Why are American Protestants so goshdarn ignorant about evolution?
, a law student in Brazil (see previous discussion with him here
About the entry, “Reductionism on the ropes,” this subject in particular is one of those that intrigues me the most, concerning the U.S. No other Western country has the problems the American people do with the theory of evolution. Specially the Catholic countries. Why such hatred, when the theory of evolution is in no way incompatible to what is written in the Genesis, as the Catholic Church already established (see the Catechism, numbers 159 and 284)?
That’s what a lack of an universal, multi-national Church can do to the religious imagination of a people. In matters concerning religion, any Catholic, Anglican or even Orthodox cannot help but feel mesmerized by the displays of ignorance continuously manifested by Protestants in general nowadays.
Creation and evolution belong to two different realms and are NOT mutually exclusive. They can both be true. There is no advantage in sustaining hopes that one day the evolution theory will be considered a pseudo-science or proved completely bogus; for if that happens, it won’t, in any way, make the faith stronger, or the people religious again. It may bolster some ignorant preacher’s claims, though, and their erroneous interpretation of the Genesis—which, by itself, is actually much more harmful to the faith.
At this moment, I believe that the false prophets are the biggest problem, and not the scientists (and not even scientism). Not few of these are pious and decent people. But the false prophets are the ones will fill the people’s ears with lies and vain hopes, and ultimately send them to their doom. Like by saying that Darwin is the devil himself, and that genetics is Satan’s work.
That would be all.
I speak to you respectfully, but frankly. You live inside an orthodoxy and are not aware of the problems with it. Whether are not you agree with the critics of the orthodoxy, you have no excuse not to know about and understand their arguments. The surest thing that shows a person to be ignorant, is when he claims that all the world knows that something is true and that anyone who disagrees with that view is self-evidently ignorant. Like the New York Times editorial page which dismisses all non-liberal positions as nothing but fear, lies, reaction, hatred, cynicism, and which simply has no concept that there are reasonable, good-faith positions that challenge liberalism, you dismiss all views other than the orthodox Darwinian view as simple ignorance without a shred of basis. I have to inform you that you are showing yourself to be the ignorant one.
You could start by actually reading my articles challenging the Darwinian orthodoxy, and in particular my criticisms of the position that belief in God is compatible with Darwinism. Once again, you may not be persuaded by my view and that of others who have said the same thing. But you have no excuse not to be familiar with that view. You have no excuse not to know that there are reasonable arguments explaining why God and Darwinian evolution are mutually incompatible.
The collection is linked in the side bar on the main page.
I will read your articles carefully. However, I don’t think it matters concerning what I said, for I have mentioned only that the Church and Catholic catechism do not condemn the theory of evolution. Which means that the most carefully composed theological teachings in the world do not contradict the Darwin’s theory.
I’m sorry that I gave beforehand the impression that I hold myself to be always right, and the rest of the world, when it disagrees with me, wrong. I was just questioning your position by reminding you of the Church’s position (which, by the way, I hope you have directly addressed in your articles). Something that you could concede to me, though, is that believing in the theory of evolution does not make someone automatically a liberal, an atheist, an irreligious person, or something else of the same kind.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 22, 2010 11:35 PM | Send
“I don’t think it matters concerning what I said, for I have mentioned only that the Church and Catholic catechism do not condemn the theory of evolution. Which means that the most carefully composed theological teachings in the world do not contradict the Darwin’s theory.”
This is incorrect. The confusion comes from the endemic failure of people to distinguish between evolution per se and the Darwinian explanation of evolution by random mutation and natural selection. The Church has said that evolution is compatible with religion. But more recent statements by the Church have clarified that this does not mean Darwinian evolution by random mutation and natural selection. I don’t have citations to give you at the moment.
“I’m sorry that I gave beforehand the impression that I hold myself to be always right, and the rest of the world, when it disagrees with me, wrong.”
I did not mean that as a personal statement about you and your attitudes. I meant it as a type of argument that you were using.
“I was just questioning your position by reminding you of the Church’s position (which, by the way, I hope you have directly addressed in your articles).”
I do. But I couldn’t put my hand on it immediately.
“Something that you could concede to me, though, is that believing in the theory of evolution does not make someone automatically a liberal, an atheist, an irreligious person, or something else of the same kind.”
I did not mean that at all that believing in the theory of evolution makes someone automatically a liberal. I was making an analogy between the liberal orthodoxy which automatically treats all non-liberal views as irrational, and the Darwinian orthodoxy (whether religious or atheist) which automatically treats all non-Darwinian views as irrational.
I am very much aware that many believing people particularly Catholics believe in Darwinian evolution and strongly assert that Darwinism and Christianity are compatible. I have dealt with that at length. I think they are wrong. Their argument hinges on the notion that evolution by random genetic accidents which are then naturally selected is compatible with evolution guided by a divine intelligence. This, I have argued over and over again, is a rank absurdity. However, as I’ve admitted in the below linked article, “Michael Hart on evolution,” there are many people that I have been unable to persuade of this, or even get them to understand my argument. They are set on believing that Darwinism AND religion are both true. It’s a dogma, and they just keep repeating it, ignoring the problems with it.
Again, it’s one thing to disagree with a position. It’s another thing not even to grasp the position that one is disagreeing with, but just keep repeating one’s own position as though the criticism of it didn’t exist. And this is what I have run into with the people who blandly keep insisting that of course, since God can do anything, he can create a universe in which evolution occurs by random mutations and in which evolution is also guided by God.
Here are my blog articles on that theme. But, as I say in the “Michael Hart on evolution” discussion, I have said all I have to say on this issue. People are either persuaded by my argument, or they are not. And, again, I am far from the only person to make that argument. There are numerous scientific opponents of religion, and various religious opponents of Darwinism, who make the same argument.
Randomness and purpose, Darwinism and God, are mutually incompatible
New Poll [A discussion in 2003 on Darwinism and whether randomness is compatible with God. Note: the initial entry is on a Holocaust poll, but the comments below that are on Darwin.]
Why do people reject Darwin? [Includes full discussion on why God and random Darwinian evolution are incompatible.]
The never-ending Darwinian two-step [in reply to commenter I give concise refutation of theistic Darwinism and idea that evolution can be both random and directed by God.]
Liberal says liberals must reconcile with racial IQ differences, just as Christians reconciled with Darwinism [Containing another attempt by a reader to say that God could produce random results etc.]
Michael Hart on evolution [Hart’s article that he wrote for VFR laying out the reasons why Darwinism is doubtful, and why he hopes and believes it may still be proved by future evidence. His article is followed by a discussion on the question whether evolution can be directed by God and be random. In this thread I realized to my despair that the Theistic Darwinians would never be persuaded that their position is inherently contradictory. This is probably the longest discussion we’ve had on that issue.]