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Thoughts on the Theory of Evolution

Here is my personal introductory essay on Charle's Darwins' Evolutionary Theory. I decided it was time to write something specifically pertaining to the Theory of Evolution because I've grown weary of the attacks and the horrible logic used against it in defense of religion and general theism (although this mostly includes religion). As a theist, or someone who believes that a higher supernatural power created the universe and everything that is within it, I have found the views and reasoning of many Young-Earth Creationists divisive and digusting. I realize that not all Creationists are narrow-minded and completely closed off from even an alternative possibility to their beliefs on our biological and cosmological origins, yet being personally surrounded by Creationists with one-sided views and even those individuals who would go as far as to say: "You can't be a Christian if you're an evolutionist" I have decided to write this to get some of my own commentary in between all of the naggingly close-minded bigotry and stereotypical assumptions that often come up with a great deal of frequency.

First I will state my position on the Theory of Evolution: Despite that I accept and believe evolution to be scientifically true and indisputable, I am not all in favor of embracing the concept. When you think about it,  evolution in itself is just downright creepy and disturbing. For many at first, it only makes sense to reject the idea as illogical and stupid. But getting passed this area of thinking, my own personal view goes something along these lines: Who am I to say "God did it this specific way, END OF STORY"? Why does Genesis have to be literal in order for Christianity and the other Abrhamaic religions in order to be true? In fact, why does evolution effect the validitiy of ANY religion? Isn't God a higher power? Something bigger than humans on a much grander scale? And if so, how can man dictate and decipher what Creation was and wasn't? Yes, Creationists derive their views from the book of Genesis, but of course time 

I know that Creationists might say at this point: "But that's just it! Evolution is just a theory concocted by man's reasoning" while arguing that the Bible is divinely inspired, and no matter what scientific mumbo jumbo comes to the scene, Genesis will forever remain true because it surpasses man's ability to think.

There are actually quite a few problems with this. I think the best way to demonstrate that this is faulty logic is to look at two major points of consideration: 1) There are similar creation myths predating the Adam & Eve creation story in Genesis, and 2) Does Genesis truly matter in the end about religious truths? There have been responses to both of these two points. Jonathan Safarti of Answers in Genesis has written articles about the predating creation myths that neighbored the Jewish peoples in Babylonian times. In one of his articles, he states plainly: "Naturally there are distortions in all the stories apart from the true account preserved in the Genesis record, which is to be expected from a mankind in rebellion against God." 1

This type of reasoning is astounding. Safarti outright dismisses other creation myths as containing "distortion", even those that perhaps predate the Genesis creation. And being that creation myths predate the story of Genesis, how exactly do we know that Genesis "preserved" the "true account"? For all we know, such an assertive claim is nothing more than speculative, and at best we could say that Genesis is just another in a long line of creation mythologies. Going any further suggesting that Genesis is inevitably true when compared to other creation myths is nothing short of circular reasoning. Unfortunately, such reasoning is often employed when trying to put emphasis on certain points in opposition to the Creationist view. If a Creationist is confronted with evidence of a similar DNA sequence between a human and a rat, the Creationist responds: "That proves we have a common designer!" in which this somehow disproves 'common ancestry.'

Many people this day in age can probably share my own stories of receiving hostility from Creationists even with just the mere mentioning of the word "evolution" itself. It is almost immediate when a long and frustrating debate is sparked into action, and even trying to get the person you're having a friendly conversation with to consider the possibility or even an alternative becomes an impossible task. All in all, I don't care if people choose to believe that the universe and the earth are only 6,000 years or less of age, but when bigotry becomes an issue and a person's religious faith is outright dismissed as false or "hypocritical" for not believing in a literal Genesis, is when I become offended and disturbed. This type of thinking has caused the other perspective, mainly the atheistic crowd, to come to the conclusion that religion is superstitious and primitive, as well as a deterrant to intellectualism. Both of these perspectives disagree only on their position on whether or not God exists, the rest is exactly the same in comparison.   

