Dawkins, Darwin and a Book Group
My sister’s book group recently read the ‘God Delusion’ by Richard Dawkins. The group is a mix of Christians and non Christians and it sparked some lively discussion and led to a number of interesting conversations over the following weeks. While some of the women believed that the biological process of evolution by natural selection was the best way to explain how life come into existence, there was a general disquiet surrounding Dawkins arguments that evolution is a ‘godless process’ and the universe is nothing more than ‘blind forces and physical replication with no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.’ Most of the group found it hard to accept that our lives might be nothing more than an accident, and that our existence is without purpose, meaning or value.
These feelings were reflected in a recent survey published earlier this year to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of ¬Species. The survey found that half of British adults do not believe in evolution, with at least 22% preferring the theories of creationism or intelligent design to explain how the world came about.
The poll found that 25% of Britons believe Darwin’s theory of evolution is “definitely true”, with another quarter saying it is “probably true”. Half of the 2,060 people questioned were either strongly opposed to the theory or confused about it. The Rescuing Darwin survey, conducted by the think tank Theos, found that around 10% of people chose young Earth creationism – the belief that God created the world some time in the last 10,000 years – over evolution. About 12% preferred intelligent design, the idea that evolution alone is not enough to explain the structures of living organisms. The remainder were unsure, often mixing evolution, intelligent design and creationism together.
The fact that a quarter of those surveyed actively reject evolution and at least as many again are skeptical or unsure could reflect the common misconception that science and religion are competing descriptions of the way the world works. While science can explain many of the properties of the physical world it is not the whole story. Science can’t prove one way or another the existence of God or answer questions of purpose, meaning, ethics, beauty, history, literature and love. Many people are interested in the current debate surrounding science and faith and it is useful to know the arguments from both sides – Charles Darwin himself so no reason why someone could not ‘be an ardent theist and an evolutionist.’ Peter 3 v 15 encourages us to be prepared to answer everyone who asks us to give a reason for the hope that we have in Christ. If friends or family are asking questions about some of these issues log onto the Theos website at www.theothinktank.co.uk for interesting articles and further debate.
Why not take part in a discussion sending in your comments to the idea proposed by Darwin that it is possible to believe in both God and evolution?
Source: Spencer N, Alexander D (2009) Rescuing Darwin: London, Theos