

  • http://www.asad123.com Asad123

    I know John’s post is tongue-in-cheek, but I think it’s interesting that both sides of the evolution debate point to man’s imperfections as evidence for their partisans. Evolutionists say that since an omnipotent creator could make anything he wanted, it makes no sense for humans to have things like an appendix that seems to do nothing but give humans appendicitis. Evolution skeptics say that if we are really evolving, we shouldn’t show the kind of ignorance and hatred that we so often do. But neither argument is convincing to me.

    First, if you are not omnipotent, how can you accurately assess the work of one who is omnipotent? Things that seem silly or even backward to you may have perfectly sound reasons behind them. Also, a human being is by definition imperfect. Presumably God has the power to make other Gods, but doing so might lead to universal chaos or even the end of the universe.

    Second, no one ever claimed that evolution was perfect. Evolutionary theory states that organisms adapt to their environments over millions of years. It is a slow process. Also, it is non-directional. Even though it seems that humans are superior to earlier organisms, evolutionary theory does not claim that organisms get objectively better as time goes on. Environments change and organisms adapt. But organisms getting objectively better doesn’t happen and that’s if you can even define what it would mean to be an objectively better organism.

  • indastacks

    “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” ~ Genesis 1:1

    It’s God’s business card, so to speak.

  • Kerry

    If anyone wants to help Grace Community Church (in the CNN video clip) here is the link https://rally.org/gcucc/donate

  • John Boen via Facebook

    Much better title – though I have to admit, it got my attention :)

    I see social evolution happening. I found out about http://canyonwalkerconnections.com just the other day…

  • Chris Balduc via Facebook

    Much Better!

  • Amy McLaughlin via Facebook

    I’m afraid I missed the former title. I enjoyed the post, though. Love your writing and insight, John. Thanks for doing what you do.

    ~Former Fundie. (Ha.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/gus.hinrich Gus Hinrich via Facebook

    The former title did catch my eye. After reading for a while, I finally realized “Oh, THAT’S what he meant…”

  • Diana Avery via Facebook

    Hey, I knew you were being sardonic!

  • Kerry

    More ‘evolution’ John, with a bonus of your smiling face in the side bar under “BOL Today” when you click on this link (I had not seen that post by you before – good stuff)

    http://www.believeoutloud.com/boltoday/20120604/baptist-group-calls-leaders-denounce-hate-speech-and-lgbt-bullying-from-pulpit

  • Kerry

    Just one more to add to the “hope file” – there is something powerful to me seeing this strong Catholic nun Sister Jeannine Gramick speaking out.

    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2012/06/07/baltimore-catholics-organizing-for-marriage/

    • Lymis

      She’s wonderful. She’s been speaking out for LGBT people for decades.


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