Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Looking further at the intersection of faith and science

It's interesting to see an interactive graph of the religions who do and do not state openly if evolution or the big bang is in conflict with their religion.

Here's the graph:

And here's the survey itself:

The major denominations that state there's a conflict:
- Southern Baptist Convention
- Lutheran Church Missouri and Wisconsin Synod
- Presbyterian Church of America
- Free Methodist
- 7th Day Adventist
- Jehovah's Witnesses
The rest either pretty much openly state that there's no conflict, or have no official position posted. This surprises me. I must be missing some aspects of modern theology that allows for this coexistence. Of course, the same goes for most people. While 46% of Americans believe in a literal understanding of Genesis and a <10,000 year old Earth, only 11% of Americans belong to a denomination which openly states evolution and an old Earth are in conflict with their faith.

Monday, 25 May 2015

I don't know how Christians are able to reconcile evolution with God...

I didn't very spend much longer as a Christian after I accepted evolution. I couldn't reconcile a benevolent god using possibly one of the cruelest methods imaginable to "mold" the thinking, feeling, life forms we see today. It relies on suffering to progress. I remember the moment it hit me. I was watching a David Attenborough documentary where he explained a basic observation Darwin made that caught him on to evolution. Animals, from the fish in the sea, to the rabbits on land, to the birds in the sky, must produce many offspring. Two parent birds must produce many more offspring than just two in order to keep their numbers stable because most of their children will never make it to reproduction themselves. Most will die from the harsh competition in the environment. Not only must the siblings survive external predators, and internal diseases until then, but they must also compete against each other for food, for mates, for homes, etc., and the number of offspring needed to keep numbers stable increases exponentially the lower you are in the food chain. Just look at how many eggs that frogs, fish, and insects must produce to hold extinction at bay. How many untold numbers of their offspring must be sacrificed to keep alive the many tiers of predators above them.

How malicious is a being who creates a planet of living things who must survive by ripping other living things out of the ground, snatching them out of the sky, or hunting them and ripping the living flesh from their bones? With so many forms of energy available what kind of mind creates a planet full of things which rely on metabolic energy? I can accept the existence of the food chain in a non-theistic evolution worldview, but if the claim put forward is that this was planned, thought out, or designed, then that designer is a sinister being who is watching every one of its children rip apart one another to survive. That god is not for me.

I'll end with a Hitchens quote:

"Let's say that the consensus is that our species, being the higher primates, Homo Sapiens, has been on the planet for at least 100,000 years, maybe more. Francis Collins says maybe 100,000. Richard Dawkins thinks maybe a quarter-of-a-million. I'll take 100,000. In order to be a Christian, you have to believe that for 98,000 years, our species suffered and died, most of its children dying in childbirth, most other people having a life expectancy of about 25 years, dying of their teeth, famine, struggle, bitterness, war, suffering, misery, all of that for 98,000 years.
Heaven watches this with complete indifference. And then 2000 years ago, thinks 'That's enough of that. It's time to intervene', and the best way to do this would be by condemning someone to a human sacrifice somewhere in the less literate parts of the Middle East. Don't lets appeal to the Chinese, for example, where people can read and study evidence and have a civilization. Let's go to the desert and have another revelation there. This is nonsense. It can't be believed by a thinking person."