3 of the current Republican Candidates for President don’t believe in evolution. One of them, Mike Huckabee, is ever becoming a major contestant.
A little while back, The Proletariat had an interesting post that discussed Darwinism, evolution, Marxism, and Religion on his blog in response to an article in the Journal of International Socialist Review entitled “Why evolutionary biology creates a problem for the Right?” by Phil Gasper.
Simply put, the religious fundamentalist attack on Darwin’s ideas amounts, in effect, to an attack on the scientific method itself. Rejecting evolutionary biology means rejecting along with it large portions of physics, astronomy, cosmology, geology, and other sciences, which provide evidence for evolution or employ similar methods. But capitalism depends on the accumulation and exploitation of new scientific knowledge. In the short term if religious anti-evolutionists are successful in a particular locality, they can do serious damage to science education, deter researchers from accepting university positions, and create a climate hostile to high-tech industry and investment. In the longer term they can pose a threat to scientific reason itself. Because of this, opposition to creationism and intelligent design has emerged within the conservative movement itself.
It got me thinking about the supposed ‘war’ between science and religion.
I myself am a fervent believer in Evolution. I’m not anti-religion, nor am I a “secular humanist” (I find them silly). I simply think that the evidence is clear, and that the theory of evolution is the strongest theory we have to explain human origins.
It says nothing about whether there is or is not a God. That isn’t the point. The point is that there is genetic variation over time and through processes like natural and sexual selection in response to pressure from their environment and from other species, creatures can (and very often do) change dramatically. It’s about biology and genetics, NOT metaphysics.
There may well have been a God that had a hand in the start of the universe. I, and no one else can know for sure. But, Evolution as a theory makes a remarkably strong case for how species have evolved and branched out ONCE LIFE GOT STARTED.
Evolution does not start with the premise that there is no God. That’s a myth. It just takes us from the moments in the beginnings of life to now. If God is as powerful and all-knowing as Christians say he is, then he is MORE than capable enough to have started this process and allowed it to just ‘do it’s thing’.
I am still convinced that the reason that Creationists and ID folk don’t believe in the theory of evolution is based on a few key points: 1) They don’t fundamentally understand what the theory actually says; and 2) Their fears, born out of that misunderstanding, that evolution is an attack on God, hits too close to home for them to think rationally. It is very hard for anyone to think rationally when they think that those things (or those people, ideas) that they hold dearest are under attack.
But, the fact of the matter is that evolution is NOT an attack on Religion. Period. Of course, I understand that many evolution writers (Dawkins comes to mind) are themselves engaged in what they see as a war between Atheists (and others they deem truly ‘rational’) and Religionists (who they deem decidedly ‘irrational’). But, we must be careful not to confuse the scientific ideas with the non-scientific, philosophical, discussion about the existence of God that happens to be continuing on between some of those who work in these fields.
When a Physicist says that he supports a Democrat for President, it doesn’t imply that the theory of Quantum Mechanics necessitates Democratic policies. That’s absurd. Science is science, politics is politics, and religion is religion.
I am becoming increasingly convinced that the war between Science and Religion is largely a fabrication by those at the extremes to polarize an otherwise intelligent and reasonable public. With full access to the facts, and without the suppression that comes from creationists and those who favor ID to keep evolution out of schools, people would be far more likely to be able see evolution for what it is (and for what it isn’t).
There is no war based on facts. There is simply animosity between groups that don’t really hear one another.