In one of the online construction forums I sometimes hang out in (remember I’m a builder-remodeler-consultant-programmer not a scientist) a discussion on Global Warming and whether it is natural fluctuation or not evolved into a discussion on the Evolution vs. Creationism & ID battle when wrote:
And ya know while I’m thinking about it has anyone else reading this ever noticed any kind of correlation between the Darwinist Evolution and Big Bang Denial crowds and the Global Warming Denial bunch?
I’m a science buff with a particularly strong interest in paleontology and cosmology and while my own observations are anecdotal if I was a betting man and knew someone was a ‘creationist’ or ‘intelligent design’ advocate I would wager they would also be part of the Global Warming Denial pack.
The discussion then detoured at that point.
Then in one post in particular a fellow there alluded to the way I was portraying "Christianity and it’s believers" as being "anti-religion".
I thought I’d post my response to that here since it provides some of the background and history on my thinking regarding the question of "are religion and evolution mutually exclusive?":
Hmnnn, Ricardo just what have I really said critically about Christianity so far other than hint that I think Christian Fundamentalism is ridiculously absurd (well now the secrets out and I’ll throw other flavors of fundamentalism in there with the Christian variety too).
Science isn’t intrinsically anti-religion but many religious claims are outright denied by the empirical scientific evidence we have while others sit in a kind of limbo where they can’t be proven or denied. To refer to Steven Jay Gould they reside in different magisterium (Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life).
And religion isn’t necessarily anti-science. From a Catholic (and moderate and progressive Protestant) perspective, while it wasn’t really accepted in his lifetime the work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin with it’s law of complexity-consciousness in which the universe and nature grows in complexity and in consciousness is generally accepted and fits in with mainstream Darwinism.
Indeed in an address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on October 22, 1996 entitled ‘Truth Cannot Contradict Truth’ Pope John Paul II stated that there is "no opposition between evolution and the doctrine of the faith" and even cited his predecessor Pope Pius XII (1939-58) as having proclaimed that too.
I the realm of Evolutionary Science there are some very notable and well known Christians. In fact the government’s star witness in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case was Kenneth R. Miller, a biology professor from Brown University. Miller is one of the leaders in the fight opposing the teaching of Intelligent Design and is the author of Finding Darwin’s God: A Scientist’s Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution and devout Catholic.
I’ve got two posts with video featuring Miller in one of my blogs Ken Miller on Intelligent Design in which pretty much destroys the arguments for Intelligent Design and A War on Science where he is featured in the video.
Geneticist Francis Collins is also another well known Christian in the field of Science. He’s author of the book The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. There is also a good article in his own words on the CNN.com site with the self explanatory title of Collins: Why this scientist believes in God.
And Joan Roughgarden, who I’ll confess that I don’t know too much about since I only first heard of her a few months ago is another noted Christian who is a eminent professor of Biology at Stanford and has written books entitled Evolution and Christian Faith: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist and Evolution’s Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People among others.
All that said in all due candor I should say I describe myself as Pantheist (which Richard Dawkin’s has notably described as "sexed up atheism"). I align myself with Einstein’s thinking regarding God:
I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals Himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings
A human being is a part of a whole, called by us "universe", a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
I’m a pantheist/atheist who grew up Catholic and had that Catholicism flavored with Jesuit and Franciscan thinking and eventually eastern philosophy (theologically Thomas Merton helped put me on the trail to Zen and Alan Watts and others).
That said I am a harsh critic of religion, all religions, and perhaps something of a Dawkobot at times too, but then again I am also a harsh critic of the New York Yankees too.
J. Jerrald Hayes
Quietly Re-Thinking Out Loud
I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to say on the question but that’s at least a start for now.