A writer colleague of mine and I had an email discussion over my book concept - making peace between evolution and Christianity.
He wrote, "I survive through a concept of existentialism and a belief in God’s holy mystery" followed by a great explanation of existentialism... and then "Such as it is with my view of scientific explanations evolution, young earth creationists, the Gnostic Gospels, or the place of Mary Magdalene in the rank of the original apostles. My “existentialist belief” is that each subject is interesting, a worthwhile exercise of human intelligence, but ultimately irrelevant to the Holy Mystery of Creation and Its Creator — the Unknowable Concept existing outside of what we perceive as the universe."
He also blogged the whole discussion at http://www.garypresley.net/ in the 4/30/07 entry.
My response is that I mostly agree. I agree that evolution is not ultimately directly relevant to the Holy Mystery of Creation which will always be on some level unknowable in terms of the role God played - or didn't. But I believe that in current affairs, the issue of evolution is vastly more important, though, than the place of Mary Magdalene as an apostle or the Gnostic gospels, etc.
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm, from Nov 2005, (the panel includes several Nobel Laureates) states:
"Having reviewed trends in the United States and abroad, the committee is deeply concerned that the scientific and technical building blocks of our economic leadership are eroding at a time when many other nations are gathering strength. … We fear the abruptness with which a lead in science and technology can be lost- and the difficulty of recovering a lead once lost-if indeed if can be regained at all."
In many respects, science education is floundering in the U.S.. The latest polls show between 45-53% of the U.S. public reject evolution. Many studies show a lack of critical thinking skills among the public, including the college educated. I've met several teachers that shy away from teaching evolution for fear of being called "spawn of the devil" among other things.
Evolution is not just a hypothesis, or "just a theory," it is foundational to biology. There are dozens of university "departments of ecology and evolutionary biology," and hundreds of thousands of scientific peer-reviewed studies published over the past 200 years on various aspects of evolution. You don't have whole departments about "the Gnostic gospels" or "Mary Magdalene." So even if evolution's role in the Holy Mystery of Creation falls into this same general category of a Holy Mystery, I still believe that the situation with evolution elevates it to a higher level of importance in today's world, for practical purposes.
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