Monday, January 12, 2009

What Difference Does Evolution Make?

The Times Online has a story by Bryan Appleyard called For God’s sake, have Charles Darwin’s theories made any difference to our lives?
The article highlights the differences between the American and British acceptance of how important the man is. For example:

“Darwinism,” says Dr David Menton of Answers in Genesis, which built the Creation Museum, “is what you have once you have denied the existence of God.”

I would really love for someone to actually define "Darwinism." Anyway, contrast that with this:

In Westminster Abbey, parties of schoolchildren walk over the marble slab on which is inscribed simply, “Charles Robert Darwin. Born 12 February 1809. Died 19 April 1882”. There’s also a black plaque depicting a mightily bearded Darwin in old age.

The focus of the article is how we have failed to wrap our brains around the "descent from a common ancestor" argument. Appleyard goes on:

For John Gray, the philosopher, this all points to a fundamental oddity of the conflicts and anxieties generated by Darwin. He says: “Darwinism appeared in the context of a monotheistic religion that assumed a categorical distinction between humans and other animals. In any religion that didn’t assume that, it wouldn’t have produced these unending conflicts.”

If Darwin had been Japanese, Chinese or Indian, then his primary insight – our deep connection to nature – would have been seen as unremarkable, if not self-evident. But in the Judaeo-Christian or Muslim worlds, in which man is seen as the God-elected pinnacle of creation, it is dynamite. This is why, as Darwin so clearly saw, his idea represents a fundamental moral challenge to our western world-view.

This is a tough one because it brings into sharp relief questions about original sin, historical Adam, existence of the soul and other questions for which no two Christians agree on the answers.

No comments:

Post a Comment