Monday, May 29, 2006

War of the World(view)s

This post, and especially it's title, may elicit sighs and rolling eyes from some of my friends, but I think the point is important: most conflicts come down to opposing worldviews. Iraq and the War on Terror are quintessential examples of this. The battle over evolution and intelligent design is another.

The EVO-ID conflict isn't merely about worldviews -- politics, ego, and ignorance occupy prominent seats at the table. However, for some of us, it is our very understanding of reality that is at stake.

Stephen Jay Gould, the brilliant and winsome Harvard paleontologist, saw this as well. In his Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes, he wrote:

creationism is a mere stalking horse or subsidiary issue in a political program that would ban abortion, erase the political and social gains of women
by reducing the vital concept of family to an outmoded paternalism, and
reinstitute all the jingoism and distrust of learning that prepares a nation for demagoguery.

Now, I think Gould is wrong in his characterization of creationism, but I think he is right in saying that the issue isn't simply evolution. Both sides recognize that more is at stake, and they are correct.

Now, I'm all for good science. I'm not afraid of good science. If good science says that common descent appears true, so be it. For me the real question is, what caused those changes? I find it incredulous that the innumerable modifications needed for evolution could have happened by chance. That is faith. Also, if it was strictly by chance, then we must also say that human beings might never have come to exist. Does that idea square with the Christian worldview? I just can't see how.

Mankind, contrary to many Darwinian thinkers, is not an accident, nor are we simply another species. We are God's crowning glory of creation. We occupy a privileged position in the universe, and we bear the very Imago Dei. This is all very difficult, if not impossible, to harmonize with a naturalistic story of evolution.


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