Why the “Hip God Cause” is Silly #2: Creationism

March 28, 2009

darwin

I’m not sure how “hip” this one is, except that it never seems to die off. Mainline denominations pretty much made their peace with Darwin and science decades ago. The Catholics emphasized science and discovery as being yet another facet of God’s truth—wherever truth is, God is—long ago as well. Yet for a large number or protestants, namely evangelicals and the most conservative of them, creationism remains the only “safe” and valid belief a “true” Christian can have.  *

Yet only one notable scientist stakes any real claim in creationism, or intelligent design (claimed to be different ideas yet both are largely the same thing). Michael Behe, author of  “Darwin’s Black Box” has been discredited by even his own university (Behe is a biochemist professor at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and Leheigh has stated on it’s website that  “It is our collective position that intelligent design has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally, and should not be regarded as scientific.”) Behe’s own testimony in one of the largest creationism court cases in recent history, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, was cited extensively by the Judge overseeing that case in his ruling that “intelligent design is not science but essentially religious in nature.”

The old “well it’s just a theory” argument towards evolution that is thrown out to discredit it’s teaching in classrooms ignores the fact that everything in the field of science that is strongly supported is a “theory.” Gravity is a “theory” as well. A scientific theory has become a theory through repeated experiments, fact checking, study and re-evaluation.  The Theory of Evolution has been re-evaluated and expanded in recent years through DNA studies, through further archeological discoveries and in laboratory experiments. It’s pretty much as proven as you can get, and science rarely defines anything as a permanent and unchanging “law,” because almost everything is open to further study.  So despite it being that evolution is a credible, validated science, those of the fundamentalist and evangelical fervor have gone to extremes to create their own pseudo science, labeling it intelligent design or creationism.

I recognize that there are extremists on both sides of this issue that are equally loud and equally annoying. Despite what both of these groups scream, I do insist that there is a safe, logical middle ground. Die-hard creationists believe with personal certainty that any concessions to Darwin’s science negates their faith. I read of one fundamentalist Christian preacher who claimed that without a literal 7-day creation story there could be no crucifixion of Jesus. “Without the creation story, there can be no cross,” he claimed. A very baffling deduction.  Of course you have many that think that because of Darwin, evolution, natural selection and origin of the species there can be no God. History and life becomes a series of random and meaningless events perpetuated through cause and effect and traceable back to a scientific certainty that leaves no room for a benevolent God. These folks cling to the thought that it is pure ignorance to “ignore” such scientific “fact” to hold onto an outdated and disproved perception of God.

Oddly, I’ve read one creationist claim that if you hold to the idea that ultimately there is a God responsible for kick-starting the entire thing, even if you accept every claim posited in the theory of evolution, you do in fact hold to “intelligent design.” I’m not sure if most in the I.D. camp would be so lenient, but if they are, I guess I could safely be classified with them…but I hate the term, and I reject that it is “science” even if it is truth.

To get to the heart of what I’m really concerned about here, and what’s so silly about the cause of “creationism” as it displays itself in Creation Museums and as a pseudo science taught to home-schooled evangelicals and in private fundamentalist schools, and as it is attempted to be injected into the public school system is that IT IS NOT A SCIENCE. In fact, it’s laughable that  there are people in this world that attempt to create a belief system that attempts to prove that the world is only 6,000 years old, that humans appeared on this earth in the exact form they exist in today in the very beginning and to even go so far as to convert the Hebrew creation myth of Adam and Eve into a literal historical account. Yet they do have such a right to hold to such beliefs, as well they should. Yet they should not be able to inject such thought into a science class in a public school system because the entire system is void of even a shred of actual science.

It comes down to this. Either a person can grow in faith and allow new discovery and science to compliment faith: they can live in an open door environment, with faith that grows and adapts, with eyes open. Or, a person can shut the door, cling to a particular interpretation of how things are with no room to grow or adapt. To me as a spiritual person, God is bigger than that. To me as a Christian, Christ is bigger than that. No scientific or historical discovery can alter a valid faith system built on compassion, revelation and forgiveness. If your entire faith is built on a system of innumerable claims that must be accepted unquestioningly, and that if any one aspect is every fully discredited the entire system is destroyed,  do you really have a valid faith at all? The truths that can speak to us through religious scripture, prayer and revelation have little if anything to do with testable historical facts. They have everything to do with all-encompassing faith and forward momentum of spiritual growth. To say the Adam and Eve tale is a creation myth does not negate the truth and message that may lie at the heart of it for entire groups of faith. To accept some (or much of, or even all of ) Darwin’s ideas as reliable science doesn’t take away from the possibility of God. Evolution is an incredibly involved, amazing process that is miraculous in itself. If it is the method God chose to bring life about over time, so be it. It takes nothing away from how we today experience God, faith and positive global service.  As I mentioned earlier, many feel that by embracing science’s explanations for life they no longer have to cling to a religious explanation. Such people were looking for an excuse to abandon faith and they have it, if it weren’t Darwin it would be something else. They have every right to embrace science as their only faith, yet those of us who allow science to compliment a deeper faith know that for us, science as faith only is sterile, cold and leaves much to be desired.

Wherever you stand, I’m sure this issue will keep rearing its head from time to time. Astoundingly, almost half of all Americans reject any form of Darwin and evolution as a belief they hold. Many in the science field have no room for a religious realm to their thought. Then there are the rest of us, who comfortably settle both sides into who we are and what we think. All in all, there is room for all of this in the world.

* I’m not going to make an entire article out of this, but by crediting Catholics for holding to a “where truth is, God is” mentality I can’t let it slide the huge gaffe the sitting Pope made recently. See, the last Pope, John Paul, was compassionate, progressive and intelligent. This current Pope, to keep this polite, is quite a bit more reactionary and “old school.” Recently in Africa he commented that condoms “increase the spread of AIDS.” No one, not even the Pope, should go to Africa, a continent dying of AIDS, and discourage the use of condoms. That is not an embrace of truth or God.

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