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Christian Churches Celebrate Darwin's Birthday

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the we-love-you-unca-darwin dept.

Science 1225

kthejoker writes "Today is the 197th anniversary of the great biologist Charles Darwin's birth. In response, some 450 Christian churches are celebrating Darwin's birth, saying, 'Darwin`s theory of biological evolution is compatible with faith and that Christians have no need to choose between religion and science.' There's also an interesting perspective on Darwinism and Christianity in the San Jose Mercury News."

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GNAA announces a 2005 success; (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14701827)

partnership
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Sigh (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14701833)

Not news for nerds.

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14701899)

Yes, but a prime candidate for instigating one of Slashdot's favorite pasttimes: hating Christians!

Yep. (-1, Offtopic)

IAAP (937607) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701919)

And I finished my work and I saw my stupid movie and /. is still publishing shit here on Sunday.

Well, time to eat and, well, spend time with my family. I guess the /. editors are helping me with my New Years Resolution - less time on /. - Thanks!!!!

Re:Sigh (-1, Offtopic)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701922)

Not news for nerds.

Slashdot: News for nerds. Stuff that matters.

I couldn't disagree more. (1)

Stoutlimb (143245) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702009)

Lots of dumb christians completely reject scientific principles in favour of their holy book. I find it pretty hard to take when my "peers" will look me right in the eye and try to discredit my post-secondary astronomy education, saying that the universe is only several thousand years old. If ID people have their way, Geology would not exist. Forget about Biology. You have to realize that there is a large percentage of christians who are unwittingly pushing towards another dark age.

Re:I couldn't disagree more. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14702074)

If by "large percentage", you mean "less than 0.01%" then you might almost be right...
Just 'cause they're loud doesn't mean there's a lot of them.

Birthing pains (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14701838)

"Today is the 197th anniversary of the great biologist Charles Darwin's birth."

And this story will give birth to a thousand posts from both sides of the aisle.

Meanwhile... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14701849)

...on the other side of the world. Muslims are rioting, destroying property and killing people because Danish and German newspapers had the audacity and insensitivity to print cartoon "pictures" of the muslim prophet Muhammed! The Iranian head of state is also making inflammatory statements that the Jews are the cause of it all and that the Holocaust never happened. Iranian newspapers printed cartoon "pictures" of Anne Frank and Hitler in bed together.

Nice! When are we going to put our foot down on this Muslim scourge?

Re:Meanwhile... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14701874)

May Allah cause your pecker to fall off! oh, you're on Slashdot - it already did!

Re:Meanwhile... (1)

nyrk (779328) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701880)

Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria!

Re:Meanwhile... (1)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701882)

Why? They're doing a fine job of destroying themselves. Worry about your own house before you worry about your neighbors :D

Re:Meanwhile... (3, Insightful)

Stephan Schulz (948) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701983)

When are we going to put our foot down on this Muslim scourge?
Well, there are roughly one billion Muslims quitely going along and living there lives. Maybe a few thousand are rioting, and no doubt quite a few are real assholes about this issue. But to condem the whole faith for the acts of a few is both stupid and unproductive. Islam is not sigificantly better or worse than "Christianity" (and about as diverse).

Re:Meanwhile... (4, Interesting)

Expert Determination (950523) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702029)

This whole "it's only a few thousand rioting" business doesn't hold much water. Hamas, ie. a bunch of terrorists, have just been voted in democratically in Palestine. Ahmadinejad was voted in democratically in Iran. Extremist Islamic view represent popular opinion across the Middle East and are not solely the beliefs of a minority.

Darwinsim = Science? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14701850)

Why is it that if you are against Darwin you are against science?

Darwinism, an interesting and plausible hypothesis, does not constitute all of science.

Re:Darwinsim = Science? (5, Insightful)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702035)

Because in order to discredit evolutionary theory, those who oppose it attempt to undermine science, reason, and even empirical observation as bases of belief. The heliocentric model of the solar system isn't all of science, either, but no one who honestly believes in science disbelieves it.

Re:Darwinsim = Science? (5, Insightful)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702040)

Why is it that if you are against Darwin you are against science?

Well, of course in principle it doesn't automatically mean that.

However, evolution is one of the most well-established theories that science has to offer. It is supported by evidence extremely well and is validated by hundreds of new observations every day. And if you publicly come out against it and in favor of some alternative theory for which the only evidence is a religious text, chances are pretty damn good that you are incapable of holding a logical thought in your head to begin with.

Now maybe that's an unfair assessment to make about you, but to make a more accurate one requires too much time and energy to expend on every evolution-basher out there. Life is too short, and there are too many of them (especially in the United States of America) to interview every single one as to his feelings about science in general. And it's a simple fact that people who publicly oppose evolution tend to be quite vocal in not only bashing scientists as a group, but bashing science in general as an inferior source of knowledge as compared to religion- an apples to oranges comparison if there ever was one.

