The Theory of Evolution and the Biblical account of Creation - are they compatible?

There is much debate as to whether Science and Religion are compatible and in particular can Evolution and the Biblical creation account co-exist as valid worldviews or does one negate the other.  As far as I am concerned the debate is only a bone of contention for religionists.  Science is the study of the natural world. It does not look for supernatural outcomes to its investigations. Religion has for the last 400 years has been continually discounted as a reliable tool to discover anything new. It’s explanations of the working of the natural world are being proven incorrect and Science is filling the gaps it used to dwell in.

When I am referring to the Theory of Evolution I am talking about Modern Evolution Theory and not just “Darwinism”.  Creation as used will mean the Bible story and Creationism in general.

If I posted this 400 years ago it would read “The theory of Heliocentricity and the idea that the Earth is at the middle of our Universe – are they compatible?” The religious did their utmost to thwart the advancement of scientific discovery. They did not “believe” it was true that the sun was at the center. It was “only a theory” and the scientists behind it were deemed to be heretics. Only as people became educated did they understand it. Now this once special knowledge is deemed almost to be common sense. The churches now accept the Theory of Heliocentricity as being true. That is mighty of them but irrelevant to me because like the Theory of Evolution it was never a matter of faith. It is only a matter of education. Knowledge is power. They controlled the flow of it for too long in schools and even Universities.  Information takes away more power from religion so it will do whatever it takes to keep as much of it as it can. So religions come up with alternative “theories” to counter the modern day heretics.

Even today I still get told by apologists that the Bible knew the world was round.  Many have become “Hebrew scholars” and love informing me about the meaning of the word “chug” to insist Isaiah know the world was round. He did not. He “knew” it to be flat as did everyone else at that time.

The same people will then try to argue with me that Intelligent Design is a credible scientific alternative to the Theory of Evolution and should be taught in schools. They “don’t believe in Evolution”. So they read more biblical science and come up with the idea that their god created every animal including man in his present “form”.  I will not discuss I.D. any further but if anyone else thinks it a good idea and has any merit please fire ahead. Maybe the dinosaurs died because they fell over the edge of the planet. These theists are the same as they were 400 years ago. They still maintain their book is the one and only truth necessary and deny the validity of the Theory of Evolution just as they denied the fact the sun is at the center of the galaxy.

I am not a scientist and do not claim any academic qualifications in this area.  Due to my lack of believe in any god or the veracity of written accounts I turned elsewhere for answers. I find that the Theory of Evolution is a fact because I understand it to be proven. It therefore reinforces my reasons for remaining an Atheist but in itself it did not make me an Atheist. I will reference my replies later to any questions I try to answer.

I consider it fair to say that most Theists deny the fact of Evolution because they do not know it. Those that think they do usually have only learnt it from the science section of the bible or from their local preacher. I have never met a Theist (I mean never) who could explain it to me correctly. I also consider it fair to claim that one does not need be an Atheist to see that the Theory of Evolution is a Fact.

The Theory of Evolution is the scientific study of how life of earth has evolved over time. To start with we need to get some concept of the time scale. It started about 3.5 billion years ago. You need to stop a minute and think about that. It is almost impossible to conceive of such a scale. Millions of species have lived and died out before man appeared a relatively short time ago. We are about as a modern species for the last 200,000 years. 40,000,000 years before us Mt. Everest rose up and yet 25,000,000 years before that the dinosaurs became extinct.  A few billion years further back and our early ancestors were getting ready to crawl out of the sea. Sound as fantastic as other stories? Well yes but all of this can be and has been fully proven. When all the various fields of Science, geology, chemistry, anatomy, fossil studies and especially DNA are taken together we see that all life on Earth is connected. No matter what species we look at once we go back far enough we see a common ancestor is shared amongst us all.

I am not going to further explain the Theory here other than say that the word “Theory” in this case means a body of facts and not an hypothesis that is still in need of evidence to make it acceptable. It is because Evolution is a proven fact that it is deemed to be a Theory.

I fully acknowledge that the Theory of Evolution does not explain how life on Earth began but that is not what it is about. I also accept that the Theory of Evolution does not disprove the existence of any particular deity.

However if anyone accepts that the Theory of Evolution is a fact (which it is) then we humans  are descended from other species and if we keep going back we are evolved from  simple life forms that lived in the sea. Therefore we could not have been created in human form in one day. Therefore the Christian story of creation is not true. It is a myth like those of all other religions.

Feel free to tell me where you think I am wrong and show me how the bible is right or at least compatible with Evolution. We can discuss the Theory of Evolution in greater detail and clear up any misconceptions held about it if this discussion EVOLVES.

