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Saturday, January 02, 2010

Is that really the reason?

In an op-ed about science and the public arena, there is this:
The scientific response to creationists has long been to cite the extensive evidence for evolution. In book after book, scientists have explained how DNA, fossil, anatomical and other evidence indisputably shows the interrelatedness of all species. Further, they have refuted creationist claims that evolution cannot explain the complexity of the eye or the intricacy of the bacterial flagellum. Yet such down-in-the-weeds messages probably miss most of the public -- polls repeatedly show that a large portion of Americans have doubts about evolution.

For all these efforts, why haven't scientists made any inroads? It's because at its core, the objection to evolution isn't about science at all, but about perceived threats to faith and moral values. The only way to defuse the conflict is to assuage these fundamental fears. Yet this drags many scientists out of their comfort zone: They're not priests or theologians and don't know how to sound like them. Many refuse to try; others go to the opposite extreme of advocating vociferous and confrontational atheism.

Ironically, to increase support for the teaching of evolution, scientists must join forces with -- and show more understanding of -- religion. Scientists who are believers also need to be more vocal about how they reconcile science and faith.

"Many Christians, including fundamentalists, can accept evolution as long as it is not attached to the view that life has no purpose," Karl Giberson, a Christian physicist and the author of "Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution," told me recently. "Human life has value, and any scientific theory that even appears to deny this central religious affirmation will alienate people of faith and create opportunity for those who would rally believers against evolution."
While the "life has no purpose" aspect of evolution may bother some, there could be another reason for rejecting evolution.

Saint Paul.

His epistles, especially Romans, make theological claims about Jesus based on the fall of Adam. Without Adam, huge portions of Pauline theology become meaningless.

The challenge of science is to reconcile evolution with the notion that Adam existed as a real person. That, of course, cannot be done.



11 comments

Have I got a script for "Perils of Pauline Theology"! (Starring Penelope Cruz?)

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By Anonymous Nivetha, at 1/02/2010 4:59 AM  

Heh.

People seem to think that Genesis itself says we were kicked out of Eden because of disobeying God.

But the actual text says that God kicked us out lest we also eat of the Tree of Life, and become gods ourselves.

So much for original sin and all that.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/02/2010 6:45 AM  

They really ought to change the name of the religion from Christianity to Paulism. Paul's epistles present a distorted view of the teachings of Jesus Christ. He teaches, for example, that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross was necessary for the forgiveness of man's sins. But in the Gospels, Jesus not only had the power to forgive sins while on earth, before his crucifixion (Matthew 9:5-6), but he granted the authority to some of his disciples (John 20:22-23).

But what do I know? I'm just an atheist bound for H E-double toothpicks... ;)

By Anonymous Screamin' Demon, at 1/02/2010 9:04 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

By Blogger Ralph, at 1/02/2010 9:10 AM  

... the actual text says that God kicked us out lest we also eat of the Tree of Life, and become gods ourselves.

Anonymous, where might one find that "actual text"?

By Blogger Ralph, at 1/02/2010 9:12 AM  

Catholics and many Protestant denominations have no difficulty accepting both evolution and Christian faith. The basic argument, in brief, goes like this: 1)Genesis is metophical poetry and shouldn't be taken literally. 2)Scientific discovery is revealed truth. This second argument raises science to almost an obligatory pursuit; i.e. God but all these messages in the rocks, plants, wee beasties, and cosmos. 3)At some point a first human appear and then God steps in a gives that first human a soul.

The "revealed truth" point counters the "trickster god" of the fundamentalists. God just hid the fossils to throw us off track. God gave all the primates color vision but took away their ability to produce vitamin C to really put us into a mental tail spin.

Here is a link to a site which discusses the Catholic position. It's not too shabby and has reference links.

By Anonymous Rockie the Dog, at 1/02/2010 12:56 PM  

the same people deny global warming. isn't all this anti-intellectualism really boil down to a rejection of modernity? a society that rejects science is going to be left behind.

By Anonymous omen, at 1/02/2010 4:11 PM  

it's not science's messaging the reason there are denialists. blaming science is like blaming the woman for being raped. why blame the victim while accommodating the antagonizers? there is no reasoning with bigots.

By Anonymous omen, at 1/02/2010 6:04 PM  

So original sin was eating of the wrong tree? SNAKES ALIVE!

By Blogger Shag from Brookline, at 1/03/2010 3:22 AM  

Anonymous, where might one find that "actual text"?

Uh, in Genesis? Revised Std Ver: Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever" -- 23 therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 [emphasis added]

Note the use of "therefore".

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/04/2010 8:25 AM  

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