Part 1 - Churches urged to back evolution

From: Janice Matchett <>
Date: Tue Feb 21 2006 - 12:19:42 EST

I picked out some replies that I thought would be of particular
interest to some on this list. ~ Janice

Churches urged to back evolution
British Broadcasting Corporation ^ | 20 February 2006 | Paul Rincon

[Click link above to read article]

Posted on 02/20/2006 8:33:50 AM EST on Free Republic by ToryHeartland (Refresh
browser for latest comments) So far: 1,005 replies and 7,112+ readers

I've been lurking long enough on FR to have seen a number of threads
on this topic (often generating far more heat than light), but remain
puzzled about the problems this topic seems to generate. Like other
British Conservatives, I look to the United States as our one great
ally and the world's greatest defender of liberty, but I do not
understand why such an enlightened nation is embroiled in a senseless
science vs. religion turmoil--and even more puzzled that some whom on
other issues I recognise as fellow conservatives are, on this topic,
so vehement in their assault on science. I, and many, many others
here are staunch defenders and admirers of America, but when it comes
to this controversy over Darwin, we just don't get it. Intelligent
explanations of the real issue here would be appreciated!

1 posted on 02/20/2006 8:33:51 AM EST by ToryHeartland

Part 1 of "replies" to his request are found below this comment:

In a survey of 517 National Academy members, only 7% said they
believed in a personal god, while 72% said they disbelieved (the rest
were agnostic). 8% believed in life after death, while 77% disbelieved.

[ Source: American
Atheists NEW
leading scientific journal concludes that increasingly, scientists
have doubts about the existence of a deity or similar supernatural
and religious claims. This finding questions the pop-culture view
that science and religion are moving toward a consensus, and a shared
view about the humanity and the universe. The study also touches on
the changing character of the scientific enterprise in modern
society... Web Posted: July 25, 1998 ]

So among the nation's top scientists, between 2/3 and 3/4 are
atheistic by conventional definition; 15 - 20% are agnostic, and the
rest are theists.

249 posted on 02/20/2006 2:21:53 PM EST by Right Wing Professor

To: ToryHeartland

The problem is not at all over "evolution" but rather on the
insistence of some very vocal spokespeople who insist that naturalism
is the only correct philosophical underpinning for "science."

Of course, this is utter foolishness, supported neither by the
history of science itself (many of the "founders" of modern science
were passionate Christians), nor by the scientific method. A
Christian (or theist) looks at the laws of the Universe as the
general workings of God in His creation, whereas a naturalist says we
must work in the lab "as if" there were nothing but what is
observable -- even if we currently do not have accurate means to observe it.

This is -of course- not about "science" at all, but about the
philosophical underpinnings of science. A Christian sees God in all
of life, and insists that the evidences for His existence, wisdom,
morality and power are abundantly evident in creation. The Christian
further claims that the inability to "see" these things comes not
from the lack of evidence, but the deliberate unwillingness to see
them. In fact, the modern Christian scientists claim echo Paul when
he says that this blindness is the result of deliberate repression of
clear and plain evidence, based on a desire to escape the presence of
God (cf Romans 1:18-20).

This is certainly validated in statements by certain prominent men of
science like Thomas Huxley when he claimed that he adopted a
naturalistic worldview more from a desire to pursue sexual activity
without guilt than from evidentiary examination, and from Thomas
Watson's statement that he and Crick were driven to discover dna's
structure primarily by a desire to escape a worldview which included God.

Since much of American evangelicalism is shallow, surface, uninformed
and silly.... AND since we have hopped into bed with the Republican
Party as though it was the messiah, there are all sorts of excesses
and embarrassments in what they are trying to do. (to forstall the
hail of slings and arrows, I will add that I have voted Republican in
every election since Nixon).

The bottom line here is that it is a debate over how science should
be done, not over whether "evolution" is true or not. Lots of
Christiasn and genuinely confused secular scientists gloss right past
it, but it is the only thing of real substance being barked about.

11 posted on 02/20/2006 8:56:50 AM EST by When_Penguins_Attack

[ Janice interjects: Amen to what 'When_Penguins_Attack' says on
his profile page: "I am here because I am a historical liberal, which
means that I am a modern conservative!!!!! Historical liberalism,
like that of Hayek, was for freedom within moral constructs. Modern
"liberalism" is state sovereign totalitarianism, and I believe that
the state itself is subject to God. I am from a Reformed Christian
background, and have a few degrees. Although I am devoutly
Christian, when it comes to politics, I am passionately pro freedom.
I think the best fallen men can do is spread power out. I am very
suspicious of the desire to instill "righteous laws." With the
exception of the pro life issue, I don't hold to many of the
Christian right agenda, and I think the historical Christian
political thinkers would be aghast at the current desires to "install
godly men" in Washington D.C. I don't have much patience with
"conservatives" who are mirror images of those on the left who just
want to seize the levers of governmental power so they can use that
power to remake society. I think they are not conservatives at all,
but traditionalists, who will destroy freedom just as effectively as
the left. True societal change always bubbles up, rather than
trickles down. I have an interest in all things theological, and
because I have a science background, I am interested in the
science/faith rants here on FR ." Profile page: ]

To: Right Wing Professor

"You mean Aldous Huxley and Jim Watson?"

Yes. I got stuck on Thomas Watson in the head (who was a 16th century
Puritan preacher with no relation to either of these guys). My error,
as "Thomas" was stuck in the brain. If you have never made the same
mistake, then I am happy for you.

As far as the James Watson statement, he certainly did make it. It
was on an interview with Teri Gross on Fresh Air and ran (although it
may have been an archive....) this past spring. If you wish I will
try to chase it down for you.

I am truly sorry to have irritated you by the mistake in names. I
know the difference between the author of "Doors of Perception" and
"Double Helix" AND I know their names.

