Alan.Gunn.1 at ND.EDU
Fri Mar 6 08:07:34 PST 1998
In message Thu, 5 Mar 1998 08:01:14 -0600,
richard duncan <rduncan at UNLINFO.UNL.EDU> writes:
> Alan Gunn writes that he believes God created life but
>> not by saying "Zap, there's a sparrow; poof, there's a cow,"
>> etc. As to polls, most Americans believe in astrology and quite a few
>> believe in alien abductions.
> Alan, I'm sincerely curious. You claim that all educated Christians
> must believe in evolution. You are an educated Christian who believes
> what? Exactly what do believe was God's creative role? Do you believe
> that God *directs* the evolutionary process? Or does He (She?) merely
> sit back and watch a process outside His (Her?) control? Or did God
> merely cook up a bowl of Primordial Soup and then move on to some
> other part of the Universe no longer concerned about the development
> of life on Earth?
> And how do you know these things?
> I believe this is on topic, because to the extent that the purposes of
> those who doubt the truth of evolution are suspect as the product of
> some irrational, superstitious belief system, then it seems fair to
> inquire about the rationality of those who believe in a Darwinian
> Divinity. I am sincerely interested in your answers.
> Rick Duncan (rduncan at unlinfo.unl.edu)
> "Even when there is no candidate worth voting for, there is always
> some candidate worth voting against." --Fabian Leaflet no. 43
Against my better judgment, and with a suspicion that Eugene will rule
discussions of this off topic, I'll venture this brief answer. I believe in
evolution not because I'm a Christian, but because the evidence--geological
and biological--for evolution is overwhelming. (I majored in geology as an
undergraduate.) Also because the opponents of evolution offer no
evidence--absolutely none--for their beliefs; they point to the many gaps in
our understanding of the process by which evolution works (if this counts as
evidence, all science is wrong; we don't understand *anything* completely).
All science is tentative: today's answer always includes the implicit
addition, "provided that we don't learn something tomorrow that requires us
to reconsider our views." A lot of religious belief, IMHO, would benefit
from some of this kind of humility as well. I suspect that one of the
reasons why so many educated people reject religion is that they see many
religious people who are absolutely convinced that they know the truth about
some factual matter because they read it in Genesis, or because a graduate
of some unaccredited bible college told them so from the pulpit, or (in
extreme cases) because God had a personal conversation with them. On a
fairly regular basis, children of Christian Scientists die because their
parents think Mary Baker Eddy knew more about disease than Pasteur.
St. Paul reminds us that "we see through a glass, darkly." I don't
know what role God plays in evolution; and I don't think you do either.
Notre Dame Law School
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