Wow! I was finally able to come back and start reading this thread last night, and just now caught up (mainly because I was so interested in sugarbeth's links, I read through them as they came up, so it took me longer to finish -- by all means, keep on sending any scientific links that seem pertinent, I don't see it as derailing at all! Reading scientific stuff is actually becoming a spiritual experience for me
The following comment really resonates with me --
Originally Posted by sugarbeth
I think it's incredible to see how all life on earth - bacteria, plants, animals, humans - are all connected in a giant family tree that goes all the way back to the first spark of life billions of years ago. It is way more awe-inspiring to believe God created a life force so strong that it could self-replicate and diversify into the variety that we see now, rather than magically "poof" each species into existence. Evolution is a beautiful and elegant thing. I feel privileged that I understand how it works.
This is actually what I've been feeling, too (even though I'm somewhat behind you in understanding how it works!
) Which is why I've also become fascinated with the Gaia hypothesishttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_hypothesis
I've always felt that Creationists (at least, the ones I've been around) have mostly been interested in simplifying everything ("God made it -- that's all I need to know"). But it's complexity that fascinates me! I still recall how years ago, back when I still didn't accept macroevolution but was fascinated by microevolution, I tried to share about it with some people at church who were bashing evolution.
I was talking about how neat it was that people in different regions in the world developed different amounts of skin-pigment to adapt to their climates -- and this older gentleman just cut across what I was saying and shouted something like, "GOD made us the colors that we are, that's all we need to know about it." He did acknowledge that there might be such a thing as microevolution, but just seemed to think it wasn't worth discussion.
Similarly, a youth leader once shared how he was really into biology when he came to Christ -- and at first he didn't want to give up his science, so he was trying to rationalize and tell himself, "Well, God could
have made the world through evolution."
But then he felt like he was trying to "fit" God into science, and if he wanted God then he needed to give up science. So he did. And that seems so sad to me, the way some Christians think if you want to be right with God, you have to give up all sense of inquiry and discovery, give up the things that fascinate you (your God-given gifts and interests), because thinking, discussing, and learning about anything but the Bible can take you off-track --
(And, actually, some churches I've been in have even discouraged things like house-church or home Bible study, 'cause they think we "untrained" individuals can go off-track even with Bible study
I internalized a lot of this, and in college when I realized how much I enjoyed studying anthropology, I held back from majoring in it, because it seemed too tied to evolutionary theory, and of course I also didn't like the way Christian missionaries got "demonized" (never mind that some of them did a lot of harm by wanting to impose their ways, rather than listening and learning from the people they had come to live among
Anyhow, I now think it's wrong (yes, even a sin) to hold back from following an interest, simply because learning more might cause me to question my faith. God is way bigger than my preconceived notions. And I see now that, just as the Church persecuted Galileo when he said the earth was round, so fundamentalist religion still stands ready to attack anyone who challenges the old, "traditional" ways of looking at things.
I looked up how my old denomination viewed evolutionary theory, and it looks like their main objection is that they don't see how this theory allows for the man to be made first, and for the woman to be made from and for the man. Apparently they think being open to evolutionary theory will destroy marriage and the family as they feel it should be.
As to my religious faith being tied to evolutionary theory, that's really not how it is with me. I don't believe we'll ever have complete knowledge this side of Heaven, and we're all in for heaps of surprises when we come face to face with the Lord. I see evolutionary theory as the best explanation we currently have, but I don't see it as a religion.
As to thinking that scientists treat it as "religious doctrine" -- I used to hear that and say it, too. But now that I've actually started reading
stuff written by evolutionary scientists, I don't see them that way at all. It seems they're frequently commenting on the incompleteness of the current knowledge, and striving to do better, and also to allow for and correct their current errors.
But I'm sure biologists are only human and not perfect -- just as, as someone else mentioned, there are hypocrites in the church, I suppose there are some people in every field who get attached to a current way of looking at things, and consequently resist new knowledge that could destroy the foundation they've built for their life. But I honestly don't think most scientists resist new knowledge -- this seems so antithetical to being a scientist.
Whereas, with fundamentalist religion, there tends to be a tremendous motivation to reject new ideas and discoveries, because of how scared the leaders/members are of believing anything that could be an error, since they think God will cast His children into hell for believing errors
(becoming a mom was the primary catalyst that got me questioning fundamentalism, because I simply can't imagine rejecting one of my children because she had a misconception about something, and I know God is a much more loving parent than even I am).
Oh, eilonwy, even though I didn't tune in much in biologiy class (all those church warnings about how that anti-God "indoctrination" could mess up my head, as well as probably some undiagnosed ADD
), I also remember hearing something about how sometimes a parent's adaptation can get added to their genetic code, and be passed onto their offspring.