Friday, May 9, 2008

Evolution and Faith

In this week's issue of Science, there are a couple of letters to the editor on a news article from earlier this year: "Crossing the divide". One of the letters is sympathetic to Stephen Godfrey's struggle; the other is less empathetic. I for one am fairly empathetic of those making the transition. It must be very difficult to turn your back on your family, your friends and your community. What do you think?


  1. I'm quite empathetic to those who are attempting to make the transition but are finding it difficult because of peer pressure or spiritual conflicts.

    However, I have less empathy for those who do not even attempt to understand science and continue to promulgate misconceptions about it. I cannot respect those who think that their magical beliefs trump empirical evidence.

    I agree with Andrew Whipple when it comes to understanding the struggles many evangelical students face when it comes to evolution. However, I wholeheartedly disagree when he says that "[w]e ought to behave as though the faith community poses no threat to the integrity of science". One need only look at the creation museum in Kansas to see that at its core, biblical literalism fosters a distrust of the scientific process.

  2. What amazed me is that someone could go through grad school, looking at fossils etc., and not accept the age of the earth until a postdoc. Did he think astronomers are all lying about how distant the farthest visible galaxies are, or that God made light speed up to make the journey in 4000 years? That geologists were lying about erosion rates, isotope ratios, etc.? That biologists are all lying about, well, almost everything?

    I can understand how someone with his background might need to use his own direct observations to explain his conclusions to his family, but it's scary that someone in grad school could see all of modern science as a big conspiracy to undermine religion, as you would have to do to believe in a young earth. (Sure, science may sometimes do that, but it's a side-effect, not our purpose.) I pity, but don't understand.

    On the other hand, I know intelligent scientists who think God made the first cells. Maybe someday we'll have solid evidence against that hypothesis, but until then... fine, whatever.

  3. I'm guessing I'm a minority, but I am a Christian and I also accept evolution as the most logical explanation for the diversity of species that we see on this planet. I have been in support of evolution since taking a course in college on the subject. With all that I have read and all that I have observed I do not feel evolution makes my belief in God any less, or my belief in God makes me a crappy scientist. I simply don't mix the two.
    To the people who are coming to accept evolution for what it is, a brilliant theory explaining our world, I would tell them just because God didn't create the world in 7 days as the Bible says doesn't mean he didn't do it none the less. Besides, there are more important things in the Bible than the story of creation.