Wednesday, December 05, 2012

WSJ: Acceptance or Rejection of Evolution Not Core Christian Belief

Joshua Swamidass, writing in the Wall Street Journal admonishes us to remember that acceptance or rejection of evolution is not a core Christian belief. Jumping off the recent Marco Rubio flap, he writes:
The evolution debate is not a scientific controversy, but a theological controversy about a non-central Christian doctrine. In terms of policy, neither evangelicals nor Republicans should expect secular schools to litigate doctrinal controversies in science classrooms. And Christians who try to push their view of creation through political coercion are misrepresenting their faith. The "good news" is how God saves us. Not how he created us. And it is through persuasion rather than force that he brings us to knowledge of Jesus.
Republicans have a clear path through the minefield of how-old-is-the-Earth gotcha questions. Let's leave science curriculums to scientists.
As for Democrats: Please ditch the "war on science" talking point. It only pushes Americans apart, into their respective corners. In the two-party system, both sides need to be able to freely embrace science as a cultural common ground.
The sad thing is that, at the core of the messages and platforms of groups like the Institute for Creation Research, Answers in Genesis, and the Creation Research Society, the scientific controversy and the theological controversy over evolution are one and the same.  For people like Ken Ham and John Morris, these are inextricably linked.  You cannot be a Christian and accept evolution.  For them, any movement toward the evolution camp is headed  down the slippery slope.  This is the tragedy of young earth creationism.  The republicans, as a whole, will never accept Dr. Swamidass' ideas because too many of them think like Paul Broun. As long as the two are linked, the vast majority of those espousing a young earth model will never address the evidence for evolution because it violates their theological understanding of the universe. 

While I agree with Dr. Swamidass' admonition to the democrats to “ditch the ‘war on science,’” why would they when it obviously brings in great returns?  Each time a Republican beclowns him- or herself on this issue, it is fodder for the Democrat base and reason enough for the independents out there to be wary of the Republican party. 

5 comments:

  1. There's nothing I can add, so I'll just point out - since it's kind of on the topic - that my home state of Indiana is at it again:

    http://indianapublicmedia.org/news/lawmaker-creationism-bill-41187/

    (sorry if this posts multiple times, I'm new to commenting and have had trouble understanding the commenting system here)

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  2. Saw that. Sorry. These sorts of things usually come from people who have little education in or understanding of the sciences. Tennessee has its own issues, of course. Politics and science don't mix. They just don't.

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  3. Anonymous1:40 AM

    *Joshua* Swamidass! :)

    Other than that -- lots of truth here.

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  4. "The sad thing is that, at the core of the messages and platforms of groups like the Institute for Creation Research, Answers in Genesis, and the Creation Research Society, the scientific controversy and the theological controversy over evolution are one and the same. For people like Ken Ham and John Morris, these are inextricably linked. You cannot be a Christian and accept evolution."

    This is true - despite AiG, ICR and CRS saying the opposite.

    I have read articles by evangelical Christians saying that the litmus test of whether someone is a True Evangelical Christian (TM) is whether or not he/she accepts a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-11.

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