We believe in evolution — and God [Excerpts]
Nearly half of Americans still dispute the indisputable: that humans evolved to our current form over millions of years. We’re scientists and Christians. Our message to the faithful: Fear not.
The "conflict" between science and religion in America today is not only unfortunate, but unnecessary.
We are scientists, grateful for the freedom to earn Ph.D.s and become members of the scientific community. And we are religious believers, grateful for the freedom to celebrate our religion, without censorship. Like most scientists who believe in God, we find no contradiction between the scientific understanding of the world, and the belief that God created that world. And that includes Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.
Many of our fellow Americans, however, don't quite see it this way, and this is where the real conflict seems to rest.
Almost everyone in the scientific community, including its many religious believers, now accepts that life has evolved over the past 4 billion years. The concept unifies the entire science of biology. Evolution is as well-established within biology as heliocentricity is established within astronomy. So you would think that everyone would accept it. Alas, a 2008 Gallup Poll showed that 44% of Americans reject evolution, believing instead that "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years."
The "science" undergirding this "young earth creationism" comes from a narrow, literalistic and relatively recent interpretation of Genesis, the first book in the Bible. This "science" is on display in the Creation Museum in Kentucky, where friendly dinosaurs — one with a saddle! — cavort with humans in the Garden of Eden. Every week these ideas spread from pulpits and Sunday School classrooms across America. On weekdays, creationism is taught in fundamentalist Christian high schools and colleges. Science faculty at schools such as Bryan College in Tennessee and Liberty University in Virginia work on "models" to shoehorn the 15 billion year history of the universe into the past 10,000 years.
Evolution continues to disturb, threatening the faith of many in a deeply religious America, especially those who read the Bible as a scientific text. But it does not have to be this way.
[TBC: Yes, it does have to be this way, particularly if what the religious/science authors Gilbertson and Falk present is in the form of unsupproted generalizations. It is never a hopeful sign when one begins with generalization. If indeed the facts bear one out, there is no need for such statements. Science should never be judged by those alleged to be “upon our side.” It’s rather like the “consensus” that animates followers of global warming. Neither can give room to dissenters, else the supposed unassailable edifice of a carefully defined belief collapse under the light of scrutiny.
Gilbertson and Falk’s narrow argument proceeds with a selection of statements, with select quotations apparently functioning as cues for knowing nods and snickers. Mind you, their presumption must rely upon an ivory towered indifference to legitimate testing. If indeed the " ’science’ undergirding this ‘young earth creationism’ comes from a narrow, literalistic and relatively recent interpretation of Genesis, the first book in the Bible,” then by all means test it. As purported believers, the authors should realize that the Bible is filled with numerous admonitions to “prove,” “test,” and otherwise subject to scrutiny everything presented to us. “Prove all things, hold fast that which is good” writes Paul in 1 Thessalonians:5:21. Yet, without testing the pronouncements of the authors, foolish statements such as, “‘young earth creationism’ comes from a narrow, literalistic and relatively recent interpretation of Genesis,” will not be tested. Yet, if God admonished us to “test all things,” we realize that our Creator has every confidence that the things which are His shall stand the test. The preceding article evidences no such confidence.]
(Gilbertson/Falk, USA Today, 8/10/09, http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2009/08/we-believe-in-evolution-and-god-.html ).