If I were some omniscient being with all the time and resources in the world to examine the innermost thoughts of every creationist and intelligent designer, perhaps I'd be able to develop a more accurate opinion. As a human being with limited years on this earth, please forgive me if I take a short cut and make what is a pretty accurate generalization to save time. If you are against Darwin, you are probably against science. You may think you're pro-science, but usually what that means is that you're pro-technology and view your toys as validation of the superiority of your culture and by extension the correctness of its religious views. Individuals opposed to Darwinism on the merits of the theory itself (and who may offer alternative theories equally unpalatable from religious viewpoints) are actually quite rare.

Christianity and Microsoft? - Embrace and Extend? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14701852)

anyone else noticing this trend?

Happy Birthday Darwin... (2, Funny)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701858)

I still have a Flying Spaghetti Monster badge on my car though...

christians... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14701860)

when you think christians can get any dumber...

And in other news... (2, Interesting)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701862)

I recently read this article [latimes.com] about a guy who is doing exactly the opposite. It's just infuriating. I'm tempted to call it child abuse in some form or another, though the rational part of me reminds myself that it really doesn't matter that much. People believe all sorts of nonsensical things, yet manage to continue functioning. I mean, honestly, believing or not believing in evolution doesn't really affect that many things.

Evolution leading to complex organisms is at least tricky to understand . How about the idiots who, for example, think Bush is comparable to Hitler? That's just as stupid as not believing in evolution, or believing the earth is flat, or whatever. We're surrounded every day by idiots who believe in bizarre things.

What I find amusing about that article I liked above, though, is the guy is teaching kids to doubt evolution on the basis that they weren't there to see it. Is that what he really wants to be teaching the kids? To doubt what they can't see for themselves? :D

Re:And in other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14701883)

Evolution leading to complex organisms is at least tricky to understand . How about the idiots who, for example, think Bush is comparable to Hitler?

For a bigger shock, consider the idiots who approve of his performance.

Re:And in other news... (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701903)

Here's an even bigger shock: approval is a multidimensional function. If you completely approval of Bush, then you're dumb and ignorant. If you completely DISapproval of Bush, then you're dumb and ignorant.

Re:And in other news... (0, Offtopic)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701974)

I can tell you the one thing I approve of in the Bush presidency:

Longer Daylight Saving Time starting in 2007.

Other than that, I can't say I've found anything to approve of. Of course, I was one of the 10% or so that disapproved of him right after 9/11, so you could say I'm rather hardcore in my disapproval of him.

Re:And in other news... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14701886)

How about the idiots who, for example, think Bush is comparable to Hitler?

Of course he's "comparable" to Hitler: It is possible to compare Bush to Hitler: Bush is immensely less charismatic, competent or intelligent than Hitler.

Brought to you by the British campaign to eliminate idiotic American misuse of the word "comparable".

Re:And in other news... (2, Insightful)

ockegheim (808089) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701924)

Flamebait but so true...

Re:And in other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14702055)

So true but Flamebait...

Re:And in other news... (1)

wanerious (712877) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702076)

...and I just ran out of mod points. Nice.

Re:And in other news... (3, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701916)

How about the idiots who, for example, think Bush is comparable to Hitler? That's just as stupid as not believing in evolution, or believing the earth is flat, or whatever. We're surrounded every day by idiots who believe in bizarre things.

Well, Gandhi is comparable to Hitler. I'd say he compares rather favourably, of course, but comparable, still.

Re:And in other news... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14701956)

How about the idiots who, for example, think Bush is comparable to Hitler
I drive an SUV -- and I'm actually pretty proud of the fact.
says it all. SUV driving bush supporter. fuckwit all round

Re:And in other news... (5, Insightful)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701962)

Some of the most vocal opponents of the current American regime are those who actually fought in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and other conflicts. They know the true horrors of war, and many of them know the actual smell of fascism. You can call them idiots of you want. However, I'll listen to them when they start putting out warnings.

You speak of discussing events one did not witness. Just like that man and his children may not have witnessed macroevolution, I take it you did not witness World War II. While I was young at the time, I did. I remember leaving London during the Blitz. It is hypocritical and ignorant for you to suggest that those who experienced it firsthand are incorrect when they correctly point out history repeating itself.

Re:And in other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14701970)

You are the worst poster on Slashdot. You've even surpassed dada21.

Re:And in other news... (0)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702034)

It is hypocritical and ignorant for you to suggest that those who experienced it firsthand are incorrect when they correctly point out history repeating itself.

Hypocritical? Ignorant maybe, but I don't understand what hypocracy has do with anything.

But regardless, no, they are completely incorrect when they point out that history is repeating itself. It is simply stupid to believe that Bush is going to suspend the constitution, set up a fascist dictatorship, and then start invading other countries to expand US territory while putting races of people he doesn't like into concentration camps to be exterminated. It is STUPID to believe that the Patriot Act is even in the same universe is what Hitler did. It is STUPID to believe that because Bush went too far with domestic spying (and I do think he want too far), that it somehow means that Bush is setting up a vast conspiracy to spy on normal American citizens not directly related to terrorism.

