Tuesday, November 24, 2009

black or white

Today is the 150th anniversary of the publication of "The Origin of the Species"--a book that changed the world, changed our understanding of our place. And I've never actually read it. I should, but it's one of those books I've just never gotten around to reading. I've buckets of other evolutionary research, but have never taken the time to read more than a few excerpts of the books upon which that other research is based. (That may sound bad, but it's really surprisingly common--it's usually faster and easier to learn the conclusions of basic research from textbooks and reviews than it is to go read all the basic literature yourself.)

Over at BCC, there are a series of posts on the relationship between evolution and faith, particularly Mormonism. In this post, SteveP argues the God of the gaps embraced by ID (and by too many Mormons who want to embrace ID) is not just bad science, it's bad theology.

I have to agree. If you assume God is in the gaps, science truly is constantly pushing God into a smaller and smaller space. Which it's not.

I don't know what God is, other than my creator, but I do believe s/he/it exits. My religion says God is a man who was once as we are, who created us, who had a literal son who died and in so doing atoned for my sins. That teaching, as many others, resonates in my being in a way that makes me believe it is true. But it could be wrong. The teachings of the temple resonate in a way that makes be believe them. But it too, could be wrong. Other stuff I think could as easily be made up as true. Even the stuff I believe I acknowledge could be made up or wishful thinking (though that's as much the doubt of a scientist speaking as anything else).

Even with that uncertainty, I'm okay having faith, understanding what I believe may be very different from the truth. I don't think that uncertainty means there is no God, only that we humans have an incredibly incomplete understanding of God, and since we don't like uncertainty, we've filled in the gaps in our understanding with stories that sound good--at least until some evidence comes along that contradicts the story, forcing a re-examination of beliefs. I would rather hold to the stories, acknowledging their potential weakness, than hold to an either-or philosophy that claims either we have it all right (which is highly doubtful) or it's all wrong (which is unsatisfactory).

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