Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Creationism v Evolution

The one thing that has really and truly been going around in my mind the past few days is the question of creation v evolution. Did we evolve or were we created. In this case were we created by God? 

The reason this started bouncing around my head was due to a thread on a forum I am on and an article that was posted about students in Queensland, Australia being taught as fact by people who are not in fact teachers but rather volunteers that dinosaurs and humans roamed the earth together and that the cold hard palaeontological data and archaeological data we have to prove that this isn't the case is wrong because the great flood skewed it...

Here is the article for anyone curious to read it.

Now I find this rather appalling. I have no problem with students being taught about religion if they go to a state school. I believe that if they are it should be optional. I believe if a parent wants the child taught the beliefs of a certain faith in these sessions that they be given the option to learn about a single faith if they wish but again that should not be compulsory. 

I do believe that, if possible, all students- whether Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Buddhist, Sikh or any of the other multitude of religious beliefs  should learn something about the other religions around them no matter their school situation state or private. Not to try and convert them; but to help them understand the beliefs of their fellow man or woman because too often hatred and persecution is bred in misunderstanding and too often that misunderstanding is founded in religious difference.

I myself am a believer in evolution. I am also catholic(I went to Catholic schools for 13 years and did all the religion classes as required and studied the bible so i have learnt creation though I don't believe it). For some that may seem to be contradictory but to me I don't see it as such. To me evolution does not nullify my belief in God. I may not believe everything that is written in the bible. I may not believe in Genesis but I do believe that a higher power exists to guide my actions. In my interpretation he, she or it didn't create the world in seven days and I don't believe we are all descended from Adam and Eve but I don't believe that it is necessary to believe these things to believe in God.

Now I have no hard proof in God nor do i have intangible evidence beyond what I know as basic biology and fossil evidence for the fact that dinosaurs roamed the earth before humans. And apes and humans share too many genetic similarities for there to not have been a common ancestor at some point. If we can prove that land animals evolved from amphibious animals and aquatic life then why can we not believe in evolution of humans. We are after all though highly evolved, simply animals.

Back to the forum which sparked these thoughts off for a moment though. Now on this forum there are a large amount of Christian people. Some are very out there and loud and proud with their faith and others are more reserved. There are also the requisite atheists, agnostics, and others with their various faiths. The thread that was started has sparked a furious, although civil debate on creation v evolution. 

The first responses were pretty much a case of I believe evolution isn't real. I can't prove it but I believe in the bible so evolution has to be false. As I got further into the topic it very much became a case of those with their first religious beliefs saying evolution hasn't been proved absolutely it's just a theory therefore it must be wrong. This has then been refuted those who believed in evolution saying that just because something is just a scientific theory doesn't mean it isn't true- we have the theory of gravity and no one disputes that. We have DNA evidence. We have fossil records. These prove evolution as fact.

And as I read on through the thread and the posts are getting longer and more articulate I begin to wonder more and more. What makes people believe as they do? What makes them defend creation as true or evolution as true? Are they afraid to be wrong? I find that to me it's all to often those who have the strongest faith who seem incredibly naive. Or maybe not naive but blind to the world around them. They seem happy to be lost in beliefs founded 2000+ years ago and ignore what science puts before them without question. 

I'm not saying that religion is without merit. It gives people a purpose. It gives people values and morals to believe in. But I believe that we need to be more open. Religion needs to be able to update it's beliefs. If you are saying we can't prove evolution because we weren't there then how can you prove the bible as true and as an absolute historical document when you weren't there when it was written? When in fact most of it was written at the very least hundreds of years after the events which it records, by people who weren't there?

So what are your thoughts on this? What do you believe in? Why do you believe what you do? What do you think should be taught in schools? Should evolution and creation be taught side by side or not at all?

- Random Logic =)


  1. yeah, so I just finished working an 11 hour shift from 9pm till 8am. But I promised that I would comment when I was done, so here it is. Hope you're happy with my lack of effort. Maybe if you blog on something that I'm not already in a debate about I'll throw down some thoughts... :-p

  2. p.s. this is brandon :)

  3. Hey Nat! As I said this morning when we talked, I am a firm Christian and yet I also don't think evolution is completely wrong. I think the issue should be decided on scientific evidence. I am not in the minority here at all--there are many strong Christian scientists who agree with me. There are two views in particular that I want to just throw out. One is called theistic evolution, which states that God chose a homo erectus/homo sapiens and made them into a human being, who was Adam. At this point, a whole new species was essentially created, and that is what we are today. The fossil record and all the scientific data discovered still is valid. A major scientist in this line of thinking is Francis Collins, the former director of the Human Genome Project. The other idea is called progressive creationism. They believe the Earth is still millions of years old, but that every time a new species comes up in the fossil record, that was God intervening and creating new creatures. I personally lean more towards the former, but I see the merit and possibility of both.

    So yeah, there is a big controversy right now, but most of it is due to the media, in my mind. To many Christians, there is not a doubt that God didn't use evolution to create the world. :-)