Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake

Evolution takes another round on the guitar

ericjamesstone (who puts up with me because he is a better man than I, I suspect) has a thoughtful response to my recent comments on evolution on his blog. While I don't agree with all his premises (for one, his comments on randomness don't ring true for me), I largely agree with his conclusion, to wit:

What’s my personal view on evolution? That there’s a good deal of evidence for it, but there are some things for which it is currently an unsatisfactory explanation. In any case, I do not believe evolution to be incompatible with my religious beliefs.

Here's what I posted in response in his comments section:

Insofar as I know, evolutionary theory is silent on the question of God. That falls under First Causes, which is a whole nother branch of science usually included in cosmology. Even though I am a raging secularist, I don't find it odd that some can see the miraculous hand of God in, say, the Krebs cycle, or the multidimensional interweaving of genetic sequences.

For what it's worth, I think evolutionary biology has been politicized to the degree it has largely as a reaction to the push from the Right. Historically, evolutionary theory wasn't seen at odds with Christian belief so much as an explanation of the mechanisms of Creation. It's the current incarnation of literal absolutism1 that has created this "choosing sides" aspect, the insistence on the part of millions that some words in a book trump a universe full of clearly observable evidence, a large portion of which someone equipped with even modest education and equipment can validate for themselves.

I agree that evolution is (or should be) no more incompatible with your religious beliefs, any more than your religious beliefs are incompatible with my views on evolution.

Which leads to a question I've never been able to get a straight answer on from those who follow Biblical inerrancy. Why would God construct an entire marvelous observable universe, only to expect us to deny the evidence of our senses in favor of the written word, which by its very nature of generations of transmission and reinterpretation is unreliable? Is it your belief that He is tricking us?

ETA: 1. Yes, I'm well aware of the Scopes monkey trial. What I'm talking about is the original line of scientific inquiry, and indeed many biologists today, was not inherently anti-Christian or aggressively secular.
Tags: politics, religion

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