Keep the Faith

revolutionAn article in the Times awhile back (yes, as I previously wrote, I am a bad blogger and have been terribly derelict of late) said just two percent of scientists polled basically reject the theory of evolution. Yet almost one-third of the general public says God or some other force made humans (though not little green apples) just as they are today. That is not so surprising, given the fundamentalist Christian bent of large parts of the country. But then these same folks think there is a “lively scientific debate” about creationism versus Darwinism in explaining the appearance of Homo sapiens on Earth.

Guys, see—only two percent of scientists are on your side. The majority of folks who do science for a living, who actually, you know, know stuff about stuff, say score one for Darwin. But what are you going to do: Faith is faith and science is science, and rarely do the twain meet.

The agnostic and the believer

The agnostic and the believer

Yet, as I know from my recent research for a book on the Scopes Trial, it’s not really that simple. In the evolution/creationism schism, you do have a variety of opinions. The strict creationists, like at the Institute for Creation Research,  think scientists who argue for intelligent design are spineless wussies who won’t put their faith in the word of God out for all to see. The Center is literal — God created everything in six  Earthly days, about, oh, 6k-10k years ago, end of story. Some less-literal fundamentalists might concede it took longer, and the day wasn’t really 24 hours long. It was “God time.”

The ID folks claim they aren’t really saying God was the designer – but “some” supernatural force was – which, when you start getting into the particulars in ID textbooks, looks and sounds a lot like the biblical God. So basically, these guys are obfuscating to try to get around the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, though it hasn’t worked yet. Thank God.

Then we have the religious scientists who  say evolution explains the origin of all species, including man. It’s  just that God set the process in motion. You’ll find both fundamentalists and others less doctrinaire who take this tack. And there, of course, the strongly agnostic and atheistic people who just want all talk of God out of the equation. Some have nothing against religion per se; some take a more Marxist “opiate of the masses” view. Certainly Scopes defender Clarence Darrow was in this camp, basically blaming the fundamentalists for a lot that was wrong with the country — or at least for promoting ideas that tainted education and the quest for  truth.

(His pal H.L. Mencken was famously hostile to the “morons” such as William Jennings Bryan who argued for keeping Darwin out of the classroom. I always enjoyed reading the “bard of Baltimore,” even though he could be a tad harsh at times. But I lost a little respect for him when I came to see he was something of a proto-Nazi in many of his views, which he used Darwinism — or at least the Social Darwinism common in the US at the time — to justify.)

A weather balloon...or something else?

A weather balloon...or something else?

I’ve been thinking about faith and reason in another work-related project, on aliens and UFOs. (Whoa, didn’t see that one coming, eh?)   You have scientists who dismiss the idea of ETs entirely, some who are convinced, and others who say they can’t rule out the possibility of life on other planets, thought they’re not as sure about interstellar travel. The people of faith are the ones who say aliens have been here, and the government knows it, with  the Roswell incident as proof. And as you get into the literature, as I have, you hear tales of more retrievals of alien ships and their crew, and, of course, the “abductions.” I guess this could be a kind of religion too, this belief in ongoing alien contact, just one that never got the official imprimatur Christianity got from Constantine in 313.

If anything, it’s just the opposite of the thumbs up JC and the gang got: We have a government that definitely does not want to reveal all it knows about UFOs. Say what you want about the existence, or not, of little green men (maybe they are the little green apples!, Though, actually, they’re more grayish, I believe), US officials have really tried hard to dismiss the whole phenomenon and have never come clean about information they have gathered since Roswell.

What does all this mean? As usual, I have no clue. Where do I stand? Evolution? Yes. Science? Good, but not infallible. God? Ummm… Aliens? More likely than God? One in the same? Created by God over 6 days? All I know is, I want as much proof for all these things as we humans are capable of uncovering. But until God touches my hand, or aliens beam me up for a visit (do I want the anal probe or not?…) I doubt that will ever happen.

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~ by mburgan on July 31, 2009.

2 Responses to “Keep the Faith”

  1. Well written article, all though I disagree with your opinion of God’s existence, I can give you kudos for a well thought out post. I would caution you from making a comment like “Guys, see—only two percent of scientists are on your side.” When you are basing those numbers off of one survey. I would like to know if they talked to any scientists from AiG or ICR, wither you agree with their findings or not they are scientists with Phds.

    I would like to point out that you may want to settle on wither God exists before he touches you, as it may be too late at that point. Speaking from experience, I ignored a lot of God’s presence growing up, but when I finally opened my eyes to Him I look back and see all the things He was involved in through out my life. When I stopped putting my trust in men and start putting it in the one that created them I understood more about how the world works.

  2. Thanks for the thoughtful comment. Yes, I know the dangers of trusting one poll to verify anything; I guess I was being a bit flip, as I am wont to be. As far as opening my eyes to God–I do believe in some universal power outside of human existence, just not so sure it’s the Judeo-Christian God that too many Americans use to justify intolerance and other ills. Maybe the fault lies with the believers and not the entity believed in, I guess.

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