I don't care what they might've suffered in WW/II to make them believe this, just like I don't care why Christians don't want to believe in Evolution (though I do actually understand the latter), both are flat-out wrong, and aren't thinking rationally. But again, there are TONS of things that people don't think rationally about. I know there are things I'm not particularly rational about (though, I'm a lot more rational than anyone I know, but I'm rational enough to know that I can't be rational about everything).

Re:And in other news... (-1, Flamebait)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702068)

... and then start invading other countries to expand US territory ...

Whoa, boy! Where have you been since October of 2001? Ever hear of places such as Afghanistan and Iraq? Apparently not!

... while putting races of people he doesn't like into concentration camps to be exterminated.

Whoa, again! I suppose you haven't heard of Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, and the other detention centres (camps, if you will) where inmates were systematically tortured and killed.

It strikes me as odd that you'll go on and on about Christians not thinking rationally, while you yourself seem to suffer from that very condition! At least you do somewhat admit that you are irrational, but you do seen unable to tell when you actually are being so (such as now).

Re:And in other news... (3, Insightful)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701968)

Is that what he really wants to be teaching the kids? To doubt what they can't see for themselves?

Actually, yes. We schould teach our children to doubt and question absolutely everything. To me, the need for a continuous search for answers is one of the greatest attributes a person can have.

Re:And in other news... (4, Insightful)

St. Arbirix (218306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702064)

Actually, yes. We schould teach our children to doubt and question absolutely everything. To me, the need for a continuous search for answers is one of the greatest attributes a person can have.

I think such absolute skepticism is impossible to maintain in the face of how much there is in the world to understand. Very few people are in any position to vouch for the authenticity of much of the scientific experimentation that goes on. Another great attribute of humanity is the ability to pool a mass of knowledge much greater than any one individual could possibly hope to grasp on their own.

Re:And in other news... (2, Insightful)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702101)

I think such absolute skepticism is impossible to maintain in the face of how much there is in the world to understand. Very few people are in any position to vouch for the authenticity of much of the scientific experimentation that goes on. Another great attribute of humanity is the ability to pool a mass of knowledge much greater than any one individual could possibly hope to grasp on their own.

I agree with you for the most part, except for the abslute skepticism. I don't take anything as fact. I just look at everything as a probability. For example, I think the odds that some form of evolution is correct is about a million to one, based on my life experiences (which include what I read on slashdot, see on television, and hear in conversation). I'm still skeptical of evolution though. I don't know that it's true, but I'm pretty sure that it is.

Re:And in other news... (1)

Tinkster (831703) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702087)

I may be jumping to conclusions here, but to me "We schould teach our children to doubt and question absolutely everything." suggests that you don't have kids ... :} Cheers, Tink

Re:And in other news... (4, Funny)

TallMatthew (919136) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701975)

Evolution leading to complex organisms is at least tricky to understand . How about the idiots who, for example, think Bush is comparable to Hitler? That's just as stupid as not believing in evolution, or believing the earth is flat, or whatever. We're surrounded every day by idiots who believe in bizarre things

I believe that Bush is comparable to Hitler, evolution is still an iffy theory (though creationism is ludicrous), the world isn't flat and that you are, quite clearly, an idiot.

How's that for bizarre?

Re:And in other news... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14701999)

"What I find amusing about that article I liked above, though, is the guy is teaching kids to doubt evolution on the basis that they weren't there to see it. Is that what he really wants to be teaching the kids? To doubt what they can't see for themselves? :D"

Absoultely. It's called empericism and is the very basis of science. You can't claim any valdity of a purposed hypothesis until you have observable data that, at the very least, lends credence to that hypothesis. If you don't understand that data and what it means you shouldn't be making a claim one way or the other.

Kids should doubt evolution until they understand the data behind it. When they do understand the data behind it then they can draw their own conclusions.

What's really sad about the whole thing isn't creationist claiming evolutionary theory is wrong, it's creationists (some, not all) having a better grasp of the data behind evolution than your average person. It's the same way some atheists have a better grasp of theology than your average person. However, neither of them use the same methods of the paradigimes they critize. Atheists don't look at theology with the mehtodoligies of faith and creationists drag the methodology of faith along with the empericism. *shrug* everyone does it to some degree or another... just if you're going to critizie a viewpoint with it's own methodology then you shouldn't drag your own into it.

just thinking aloud. Not so much a reply.

Re:And in other news... (5, Funny)

rjshields (719665) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702022)

We're surrounded every day by idiots ... I drive an SUV
Point well made :-)

standing up against the fundies.. (-1, Troll)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701864)

I'm not a christian, but I'm glad there's some active stance among religious people against the fundamentalists who seem to have taken over any kind of discussion of religion in this country. Is it just because we have a fundie president that these people seem so empowered? I'm sick of the American Taliban thinking and acting like they're the majority. They aren't, and they should start realizing that.

Re:standing up against the fundies.. (5, Interesting)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701948)

I'm not a christian, but I'm glad there's some active stance among religious people against the fundamentalists who seem to have taken over any kind of discussion of religion in this country.

