Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Why Do Religious People Dislike Evolution?

If the only time you saw a car it was being used to drive over your mother, you might develop an irrational prejudice against automobiles, too.

What is your mother doing in the middle of the road?

She's a traffic cop.

Traffic cops suck. They deserve to be driven over.

Well, okay then....

The United States is an extremely pragmatic society and, as a result, tends to lend a great deal of moral authority to what "works". Science "works", and therefore possesses an enormous amount of moral authority in our society. Of course, the problem with with moral authority -- as people have pointed out ad nauseum (Eek! a bishop!) -- is that it frequently gets co-opted by the powers that be, and not always for moral purposes. Now, if the saying is true that the United States is a nation of Indians ruled by Swedes, then we would expect the political and moral philosophy of the ruling powers of the United States to not be particularly friendly towards Christianity.

Furthermore, human beings being what they are, we would expect the moral authority of science to be co-opted by the same powers (whatever they are) for the sake of defeating the opposition in the public square. And, fascinatingly enough, that is what we do find. Creation "Scientists" are not the only ones declaring with confidence that Christianity and Evolutionary Biology are incompatible. Many others on the "side of evolution" say so, too. But of course there are quite a few of the powers-that-be who have no problem with the idea of Christianity co-existing with evolution. What shall we say to them?

The real point of contention in any society will always turn out to be moral. If we find evolution being co-opted in a philosophically simplistic way to defeat Christian morality in the public square, then there is good evidence that the moral authority of science is being invoked for a particular agenda which it does not necessarily support.

[A lot, I admit, hinges on the phrase "philosophically simplistic". I get extremely weary of the impatience of a pragmatic people with philosophy. Philosophy is of first importance, and if we ignore thinking about what is really true and good it is because either we all agree completely on what is good and true or else we for some reason don't want to discuss it.]

No comments: