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Coffee! Clergy Letter Project: Return to Sender, please

I see where Evolution Weekend, brainchild of the Clergy Letter Project, has come and gone again:

Evolution Weekend is an opportunity for serious discussion and reflection on the relationship between religion and science. One important goal is to elevate the quality of the discussion on this critical topic – to move beyond sound bites. A second critical goal is to demonstrate that religious people from many faiths and locations understand that evolution is sound science and poses no problems for their faith. Finally, as with The Clergy Letters themselves, which have now been signed by more than 13,000 members of the clergy in the United States, Evolution Weekend makes it clear that those claiming that people must choose between religion and science are creating a false dichotomy.

The thing is, it’s not religious people who usually think that. The stream of bestselling hate from the new atheist movement is a much better example, but notice that they aren’t the focus of attention.

Apart from them, there is the condescending type, of course – the one who tells me that one can be a Darwinist and a Christian too. But, most of the time, he isn’t a Christian himself, though he is definitely a Darwinist. Oh yes, there are a few Christian poster boys, who don’t matter much in a group where 78% are pure naturalists.

Who on earth do these people think they are kidding? Of course you can’t be a Darwinist and a Christian, because Darwinism is about survival of the fittest and Christianity is not. And we all know that “evolution,” as taught in school, means Darwinism. The peppered myth, and all that. The sick-making adulation of Darwin we have all been subjected to all last year makes pretty clear that Darwinism is a cultural project operating out of science classrooms – and apparently, some churches.

Have a look at the churches listed on the Evolution Weekend page, and tell me what you think.

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12 Responses to Coffee! Clergy Letter Project: Return to Sender, please

  1. While I’m not ashamed to be a Christian I do think that going around calling myself a Christian is of little value compared to someone else calling me one. There has been a few people who I’ve meet who told me they were a Christian which I was glad they told me because I would have never guess it. I figure they were undercover Christians kind of like undercover cops.

  2. Note the high percentage of Unitarian Universalist churches. Back in my atheist days I used to hang out with UUs, because most of them were agnostics or atheists like I was. The theology, if you want to call it that, is kind of “make up or believe whatever you like, as long as it isn’t traditional Christianity.”

  3. 3
    EndoplasmicMessenger

    Are You “Scientifically Illiterate!?”

    I just got wind of this blog entry which puts science in its place:

    Are You “Scientifically Illiterate!?” Someone Thinks You Are.

  4. Apart from them, there is the condescending type, of course – the one who tells me that one can be a Darwinist and a Christian too. But, most of the time, he isn’t a Christian himself, though he is definitely a Darwinist. Oh yes, there are a few Christian poster boys, who don’t matter much in a group where 78% are pure naturalists.

    It may well be that 78% of evolutionary scientists are pure naturalists. But “evolutionary scientist” is not the same as “Darwinist”. The majority of lay people in Western Europe and about 40% of Americans believe that modern evolutionary theory is true and are therefore presumably Darwinists. I doubt that 78% of these groups are pure naturalists.

  5. What always makes me suspicious is claims like, we don’t “have to choose between religion and science.”

    First, sometimes we do have to choose. Happens all the time.

    Euthanasia is scientifically easy to arrange, and statistically sound arguments can be made for its utility, yet traditional doctors took an oath against the practice, usually for religious reasons.

    In this case, it is not a “false dichotomy.” It is a choice.

    But that is a special case.

    In general, I almost never hear religious people claiming that we “have to choose between religion and science.” Atheists and agnostics, however, often do say this.

    The reality is that almost everyone is pro-science when there are demonstrated public benefits, like better cancer treatments. The problem with Darwinism is, among other things: No demonstrated benefit.

  6. I looked at the list of churches. It’s an unimpressive list. What other conclusion can one come to but that 13,000 clergy have been duped?

    I think the most notable aspect of this is that 13,000 clergy have been duped by a comparatively small number of supposed “scientific advisers” who seem to think that it is the clergy who need help, not the Darwinists.

    I emailed a Mr. Zimmerman, the one who accepts applications for such “scientific advisers” to “help” clergy on the Clergy Letter Project website.

    I brought it to his attention that one of his own had just knocked off three of her own, and that perhaps it was Darwinists who needed help, not the clergy. I even provided a suggestion for the web page title..