I'm not religious, and I find, on the whole, that fundamentalists hijacking a religion can be a good thing in the long run. Probably nothing else could turn as many people away from the whole idea of religion so much as a generation of frothing-at-the-mouth zealots fighting each other and anyone disagreeing with their inflexible, warped view of the world.

Re:standing up against the fundies.. (2, Funny)

rjshields (719665) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701971)

nothing else could turn as many people away from the whole idea of religion so much as a generation of frothing-at-the-mouth zealots fighting each other and anyone disagreeing with their inflexible, warped view of the world.

Agreed, and well put. In the same way, people will be put off Islam by the fundamentalists burning embassies because someone dared mock their religion.

Re:standing up against the fundies.. (1)

Namronorman (901664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702081)

Or join the religion out of fear. Such as those who join religion out of fear for damnation.

Don't bother reasoning with fundies. (1)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701976)

It's pointless to reason with fundies. Laugh at them instead. Nothing infuriates them more than not being taken seriously.

Re:Don't bother reasoning with fundies. (1)

grogdamighty (884570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702089)

[points] Hahahahahaha!

(The lesson being that everyone dislikes being told they're an idiot.)

Re:standing up against the fundies.. (0, Flamebait)

Teeja (701014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702047)

Oh please. Are you calling fundamentist Christians the "American Taliban" simply because they have an opinion contrary to yours? You state that they "have taken over any kind of discussion of religion in this country". If your side is correct, don't you trust the rational average American to judge for themselves? Exactly how have they "taken over the discussion" in America? Certainly not at the point of a gun, as did the actual Taliban.

You sound like the crowd that equates G.W. Bush with Hitler.

Sounds like you are scared of people having alternative ideas, other than your own. People are won over with words, not force, and definitely not with name-calling. That's why Creationism is gaining ground and your side is losing ground in public opinion.

Re:standing up against the fundies.. (0, Offtopic)

Teeja (701014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702073)

Nice... label my post as "flamebait", and label the obviously biased parent as "interesting"... oh yeah, we have a really un-biased moderation going on here. Slashdot liberalism stikes again. Congrats!

Reminds me of The Naked Gun... (2, Funny)

tyrione (134248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701867)

Blind Faith standing over Skepticism and to save face as the outline of the body of Truth lies floating in the Bay the reponse can only be...

"There's nothing to see here...nothing to see."

Re:Reminds me of The Naked Gun... (1)

eosp (885380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701959)

...so please move along.

Doonesbury? (4, Funny)

Pi_0's don't shower (741216) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701875)

This somehow reminds me of a man going to the Doctor's office:

Doc: Well, I'm afraid you have tuberculosis. I need to know, are you a creationist?
Patient: What does that have to do with anything?
D: Well, I could give you the drugs that would cure Tuberculosis as it was discovered in 1937, or the modern drugs that treat the disease as it has evolved into today.
P: What's so great about the modern drugs?
D: They're intelligently designed...

Re:Doonesbury? (5, Informative)

tomee (792877) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702028)

Here's the link [doonesbury.com] . I loved that one.

Problems for theistic evolutionists... (4, Interesting)

countach (534280) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701877)


Christian theistic evolutionists have got some very hairy questions to answer....

http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v18/i3/qu estions.asp [answersingenesis.org]
http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2004/0112rejec ted.asp [answersingenesis.org]
http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v17/i4/th eistic_evolution.asp [answersingenesis.org]
http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v20/i1/th eistic_evolution.asp [answersingenesis.org]

Re:Problems for theistic evolutionists... (1)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701944)

These are considered "very hairy" questions? Most of these questions I would consider to be of the type "begging the", not "very hairy". The first link, especially, is pretty worthless.

Re:Problems for theistic evolutionists... (2, Insightful)

tengennewseditor (949731) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702037)

Those questions are asking you to reconcile dogmatic fundamentalist interpretations of the bible with evolution.

But yes, fundamentalist christians that are also evolutionists have some pretty hairy questions to answer...

Better questions for biblical literalists... (4, Interesting)

copponex (13876) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702078)

Can a man live inside of a fish for three days? Was Eve fashioned out of Adam's rib?

If you say something to yourself similar to, "Obviously that part was allegory," then you have no leg to stand on. Either every single thing in it is literal (and the earth has four corners) or everything must be interpreted. Once everything must be interpreted, you cannot claim any sort of non-relativism.

Now, ask yourself these questions: Which bible do you read, and why? Do you think the Romans (who cannonized the Bible with their selected bishops in 313) were answering the call of God or politics? Why do you go to church on Sunday instead of the Sabbath, or Saturday? Why do most of the Christian holidays coincide exactly with pagan holidays that are centuries older?

If you're a Trinitarian, are non-trinitarians going to hell? What if you aren't baptised? Why do you think there are so many sects of Christianity if the bible is so crystal clear?

