Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Evolution, Creation, and the Death Of Thinking

Now that God has officially written off Dover, PA (according to Pat Robertson), I decided to stick a toe into the Creationism/Evolution bedlam. My problem with the War on Intelligent Design is not that I think kids will be brainwashed into believing that God does not exist. Parents and churches, instead of insisting that God be brought into the classroom, should start a dialogue with their kids, and help them to wrestle with the issues raised about creation, evolution, and God’s role in the natural world. Isn’t that our job anyway? No, my problem with only teaching Darwin in school is that it is an example of how we are teaching our kids not to think for themselves.

The average person’s understanding of the word “theory” shows that we are becoming more and more closed-minded. The American Heritage Dictionary defines “theory” as “A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.” Even though most people understand that a theory is not necessarily true, when it is used in the context of a “theory of evolution” or some other scientific theory, people tend to forget that theories may be true, but many theories are not.

As I write, I am watching Friends, and coincidentally, in this episode, Ross is trying to convince Phoebe that evolution is fact.

PHOEBE: Ok, look, before you even start, I'm not denying evolution, ok, I'm just saying that it's one of the possibilities.
ROSS: It's the only possibility, Phoebe.
PHOEBE: Ok, Ross, could you just open your mind like this much, ok? Wasn't there a time when the brightest minds in the world believed that the world was flat? And, up until like what, 50 years ago, you all thought the atom was the smallest thing, until you split it open, and this like, whole mess of crap came out. Now, are you telling me that you are so unbelievably arrogant that you can't admit that there's a teeny tiny possibility that you could be wrong about this?

Even if I believe in evolution, I’m well aware of the fact that, “we see things imperfectly, as in a poor mirror” (1 Cor. 13:12).

In my psychology classes, I was endlessly annoyed with the people who did not understand that in psychology of all sciences, it is essential that a person understand that theories are educated guesses. Psychological theories are constantly contradicting each other and being changed and being proven false, but a lot of people do not develop the ability to think critically about theories and make decisions about whether they are plausible or not. Even in the study of evolution, Darwin is not the only theorist. There are several other evolutionary theories taught in other countries, so why should we only teach Darwinism, or even only Darwinism and Evanglical Creationism, or Darwinism and Intelligent Design? God gave us the ability to reason, and if we do not challenge ourselves to think critically, we are guilty of poor stewardship.

When it comes down to it, this whole discussion is important, but not the most important discussion. Science and faith need not be completely separate, but in the end, science does not give birth to faith. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).

If we believe that God loves us enough to create a whole world for us, then we should focus more on sharing the love of God. And if we want to share evidence, is not the fact that God empowers us to forgive and love and Jesus did much more compelling than arguments about a seven day creation?


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11:50 PM  

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