This was written by my friend and lawyer Mark Sondreal. Mark also wrote a piece that I posted here a while back called Abortion and the Right to Privacy.
I was recently engaged in a discussion with a man when the topic turned to evolution. He stated that he was a Christian and therefore did not believe in evolution. I attempted to explain my belief that Christian beliefs and evolution are easily reconcilable. He indicated his belief that the story of creation as set forth in the bible was the literal truth and that anyone who didnâ€™t believe in the word of God could not be a Christian. As I didnâ€™t want to be dispatched with the jawbone of an ass, I left the conversation at that.
I believe that the man I was speaking with could be accurately described as a “Fundamentalist Christian”.
Hereâ€™s my message to all you religious fundamentalists (Christian or otherwise) out there regarding science and religion. Religions should not attempt to alter scientific theory to fit belief systems. My position is supported by the absolute folly of past attempts to stymie science by religious organizations. For example, back in the day, the church threatened Copernicus for theorizing that earth orbited the sun because such a theory was at odds with the position of the church. Copernicusâ€™s works were not published until after his death in 1543 because he was afraid of being tried for heresy. The church officially forbade publication of Copernicusâ€™s work until 1822. Can you say stupid?
Scientific methodology is designed to accurately describe our physical world. The fact that a particular scientific theory does not fit perfectly within a belief system does not make the theory wrong, it simply requires adherents to that belief system to exercise a bit of mental flexibility. For example, just because the bible says that the world was created in seven days does not disprove evolution. Maybe the creation story in the bible is not meant to be taken literally, or maybe the passage of seven days took a lot longer fifteen billion years ago.
Hereâ€™s the logic. If you believe in a “just God”, you must believe that God wants us to know the truth about our world because falsity is at odds with justice. The truth about our physical world is revealed through scientific study. It follows that a â€œjust Godâ€ would want us to engage in critical thought processes inherent in the scientific method. Therefore, it is the duty of Godâ€™s followers to pursue reason. Fundamentalism belies reason and is therefore counter to Godâ€™s will.
I would submit that people who canâ€™t reconcile scientific fact with their religious beliefs are either intellectually lazy or irrational. Unfortunately, I have yet to meet a fundamentalist who is capable of rational thought when their belief system is threatened.
p.s. I apologize for the self-righteous tone of this piece. Itâ€™s just that â€¦â€¦â€¦. Iâ€™m right.