Re:Problems for theistic evolutionists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14702086)

It was the type of questions posed in your first link that caused me to think twice about believing in Christian theistic evolution.
I've since given up believing in the Bible altogether.

Looks like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14701879)

Looks like Christianity is evolving... how long before they stop celebrating the return of the dead?

Knowing vs. believing (4, Insightful)

Sky Cry (872584) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701881)

One could always believe that evolution is just a tool in God's hands. That way it's possible to believe in intelligent design without denying facts, that Earth is older than a few thousands years, etc.

Religion is about believing, science is about knowing. They are not mutually exclusive.

Re:Knowing vs. believing (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14701940)

Religion is about believing, science is about knowing. They are not mutually exclusive.

Actually, they are. Belief without proof is the antithesis of the scientific method and all the principles of science. To embrace science and faith is doublethink.

Re:Knowing vs. believing (3, Informative)

plunge (27239) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701955)

In fact, Kenneth Miller has advanced a very plausible religious view in his book "Finding Darwin's God" that reconciles the two. It's based on several ideas:

1) If God knows all causality, then he could have brought about everything into being originally AND have it, from science's view BE random and undetermined. The two are not mutally exclusive when God is the best pool player of all time, setting up the most elaborate shot of all time.
2) God could act via influencing things in ways that, due to quantum outcomes, would indeed be like magic to us, and undetectable or testable (hence we can still believe in a God that does miracles)
3) Evolution itself has plenty of room for a valid new theology based on the idea that God would WANT life to be free of God's direct design. This is known as "liberation theology" and though many Catholics disdain it, it's perfectly plausible.

If the above is true, then both atheists and theists can agree on everything concerning the physical world, without conflict. The atheists certainly wont agree with the faith theology above, but the theists can believe it without having to make any claims that have consequences which rule out the legitimacy of atheism (i.e. the not believing because there is no good evidence kind)

Re:Knowing vs. believing (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702077)

Sad that 1. and 3. Appear to be directly contradictory. Can't have it both ways, can you?

Totally wrong (3, Informative)

user9918277462 (834092) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701888)

This claim by religious moderates that so-called "faith" and rational biological science are compatible is total nonsense. As neuroscientist and author Sam Harris [samharris.org] argues in his excellent book The End of Faith, this kind of claim can only be made when you selectively disregard large portions of biblical text while arbitrarily interpreting others in a "metaphorical" sense.

Christian (and Islamic and Judaeic) dogma inevitably and logically results in fundamentalism and rejection of all secular (ie, rational) thought and belief. To think otherwise is to ignore the very scripture one claims to believe in.

(Long Now [longnow.org] has a great talk given by Harris available for free download in Ogg Vorbis or MP3)

Re:Totally wrong (1, Insightful)

plunge (27239) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701917)

Harris is wrong simply because disregarding large portions of the text or interpreting other parts as metaphorical is perfectly legitimate as a belief system. How can he possibly argue otherwise? Who is he to say on what someone's faith should be built upon? Especially when for most religious moderates, their "faith" is primarily about values and life lessons and human feelings, not dogmas.

Re:Totally wrong (1)

user9918277462 (834092) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701960)

One of Harris' most compelling points is that submission to irrational belief is simply not necessary to live an ethical, fulfilling life. It is entirely possible to build a science of ethics, a body of knowledge that is entirely empirical, testable, falsifiable and logical. Certain traditions of Eastern thought (parts of the Buddhist canon in particular) have already carried this idea for thousands of years; they are not based on irrational dogma or infallible books of fantasy but instead on testable, verifiable human experience.

I would encourage you to read his book yourself, even if you disagree it has the potential to open up an interesting discussion at the very least.

Re:Totally wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14702017)

Harris is wrong simply because disregarding large portions of the text or interpreting other parts as metaphorical is perfectly legitimate as a belief system.

Harris's point is that what the moderate disregards is somewhat arbitrary. The moderate thinks it's wrong to murder a gay man, so the moderate disregards where the Old Testament instructs him to execute gay men. The moderate is basically left in a kind of dishonest position where they rely on reason and compassion to trump religion, but yet in all other cases they hang on to religion for the fluffy stuff and to artificially select the good bits out. Harris argues that the fundamentalists and the nonreligious are both similar in that their conceptual framework is more consistant, while the moderate's conceptual framework is filled with contradictions between their beliefs, behaviors, religion, ... This isn't the crux of Harris's point though, he uses this to argue more important things.

How can he possibly argue otherwise? Who is he to say on what someone's faith should be built upon?

Well actually, Harris argues for an end to Faith period. No faith. One of the major points of his book is that faith is dangerous and debilitating in many ways. This is pertenent to today, because Moslems are killing themselves to kill others based upon their faith that such an action will grant them paradise after death. The point is obvious, that a reasonable person would never do such a thing. This is an action of the religious extremist acting upon faith. Harris ties this in with the reasonable moderate persons, but I don't want to give everything away.

Especially when for most religious moderates, their "faith" is primarily about values and life lessons and human feelings, not dogmas.

