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John Wayne's Holster: Cold Impersonal Darkness or the Hand of God?
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Friday, June 16, 2006

Cold Impersonal Darkness or the Hand of God?

I hate to admit it, but Ann Coulter’s June 7th column, entitled “Hey You, Browsing 'Godless' — Buy the Book or Get Out!” was a real letdown for me. Ann Coulter is still one of my heroes, but like hillbilly crooner Steve Earle says (paraphrasing), ‘Sometimes it is our heroes that disappoint us the most’.

Although I still maintain a “certain fondness” for Ms. Coulter, I believe I have moved beyond the stage of the involuntary nocturnal emission. But thanks to my friends over at the church of liberalism, voluntary auto-manipulation is still a viable option, should the mood strike.

In the above-referenced column, the beloved Ms. Coulter suggests that Darwinism is incompatible with a belief in God. Like so many issues in the political realm, extremists on both sides of the argument have dominated the debate. As such, this issue is being painted black and white. It seems that we only have two options to choose from. We can choose to believe that God is real and He created man from dust (Gen 2: 7) or there is no god and we are just products of an impersonal evolutionary process.

I guess if you are an extremist, then these are your only options. For the neo-Darwinists, God is not a measurable quantity and therefore can not be included in any scientific theory regarding the origin of man. (Incidentally, this is why Creationism has no place in the science class). At the other end of the spectrum lurks the Christian fundamentalist. For the fundamentalist, the Bible is the literal word of God. Case closed!

If on the other hand, one were to actually exercise the cognitive faculties endowed upon him by the creator, perhaps he would realize that evolution is not incompatible with a belief in God.

For such a thing to happen, the extremists on both sides would have to abandon their closely held ideologies and expand their comfort zones. Personally, I do not see that happening. As such, I would suggest removing them from the debate. This is my soapbox, so that is what I will do.

For starters, I believe in God. And I believe He created man in his own image and likeness – just like the good book says he did (Gen 1: 26). I also believe that the Bible is not the literal word of God. It is an allegorical representation of His words as perceived by those who were inspired to put those words to paper – or papyrus as the case may be. Any rational examination of the Bible will make this apparent to all who have eyes to see it. Take the Noah’s Ark story as an example (Gen 6-7). The Bible is explicit is detailing the actual dimensions of the ark (300 x 50 x 30 cubits). Noah was told to take two of every animal on board. Although I do not have my calculator handy, a quick thumbnail calculation tells me that there was simply not enough physical space on the boat for that many beasts – barring a miracle of course.

The creation story should be looked at the same way – as an allegory. It was a story told to men in a way they could understand it. Accepting the Bible as allegorical does not require one to abandon any notion of God. And it does not diminish the inherent truths laid out on its pages.

Likewise, neo-Darwinists should not dismiss the hand of God in the creation of man. Just because you can not measure something does not mean that it does not exist. Science has a long tradition of bridging the realms of the quantifiable with the philosophical, as indicated by the suffix PhD (Doctor of Philosophy). Unfortunately, the philosophical realm has gone the way of the Hippocratic oath and has apparently been banished from modern academic training. As a result, the modern crop of PhD grads are, for the most part, nothing more that glorified science technicians. Most lack the ability to think independently and/or are afraid to challenge established scientific dogma (I will take up this issue in a future blog article).

I would suggest that evolution and creationism are not incompatible. All that is required to synthesize the two schools of though is to accept that at some point during the evolution of men from monkeys, God gave his blessing to the process. As Cardinal John Henry Newman said in 1868, “the theory of Darwin...may simply be suggesting a larger idea of divine providence and skill.

In other words, God created man, and Darwin has a pretty good idea of how He did it.


At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Roy said...

Welcome back Joe and great post!

I completely agree that belief in god and evolution are not mutually exclusive. The complexity of the evolution of man and the universe as a whole support this notion. I do however believe that you were taking Ann too literally. I believe that she does not interpret the bible literally. The problem is that you have to frame issues in black & white in order to be successful. I forget which founding father it was, but one of them outlined the strategy for gathering support of the revolutionary war and his last rule was "phrase all issues in black and white," because it is clear to the common folks. I enjoy Ann so much because she is hilarious. I don't take everything she says literally. For example, when she says that we should kill the leaders of the Middle East and covert the people to Christianity, I laugh, but I do not believe it would be a good idea. However, I do agree with her premise that to some liberalism (the new kind, not Lockeian liberalism) is a religion complete with its own creation story.

I am not sure if you are a fan of political theory, but have you read Nietzsche, the Gay Science? An extremely quick oversimplification is that he believed while science would become the new dogma(replacing religion) science also could not have real truths because everything humans do is relative to our "truths."

At 2:11 PM, Anonymous Joe Verica said...

Hey Roy

You are probably right about Coulter. I usually do not take what she says all that literally. But her comments about evolution irked me. Although I am not an evolutionary biologist, many of my colleagues are. Darwin is like God for them. I also have a few colleagues in other departments who are fundamentalists. Both groups seem pretty pigheaded and close-minded to me. I saw the Coulter article as a good portal to channel my frustrations on the issue.

As far as the Nietzsche book goes, I have not read it, but would be interested in doing so.


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