Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I'm Late For Work But Had to Post this: Is Belief in God and in Evolution Compatible?

The New York Times didn't even bother to make one read the article before submitting a comment. I couldn't resist: are belief in god and evolution compatible? Since I am a compulsive commenter on that topic, here are my comments:

Creationism is not -- and can never be -- science. As a matter of epistemology, one can believe that creationism is true but cannot prove that it is true. Science makes propositions that are testable and turn out to be either true or false, regardless of any belief in their trueness or falseness. For example, believing that a bridge is strong enough to hold up a car is not the same thing as knowing that it will hold up a car: the belief may either be true or not, but knowledge that it is true or not depends on knowing that the bridge held up the car or not (or that it has the tensile strength or doesn't have the tensile strength predictably to hold up the car). With creationism, the notion of "intelligent design" is not a proposition that can ever be proven to be true. Evolution, on the other hand, is demonstrable in millions of ways, the evolution of viruses and bacteria being one example or the devastation created by non-native plant species, where it is impossible to create a balance in the complete cycle between plants, insects, birds, mammals over short periods of time, is another example.

The proposition that god exists is ultimately never provable. However, belief in god's existence does not rest on whether it can be proven to be true or not. It can simply be held in the mind and heart.

The compatibility of science and belief in god will depend on one's definition of god. A god that has direct intervention in the lives of humans is probably incompatible with evolutionary theory. However, a god that exists as inherent in the universe, a spiritual dark matter, a force that exists within all material things, from light waves, to time, to crystals, to viruses, to all forms of life, known and unknown, to a meta morality that springs from the evolutionary nature of the animal and human ways of being, is compatible with science and evolution. But neither belief is a testable or provable proposition.

— Christina Forbes, Alexandria VA

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