Wednesday, October 25, 2006


The “evolution vs. creationism” issue

The Catholic Church now holds the position that one can indeed believe in both evolution and God. Evolution is a scientific theory (backed up by mountains of evidence) about how it happened, and faith in God is a religious conviction about why it happened. The difference between a scientific theory and a religious belief is significant, and every student should be taught the difference.

Creationism is a religious belief. It is based on a literal interpretation of the second account of creation in Genesis (there are actually two biblical accounts, and the first account poses no problem for evolutionists). Grounded in biblical literalism - as are all religious battles - Creationism moves deductively (from a general belief in a sudden creation of human beings about 6,000 years ago) to specific supposed “evidence”, however artificial, to support such an a priori position.

Evolution is a scientific theory. It concerns the origin of the various species, and is built on strong evidence that points to a rational theory about how life developed over time. Evolutionists study fossils and carbon dating information, as well as the documented changes over time in species (including our human ancestors) and arrive inductively at a theory to explain it. The evidence suggests the theory, rather than being driven by it.

Scientific method is not a religion. Nor is it anti-religious. It is only a methodology. As such, it poses no threat to religious belief. Nothing in the theory of evolution denies the existence of God. There are people (of deep religious conviction) who believe that the process of evolution is merely the way God created human beings ... a more marvelous and mysterious method than simply placing them suddenly in the midst of a garden – a garden more precisely symbolizing innocence than geography.

Educating students involves exposing them to theories, which they are subsequently free to reject. All students should know what ninety-nine percent of the world’s scientists believe, and why those scientists hold to it. If the students then choose to believe something else, they will know exactly what they rejected, and will clearly understand the enormity of the task of proposing an alternative theory.

Students need to learn about the theory of evolution, and they need to know that many people hold a religious belief called creationism. They need to know that the two are not mutually exclusive. But most importantly, the students need to understand the difference between a scientific theory and a religious belief. If they don't, they shouldn't graduate.


Blogger Ron Simpson said...

Very good piece. I like it. One thing that always bugged me about the Adam and Even in Eden story is that they have kids. Who somehow have wives. But it never quite tells you where the wives come from.
I have never heard of there being two creation stories in the bible.

10:34 AM  
Blogger Lillith said...

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7:19 AM  

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