Saturday, February 14, 2009


Thoughts about Darwin

I watched a NOVA program on a PBS channel this evening. The program described the trial that occurred in Dover, Pennsylvania a few years ago about the teaching of "Intelligent Design" in biology classes as an alternative to Darwin's theory of the origin of species by evolution and natural selection. The plaintiffs sued the school board, claiming that the teaching of "Creationism" as science had been declared unconstitutional a few years earlier by the US Supreme Court. The plaintiffs finally won the case by showing that the motive for teaching ID or C as a substitute for Evolution was religious. There is a "WEDGE" institute that is working to convince the public that Creationism or Intelligent Design is an acceptable scientific theory and that there are features of living organisms that couldn't have developed simply by evolution and natural selection. The plaintiffs were able to mount a counter-example to a favorite cellular feature advanced by creationists that showed that the seemingly unevolvable structure had a feature was identical to a precurser structure that existed in other life forms.

The WEDGE people believe that the public acceptance of Darwin's theory has led to a degradation of morals. People no longer believe that God created all the different species that exist and in particular that God created Man in His own image. If Darwin's theory can be discredited or if people can be made to disbelieve it, then people will return to God and behave better to each other. Etc., etc., etc.

At this point I confess that there is nothing new in this little essay. You may stop reading here and go to another blog that may have some original content. I simply write what I believe. I express my opinion. I can't help it that millions of people may agree with me and thousands can express these ideas better than I. This blog costs me nothing but the time I spend writing it. Read on or leave. You won't offend me either way.

One thought is that long before Darwin, before Galileo, before Copernicus, there was an age in which people believed that everything that happened was a result of God's will. Rain, lightning, the seasons, plagues, comets, volcanic eruptions, and all the rest were results of God's will or of evil spirits trying to thwart God's will. However, the history of that era is full of ways in which humans treated each other with extreme cruelty. Belief in God didn't make them behave any better.

Another thought is that many Christians, especially Protestant Evangelicals, combine belief in God with faith that the Bible is God's Word. My cousin, who has a Doctorate in Chemistry from the University of Michigan, believes that the original text of the Bible was written by God. He is not the only worshiper of the Bible among American Christians. Their problem with Darwin's theory is that it conflicts with the account in the Bible of how the different species came to exist. I was brought up to be skeptical of some of the stories in the Bible. My opinion is that the Bible contains the oral history of the Jewish People. These stories were collected and written down several hundred years before the beginning of the Christian Era. Events that occurred at the time were recorded more or less accurately. Events that had occurred long before showed the distortions that appear in any oral account that is passed through many generations.

Those Christians who are not wedded to a belief in the holiness of the Bible have no problem with believing in God and in Darwin's theory simultaneously. Darwin's theory is about how things happened. Belief in God is about why.

Labels: , , , , ,

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?