Friday, April 25, 2008

If natural selection was God's tool, what does that imply?

Noah Millman makes an interesting point (h/t Ross Douthat):
science does have implications for the persuasiveness of specific religious doctrines, simply as a psychological matter. And I think evolution through natural selection is extremely uncongenial to the central Christian story about the nature of sin and evil in the world. Why? Because the Christian story has the entry of strife into the world come about as the result of human sin, whereas the core idea behind evolution by natural selection is that our existence – and the consciousness and ability to sin that comes with it – is a product of strife. Put bluntly: natural selection is not the mechanism that the Christian deity would use to create man in His image. Or, if it is, I’d like to see the explanation. I think that natural selection poses similar but less-acute problems for Judaism and Islam; it poses the fewest problems, I suspect, for Hinduism. Again: I’m not speaking of science refuting religion. I’m speaking of scientific results making certain core religious claims less persuasive.
Perhaps needless to say, there's more where this came from.

2 comments:

JB Powers said...

Ed Oakes, SJ at USML-Mundelein has written extensively on this subject.

http://www.zenit.org/article-13684?l=english

is sort of a starter. He has a lot more.

JBP

Jeffrey said...

This is also a great article arguing that evolution and Christianity are compatible:

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/The+origin+of+species,+and+Everything+Else:+coping+with+evolution+and...-a0169089512

Jim Manzi has become one of my favorite writers over at National Review and not surprisingly, he also blogs at "The American Scene".