Darwin, the 19th-century British scientist who laid the foundations for the theory of evolution by natural selection, logged 4,000 write-in votes in Georgia’s 10th Congressional District, which includes half of Athens-Clarke County, just east of Atlanta.
His recent poll showed that a majority of Christians in Britain are illiterate of Scripture of which he took to the extreme and said that they weren’t Christian. It would seem that only a bible-idolater and a fundamentalist would go that far, but that does seem to be what Dawkins and most militant atheists are…. still fundamentalists. Anyway, Dawkins got into it on Imperial Television, God save the Queen and all that bloody rubbish, with a priest, Fr. Fraser. He forgot the title to his ‘bible.’
Giles Fraser: Richard,if I said to you what is the full title of ‘The Origin Of Species’,I’m sure you could tell me that.
Richard Dawkins:Yes I could
Giles Fraser: Go on then.
Richard Dawkins: On The Origin Of Species.. Uh. With,Oh God. On The Origin Of Species. There is a sub title with respect to the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life.
Giles Fraser:You’re the high pope of Darwinism… If you asked people who believed in evolution that question and you came back and said 2% got it right,it would be terribly easy for me to go ‘they don’t believe it after all.’ It’s just not fair to ask people these questions. They self-identify as Christians and I think you should respect that.
Some really heady stuff – no doubt why many seek the most simplistic of answers. This is not meant to be a slight against anyone, but we do, as a species, like to seek more simple answers. Theologians and Scientists, however… well, maybe they are a meta-species are something.
I am covering two chapters for this reflection. Chapter 6 deals with the controversy which surrounded and still surrounds Darwin’s theories while chapter 7 deals with something which I find uniquely interesting – the ability for this universe to support life.
What is interesting is the history of the reaction to science, especially in this country. It wasn’t really until the 1960′s that we found the extreme reaction to evolution that we see today. As the authors show, even the pioneers of Fundamentalism (this is something that I struggle with – separating fundamentalists from the early Fundamentalism, especially on this topic). The authors, though, know their history – and they are able to show that like other events in American history, the rise of YE-Creationism needs to be examined as a-historically as possible. You see, even before Darwin, there were extreme scientific introspections, even among Christians, as to the dating of the earth and thus the interpretation of Genesis 1. There was also freedom in this arena, unlike what we see now.
The response to Darwin’s theory was over all, muted. There were religious leaders which support Darwin’s theory, even against the theology of the Fall. As the authors explain it, evolution presents a bottom up picture of life, where as some Christian theology presents a steady rate of decay. (p152)
Here, I have to wonder how entropy might play into theological speculations… Also, I have to wonder how evolution might play into the theology of progression… We see this progression of God’s interaction with humanity throughout the Text until Christ. The relationship grows, matures, and is renewed. Further, we are told that we are progressing towards the realized New Creation.
Again, let me stress that the authors are not riding down hard on Young Earth Creationism. They are mindful to present the sides factually correct. But, they are also hard pressed not to call YE-Creationists (and later IDs) out on their inconsistencies, pitfalls, and problems. They are also not shy about their history, as I stated early. See the documented reaction to Darwin on 156-157 as well as their interpolation into our story of another fruit from 7th Day Adventism. For those who remember, it was the Adventists who gave the world King James Onlyism. They have also given the world much of the theological support behind the ‘science’ of YE-Creationism (compare Warfield, the Baptist, and White’s reactions to science (158 – 160)).
After much of this history, they move on to tackle several of the pseudo-scientific claims against evolution, such as the often misapplied second law of thermodynamics. They end this chapter by discussing the scientific origins of Life, to which they admit that no one can provide an insightful answer to just yet.
I think we need to understand, in this debate, first what life is and second how unusual it is, how fragile it is.
It is chapter seven in which they discuss with exciting detail just how unique the conditions of life are in this universe. I say this universe because as those who have read Dawkins knows that he advocates a multi-verse. What is important is that, as the authors show, each theory against the uniqueness of this universe needs more evidences to support it. Further, as our authors state, rather explicitly, a scientist needs objective data. The multi-verse does not meet these requirements (p189).
These natural laws which make it possible to support life supports the idea of a fine tuning of these laws, and thus a fine tuner. It is important that you take this chapter as equally theological. They note how unsettling these laws are to naturalists and the such – and I can see that – especially with the detail which they provide. There is no reason why Life should exist, why the planets should exist, why anything should exist as it does in this universe of ours – except that it does.Everything has to be magnificently perfect.
This isn’t the God of the Gaps there, and it is something which they make clear. This is where they are able, more than the other chapters, the theologian’s duty to take science and show how it points to God. They are careful to never say affirm, but always that these natural laws point to God.
With two chapters left, I urge you to buy this book. It is an important piece in any theological library and a must for those grappling with the old heresy that if Science is true, God isn’t.
I write the title like that because of my Atheists friends…
For decades, the intellectual descendants of Darwin have pored over ancient bones and bits of fossils, trying to piece together how fish evolved into man, theorizing about the evolutionary advantage conferred by each physical change. And over the past 10 years, a small group of academics have begun to look at religion in the same way: they’ve started to look at God and the supernatural through the lens of evolution.
In the history of the world, every culture in every location at every point in time has developed some supernatural belief system. And when a human behavior is so universal, scientists often argue that it must be an evolutionary adaptation along the lines of standing upright…..
Klinghoffer brings to light some very ugly segments of American history, and indeed human history, but is this a result of Darwinism? After all, early Christian settlers in the New World did a lot more than sterilize people who were unfit for breeding during to genetic hygienic, and it was Christians who support Hitler for a very long time. Further, some German anti-Semites used Luther to justify themselves and their disposition to the Jewish people. I note that the Milgram Experiment proved that people need little more to act unethically and immoral than someone or something to pawn off the responsibility. Yet, I cannot deny that Darwinism has contributed in some way to allowing others to think less (scientifically) of their fellow human, but is it Darwin to blame? I regularly defend Christianity, although many have abused others with the application thereof, but can we defend Darwinism (to the exclusion of evolution altogether)?
Yet, again, Darwin,
Darwin elaborated a picture of how the world works, how creatures war with each other for survival thus selecting out the fittest specimens and advancing the species. In this portrait of animal life, man is no exception. Any animal that strives to preserve the weak, as man does, is committing racial suicide. “Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind,” Darwin wrote in The Descent of Man, a policy “highly injurious to the race of man.”
Hitler did nothing more than translate the competition of species into obsessively racial terms. John West reminds us that while it’s true that Darwin himself was by all accounts a kind and gentle man, he was “better than his [own] principles.” The outline of a campaign of extermination — of whatever groups might be deemed unfit — is right there in the notorious fifth chapter of the Descent. Darwin assured readers that human sympathy would prevent such a horror, but his own concept of morality was itself an evolutionary one. Moral ideas evolved along with the species. There is nothing transcendentally compelling about our “sympathy.”
ATLANTA – After a lifetime in the church, the Rev. William L. Rhines Jr. lately has started to question one of the Bible’s fundamental teachings, that God created man. It’s an especially touchy topic in his Wilmington, Del., congregation, where generations of black worshippers have leaned on faith to endure the indignities of racism.
But as the world marks the 200th birthday of evolution theorist Charles Darwin on Thursday, Rhines figures its time for even the most conservative congregations to come to terms with science.