It’s not surprising that the issue of teaching evolution (or not — or countering it with intelligent design) keeps cropping up around the country.
For practical purposes, evolution is the dividing line between theism and atheism.
Evolution points the way to a naturalistic explanation for the design we see in the world around us. If evolution is false, a naturalistic explanation for design becomes extremely difficult to hold, so that for all practical purposes we can say that if evolution is false atheism is probably false. Conversely we can say that if evolution is true, then theism is probably false.
But that’s enough to make evolution into a continental divide.
I say that if evolution is true then theism is probably false because theism has a very difficult time explaining certain congenital flaws in the world’s design, while evolution breezes through. For example, life must eat other life to survive — a fact of existence which poses no problems for evolution, yet stymies theism. So long as theism is the only choice its inherent difficulties must be accepted, but if the scientific view of evolution is valid then theism is not the only choice. And certainly not the best.
This observation is actually strengthened by a declaration made by The Vatican’s Observatory Director, George Coyne. Coyne, who is ordained but is also an astrophysicist, whole-heartedly embraces evolution. But at what cost?
“The intelligent design movement belittles God. It makes God a designer, an engineer,” said Vatican Observatory Director George Coyne, an astrophysicist who is also ordained. “The God of religious faith is a god of love. He did not design me.” —CNN article 2/20/2006
If evolution is true, then God is driven out of the design business. That’s a valid move to make, and reminds me of Process Theology. But surely it leaves us with a God less compelling and less necessary than the one we had before.