Yes, fuzzy things and things that could be gotten without faith. This wouldn't be so bad in it's self, except that Harris makes some more arguments that I don't want to spoil.

I just started it after seeing him on CSPAN. It's pretty good so far.

Re:Totally wrong (1)

Secrity (742221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701985)

It would not be a matter of ignoring Scripture, it would be a matter of ignoring what some people claim is scripture.

Re:Totally wrong (3, Interesting)

Moofie (22272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701988)

I DON'T claim to believe in Scripture. I claim to believe in God.

I don't need you, or Sam Harris, or my pastor, or the Pope to approve of my relationship with God. Thanks for asking, though.

Re:Totally wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14702027)

Well that makes you a non-christian/Jew/Muslim. You need follow the doctrine of that religion. If you just follow and beleive in 'god' as you see him, then you are spirtitual but not religious. Two different things.

Dr. Fun's funny cartoon on this! (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701890)

God is actually Charles Darwin according to this funny Dr. Fun cartoon [ibiblio.org] . :D

Good... (0, Redundant)

Ostien (893052) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701892)

I find it promising that this gap between religion and science is finally being bridged. Will this bring about a closer relationship with religion and science? Perhaps the field of genetic/stem cell research is next to be discussed openly between these two groups. One can only hope.

/2cents

'Bout Time... (3, Interesting)

Vorondil28 (864578) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701894)

I'm glad to see there's some people out there that don't think religion and science are mutually exclusive ways of looking at the world. To each his own, but IHMO, both religion and science have productive places in society.

After all, a true person of faith would encourage science because it will only prove what he/she already believes to be true, right?

Some things about Darwin (5, Insightful)

plunge (27239) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701902)

Many people don't really know anything about who he was or what he thought or how it applies to modern biology.

The guy was:
1) A careful and thoughtful scientist who spent countless hours studying tihngs most people would find incrediby boring. Darwin spent EIGHT YEARS studying BARNACLES.
2) Fairly shy.
3) A Christian for most of his life, and only an agnostic in later life (which had more to do historically with death in the family than with evolution, just ike Lincoln's rediscovering of Christianity)

The guy is/was NOT:
1) a guy who's ideas are a dogma. What Darwin thought is historically important in the development of evolution, but has no bearing on what and where that theory will lead.
2) 100% right about a LOT of things. He not only got the patterns of heredity completely wrong (he thought it was analog: by trait blending, when it was really digital), but was embarassingly forced to admit it when people with better arguments pointed out that blending was in contradiction with the evidence.
3) Someone that thought fossils had proved his case. To Darwin, fossils showed mainly the fact that past life was very different from present life: hence that most of species that existed in the past no longer existed in his day. This was one of the chief inspirations for his idea. The current creationist obsession with fossils overlooks the fact that Darwin put forward his theory, and was considered to be correct, long before we had anything like the fantastically rich fossil record of today. Darwin predicted that future fossils would all confirm his theory, but he NEVER expected that we'd find anywhere as many as we have, or that an entirely unimaginable field (genetics) would someday come to exist and provide an indepedent second check on the fossil record, allowing us to figure out actual lineages.

Darwin also didn't propose that the origins of life were part of evolution. The most he ever said on the subject was that maybe life had started in some warm little pool somewhere... in a private letter. He didn't publish this idea as scientific work.

There are so many misconceptions about the man that this otherwise fairly reserved guy is just buried under layers of legend. He was neither an exceptional genius and phropet, nor was he arrogant, careless about jumping to conclusions, or an atheist. He was a bright, studious man who worked hard, amassed tons of evidence, and hit upon a stunningly innovative realization about how evolution could have occured (one which was as much due to the new discoveries in geology and biology of his time as to his own thinking: as is obvious from the fact that no one in the history of earth had thought of it before... and then suddenly two guys did indepedently around the same time). He's worth remembering and learning about, not worshiping or demonizing.

Canonize Charles Darwin (2, Interesting)

Quirk (36086) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701910)

The Catholic Church will likely exercise the extend and embrace strategy it has in the past and canonize Darwin. St. Charles will have spoken the word of God and Darwin's works will find their way into the Bible.

Re:Canonize Charles Darwin (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702024)

That's also the way the Scientific Process works, incidentally. People who propose shockingly new theories are challanged to prove them. Many major new scientific discoveries are made by 'heretics' within the Scientific Community. Only later are said scientists heralded.

But, really, this whole discussion is about trashing religion, so don't let me interfere...

As a christian... (3, Insightful)

SisyphusShrugged (728028) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701921)

I am a christian and a scientist, one who does not find the belief in a cunctipotent deity incompatible with understanding and accepting scientific discoveries, To tell the truth more I learn about cosmology (singularities, string theory, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal, and other crazy ideas) and evolution the more my belief in God is reinforced. To me the individuals who hinder scientific progress in the name of God are reserving a place for themselves in the afterlife (by which I mean, a not very nice one! or maybe they will come back as a worm in the next life!)