I really wasn't trying to sneer (nor libel) someone. It is simply
trying to state that there are deep and personal reasons why people
make the kinds of choices they do re: worldviews and they "way" they
insist science be done. People who insist that these choices are made
in a moral vacuum are either disingenuous or ignorant, or both.
People who insist that their own moral choices are irrelevant in
their "objective" pursuit of data are sadly naive or deliberately dishonest.

131 posted on 02/20/2006 11:47:12 AM EST by When_Penguins_Attack

To: When_Penguins_Attack

"The bottom line here is that it is a debate over how science should
be done, not over whether "evolution" is true or not."

Many thanks, I think you have succinctly stated my own impression of
the debate, but which I had hitherto been unable to articulate. ...

132 posted on 02/20/2006 11:48:05 AM EST by ToryHeartland

To: ToryHeartland

In 1995, the official Position Statement of the American National
Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) accurately states the general
understanding of major science organizations and educators:

The diversity of life on earth is the outcome of evolution: an
unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable, and natural process of
temporal descent with genetic modification that is affected by
natural selection, chance, historical contingencies and changing environments.

Or in the words of the famous evolutionist, George Gaylord Simpson,
"Man is the result of a purposeless, and natural process that did not
have him in mind."

How do they know the process was unsupervised?

How do they know the process was mindless?

How do they know the process was purposeless?

Their statements are problematic in that they are unscientific. It
cannot be proven that evolutionary processes are "purposeless" or
that humans were "not in mind." Science cannot demonstrate these
assumptions either way ... and that's the problem with their
position. They become proponents of a religion of atheism; I say
religion because their conclusion is NOT science, it is faith ...
just as much as OUR conclusion is faith. Clearly, their definition is
diametrically opposed to any concept of a personal creator being
involved in the evolutionary process.

To be fair, as was reported by Brendan Sweetman, Ph.D. in a letter to
The Kansas City Star August 21, NABT removed the language after it
was pointed out by the philosopher, Alvin Plantinga, and the
theologian Huston Smith, that their guideline was really an implied
atheism and went beyond what the scientific evidence for the theory
could show.

However, the concept of natural selection (absent a creator) remains
the central tenant of evolution as taught in the classrooms. The
definition of natural selection includes unsupervised, mindless and

Clearly, in defining evolution they have left the world of science
and entered the world of philosophy and theology, and established
atheism (a religion) in our classrooms.

15 posted on 02/20/2006 9:04:54 AM EST by GarySpFc

To: GarySpFc

"...Or in the words of the famous evolutionist, George Gaylord
Simpson, "Man is the result of a purposeless, and natural process
that did not have him in mind."

Well, he's a "smart fool". He's like a scientist who knows how a
snowflake is formed in the atmosphere, yet denies categorically that
a higher being has had a hand in creating the forces that created the

His selective blindness says nothing about the truth of the
scientific way snowflakes are formed, and everything about his own
personal spiritual poverty.

93 posted on 02/20/2006 11:06:36 AM EST by VictoryGal

To: ToryHeartland

"...But the judge ruled this violated the constitution, which sets
out a clear separation between religion and state. "

Jut picking a nit, but it's CHURCH and State..not 'religion'.


"..Intelligent explanations of the real issue here would be appreciated! "

IMHO, the evolution vs creationism uproar is quite simple.

Evolutionists maintain that everything was created by a biomechanical
process, brought about by the trial and error of nature. This makes
humanity an accident.

Creationists believe the world was conceived and constructed by a
higher being, brought about by His will and design. This makes
humanity a miracle.

While creationism doesn't necessarily exclude evolution, evolution
DOES exclude creationism.

You'd think in a land where we have the ability to freely discuss
anything, we'd be able to find a middle ground.

As a historical footnote, the Bible was used regularly in schoolrooms
up to about 1950.

24 posted on 02/20/2006 9:32:25 AM EST by MamaTexan

To: ToryHeartland

I always find it amusing when science educators warn of the threat to
education from ID. As if ID were the reason for falling scores and
the dismal performance of science in American education and not the
educators themselves.

The monopolistic educational bureaucracy has difficulty when the
public attempts to influence education. This explains the passionate
opposition to school vouchers as well as the rise of home schooling.
ID is not nearly the threat to science as is the dogma emanating from
the Ivory Tower which will use the courts and the ACLU to impose
their will on a recalcitrant public. In other words; how dare the
peasants lecture their betters.

And finally, this ultimately goes back to the establishment clause in
the US Constitution and how it should be interpreted vis-a-vis
schools and religion. Since the 1960's the courts have upheld a
God-free zone in the American classrooms, quite often to absurd
lengths. ID is the push back.

28 posted on 02/20/2006 9:35:17 AM EST by Pietro

To: ToryHeartland

"..senseless science vs. religion turmoil "

It's not science vs. religion, it's age old philosophy vs. philosophy.

86 posted on 02/20/2006 10:58:28 AM EST by Theophilus

To: ToryHeartland

There are small groups of Christians who believe that the first
couple of chapters of Genesis should be interpreted literally.

Once Genesis is interpreted literally, you can calculate the age of
the earth. It is on the order of 6000 years old. Thus, the Bible
becomes a history book.


There is a small group of atheist scientists who believe that science
can be used to disprove God.

They have latched onto the literal interpretation of Genesis and
offer evolution as proof that there is no God. ...Evolution has
become the central tenet of their "anti-God" religion.


Most of America does not interpret Genesis literally and thinks both
groups are very vocal nuts.

116 posted on 02/20/2006 11:28:54 AM EST by kidd

Continue to Part 2 - Churches urged to back evolution ======>
Received on Tue Feb 21 12:20:10 2006

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