Tuesday 4 September 2012

religion and evolution

Quoting Ray Comfort:
“Bill Nye is living in the same dream-world as Charles Darwin, Richard Dawkins and their cut-and-paste clone believers,” Comfort told WND. “These devotees believe in the fairytale of evolution and quote Einstein (who wasn’t an atheist) and Mark Twain (who wasn’t an atheist) as though they too denied God’s existence, when they didn’t.”
Via the Sensuous Curmudgeon.

I rewatched the Bill Nye video -no hardship there - and noted that Nye never mentioned 'Christianity' or 'religion'.  He did talk about creationism but creationism is by no means all of Christianity.  Comfort is not alone in conflating the two concepts, and I have to wonder, because he surely has been corrected before now, how he can state  that evolution = atheism and still expect to retain credibility.  If his mission is to convert atheists to his religious beliefs, one would imagine that he would be forced to be more honest. Perhaps his mission is merely to literally preach to the converted and continue to receive their money.

At Ask the Atheist, the question “Does belief in evolution lead to atheism?” was debated and I definitely see evolution guiding seekers that way (toward atheism) but noted religious leaders and scientists-who-are-also-religious suggest otherwise.  At the Clergy Letter Project, more than 12,000 Christian Clergyfolk have signed a letter stating that the theory of evolution does not contradict their Christian beliefs.

I think this is the appropriate place to discuss a problem with many of the scientists placed on lists of believers and hence creationists.  I actually see two problems, but one is simple to point out and move on from.  Many scientists are Christian but also evolutionists.  Others, like Einstein, have very peculiar ideas about religion and cannot easily be considered Christians or Jew or be fit into any organized religion.

The second problem is timing.  da Vinci might have been a creationist - and I don’t think he fits a model that most creationists would accept - but he also died long before evolution was even considered.  Similarly, Lord Kelvin estimated the age of the Earth (to 20-400 million years of age) before radioactivity was discovered.  I am certain that the age he settled on was the result of serious and rigorous work.  However, his result can’t be seen as a refutation of later estimates because he was unaware of a key discovery.  Newton was a creationist but this can’t be held as a refutation of evolution because Darwin proposed his theory long after Newton died.

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