Re:As a christian... (1)

iMaple (769378) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701961)

or maybe they will come back as a worm in the next life
This sounds like somthing taken straight out of Dune's Orange catholic (or something similar, I'm not sure)church scriptures :)

Re:As a christian... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14701989)

Seems to me that you have no idea what being a Christian is about, if you feel their views on science can have any impact on where they were headed.

I don't recall seeing it written that Jesus asked the man next to him on the cross "What do you feel about science?" when He said "Today you will join me in Heaven".

Look again at your claim to be a christian.. that's probably all it is.

Going to church on sunday makes you as much of a christian, as standing in a garage makes you an automobile.

Smart move... (2, Insightful)

Afecks (899057) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701931)

I see this as an attempt to prevent religion from becomming irrelevant. Smart christians know they can't force people to pick religion over science because science will always win in the long run. So instead they've twisted their views so that religion can encompass science. Pretty smart move for them but it will only slow the inevitable death of religion.

It would be so nice if we could just be good to each other without fear of reprisal from some imaginary father-figure. Being a good person by your own decision is much more noble than doing it because you were told to.

Re:Smart move... (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701996)

Why is it important to you that religion dies?

Re:Smart move... (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702036)


Pretty smart move for them but it will only slow the inevitable death of religion.

Well, I don't think it'll lead to the death of anything, except maybe some really bad view of the facts. Mostly this is because we don't live in a scientific culture, and very likely never will. To most people science is just a collection of facts, not a way of seperating truth from fiction. Even here on slashdot, the den of geekiness, there's a quite poor understanding of science.

But, even if we DID live in a culture of science I don't agree that science and religion are necessarily at odds. Judeo-Christian religions tend to put a lot of emphasis on explaining natural phenomenon. How was the universe created? What are those lights in the sky at night? Is it safe to eat that animal or not? What happens when I die? On those kind of questions they'll lose (and have lost) every single time. Religion clings to the same old ideas, and science actively tries to disprove itself and changes with new evidence. Where religions don't conflict with science (because science can't answer these questions) is the internal world of self. That includes morality, behaviour, etc. Science can't tell you if it's right or wrong to kill a guy for instance.

Pure Propaganda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14701933)

Just a way to make it look like "reasonable, main-stream" churches are doing it. Why not your church?

Why in the world would a congregation of ANY religion "celebrate" Darwin's, Einstein's, or any scientist's birthday?

(That's as stupid as the recent "celebrate diversity" crap - appreciate diversity? sure - but celebrate? - a bunch of meaningless rhetoric to stroke your liberal ego with. It even made it into at least the draft of the Iraqi constitution.)

I guarantee that the churches among the 450 "enlightened ones" are all liberal, PC, gays/women/whoever/whatever-ok-for-pastors types that would let Hillary or Bill Clinton as well as Ted Kennedy preach over the pulpit, and wet their pants in excitement. And the article writer is right there with them.

Even so, 450 churches doing something like this is hardly newsworthy. What percentage of churches does this represent?

Re:Pure Propaganda (1)

NiteShaed (315799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702062)

All of them are flamin' libruls, eh? Going to the Clergy Letter Website [uwosh.edu] lists quite a wide variety of endorsements from all sorts of Christian churches, and the list [uwosh.edu] of participating churches, while smaller, seems still to be quite a variety. Or is this a self-fulfilling thing on your part, where only liberal churches could do this so therefore all the churches listed are liberal churches?

It's Sunday (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14701949)

...oh that's right, Christian bashing day on Slashdot.

Mod me a troll for saying it, I don't care... so typical and so cliche.

It is a choice regardless of what the Churches say (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14701950)

"Christians have no need to choose between religion and science."

I beg to differ. The premise of religion is to accept that certain things are mysterious and cannot be investigated, or that certain things are true whether there is evidence for them or not.

The premise of science is that everything should be investigated, and that things are accepted as generally true only after evidence emerges for them, and that new evidence can change our perceptions of what is true.

Re:It is a choice regardless of what the Churches (1)

Laser Lou (230648) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702084)

I find that a so-called choice between religion and science to be moot. If something in particular is known to be true through science, then a religious statement contradicting it is pretty definitely invalid, or wrongly interpreted; choose one of the two. On the other hand, theological things that science really has no legitimate interest in is fair ground for religion. Religious claims of specific, non-repeatable acts, i.e. miracles, are fair too, but there's always to prospect that a deeper inspection may invalidate,or possibly support, a miraculous claim.

Darwinism, God, and Simulations (1)

v_1_r_u_5 (462399) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701953)

If you believe that computers will eventually be able to run complex simulations of our universe--complex enough to even simulate life--then you cannot simply dismiss the idea that we are ourselves part of a simulation ran by some higher being (namely, God). How the simulation derives life is irrelavant - be it darwinism, the big spaghetti monster, God, whatever. Darwinism does not have to conflict with the philosophy that a God created us in his own computer simulation.

I like /. posting articles like these (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701957)

With so much discussion regarding ID, FSM, Kansas, etc.... The 'religious crazies' that believe that crap really are in the vast minority. Most religious people don't have any problem with science, though when ID comes up all religious people get bashed.

