I’ll say it again.
Evolution is not a theory.
Evolution is something we know happened. We see it happen in nature even now, with creatures like cichlids in Lake Malawi, who speciate unusually rapidly. We see plenty of evidence for it in the fossil record. Anyone who spends any amount of time looking at the world around them will sense the genius in Darwin’s simple, elegant, and brilliant insight of how the world came to be as it is now.
The claim that Darwinism is in trouble is to claim there is the crisis to cover one’s own ignorance, and to use the claim of a crisis as an excuse not to study science enough to make up one’s own mind.
Nowhere in Christian theology is there a claim that deception, parlor tricks, or other silliness explains the unexplained. If the religious specialists of 33 A.D. were willing to engage in deception, chicanery, and manipulation of people’s ignorance, what makes you think our religious specialists can be trusted more?
A telling sign is that almost all reputable scientists agree that evolution occurred. They may, and often strongly do, disagree on the very specifics of the mechanics of evolution, but they all agree that it happened. That’s why, when people talk about “theory of evolution”, they’re generally misstating the case. There are varying theories about the mechanics of evolution, but pretty much anyone worth anything in science agrees that evolution itself is a fact of history.
Meanwhile, ranging from theory-less reflexive evolution deniers on one hand and all-out creationism on the other, to ID (Intelligent Design) theorists, to the rather Chardinian position of the Catholic Church, within Christianity there are a startling range of positions, from those who claim evolution is an atheist lie to those who claim that evolution shows clear evidence the brilliant mind of The Creator and Its plans for humanity.
What’s that you say? This or that group (whom you happen to disagree with) aren’t really Christians? Or aren’t sensible Christians? May I ask where you draw the line? After all, by the standards of the Thessalonians or the Corinthians or the Romans of Paul’s time, it’s far more likely than not that you’re living a lifestyle that makes it likelier for a camel to get through a needle’s eye than for you get into heaven. To imagine your standard for what makes a Christian is to engage in, yes, that’s right, sinful Pride. To arrogantly decide that one’s own theological and personal predilections actually line up perfectly with reality, and decribe the nature of the universe, in the face of a huge amount of theory to the contrary, is to engage in a shocking amount of what Christians rightly call sinful Pride. It’s really a kind of attempt to master one’s universe and that universe’s Maker, as well.
That’s why it is Prideful to deny evolution… after all, I have never met someone who actually understood Darwinism to a respectable degree who rejected it. I’ve seen it rejected as a badge of faith, but that makes little sense. It makes as much sense a rejecting the existence of squirrels as an act of faith… because, damn it, there are squirrels out there. If you live in Siberia, you may never see a squirrel, of course. But it doesn’t mean they’re not out there. To decide all people who claim to know of where squirrels can be seen are liars, without even listening to them, isn’t an act of faith. It’s just foolishness.
Nature is very slow. We’re all living in Siberia when it comes to evolution, yes, that’s true. Because we think on a very small, human scale. But if you use the intelligence you were born with, the eyes you were (according to your belief system) given for the purposes of seeing the world around you, and the imagination which was your most sacred inborn power, you will find a stunning, complex, intricate world around you, one in which you could probably see far better the reflection of the creator than the world you imagine around you with it’s drab magic tricks and parlor-trick bones in the earth.
But hey, don’t take it from a heathen like me. Here’s Kenneth Miller (a Darwinian scientist and Christian), in his book, Finding Darwin’s God.
Evolution may explain the existence of our most basic biological drives and desires but that does not tell us that it is always proper to act on them…. Those who ask from science a final argument, an ultimate proof, an unassailable position from which the issue of God may be decided will always be disappointed. As a scientist I claim no new proofs, no revolutionary data, no stunning insight into nature that can tip the balance in one direction or another. But I do claim that to a believer, even in the most traditional sense, evolutionary biology is not at all the obstacle we often believe it to be. In many respects evolution is the key to understanding our relationship with God.
Oh, and if you’re like to read the article that got me started, click this.