Pharyngula

That godly perspective

I haven’t mentioned the Clergy Letter Project or Evolution Sunday events before. They’re nice ideas—it’s an effort to get clergy to acknowledge good science, and encourage discussions about the subject on Darwin’s birthday, this Sunday—but I have to admit it’s rather orthogonal to my point of view. While I appreciate the sentiment and think it’s a positive step on the road to reason, I prefer to cut to the chase and jettison all the old religious baggage altogether.

I may have to take a more positive view towards it, though, since I ran across this weird wingnut site (well, maybe not too weird…he fits in well with a lot of Christians.) The author is greatly incensed at the temerity of these radical pastors.

Beginning with the Bible, it is simply impossible to arrive at evolution.

I have to agree with him on that. I’d counter it by noting that beginning with the world, evolution is simply inevitable and inescapable.

These 10,200 pastors arrogantly or ignorantly deviate from Christian tradition and orthodoxy by claiming their opinions trump the thousands of years of tradition and the plain reading of the Bible. The relativistic language, “forms of truth,” confirms that this is an appeal to pastors duped by the cultural influence of tolerance.

Heh. I’ve rarely seen anyone admit that they oppose tolerance, but there you go.

On the 197th anniversary of the birthday of Charles Darwin (February 12), 412 churches in 49 states will celebrate “Evolution Sunday.” Created in the imagination of University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh professor Michael Zimmerman, “Evolution Sunday” celebrates the “harmony of evolutionary science and faith”. Dismissing the Biblical accounts of creation as “beloved stories found in the Bible,” and as, “a different order than scientific truth,” Zimmerman and these churches proclaim that when science contradict the Bible, science wins.

Why, yes. Yes it does. The physical world does seem to trump religious delusions most effectively, doesn’t it?

After reading that twisted rant, I find myself viewing Zimmerman’s project much more charitably.

Comments

  1. #1 Karl
    February 8, 2006

    PZ:
    I believe that you and I (and Mike Zimmerman, though I don’t want to put words in his mouth) all agree 100% with Dawkins statement as quoted by the “wingnut”.
    HOWEVER, it is a matter of tactics.
    DI has their Wedge document. We need to have an effective counter strategy – and we don’t have one, so we must rely on short term, stop gap tactics.
    I live in Tulsa, Oklahoma – the Buckle of the Bible Belt, as they say here. In the Yellow Pages section headed CHURCHES there are something like 4 to 5 THOUSAND entries. Many of these are Bible churches. They are literalists. There is nothing that can be done with them.
    But, there are many old, established, traditional, mainstream Protestant groups that are amenable to the concept of separate magesteria (bow to SJG).
    If you think that Dover was bad and Kansas is worse, note this: In Oklahoma there are now 3 (three) bills filed in the legislature (dueling Creationism) that would require that ID be taught in science classes. We need whatever support we can get to put pressure on the legislators to defeat those bills. If that means saying that Ev and Religion deal with different things, then that is the tactic we have to use.
    Actually, it is even worse than that here. Even without a legal requirement to teach ID, many biology teachers already do that, and do NOT teach whatever Ev is presented in their textbooks. Can they be doing that without the knowledge and implicit consent of their school authorities?

  2. #2 Timothy Chase
    February 9, 2006

    CGM wrote:

    But, back on topic, I am not quite a christian anymore, but rather more theistic.

    If I had to locate myself somewhere in the space of religious belief, while sometimes refering to myself as a quasi-Spinozist, technically, I suppose it would be correct to refer to myself as a pantheist — who believes in an impersonal god which is nothing more or less than the unitary, lawful nature of existence. This has been my position since I was thirteen. But sometimes it is just easier to call myself an atheist — some religious people find this less confusing. But it is a position which some non-religious people have difficulty with as well.

    CGM wrote:

    I must say that from a theistic point of view, Father Coyne’s recent ideas do have merit if one must stay with christianity.

    From what I know of him, I am fond of Father Coyne, as well as Ken Miller and Reverend Barry Lynn (founder of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State), and I am also rather fond of Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett. A bit of an odd combo, I suppose. Then again, I am fond of both Winston Churchill and George Orwell, so what do you expect?

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