LGF points out a review of two books on science and faith by Jerry Coyne, University of Chicago, who concludes that the two cannot be reconciled. Let's see why. The two books in question are Karl Giberson's Saving Darwin: How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution and Kenneth Miller's excellent book Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul.
He starts by pointing out somethin somewhat sobering that most of us know even we try not to think about it:
Throughout our country, school boards are trying to water down the teaching of evolution or sneak creationism in beside it. And the opponents of Darwinism are not limited to snake-handlers from the Bible Belt; they include some people you know. As Karl Giberson notes in Saving Darwin, "Most people in America have a neighbor who thinks the Earth is ten thousand years old."
He rejects Miller's idea that populism is to blame for the rejection of evolution in this country:
The resistance to evolution in America has little to do with populism as such. Our ornery countrymen do not rise up against the idea of black holes or the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. It is evolution that is the unique object of their ire, and for this there is only one explanation. The facts are these: you may find religion without creationism, but you will never find creationism without religion. Miller and Giberson shy away from this simple observation. Their neglect of the real source of creationism is inexcusable but understandable: a book aiming to reconcile evolution and religion can hardly blame the faithful.
This has led me to wonder about a challenge that was raised by someone, don't remember who, to wit: find me one person, just one, who does not believe in God but is convinced that the earth was created in the last ten thousand years based solely on the evidence. I think you would be looking a long time. He begins his conclusion thus:
Giberson and Miller are thoughtful men of good will. Reading them, you get a sense of conviction and sincerity absent from the writings of many creationists, who blatantly deny the most obvious facts about nature in the cause of their faith. Both of their books are worth reading: Giberson for the history of the creation/ evolution debate, and Miller for his lucid arguments against intelligent design. Yet in the end they fail to achieve their longed-for union between faith and evolution. And they fail for the same reason that people always fail: a true harmony between science and religion requires either doing away with most people's religion and replacing it with a watered-down deism, or polluting science with unnecessary, untestable, and unreasonable spiritual claims.
I think that this sidesteps the role of the Spirit. For many of us who believe in God (and yes, it is belief, because we cannot prove it) the Spirit plays a more important role in our mental/theological lives than in our physical lives. The classic Christian construction is that our hearts and minds should be saved. It says nothing about our bodies. Those will die and decay.
Coyne also states one other thing that is perhaps true, perhaps not:
Unfortunately, some theologians with a deistic bent seem to think that they speak for all the faithful. These were the critics who denounced Dawkins and his colleagues for not grappling with every subtle theological argument for the existence of God, for not steeping themselves in the complex history of theology. Dawkins in particular was attacked for writing The God Delusion as a "middlebrow" book. But that misses the point. He did indeed produce a middlebrow book, but precisely because he was discussing religion as it is lived and practiced by real people. The reason that many liberal theologians see religion and evolution as harmonious is that they espouse a theology not only alien but unrecognizable as religion to most Americans.
Most protestant denominations and Catholics do not have a problem with evolution. It is only the very hard line evangelical community that dismisses it. As Conrad Hyers and others have taken pains to write, this proceeds from an untenable, literal reading of scripture that was simply not meant to be taken as a scientific guide to the creation of the universe.
Coyne is certainly right about how different people practice theology but he mistakenly dismisses all Christians who accept evolution as being "liberal theologians" when some of us aren't anything of the sort.