God and Evolution?

As an agnostic, I never have any problem with somebody who says, “13.7 billion year-old cosmos and evolution, yes, obviously, but not, ‘It all happened via the combination of chance and natural selection.’ Something more is up, and I think that’s God (some sort of Ground of Being or Mind underlying the cosmos).” This, to me, is a plausible hypothesis that respects what science has discovered over the past 200 years. I’m not quite prepared (myself) to endorse it, but I understand it.

My own view is that the sheer vastness of the cosmos, combined with the multiverse hypothesis, may account for the long odds on evolution on our particular planet, and so I’m open-minded to outright atheism as well, but I don’t know. What I find depressing is when someone says, “Noah’s ark and 10,000 years. I read the Bible literally. It says it, I’m done. Scientists have conspired to cover-up the evidence for this because they hate God.” When a person says this, it makes me despair of human rationality because it has no more merit than believing the Earth is flat or that the Holocaust didn’t happen.

But here’s the kicker: probably more than two billion people on Earth (the vast majority of Muslims and perhaps half of Christians) affirm young Earth creationism outright–or at least entertain it seriously. The mentality behind this is akin to that of the theologians who wouldn’t look into Galileo’s telescope.

And yet here we are. It’s the 21st century and there are something like two billion YEC believers in the world–150 million in the United States alone. That’s a lot of people. Think about it.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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8 Responses to God and Evolution?

  1. Linuxgal says:

    “Scientists have conspired to cover-up the evidence for this because they hate God.”

    So if theists have no evidence for a god, but claim that scientists do and are covering it up. at the very least that amounts to praise for the scientific method.

  2. magnocrat says:

    If you look carefully at Richard Dawkins The Blind watchmaker its all fine and dandy until you get to the origin of replicating complex molecules. He then ( not that I blame him ) appeals to probability in quite complex assumptions to bring by pure chance such molecules into being. Mr Dawkins reckons we have about a billion years for this to happen on a primitive earth. Now natural selection is blind and directionless but it has a driving purpose and it takes 3billion to get to us. Its a tricky point. I also am agnostic but I believe we are on a knife edge situation we may not survive as we are too much longer.

  3. Longtooth says:

    Indoctrinated worship of ancient scripture as exemplified by fundamentalist Islam and Christendom, so full of lies, fabrications, and outright fallacies, is undoubtedly a huge stone in the shoe of civilization. It’s depressing indeed that so many here in America are ensnared by the stuff. And the corporate state plays them like a harp. They invest heavily in keeping the social conservative politicians and justices in power in exchange for insulation against increased tax rates and other forms of government control. With this empowerment the social conservatives chip away at the integrity of science education in the public schools (for example) at women’s reproductive rights (for example) and the constitutionally mandated but judicially ignored wall of separation between religion and government. It seems that short of very deep pockets all that can be done down in the trenches is to fight the good fight and continue to call religion’s practitioners and their corporate counterparts on their obsessive BS. It’s the metaphorical rock that’s got to be pushed up the hill.

  4. Mikels Skele says:

    The reason that rational people will entertain an underlying intelligence must surely be that the vastness of time and space is so nearly incomprehensible. We are, to a large extent, prisoners of our scale.

    • colinhutton says:

      I think you are only partly right. The truly rational person would realise, reasoning as you correctly do, that probability is not a good argument for deism. I think we should rather allow that the category ‘rational people’ includes those manifesting a desirable degree of escapism. An ‘underlying mind’ solves nothing (unless we irrationally ascribe attributes to it), but allows us to avoid (even if only subconsciously) addressing the fact that, absent God, life has no purpose. A fact best not addressed, for the good of society, until one has attained the status of ‘senior citizen’!

      • Mikels Skele says:

        Depends on what you mean by purpose, I suppose. I don’t think deism provides any purpose either, since an omnipotent being could hardly derive anything like satisfaction, or any of the other suspiciously human attributes assigned to it. Even if you buy into it, the “purpose” of continuing after you die, in whatever form or location, is no better than continuing UNTIL you die, if you think about it. That said, I like to provide my own purpose anyway.

  5. Staffan says:

    “But here’s the kicker: probably more than two billion people on Earth (the vast majority of Muslims and perhaps half of Christians) affirm young Earth creationism outright–or at least entertain it seriously.The mentality behind this is akin to that of the theologians who wouldn’t look into Galileo’s telescope.”

    It’s not that bad. This belief correlates to familiarity with the theory of evolution. People who now about it are much more likely to embrace it. But there is a limit. Some 15 percent of Western populations have an IQ of 85 or less. They are always going to be liability or at best a dead weight. And in Muslim countries 85 is often the average…

  6. Longtooth says:

    “Noah’s ark and 10,000 years. I read the Bible literally. It says it, I’m done. Scientists have conspired to cover-up the evidence for this because they hate God.”

    How much worse can it be when the government subsidizes them to peddle their cross-eyed stuff?

    http://www.alternet.org/how-religious-organizations-abuse-government-programs-and-duck-taxes?paging=off&current_page=1#bookmark

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