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I come from a long line of hunter gatherers. We even have a big cat somewhere in our back yard, by the deer remains we find. We short a cave....

In a question.

It's very attractive from a fiction writer's perspective (because you can pack all this magic and science and wonder into the same little background), but then I guess that only serves to prove the point.

I really cant see how.  That said I don't think religion is compatible with a healthy view of the world in any form.

While I think that the 'scientific method', as a habit of thought, started way before we had a language, it seems doubtful that it was as well organized as present. I might even venture that 'magic' and 'herbs', as methods of organizing information from nature insights, could have been its early precursor. We really should give humans some credit for never giving up, always looking for knowledge, and finding ways for that 'knowledge' to be preserved. Sadly a lot of 'junk' also made the trip along with us...   

Couldn't agree more.  If there is a flaw in the way our minds developed to search for answers, its in the reluctance to give up the old theories when a new, more logically favourable conclusion presents its self.

Reminds me of the title of a book I needed to read once 'Hangups From Way Back'.

Sadly, I need to read the sequel, 'Modern Day Hangups from the 1950's'.......;p(

‘Purpose’ and ‘Design’ apply neither to our kind nor to the universe

Everyone in western cultures inherits a dead explanatory scheme far older than the so-called great monotheisms: nature was designed and that humanity serves some purpose within it. Neither is true.

• Darwin profoundly de-deified (secularized) western culture

Long after On the origin of species (1859) became a treasured historic text, fundies claim 154 years later that Modern Evolutionary Theory (MET) must collapse. In support they quote a fictional divinity in a mythological text.

In criticizing Darwin and Darwin’s works, they will no more refute MET than their attacking Newton or the Principia would refute classical mechanics. Darwinism and Newtonianism are among the most impressive of human artifacts based on their cultural impact alone, with far wider and more positive effects than any monotheism. But as acceptable guides to nature both theories have long been superseded.

Starting with a volume of essays, Ever Since Darwin, Steve Gould exposed the anti-intellectual xian frauds years ago. He will convince all but the obtuse.

Fundies can never forgive Darwin. He broke their iron rice bowl of intellectually respectable supernaturalism. Ever since Darwin, western religion has fallen to crackpots, brainwashed adolescents, seditious politicians, and televangelist frauds.

• 'design' and 'purpose' belong only to cultures

As long as scientists insist upon using 'machine' and 'mechanism' in explanations of nature -- they too will support a fiction of extra-cultural purpose and design. Of course physical entities express mechanical and geometrical principles abstracted by humankind’s geniuses, but there are no divine schematics or instruction manuals.

•nature is silent

All scientific explanations are human artifacts. Darwin’s master conceptual engine, natural selection, forever abolished from biological explanation the “teleological cause” of Aristotle and the "ideal forms" of Plato. Purpose and Design are dead.

As a youthful Darwin tartly remarked in recently published Notebook M (entry 128):  “Plato says . . . that our 'necessary ideas' arise from the preexistence of the soul. That [they] are not derivable from experience — read monkeys for preexistence.”

In print, Darwin deliberately forbade himself provocative language. He knew the sober text of 'Origins' to be provocation enough.

Yes, it's a grave error to speak of "purpose."  Purpose implies a conscious intent, so the other side of a conversation might think you are implicitly conceding a conscious purpose behind things, therefore god.

The idiomatic usage of English, however, has purposiveness built into everything; it's no accident not because of a religious conspiracy but because we are wired to see agency in things preferentially (the better to spot predators).  "The heart's purpose is to pump blood to the rest of the body."  If one is really careful you can train yourself to phrase statements like that as "the heart's function..." etc.

During my last few installments of evolutionary theory, there was a long conversation about teleology. This relates to the question of 'ends', in this case 'a good end'. Does evolution have a 'good' end, or is it a blind or undirected process?

Given the basic components or drivers of evolution, their is no suggestion of a 'driver' separate from or above the nature that the organism is embeded in. 'Nature' is assumed or postulated as the only context that would need to be considered. Within this context, competion for resources(predation), survival to procreation and selection of decendents conditioned upon environment. Latter genetics became a mature science adding additional details.  

If there is a 'telelogical' signal within evolution, it is consider as a best fit to the moving target of natural/environmental conditions.

If evolution is true then there never was a "first man and woman". So the story about Adam and Eve eating the apple in the Garden of Eden falls apart. And if they didn't eat the apple then there wasn't an "Original Sin". If there wasn't an original sin then we weren't all born as sinners and there wasn't any need for Jesus to die on the cross to save us.

Well, I've heard (alleged) justifications of Jesus needing to save us that don't rely on the original sin--in essence the claim is we violate god's law for whatever reason and the penalty is... well, I won't belabor it, same horseshit, different day.


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