The second point to be made is whether or not evolution deters religious truths, in which my answer would be a definite no. Creationists are mostly offended by the idea of Evolutionary Theory as a science because without their literal viewpoint of an 'Original Sin' taking place Jesus' sacrafice becomes meaningless to the human race. Creationism is predominantly a Christian faction, one that requires that you take Genesis literally otherwise your so-called religious faith does not amount to anything. This is the worst that Creationism has to offer: The ostracising of other fellow believers who choose to take a different approach on their opinion on our biological origins aside from what is commongly accepted amongst the crowd as true or "scientifically" valid. For the mostpart, this type of hostile fundamentalism towards scientific theories such as evolution stems from preference and incredulous ignorance. Once more, these two factors do not determine the validity or non-validity of a standpoint. They only prove that a person has a poor grasp on the subject and finds it too uprooting from the fudamentals of their personal beliefs. But how is this any different from the Trial of Galileo for proposing that the Earth revolves around the Sun and not the Sun around the Earth? How is this any different from  the revolutionary physics of Newton? I'm rather surprised Creationists would even use these scientific figures as examples for Creationism. Galileo and Newton may have been Creationists, but this was long before the lifetime of Charles Darwin. Despite Galileo and Newton's alledged excommunication from the Church, both were devout religionists. Many people from the opposition, or the skeptic crowd, would argue that the science of both was completely irrelevant to their personal beliefs. And to some extent, they are right. But between the fundamentalism of the Catholic Church and the radical proposals unearthed from their sciences they still chose to remain devoutly comitted to their faith. This has to stand for something, and should convey a deeper understanding that these particular men obviously possessed. Yet Creationists miss the fine point of the issue and only insist on repeating the previous actions of the Church when it condemned the revolutionary sciences contradicting a literal interpretation of the Bible. If Galileo and Newton are used as references for Creationist literature, then why do Creationists deem evolution as heretical without first establishing a deeper understanding than what can be taken at face value?
 
Creationists prefer that God would have created the world instantly and not sit around watching his creatures evolve over long periods of time. Even though it is not at all impossible for an all-knowing being free from space and time to have created something that would potentially climb "mount improbable" and thus arrive to its current stage up to the present. I don't seem to understand why Creationists insist on instantenous creation and would not dare consider the possibility of a self-modifying process of intricacy. It seems that it would be more limiting if God could not create a universe that was distinct from any supernatural intervention, as compared to God creating an imperfect universe with loose nuts and bolts in its makeup. I am not arguing evolution as a perfect process, as many prominent evolutionists see evolutionary biology as evidence that the world was not in any way intentionally 'designed' or 'created' as many Christians have proposed in their apologetics. But then we could also argue that despite evolutionary imperfections if we were to compare it to the divine nature of a sovereign deity slight imperfections might actually make sense both through a evolutionary and theological worldview.
 

UNDERSTANDING THE ESSENCE OF SCIENTIFIC METHODOLOGIES

The scientific method may be regarded by YEC's as being nothing more than a construct of man's "fallible reasoning." Yes, YEC's, as scientific as they claim they are, attack science by its 'fallibilities.' What type of fallibilties are ever mentioned?  Well, it's because science isn't 100% correct immediately in its predictions and experimental testing. The Bible obviously outweighs whatever science says because it is in fact 'infallible' and 'inerrant', completely black and white, from cover to cover. This is the driving mechanism to what I referred to earlier as circular reasoning: "The Bible is true because it says its true" sort of principle. Being that the presupposition that the Bible stumps scientific discovery comes before the interpretation of the results from scientific data, science must then conform to what the Bible says letter by letter and page by page. This is why Creationism is considered to hinder all scientific enquiries and methodologies. It only permits results to come straight from Biblical scripture, and not what the evidence alone may suggest.
 
Here is another quote from Safarti derived from the same article as from the previous: "Isaak doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he suggests that Genesis might be a parable on the grounds that Jesus spoke in parables.  However, parables in Scripture are clearly stated as such, whereas Genesis is plainly treated throughout the Scriptures as historical literature.  And Mt. 13:10 ff., Mark 4:11-12 and Luke 8:10 explain why Jesus spoke in parables — to hide the truth from the unbelieving masses." Safarti then goes on to say: "But these passages also explain that Jesus spoke plainly to His disciples." Perhaps if Safarti is willing to speak on behalf of both ambiguity and crystal clarity concerning Biblical parables, then maybe he should have also given thought to what specific audience Jesus may have been addressing or what context a certain parable may have entailed. More apparent examples of seeing the Bible through a single lens scope: 100% completely black and white. It's either one way or the other. Safarti demonstrates that not only is scientific data to be strictly interpreted by Biblical literalism, but that the Bible should be interpreted by the Bible, and not by other textual writings of that culture. Therefore, Creationism has no room for inquiry or interrogation, only a one-way that topples all perspective.
 
Yet science is a self-reviewing process, always subject to scrutiny and ridicule. We might be better off calling Creationism and Intelligent Design philosophical before we ever go using the word 'scientific.' Philosophy remains an interpretative discipline (putting rationalization behind evidence that is discovered and uprooted), while science is an accumulative discipline (it seeks to gather information and data and does not come to a stopping point). There isn't really anything wrong with Creationism and Intelligent Design...err...save that you call it a science or science-affliated, or even attempt to put it into a scientific framework. Let me place some emphasis on what I'm stating: Genesis does not have to be taken literally in order for it to have an accurate depiction of human nature; ID does not have to be a science in order to the come to the conclusion that 'designer' behind the universe exists. Science is meant to provide explanations for natural phenomena, it cannot make a stance on the existence of a supernatural force or the afterlife for example. Philosophy, on the other hand, can conform to whatever scientific evidence becomes readily available, and if it can be so argued, a philosophical reading into scientific evidence can be even moreso effective than putting God behind every science.
 
 

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