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Angles on Evolution – #1

Poll: Majority Reject Evolution — that’s the headline on CBS.com.

Most Americans do not accept the theory of evolution. Instead, 51 percent of Americans say God created humans in their present form, and another three in 10 say that while humans evolved, God guided the process. Just 15 percent say humans evolved, and that God was not involved.

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And there’s oodles of statistical info along the way. For instance, according to the survey, Americans most likely to believe in evolution are liberals (36 percent), non-religious (25 percent), and those with a college degree or higher (24 percent). Hmm. Much could be inferred about how a person’s political / philosophical views predispose them toward belief in evolution. Maybe it’s no coincidence that, in our last presidential election, 47 percent of John Kerry voters believed in Divine creation, as opposed to 67 Darape.jpgpercent of Bush voters. (Of course, some would suggest this proves conservatives are more narrow and uneducated.)

But another statistic stands out to me:

Still, most Americans think it is possible to believe in both God and evolution. Sixty-seven percent say this is possible, while 29 percent disagree. Most demographic groups say it is possible to believe in both God and evolution, but just over half of white evangelical Christians say it is not possible (emphasis mine).

The statistics above evoke fear from both creationists AND evolutionists. Why? The (educated) folk who believe in evolution are deeply troubled by our vast, ignorant disregard for “scientific fact.” They see little hope for an America that believes so pig-headedly in God. On the other hand, the (uneducated) God-fearing creationist is bothered empire_earth_2_neanderthal.jpgby any inclusion of evolutionary theory in the theistic mix. For him, it’s an either/or proposition — you either believe in God or evolution. Everything else is compromise. So both camps have a bit of burr in their saddle.

Is it possible to believe in God and evolution? According to the CBS report, “just over half of white evangelicals say it is not possible.” Even though I am part of said white evangelicals, I am not nearly as convinced as my creationist counterparts. For not only do I think the evangelical war against evolution may be misguided, I believe the Bible may allow for some form of evolution.

Continued. . .

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{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Gina Holmes December 5, 2006, 6:01 PM

    Interesting. I don’t see how anyone who is intelligent can not see the divinity in creation. My favorite argument was: Would you believe me if I told you this can of soda evolved from metals in the earth? Of course not, that’s silly and yet we have a simple banana. It has vitamins and minerals, fiber and calories we need. It’s just the right size for our hands and peels so we can get to the meat of it. Why is that easier to believe it just evolved from nothing?

    Frank Peretti’s Monster addressed this issue and handled it well.

  • Shirley Buxton December 5, 2006, 7:00 PM

    Great site, that I only today found.

    Thank you for your work on it.

    Joy!

    Shirley Buxton
    http://www.writenow.wordpress.com

  • janet December 5, 2006, 7:06 PM

    I’m with Gina! And I’m tired of being viewed as an idiot for believing something that is so logical! What really bugs me is the school system selling evolution as PROVEN FACT to our kids, and making them feel like belief in a Creator is silly. Ugh. We teach Creation at the Rubin home school. I suspect I know what your following posts will explore and that’s cool. personally, I think when Genesis said “one day” it meant one day. Perhaps God did use some evolution in there. I’m thinking that (although it’s fun to speculate about) it just doesn’t matter. We weren’t there to see how He did it and can’t know for sure, but I’m guessing He left it that way because we don’t really need to know. We just need to know that He is the Creator.

    Hee hee. My 7-year-old just walked by when I was reading this, pointed at the half-man/half-monkey and said, “That’s a really weird picture.”

  • Mike Duran December 5, 2006, 7:24 PM

    So you think you know where I’m going with this, huh Janet? You said: “Perhaps God did use some evolution in there. I’m thinking that (although it’s fun to speculate about) it just doesn’t matter.” If that’s the case, and “God did use some evolution in there,” then why do Christians fight so vehemently against evolution?

  • janet December 5, 2006, 10:00 PM

    Umm… well, personally, I don’t buy it. I think just spoke, and BAM, here we were. But as to why people get so upset at the suggestion? Fear?

  • Jeanne Damoff December 6, 2006, 2:50 AM

    The first thing you need to do here is define your terms. “Evolution” is a fact. Micro-evolution, that is. Macro-evolution is unproven and unprovable.

    I’m trying to decide if I should alert George to your post. If I do, you may end up with more discussion than you’re bargaining for. He’s been studying this topic for years and has read stacks of books on both sides of the issue. Shall I send him over, Sir Mike?

    As for me and my house, we are literal six-day creationists. I look forward to discovering where you take this.

  • Mike Duran December 6, 2006, 3:48 AM

    Jeanne, you’re right about defining terms… which is why I didn’t in the first part. (It’s a ploy to get ’em comin’ back.) However, the ambiguity of the term does not just involve micro vs. macro-evolution. The distinctions among the religious community, as noted in my post, also has to do with those who 1.) Believe God created WITHOUT an evolutionary mechanism and those who 2.) Believe God created WITH an evolutionary mechanism. This is the divide I am most interested in exploring.

    I’ve read enough of the “old earth / young earth” stuff to be undecided. I don’t believe either position is required by Scripture (even though I can hear the young-earthers snorting about literalism). I probably lean towards an old earth, but wouldn’t die on that battlefield.

    I’d love to have George join the conversation! However, the more technical the discussion becomes, the more my eyes will glaze over and my readers shall surf to less challenging fare. Actually, the dynamic of very ordinary lay people grappling with scientific minutae, is what makes this issue so interesting to me and is something I’d love to doodle about sometime. You know, how to grapple with the missing link without going ape…

    Blessings, Jeanne!

  • Jeanne Damoff December 6, 2006, 3:56 PM

    I still haven’t told him about it. He’s actually making headway on his dissertation, and I don’t want to distract him. But if he comes over, you don’t have to worry about things getting too technical. George has a gift for plain speaking. And he doesn’t snort. 😉

    I’ll be interested in how you break this down and what exactly you mean by “an evolutionary mechanism.” Organisms obviously evolve (e.g., mutations triggered by changing environmental conditions.) But there’s no scientific (experiential) evidence of one species becoming another species, which would be necessary for man to have evolved from lower animals. And that’s the issue most at stake, no?

    Looking forward to your further input. And blessings back at ya! 🙂

  • Gina Holmes December 6, 2006, 10:21 PM

    I’m interested to see where you go with this too. I’m not up for a technical debate. I believe in creation but I also believe that God may have created an evolutionary mechanism as well. I don’t see the two being exclusive. I don’t however believe that my ancesters were tadpoles. But maybe once we had flatter heads or due to the change in atmosphere birds have fewer feathers, that type of thing. Adaptation would be a divine addition to our dna.

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