I’m one of the moderators for today and just wanted to get the discussion going with a few questions. Do you think evolution and religion are opposing ideas? Or can the two exist in dialogue with each other? Another question I had, dealing with the discussion we had at the end of class on Tuesday, was whether you think accepting evolution is also a form of faith?
I personally do not believe in any form of creationism, but that does not mean that religion and evolution cannot coexist. For example, even though almost all scientists accept evolution to be true, many of them still believe in God. Even when strong proponents of evolution point to Darwin’s The Origin of Species, they often neglect to note that Darwin never mentioned the role of God. On the other end of the spectrum, many Christians do not necessarily reject the theory of evolution. This is where the theory of intelligent design comes into play. Proponents of intelligent design agree that evolution is true, but maintain that God set forth this process. Therefore, it seems that there can always be a relationship between evolution and religion. However, this is wholly dependent on the people involved. Some people are willing to objectively give both sides a chance, while others just cling to what they have been told and tentatively reject the other notion.
Of course there are conservatives on both sides. For instance, some people reject the theory of evolution because it contradicts the literal interpretation of the Bible’s text regarding the origin of the universe: that God created heaven, Earth, and all species in six days. On the other hand, conservative scientists may argue that religion should play no role in science. One point from earlier in the semester that I like is the discussion of the different realms religion and science are in. It seems that science serves to answer the “how” questions, while religion answers the “why” questions.
I personally think that evolution and religion can coexist as long as people are willing to give both sides a fair chance. To answer my second question, I would say that accepting the theory of evolution is not a matter of faith in terms of the religious way of thinking of it. Of course, accepting the scientific studies and experiments dealing with natural selection and evolution requires some sense of trust, but I think that the word faith does not really apply to this discussion.