Re: Fw: a new fundamentalism vs. evolution

Date: Sat Oct 20 2001 - 00:26:01 EDT

  • Next message: "Re: Fw: a new fundamentalism vs. evolution"

    This same nonsense (or something close to it) was posted to the ASA list a
    couple of weeks ago, under the title "The Root of Terrorism." As far as I
    can recall, it received a few dismissive replies; you can check the archives.

    How can one respond to something like this? I suppose for the immediate
    issue, one might point out that:
    1) The most recent terrorists and their enablers, as fundamentalist Moslems,
    were almost certainly anti-evolution.
    2) The Harun Yahya being quoted is a pseudonym of a Turkish creationist
    movement, a part of Islamic fundamentalism there (though not of the terrorist
    variety, to be fair I should mention that the site has a
    condemnation of the recent terrorism).

    But of course the bigger question is why such arguments are repeated and
    believed so strongly. Often we see "evolution" or "Darwinism" blamed for
    every evil under the sun, most of which were flourishing long before Darwin.
    And not just by far-fundamentalists like fans of Harun Yahya and the ICR, but
    by intelligent Evangelical Christians who should know better. Like Nancy
    Pearcey for example, whose less virulent but similar comments last year
    caused me to write an essay called "Evolution and Immorality: Is Sin Darwin's
    Fault?" at

    It seems to me that the root of this problem is that many Evangelical
    Christians are strongly conditioned to believe two things about evolution:
    1) It is mutually exclusive with Christianity
    2) It is a cause (though one is unlikely to get a coherent explanation of a
    mechanism) of declining morality.

    I suppose the first step could be getting people to articulate *why* they
    believe these two things, and go from there. But most people with this view
    seem to have little if any interest in actually examining the theological or
    other presuppositions behind their beliefs, or about giving deep thought to
    any issues, especially theological.

    For those who are willing to think, I think the point must be admitted that
    "evolution" *is* used to justify a variety of evil, atheism, materialism,
    etc. But (and this is key), people must be made to understand that this
    *usage* is wrong, every bit as wrong as using Einstein's theories to justify
    moral relativism. The problem is not with the science, but with the
    philosophical baggage some attach to the science.

    It has been pointed out many times that, as Christians, we should not allow
    heathens like Richard Dawkins to dictate the metaphysical *meaning* of any
    science. As long as so many Christians accept the Dawkins-like theology that
    natural explanations exclude God from the picture (as opposed to a Biblical
    theology that recognizes God's sovereignty over nature), they will be forced
    to oppose evolution with every argument they can muster, be it the irrational
    rantings of Harun Yahya or the somewhat more rational work of the Discovery
    Institute. So much strife, and harm to our witness among the scientifically
    literate, because rather than defending the God of healthy Christian theology
    (ultimately revealed in Christ), Christians are defending the God (of the
    Gaps) that Richard Dawkins doesn't believe in.

    > Don:
    > I would really appreciate it if you could forward this link to
    > several ASAers who would be in a better position than I am to
    > respond rationally to it. I was really surprised to receive
    > unsolicited email from persons I have never met who made the
    > assertion that "evolution" is to blame for the World Trade Center
    > attacks.
    > I responded to the sender, trying to make a distinction between
    > science theories and "isms", but he disagreed and referred me to
    > as the source of his ideas.
    > I have tried to make the point that blaming a scientific idea for
    > terrorism is about as fair as blaming all Moslems for it. (this
    > prejudice exists, and innocent people are being harmed by it, but
    > it is unjust).
    > Anyway, this would be an opportunity for ASA to be a voice of
    > reason crying in the wilderness, if we could respond to the issue
    > on the web site. Whom shall we send?

    Dr. Allan H. Harvey, Boulder, Colorado |
    "Any opinions expressed here are mine, and should not be
     attributed to my employer, my wife, or my cats"

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