April 10, 2009

Why attack evolution?

For the longest time, I was trying to figure out why fundamentalists were attacking evolution. Most fundamentalists don't take their holy texts literally. You rarely see them advocating that schools teach the flat earth theory (Isaiah 11:12; Revelation 7:1). You don't see them fighting blood transfusions (Leviticus 17:10-14; Acts 15:20, 28, 29). Most of them take and enjoy what science provides...so why fight this one school?

The answer was startlingly simple. They fight evolution because it goes against the central tenet of their faith...than Man is a special creation.

The fringe elements of the texts can easily be blamed on the failings of man transcribing the will of their Gods, but the core of nearly any religious belief system is that people are a special case and evolution shows that we aren't.

Evolution is well supported by other schools of science, and so they get attacked as well. Geology helps support evolution by providing multiple means of dating the fossil record and it gets attacked by saying that it's all sediment from the Flood. Genetics provided the method for evolution to occur that Darwin's original theory lacked and we can show evolution occur through genetic shifts, but it is attacked nonetheless with a pathetic attempt made to show that all of the data in our genome has been there since the beginning.

The sad thing is that all of this argument by those of Faith trying to show that we are a special creation misses the fact that even if we were not created by a creator, we are still special. We are one of the few creatures in the world that has created a means of passing on learned knowledge. (Some of our mammalian relatives are doing this as well now, such as chimpanzees.)

It's just sad that we have a portion of society that is trying to prevent or pervert the knowledge that should be passed on.

1 comment:

Okie said...

Technically speaking, the original (and many expanded) theory of evolution does not in fact go contrary to special creation. In fact, to some extent, many evolutionist documents actually claim that special creation is part of their tradition. Darwin's original origin of the species spoke very little about man and actually mentioned special creation as being the precursor to evolution.

Special creation was still implied and thought of as required because there were no intermediate forms of man for early evolutionists to look at. They saw blacks and other "savages" as mankind's link to prehistoric past. Once Africa was penetrated and apes were discovered, that's when the real terror began and people began to worry about evolution nullifying religion.

Special creation is definitely a large part of the argument, but it's due to misunderstanding and sensationalistic propaganda by anti-evolutionists. In many evolutionist articles, there is allowance for special creation. Yet those fighting against evolution will claim that all evolutionists believe that God is dead or never existed.

As to the fossil record, the main problem with the fossil record isn't necessarily the issue of adequately dating the finds, but in the fact that there is so little to actually be found and there's very little discovered evidence of transitory states. Where is that special "missing link" between human and simian? Where are the intermediate instances between horse and giraffe? The fossil record is and always will be imperfect both in terms of dating and completeness.

Your reference to Baraminology has a similarly strange reference in early evolutionary theory known as Recapitulation wherein it is proposed that we all basically undertake the entire evolutionary process while in embryonic state...each young fetus starting with the same genetic makeup and then progressing in the womb to the fully developed species as evolved currently. Just goes to show that strange theories come from both sides in an attempt to fit specific findings and observations into a particular mold.

Now that I've left a lengthy and rambling response, let me just end with this. I am a religious person. I believe in God and I believe in special creation. I also believe that many of the tenets of evolution are very sound and likely accurate. I do not read all scripture as "literal" text (there are some elements to be taken literally and others that are from the perspective and language of people thousands of years separated from our mindset and thus can only be taken as allegory or allusion). I believe in God as the original creator of life. However, we don't know exactly how the creation happened. I personally don't believe that He conjured life forms out of thin air. Rather, I lean towards some of the beliefs of evolutionists...I believe that God manipulated the process of life to create species from existing matter over the course of a lengthy period of time (those "days" in Genesis are most definitely longer than 24 hours). Thus, "evolution" happened, under the direction of God. Once special creation was done manipulating evolution, then God left the newly formed species alone to continue evolving over the generations since then.

In no way do I believe that special creation precludes evolution or vice versa. In spite of all the scientific or scriptural evidence, none of us were around at the dawn of time and thus we can never truly and definitively know or prove the origin of life. Even the best theories will only remain theories. Compelling evidence will always have holes. Great religious sermons will always have contradictions or elements left to faith.

For me, the argument needs to just stop. I see no benefit in continuing to try and prove something that cannot be proved (unless somebody invents a time machine...at which point, I'm all over it *grin*).