Bizarre juxtoposition of intelligence & faith

I'm an IT geek. Right now, I work in a Network Operations Center, basically babysitting servers to make sure they behave. None of my coworkers are idiots.

I brought in my Dawkins - Greatest Show on Earth. I had not one, but TWO of my coworkers get really uncomfortable. One actually has a biology degree, but he has (and I quote) "a real problem with evolution." I didn't press, since that tends to make things awkward. As he left for the day, he said "My problem with evolution is that I believe in God." I mentioned briefly that those don't preclude each other, but mostly let it go.

The second protester wasn't quite as oddly overt, but he definitely said he doesn't believe in evolution. I understand why fundies don't... they don't understand it, they don't know anything about it, and they refuse to learn. But it totally baffles me when otherwise very intelligent, logically driven people dismiss something out of hand. Hell, when I was a theist (or as my Dad currently is), I had no problem reconciling belief in a deity with evolution. I call it "God as Rube Goldberg" (eg, he set up a complex mechanism & the laws of the universe, then set it all in motion). You don't have to dismiss something that is extensively scientifically proven just cause you want to keep your invisible friend in the sky.

I'm the newbie here (been on the job 3 months), so I really don't want to piss people off by showing them just how stupid they're being, but yikes... it bothers me.

Views: 4

Comment by sukhdeep on December 10, 2009 at 8:41am
i face the same thing at work especially from a co-worker who married a catholic guy and now believes deeply in catholic view of the world.....they don't want to understand and so i just put simple reasoning whenever they ask me any question and put them in their place.....i won't lie but it does feel satisfying in the end....lol
Comment by Scott A. Hunt on December 10, 2009 at 9:55am
Until recently, my one direct report was a JW. He knew I was an atheist. We both avoided the religion subject. As a manager, I could have gotten in lots of trouble bringing it up with him.
Comment by Dave G on December 10, 2009 at 10:28am
Of my immediate co-workers, I can only think of one who might not accept evolution. As you might expect, it's the most religious of the group. As far as the ones that I don't work with every day, I suspect that there are many more, particularly as I am in the South.
Comment by Kirk Holden on December 10, 2009 at 8:05pm
There is absolutely no correlation between intelligence and faith. Faith is based on self-deception. An intelligent individual is capable of world-class self-deception. That's why blind faith is dangerous. If only idiots and morons denied scientific evidence, scientists would rule the world and politicians would beg for grant money to study the electorate.
Comment by Reggie on December 11, 2009 at 6:08am
There is absolutely no correlation between intelligence and faith.

But I believe there is an inverse correlation between education and faith. But your point I agree with. It takes a certain amount of intelligence to rationalize mutually exclusive ideas.

@ Wendy - I don't remember the exact quote, it may have been Dawkins (and might even be in the very book you spoke of), so I am paraphrasing heavily. Almost all of those who deny evolution do not understand it along with a good amount of those who accept it.

If anyone volunteered to me that they do not believe in evolution, I would ask them what they thought evolution was. If they gave anything but an erudite answer, I would chide them for being as passionate as they were ignorant on the subject.

Luckily, I don't have to deal with this at work, because that is not a place to get into those discussions. But the funny thing is, evolution should not be any more controversial than gravity or thermodynamics. It's all really silly.
Comment by Ryan_For_Reason on December 11, 2009 at 9:02am
The intelligence / religious issue bothers me. I have observed anecdotally that the more highly educate people are the less religious they tend to be. If it is accurate that smarter people are less likely to be religious then that indicts many of my friends and family who are religious. But then I go back to childhood indoctrination (as Dawkins mentioned in The God Delusion and I'm sure other authors do as well). Childhood indoctrination is a powerful thing. That's how I provide an "out" for my religious friends and family without indicting their intelligence. I say to myself "it's really not their fault, they grew up with this b.s." I actually told a friend I grew up with who knows I'm an atheist (and he never misses an opportunity to say something disparaging about it) that "you never had a chance. Your mother forced all that crap on you."
Comment by Reggie on December 11, 2009 at 1:01pm
Good point, Ryan. Indoctrination has a lot to do with it as does our ability to compartmentalize ideas and beliefs. I know many educated and intelligent theists that simply do not apply their beliefs to the same scrutiny that they would to other areas of their life.
Comment by Wendy on December 11, 2009 at 6:29pm
Reggie - i think that is exactly what bothers me. But, apparently we're just "weird" for not realizing that faith, eternity, and worship time (and $$!) are the only things that we're not supposed to critically analyze.
Comment by Reggie on December 11, 2009 at 6:50pm
Wendy, it is almost as if we are living in Bizarro World, sometimes.

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