Saturday, June 6, 2009

God or Evolution

I recently read a post that was philosophizing (that is actually a word that my computer recognizes!) about whether or not God exists.  The author of the blog was atheist (I really admired the way that he reasoned through things, and didn't fall to cheap shots or straw man arguments) and he was analyzing some arguments between atheists and theists.  He quoted an atheist that was summarizing a theist that was arguing with an atheist, and the theist was making a point about cognitive function that was designed to perform a certain way.  Confusing?  Absolutely.  But don't worry about it.  The important thing is that someone (either the theist or the atheist summarizing the theist) pointed out parenthetically (Parentheses?  Those are only for hacks) that the design was either by God or evolution.  If that's too confusing for you and you'd like to read the post, let me know, but only go there if philosophizing doesn't mess with your head as much as it messes with mine.

Anyway, of all the things that were said in that post, the thing that caught my eye the most was the idea that you either believe in evolution or you believe in God.  It implied that the two were mutually exclusive.  That is to say, that if you ever become convinced of evolution or (gasp!) the big bang theory you're going to have to kick your antiquated traditions and fairy tales about God to the curb and join the progressive, modern thinkers that turn to science for real knowledge.  Or, on the other hand, if you ever become convinced that there is a God, you're going to have to forsake reason and suppress science so that you can believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old and was created in seven 24-hour time periods.

My answer is: C) none of the above.  

Keep in mind that the Bible is a book that deals with faith and morals.  I believe that it is infallible and that every word should be treasured.  However, I do not think that it is meant to teach us about science.  Using the Bible to condemn evolution is taking the Bible out of context and leading to potentially very poor logic regarding the scientific understanding of the world.

Science has evidence that evolution occurred.  While we do not yet understand all the evidence that we have, some things about evolution are simply fact.  That is the domain of science, making observations and reasonable inferences about the world around us.  However, using evolution to prove that God doesn't exist is just silly.  God is not a scientific phenomenon to be observed and measured.  Using science to make conclusions about the existence or non-existence of God is poor logic as well.

Here's my take, in case you care.  The Bible says that God created the world and all the creatures in it.  I have no idea how He went about it.  I don't know if He did it all instantaneously, or if He set the wheels in motion for evolution to happen.  Ultimately, He is responsible for the fact that it was created, whichever way it happened.  Given that science has a lot of evidence that evolution occurred, I would say that it has a big role to play in the way that God created the world.

I don't believe in either God or evolution.  I believe in both God and evolution, though I have some questions still about the specifics of evolution.  Ah, well.  We'll save that for another post.  This blog isn't going anywhere, and what would the world do if I didn't post three times a day?


  1. CM,I heard a Catholic radio program addressing this topic. As a Catholic, there is no "right or wrong" view on evolution. God is God no matter if he used evolution or not! And in the end, we'll find out and be amazed either way!!! :-)

  2. It's true, the Church's position is that God created the world, but that He might have done so by evolution. I'm loving that as Catholics, we can evaluate the science based on the science, and not on the Bible.