Thursday, March 10, 2005


Get in the Ring (Round 2)

Evolution is the greatest engine of atheism ever invented.~ William Provine

Well perhaps. It is undoubtedly cause for frustration and calls into question the integrity of those that push science primarily to advance a specific philosophical or theological agenda. However, too many times that seems to be used as a justification against evolution. The problem is that’s not an argument against the theory itself anymore than it is for unbelievers to argue that, because Christians are hypocritical or judgmental, the teachings of Christianity itself are invalid.

Again, just to reiterate, I’m not so much concerned with the conclusion(s) one reaches about the origins of the world and mankind as I am about the thought process behind it. Personally, I am an absolute believer in ‘creation’ and marvel constantly at God’s magnificent gifts to us in nature.

But, I’m also not resting the entire foundation of my faith on the idea the world is a mere eight or ten thousand years old. (Check out these two good arguments - one for and one against the validity of an "old-earth" theory.) How exactly the creation of the natural world came about may, in fact, be a bit too much for my tiny mind to grasp. As such, I'm not willing to arbitrarily discount any well researched opinions of the many intelligent, honest members of the scientific community.

Mark Noll goes to great lengths in his book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, to document the dangers to the thought life of Christians posed by the increasing influence of fundamentalism within Christianity in the twentieth century.

Noll states: By their all-or-nothing attitudes make it harder, rather than easier, to isolate the critical issues at the intersection of religion and science. The roar of battle between “creationists” and their “scientific” opponents drowns out the more patient, more careful voices.

It is after all not just scientists with which “creationists” are arguing, but also the vast majority of geologists and anthropologists that argue against a literal reading of Genesis. You nearly have to believe in a vast atheistic-evolutionary conspiracy to think that all these folks are lying in order to advance their worldview. Continuing on an adversarial course against science is not going to help the cause of Christianity in the least going forward.

In the words of Pope John Paul II, Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes. Each can draw the other into a wider world, a world in which both can flourish. (Letter to George Coyne June 1, 1988)

For further discussion on this topic, there is a Christianity and Science showcase coming up at AllThings2All Blog. (Hat tip: Jollyblogger) Update: Speaking of reconciling Christianity and Science, Nobel laureate Charles Townes has just received the 2005 Templeton Prize for a life's work in this capacity.

Well done!
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