Tuesday, May 20, 2008

One Big Reason Why People Resist Evolution

Today in class we talked about the issues of "scientific hate" against creationists and its polar opposite, "anti-science hate" against evolutionists. I keep coming back myself to the deliberate polarization of the issue into, either God or evolution, as if they were two masters. Preachers on both sides of the issue say the two are mutually exclusive (in saying this, I classify Dawkins and co. as secular preachers on the evolution side of the issue). I just find the depth of resistance to science among the evangelical church startling, and we talked a little about why.

Then I read two articles that led me to find one big reason why evangelicals resist evolution: sex.

The first was an article by Tom Wolfe, over 10 years old now, titled "Sorry, But Your Soul Just Died..." It's about how advances in neuroscience reinforce the mechanical view of man, that there is no free will, and the solution to problems is to medicate. Wolfe isn't too happy with that, he quotes Nietzsche a lot, and his essay has a strange apocalyptic ending. It is entertaining, at least. Wolfe makes some 2006 predictions and, well, we aren't there yet, but there persists a definite cultural undercurrent that free will is an illusion and we are just machines. For Exhibit A, see article B.

This second article is from the New York Magazine titled "What Makes Married Men Want to Have Affairs?" The three-letter answer (starts with an S and ends with an in) wasn't enough so they turn to evolutionary psychology and discuss findings about how men, even when married, are genetically programmed to stray. This is the article Tom Wolfe was warning would happen 12 years ago. This one has everything: the Eliot Spitzer scandal, the "everyone does it" conspiratorial tone, the part about how advanced the Europeans are compared to us, the men vs. women conflict, and overall a depressing air of inevitability.

This is what Christians rebel against, the mechanism of it all. Since evolution is a mechanism, doesn't that mean we are just mechanisms? Only animals? That's a destructive and easy interpretation that many fall into, whether they swallow it whole or fight against it with all-too-blind faith. So Christians are against evolution because they believe it's possible to abstain from urges, that it's possible to choose to not be an animal. I've got to agree with them on that.

One huge blind spot in the New York article is the question of God. One of the main conclusions of the article is that we have a romantic myth that one person can be enough, and no one person can be enough. So after all that ink the article comes to the same conclusion where many churches start their talks about dating and marriage: no one person is enough. The disagreement comes next: the New York article says, since no one person is enough, you've got to allow men to transgress in some way with a few other people. It's only fair to the poor hardwired brutes. But the church says, since no one person is enough, the marriage has to include a relationship with God as well. No one person is enough, but God is. So the "God-shaped hole" shows up again, reading between the lines, even in The New York Magazine.

So my own creed follows these lines: I see evolution as a demonstration of the closeness of God, and I see in Jesus an example of a life lived without sex, but fully. I see no need to twist science and discount evolution in order to justify my vow to remain faithful to my wife -- both that understanding of creation and that understanding of my promise are integral to my self. And I object when someone else twists science and uses evolution to claim that no one can be monogamous. We're not that kind of animal -- we have the image of God, however defaced it may be.

Here are links to the two articles I'm talking about, although read the second one at your own risk:




C. David Parsons said...


"In 1916, one thousand scientists were polled as to their belief in a deity (i.e., God). Of the ones responding, 60 percent had no religious belief. A follow-up study 80 years later revealed that the percentage of atheists, someone who does not believe in or denies the existence of God, among scientists remains shockingly high: 78 percent of physicists, 58 percent of biologists, and 55 percent of mathematicians are atheists. Sixty percent of those polled by the University of Georgia historian Edward Larson snubbed Judaism, Islam, and Christianity by equating "belief in a deity and an afterlife with superstition based on fear and wishful thinking." Nature, 4-09-1997

Even more disturbing, only 10 percent of those polled "expressed an intense desire for immortality" (that is, going to heaven), thus, signifying that on the average only 10 percent of physicists, biologists, and mathematicians are under covenant. The great majority (90 percent) have little or no regard for God but, rather, oppose Him, promoting the error that the earth and all that is in existence happened by chance. The mystical tenet governs every aspect of academic science. To the point, obstructionists: scientists, biologists, mathematicians, and the NEA, teach the innocents within the classroom that there is no God. The appalling statistics serve to add insight into the obstructionist stalwart confronted by the investigation on every hand." -- Text taken from The Quest for Right, a new 7-book series on origins based on physical science, the old science of cause and effect.

Patrick said...

Perhaps the tension between 'evolutionary pressures' and Christian morals could be resolved by thinking in terms of mission.

I would make the statement that in God's kingdom, evolution will not exist, or least will not be driven by survival. As it stands right now, evolution is death-driven. By this I mean that previous generations must pass away in order for successive generations to take primacy.

But in the kingdom of God, we are told there will be no death (Rev. 21), and that God will be all in all (1 Cor. 15:28). So I think this suggests that evolutionary processes as we know them will not take place.

Also, the kingdom (in my understanding) will consist of whole, reconciled relationships with God with people, and with all of creation. Commitment, trust, love, and faithfulness all seem to be part of full healthy relationships to me.

So if we as Christians believe that God's kingdom is coming, that means that we should act in such a way to reveal this kingdom to the world. Our entire Christian mission on earth can be seen in this light.

As the people of God, we are called to model these 'right' relationships and strive towards them. Monogamous marriage is a perfect way of doing this! When we are able to be committed and faithful to someone, we reveal part of the kingdom of God to the world. As Richard said to me once, it's a 'snapshot' of what is coming. It's not the full thing. Jesus teaches that marriage isn't necessarily the perfect model of relationships in the kingdom. But on this earth, its a pretty good approximation (in theory, at least . . .).

So evolution attempts to explain the tendency of men towards infidelity . . . that doesn't mean we follow it! As people of God, and people in general, we see a better model of relationships in marriage. And we can choose to follow that model in order to reveal Christ, and reveal the kingdom of God to the world. In fact, it may even be our mission.

I'm not saying that everyone has to get married to do so, but I'm saying that all relationships need to be committed and faithful.

And yes, I have been up all night working on my HP.