Wednesday, February 19, 2014

On Evolution and G-d

I grew up in a (somewhat) conservative religious household with a scientist father and an opinionated engineer brother who was both extremely intelligent and (at the time) a fan of Christian talk radio.  I grew up watching people like Ken Ham tell me that evolution was a ridiculous idea, and that it was created by people with a secret agenda to manipulate people into atheism by trying to disprove G-d.   People in my social circle believed that there is a secret conspiracy among scientist to mislead the masses and disprove G-d using evolution.  My scientist father held a more moderate stance, disagreeing with evolution on scientific terms.

Honestly, there was no reason for me to believe in evolution.  I was taught that the evidence which supported evolution wasn't good.   This was supported by the fact that the only people that I knew who believed in evolution where not knowledgeable enough to address any of the concerns or critiques of the idea that I had been taught by my dad.  When "authorities" on the subject tried to teach me, they would use heuristic models such as the famous peppered moth experiment, or Darwin's finches.  They would try to trick me with examples such as representing horse evolution as orthogenic (proceeding in a linear fashion) when the reality is that horse evolution proceeds in an anagenic pattern (branching) and the horse fossils that they would put in sequence were actually on different branches of the phylogenetic tree.

These well intentioned misrepresentations of evolution only confirmed my doubts.  I would have continued in this fashion had I not began to study anthropology, where I was first exposed to legitimate evidence for evolution.  As I studied human evolution, I began to understand the principles, forces, and theories that described how evolution could and could not work.  By treating evolution as simple universal laws, which make the mechanisms of natural selection unavoidable, I began to see the truth in these arguments.

The arguments were not what I thought they were, and many of the critiques that I had did not really apply.  thought time I will reveal these critiques, and address them, but first I want to learn what you think are the conflicts between evolution and Christianity.  Please comment and tell me what you believe are the central inconsistencies or conflicts between evolution and religion.