    “Clergy On Call For Darwinists”

    He emailed back, accusing me of being insensitive and crass. I spent some time thinking about that; well…a few seconds. I then came to the conclusion that being insensitive and crass in one email to expose the arrogance of a few Darwinists with delusions of intellectual superiority over 13,000 clergy…..was entirely worth it and would have been worth it even if it was 10 times more insensitive and crass.

    Now, if only a few of those 13,000 duped clergy will get a clue from that and reconsider their willingness to leave the thinking to the likes of Amy Bishop, we might all be able to sleep better at night, or at least go to church, or science class, with a clean conscience.

  7. Who on earth do these people think they are kidding? Of course you can’t be a Darwinist and a Christian, because Darwinism is about survival of the fittest and Christianity is not.

    Christianity is not? You must be joking.

    According to whichever version of Christianity you follow, come the Rapture or Judgment Day, will everyone be admitted to Heaven or will only the chosen few, those who have convinced God of their worthiness, qualify for a free pass to eternity?

    If the latter, then what is that but survival of the fittest or, more accurately, survival of the faithiest?

  8. True, there are religious scientists and Darwinian churchgoers. But this does not mean that faith and science are compatible, except in the trivial sense that both attitudes can be simultaneously embraced by a single human mind. (It is like saying that marriage and adultery are compatible because some married people are adulterers.) ~ Jerry Coyne

    A widespread theological view now exists saying that God started off the world, props it up and works through laws of nature, very subtly, so subtly that its action is undetectable. But that kind of God is effectively no different to my mind than atheism. To anyone who adopts this view I say, ‘Great, we’re in the same camp; now where do we get our morals if the universe just goes grinding on as it does?’ This kind of God does nothing outside of the laws of nature, gives us no immortality, no foundation for morals, or any of the things that we want from a God and from religion. ~ William Provine

  9. Along similar lines, you might be interested in a recent post of mine: Religious Knowledge and the So-Called “War” Between Science and Faith.

  10. Denyse,

    ..you can’t be a Darwinist and a Christian, because Darwinism is about survival of the fittest and Christianity is not.”

    Much the same way you can’t be a baker and a candlestick maker because baking is about using flour, yeast and sugar and stuff to make yum things to eat, and candlestick making is not, right?

    But I do take your intent, and I’m inclined to agree that fully understanding evolution doesn’t leave a lot of room for the Abrahamic myths.

    As for survival of the fittest, you do of course want your readers to understand that it’s little molecular sequences — recipes for when and how to make other molecules — that tend to survive if they’re beneficial (or not detrimental) to the building of organisms that can survive and reproduce.

    As for Christianity not being about survival, why is it so important to teach the kids all about it before they learn to multiply? And why did believing Christians, for so very many centuries, feel so obliged to take up weapons to get the word out?

  11. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris.

    Clergy Letter Project as signed by certain Christian Churches

    Pretty condescending and insulting to accuse people of being ignorant because they reject Darwinism.

    Will they say that about Richard Smalley (Nobel Prize in Physics) or John Sanford (Cornell Professor, one of the worlds top Genetic Engineers) or any number of individuals.

  12. Bevets@8,

    What you write is not correct. The modern sceintifically compatible notion of God is not the same as an atheistic outlook. Take for example the notions of abortion, euthanasia, ethnic cleansing etc- These are compatible with a God disinterested in the “equality of the soul” of man. What you are trying to do is effect a synthetic wall between science and religion by claiming there is no difference between the two. While this sounds paradoxical that is because it is. That is, there indeed is a difference between science and religion. Religion is based on belief in things we cannot know but know in our hearts be true. Perhaps you should stop trying to reduce human beings- religion and all science to arithmetic and realize that there is a totality of experience and axioms that go beyond the ability to prove formally. Hence Godel and formal incompleteness.

    Take a lesson from the great physicist as well…

    “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”

    –Albert Einstein.

    It is true that science and religion need not be at odds- but on the other hand science and religion are not the same thing. What one can give you the other cannot and vice versa. You don’t read the book of John to figure out how to build a rocket- and you don’t read a book on rockets to figure out how to achieve eternal salvation.

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