Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Clergy and evolution

Hat tip to Alison Thompson, sister of Dr. Andy for passing along the following article about Christian clergy being enlisted in the battle for evolution
Warren Eschbach, a retired Church of the Brethren pastor and professor at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania helped sponsor a letter signed by more than 10,000 other clergy.

"We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests," they wrote.

Catholic experts have also joined the movement.

"The intelligent design movement belittles God. It makes God a designer, an engineer," said Vatican Observatory Director George Coyne, an astrophysicist who is also ordained. "The God of religious faith is a god of love. He did not design me."
This seems like a great idea to me, dispelling the idea that evolution is somehow incompatable with Christianity.

Wonder what my anonymous commentor will think?


At 6:25 PM, Anonymous Medic-of-one said...

It'll take decades for the shift to be made, and even then, it will still never be accepted by a 'scopes-trial fringe'

At 7:49 PM, Blogger Flea said...


It's not so simple a question of "Who did or didn't design me".

I respectfully refer you to a terrific piece by David Berlinksi.

The latter has made a career of skewering Darwinian Evolution from a non-creationist angle.

Great stuff!



At 10:22 PM, Blogger ollie said...


I see it this way: if one wants to make a name for themselves in the classic sciences (with peer review standards) the line is very long and the competition stiff.

On the other hand, the lines on the crackpot side are much shorter and the competition less able. :-)

BTW, in the Arkansas "equal time" trial of the 1980's, it was the clergy that filed suit to stop it. They did it for several reasons, including religious ones.

At 11:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For alternative views among the Brethren, see here and here, and here.

At 8:02 PM, Blogger Dr. Andy said...

Flea, I did my best to read the article and came to the following conclusions
1. Clearly, Intelligent Design proponents, Berlinski in this instance, use the dual strategies of burying the reader in esoteric detail and focusing on areas of uncertainty or controversy in current understanding of evolution to try and invalidate the whole enterprise
2. Berlinski is a Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute, so I don't see him as anything other than a creationist, although honestly I don'th think intelligent design is anything other than creationism dressed up
3. ID/creationism needs to come up with advocates who can express themselves clearly if they want to be taken seriously. It's concievable I am just not smart enough to understand his arguments, but I generally am wary of essays in which the conclusion doesn't summarize things in a way I can even remotely understand.

I'd summarize my reaction to Berlinski (who honestly I'd never heard of before) with this comment I found on another blog

As it nears the end, it simply peters out, lost in a ever growing mass of verbiage whose major purpose seems to be to disguise from the reader Berlinski's failure and the reasons for it

Anonymous, I didn't mean to imply all Christian Clergy were evolution supporters, merely that some were

At 1:39 PM, Blogger Stephen said...

It makes sense to ask clergy to help. A Master of Divinity degree typically requires learning ancient greek. This isn't easy. These people aren't stupid. So it doesn't take much effort to show them that ID is stupid, by and large. The Roman Catholics exhonorated Galileo, so it's mostly Protestants that need to show that they are not on board with Creationism. The clergy have the tools to see what poor theology Creationism really is, and will know isn't any conflict of interest. That said, Creationism is mostly an American Protestant phenomenon. Protestants need to show that it is a minority Protestant phenomenon.

At 1:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 12:56 AM, Anonymous daser said...

Who neeed evolution, we need revolution Dr :-)



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