Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Forever War

Over on Facebook recently there was a bit of a discussion prompted by the posting of this video of a back and forth between Richard Dawkins, noted atheist, and Wendy Wright, creationist.

The question was asked, "Do you think evolutionists and creationists can reach a mutual understanding? By that I mean something that both sides can NOT polarize themselves over. Some sort of common ground." I decided that was worth a blog post so here I am.

In theory, I think they can (mostly); but, of course, that's the problem. "In theory" is great for...theory, but often stumbles when hitting reality. The problem seems to be that both sides view the other as a threat. Evolutionists think that creationists are leading people away from reason and science. Creationists think evolutionists are out to lead people away from God (at least their perspective of God, anyway). Naturally if one feels threatened, one is likely to lash out at whoever it is that is attacking.

I think that despite all of the heated rhetoric, there is less of a divide than most people imagine. That's because most of the time the people debating this point (like Dawkins and Wright) are on the extreme edges of the spectrum. Most people tend to be somewhere in the middle. Dawkins even makes reference to the Archbishop of Canterbury believing in evolution (and I'm pretty sure he believes in God).

Look at this data showing people's belief in creationism, evolution guided by God, or evolution without God. It shows over time that more and more people are shifting to believing in evolution being a tool of God. It also shows that people who have attended college are much more likely to believe in it. As our economy changes and more and more people get post-secondary education, this number will only grow larger. With more people finding themselves in the middle, there will likely be less vitriol on this topic.

That's not to say it will disappear completely. There will always be people who cherry pick the science they want to believe in. Who disputes gravity? Likewise, there will always be staunch evolutionists who can't accept belief in a God. There shouldn't need to be conflict over this. If people were more humble about their own knowledge and more respectful of other people's thoughts, then arguments over this wouldn't occur.

But that's not likely to happen anytime soon.

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