Aggregating Skeptical Thought

Why Darwins Matters

Like many of my earlier posts, I had moved some from my personal blog. Here is one I did a couple months ago shortly after reading Michael Shermer’s Why Darwin Matters.

I read Michael Shermer’s new book “Why Darwin Matters” over the weekend. I needed to cleanse my palate before I attempted to finish up Ann Coulter’s book Godless. It’s not an extremely long book (witness I read it Sat/Sun night). It was a very good book. I would give it an 8 of 10 on Jeremy’s arbitrary book rating scale;)

The entire book is dedicated to shedding light (from a skeptics viewpoint) on some of the mistruths of the current Intelligent Design campaigns as well as addressing some of the real problems with evolution. Overall I agree with the entire book however there is one catch.

Mr. Shermer dedicates an entire chapter to explaining how religious people can accept evolution without compromising their religion. He quotes from Pope John Paul II but that isn’t going to hold any weight with the vast majority of Christians (who aren’t Cath-a-holics). He spends a great deal of time explaining how evolution has helped to evolve our sense of morality (amity within a group and enmity between groups is an example of man being both evil and good, adultery is detrimental to the survival of the family, telling the truth builds trust in social groups). He even concludes the chapter after several pages explaining how evolution is one of the greatest forces in developing our moral sense with a summary that he believes this information will help Christians reconcile their faith with evolution. However I have to disagree. A Christian does not derive their sense of morality from evolution they get it from God. Period. Evolution doesn’t explain the duality of mankind, the Creation story and Original Sin do that.

You can’t say to a Christian, “Look evolution explains why we have a moral sense. See evolution won’t lead to atheism and the apocalypse. Let’s all grab a beer.” Evolution and religion come from 2 fundamentally different places. Religion and Christianity specifically come from faith (something that doesn’t necessarily have to come from reason or evidence). Evolution comes from science, a collection of evidence in support of theory that can be falsifiable (can be proven wrong).

I recently read an article in Wired called . It is a very good article that talks about what appears to be push back by some prominent atheists to a number of campaigns by Christian fundamentalists (banning stem cell research, prayer in school, Intelligent Design). Read the article it is very good regardless of whether you agree with Atheism or not. Anyway there are 2 camps of atheists, those actively pushing Atheism and attempting to show the harm that religion causes (Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris) and those who are kind of live and let live, keep your religion out of my science and I’ll keep my science out of your religion (Daniel Dennett). I think what Shermer is trying to do is find some common ground where you can be Christian and accept evolution as scientifically valid… and that leaves me a bit skeptical.


Filed under: Evolution, Reviews

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