Let me be the first to say... (0)

nbert (785663) | more than 8 years ago | (#14701973)

...boring! I mean it's not a topic at all among the vast majority of Christians around the world. There's just a small minority opposed to Darwin in the US, so people who are basically in the same camp feel the urge to show some sympathy for someone who had a good idea.
I usually don't troll at all and I don't intend this to be a troll, but I'm quite tired of defending an acknowledged idea against a small minority which believes that a book written 2000 years ago (roughly) has to be interpreted word by word. To me (as a believing protestant) that's just like the Pepsi vs. Coke campaign. Sorry for being so direct...

They're loud. (1)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702014)

They may be a minority, but they are a loud minority. And they are a loud minority which can incite the many in the larger majority of Christians to some extent.

When it comes down to boycotts or elections, that small minority can become awfully powerful if they have even a slight influence on the less-extreme majority.

Re:They're loud. (1)

nbert (785663) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702092)

very true, but to me it's just another reason for not paying any attention to the phenomenon. There's a saying "do not feed the trolls"....

Re:Let me be the first to say... (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702080)

The Bible isn't really 'a book written about 2000 years ago.' It is a collection of books, written over a fairly long stretch of time. And, interestingly, nothing about 'the new stuff' in the bible (the story of Christ, etc., that makes up the New Testament) was even written during Christ's time, it was all written considerably later. So the Bible really is a book explicitly NOT written about 2000 years ago. It is all older or newer than that.

450 out of.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14701979)

In response, some 450 Christian churches are celebrating Darwin's birth

So that takes covers my little town, now what about the other 200,000 churches?

Finally, some sense! (4, Interesting)

Aphrika (756248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702016)

As a Christian, and someone who's interested in science, how things work, biology and the like, I've never really had a problem with evolution and religion conflicting with each other. Equally, almost all other Christians I've met - and a lot of them are scientists or engineers, people that deal with fact - have likeminded views. In a lot of cases, many of us are baffled as to how this viewpoint that evolution is just 'wrong' came about.

It's nice to see people giving the issue some thought and prving that we're not all religious crackpots. I certainly don't believe the Bible to be 100% literal in its explanation of things to us. While my faith tells me that my God is a powerful force, I'm pretty sure that using the notion of 7 days of creation was a mechanism to get the idea across to people of that time. Do you really think people thousands of years ago would be able to grasp the notion of evolution? The book of Genesis would certainly be a few chapters longer...

The important point here though is that evolution is not creation. Both can co-exist quite happily.

Re:Finally, some sense! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14702030)

This is an interesting viewpoint. If you don't believe the Bible is 100% literally true, then how do you know what parts to believe and not believe? Is the part about Jesus just a story like the 7 days? If you're a Christian, it would seem that the answer for you is 'no,' but why do you accept this part and not the 7 days?

It just doesn't work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14702025)

First off, let me say that science and religion can indeed coexist. The Bible, thus far, has proven completely compatible with all modern science as we know it. However, I would not call Darwin's Theory of Evolution "science". Is it scientifically testable? To an extent. Has it been scientifically proven? Not by a long shot. So to regard the Theory of Evolution as scientific fact is the first error that many make.

Where I have the biggest problem is when people think evolution is compatible with the Bible. It just doesn't work. You can try to throw in whatever crap that you want in between the verses, but you still can't deny two little verses in Genesis, Chapter 2:

So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

I don't think Darwin's theory really says much about a guy getting cut open and having a bone removed, and a girl being made from that bone. Say what you want, but the fact of the matter is that those two verses absolutely CANNOT work alongside a theory of natural evolution. To call yourself a Christian and to support Darwin's theory is to compromise the system of beliefs and values that you base your life upon.

Thanks Zonk (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14702039)

Thanks for posting this just to stir up more flame wars. I wonder if Zonk's karma can be brought down for being nothing more than a troll himself. It's good to know the upper management of Slashdot feels the need to use Slashdot not to serve it's users but rather to push their own ideological/political agenda.

Whatever happened to the true geek apsect of slashdot? It's been replaced with the slashdot goose step where you're modded down for being anything less than a flaming liberal (and also losing your mod points). It's getting pretty old that a once great forum has been run into the ground by a handful of goons.

both sides are working on it (1)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702069)

People from both sides have to get it into their heads that the two sides (Darwinism vs. Creationism) are not necessarily diametrically opposed. As time progresses, the theories either get solidified, modified, or trashed. There's still a lot of time to figure out these things, and definitely no need to throw one side or the other out of the picture anytime soon.

one answer, please (1)

mbaudis (585035) | more than 8 years ago | (#14702093)

why is this in the "science", and not in the "politics" section? at least with the toxoplasma story http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/02/1 2/0738233 [slashdot.org] , there was a double mark that made sense (sci-fi) ... though it was more for the funnies ... Darwin "theory" articles are not funny; they just make the U.S. look odd.
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