Posts Tagged ‘evolution’

That Pesky Evolution Problem

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 by JEL

Darwin’s theory on the evolution of species has had its detractors from the beginning. If we evolved from apes, they say, what happens to that Bible narrative on the creation of Adam and Eve? An excellent question, and one they choose to simply sweep under the rug. And then not bring up in their evangelical colleges. And oh, by the way, stay away from that museum down the street that has dinosaur bones dating back a few hundred million years.

This post from Mathew Schmalz extends the question much further. In it, he talks about how Catholics have never had the problems with evolution that evangelicals do. And then he continues:

But there is a problem with evolution nonetheless. My views in this regard have changed in dialogue with many evangelical colleagues whom I respect. For them, the issue is not Biblical inerrancy as much as it is probing the theological implications of Darwin’s theories. For example, if there is no radical distinction between humans and animals, when do human beings become “human?” When does a human have a “soul” that can be saved? More broadly, what theological sense can Christians make of a natural world that operates on Darwinian principles?

[...]

To be sure, much of the resistance to evolution comes from a need to defend a particular construal of “Biblical truth”-after all, if the Bible is shown to be false in one aspect, it throws into question the entirety of scripture. Some of the resistance also stems from a misunderstanding of what a scientific theory actually is. But the real problem with evolution is that Christians have yet to reflect deeply on how they fit into a Darwinian world.

Evolving Christianity

Friday, February 4th, 2011 by JEL

Darwin’s work on evolution has been around for about 160 years, but religious denial of the theory is a fairly recent–and American–development. As is our slippage in science proficiency. I found this piece on the subject to be a bit scattered, but still with some interesting tidbits.

For instance, maybe the fact that more Europeans believe in evolution because they’re not as religious as Americans. Well, according to one study, no.

“Many studies have found Americans are not more religious in practice than people in other nations. We just lie to pollsters as to what we’re doing on Sundays. Philip Brenner at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research did a paper looking at ’500 studies over four decades, involving nearly a million respondents.’

The findings were summed up by Slate’s Shankar Vedantam, “Brenner found that the United States and Canada were outliers — not in religious attendance, but in overreporting religious attendance. Americans attended services about as often as Italians and Slovenians and slightly more than Brits and Germans.”

So really we attend church as much as other countries – even European countries. Americans, and apparently Canadians, just lie about it in astonishingly un-Christ-like numbers.”

Evolution and Christianity: Together at Last!

Monday, November 29th, 2010 by JEL

Do you happen to be a Christian who believes in evolution? Do you find yourself attacked from two sides for your beliefs? Then you might want to check out this free teleseminar series. I loved this bit from the description:

“Are you frustrated with how the mainstream media portray the science and religion issue? It’s as if the only two games in town were science-rejecting creationism and faith-rejecting atheism. But for the millions of us in the middle who see no conflict between faith and reason, heart and head, Jesus and Darwin, we know that’s a false choice. Religious faith and practice can be positively strengthened by what God is revealing through science!”

And then there’s this beauty:

“Studying evolution is like following cosmic breadcrumbs home to God. Only by looking through evolutionary eyes can we see our way out of the current global integrity crisis that is destroying economies and ecosystems around the world.”

One of the thirty speakers is Michael Dowd whom I saw a couple of years ago, and he is AWESOME. One of the most passionate, eloquent, engaging people I’ve ever seen. Listening to him alone would be worth the price of admission! Register today>>

Dr. Waltke and Evolution

Monday, April 19th, 2010 by JEL

Two-thirds of Americans believe the Bible’s version of the creation of the world. That is, 10,000 years ago, God created the world and populated it with animals (including people) and plants. This belief always struck me as objectively and obviously and plain-as-the-nose-on-your-face absurd. Particularly when you can waltz into your nearest natural history museum and look at (and touch if you’re lucky) dinosaur bones that are millions of years old. But what do I know?

Which is why I found the video below so interesting. Dr. Bruce Waltke, a conservative, evangelical scholar, recently made this statement about evolution:

“To deny that reality will make us a cult–some odd group that’s not really interacting with the real world.”

The response was predictably fierce. Watch the video.

Morality and Religion

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010 by JEL

There’s a new article in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences that explores the link (and distinctions) between morality and religion. As Dr. Marc Hauser, one of the authors of the article, says:

“For some, there is no morality without religion, while others see religion as merely one way of expressing one’s moral intuitions.”

For years, the debate surrounding the origins of religion has been split into two camps. One camp believes that religion evolved as a way for non-related individuals to cooperate and live together. The other thinks religion emerged as a “by-product of pre-existing cognitive capacities.”

Dr. Hauser and co-author Dr. Ilkka Pyysiainen reviewed a number of moral psychology studies and found that people of varying religious backgrounds (including no religious background) showed no difference in making moral judgements. In other words, people knew the basics of right and wrong intuitively and were making their moral decisions independent of religious affiliation (or lack thereof).

The good doctors claim that this research supports the-religion-as-a-by-product camp, though I admit much of their argument goes swooping over my head. You can read their full article here.