Did Darwin Kill God? Documentary Summary

*This information was quoted directly from ‘Did Darwin Kill God’ by Conor Cunnigham…I am using it to show that Evolution and Christianity can work in unity.

The show reveals a timeline for Christian belief in Creationism – and for the original non-belief in it:

  • Philo of Alexandria (1st century Jewish philosopher) – believed that where contradictions appear a deeper meaning was at work and was the passages were not to be taken at ‘face value’ (this included Genesis 1 and 2 namely)
  • Augustine (4th century bishop) – Quote “it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of scripture, talking nonsense on these topics’ (The Literal Meaning of Genesis)
  • James Ussher (Reformation minister) – The first person to calculate the genealogies of the bible as literal and came up with a date for the creation of the earth (Oct 22, 4004 BCE). Wouldn’t have been much of a big deal but this little ditty made it into the KJV bible linear notes for many years (widely read in Europe)
  • William Paley (British Apologist) – wrote the watchmaker analogy in 1802 “the argument states that design implies a designer” (Wikipedia – Watchmaker analogy)
  • The Genesis Flood (1961) – written by Henry Morris and John Whitcomb – proposed a scientifically accurate account and explanation for the flood via literal biblical means
  • Intelligent Design Movement (1987) – Re-creation of Paley’s idea for the 20th and 21st Centuries

The invention of the intelligent design movement only finds it roots as far back as the Reformation and only really caught it’s ‘fire’ in the American Evangelical movements in the early 20th century (1920’s) and again the mid 20th century (1960’s). But if we go back in history the earliest reports on Genesis never make points about literalism about a mythological/allegorical account.

In the same time frame as Darwin proposed evolution the European Victorian society around him was already well acquainted with sceintific discovery – the same system that helped produce a Darwin in the first place. According to Peter Corsi (Oxford professor) geology was a well established science in Victorian England within a faith system (Anglicanism) and within 20 years of evolution the idea of 6 day creationism belief was on the ‘lunatic fringe’.

Darwin developed the ‘Origin of Species’ in Nov 1859 about the common ancestry to the evolution of life. The idea that this ‘shattered Christianity’ is all but a hoax. What it did smash was a small community’s belief in literal translation of Genesis – which was a small exterior crowd in Britain. In fact, Catholic Bishop John Henry Newman and Anglican Bishop Charles Kingsley (within 9 years of the publishing of ‘Origin’) called it a ‘larger idea of divine providence and skill’ and ‘a noble conception of deity’.

According to Nick Spencer (who wrote ‘Darwin and God’) the pivotal moment that caused Darwin’s faith to crash was the death of his daughter (Annie) at the age of 10. The same problem of suffering that many faiths wrestle with on a daily basis in every generation…not evolution.

2 Darwin quotes worth recognition surrounding the ‘Origin of Species’ (taken from documentary):

  • “There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been and are being evolved’
  • “It seems to me absurd to doubt a man may be an ardent theist and evolutionist”

Many current scientists and philosophers agree with Darwin, theism and evolution are not in throws of chaos. Francis Collins (DNA genome project) who studied the depths of dna remains a devouted Christian. Michael Ruse (philosopher/athiest – Florida State University) see’s a ‘false dichotomy’ at play. Ruse thinks people use their backgrounds to define their philsophical leanings – whether in atheism or theism – science proves nothing concerning God.

Ultra Darwinism toys with theories like the ‘selfish gene’ and ‘memetic theory’ to prove ‘no God’. However, the greatest dna scientists admit this may not be exact about genes (since a grape has more genes than we do). And mimetic theory may have a serious flaw; if memes are merely transmissions of illusion – who is to be sure what meme is more accurate – religion or science? Maybe both memes are illusions which merely survived and not to be trusted over one another.

Simon Conway Morris (paleobiologist – Cambridge) notices from varying evolutionary streams (ie: birds, humans, whales) the element of ‘song’. The supposition is that evolution is to be used a ‘search engine’ with Darwinism as the algorithm in discovering something that may be ‘pre-existent’.

One needs to remember science changes, Newton’s physics as a great example. Evolution as a science is open-ended and provisional…so how can that kill God?

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15 thoughts on “Did Darwin Kill God? Documentary Summary

  1. Evolution doesnt kill the concept of a creator. The thing that kills Christianity(IMO) is the actual stories. They just are too contradictory and fanciful to be believable on any level other than pure fiction. The same is true for any other religions(IMO).

  2. “Did Darwin Kill God?”

    Good question. In my blog http://darwin-killed-god.blogspot.com/ I obviously say “YES”.

    The facts of evolutionary biology (and every other branch of science) have left the magic god fairy with nothing to do. Of course there never was any god fairy to kill, but evolution has most certainly made the god hypothesis unnecessary, unless some idiot wants to believe in a worthless magic man.

    Evolution wasn’t even necessary to kill the god idea. God is just another word for magic, and only uneducated insane gullible morons believe in magic.

  3. “Francis Collins (DNA genome project) who studied the depths of dna remains a devouted Christian.”

    Nice example. Collins is a wacko, about equal to the worst fundamentalist or Muslim terrorist. You know any god-soaked scientists who aren’t insane? I didn’t think so.

    • Human Ape, here’s someone you should check out, someone I guarantee you cannot call a “wacko”, “fundamentalist”, “uneducated insane gullible moron” or whatever other insults you like to hurl at folks who might not think the same way you do (by the way, in your opinion, would you consider calling people names “educated”?). But I digress, this mans name is Denis Lamoureux and he is an ‘evolutionary creationist’ and teaches at St. Joseph’s College, University of Alberta. Oh, he also has three, count ’em, three Ph.d’s.

      At any rate, if you’re not *totally* close-minded you might be able to glean some wisdom from such a fellow!

      • “Oh, he also has three, count ‘em, three Ph.d’s.”

        A professional student. I’m not impressed.

        Evolutionary creationist? Sounds like an idiot to me. Creationism = magic. That’s an idea for retarded children.

      • Since when did accepting reality and only reality make a person “close-minded”? You god-soaked weirdos are so open-minded your brains fell out.

      • “Sounds like an idiot to me. Creationism = magic. That’s an idea for retarded children.” (Human Ape)

        Well your one opinion – and one that underplays education (not sure that is helpful). I am willing to bet most people on here, Christian and Atheist, have some pretty good educations…should we start underplaying theirs too?

        As for creation being for retarded children, at least they could potentially understand and even appreciate ‘magic’…ever try explaining evolution to someone retarded?

  4. Darwin got talked into using “by the Creator”. It wasn’t his idea. I can’t believe you would use Darwin to defend the stupidity of the god idea. Darwin was about as atheist as a person can get. He used the word “god” exactly zero times in all of his books. That was intentional. The only reason he never called himself an atheist is because he feared upsetting his extremely religious wife.

    Another idiotic example: “Michael Ruse (philosopher/athiest”

    I never met a philosopher who wasn’t full of shit.

  5. I think a bitter, religion hater with little of what I deem compassion has appeared on your blog, Jason. hopefully, as I did, he will mellow with age…

  6. The facts of evolutionary biology (and every other branch of science) have left the magic god fairy with nothing to do(Human Ape)

    Hey Monkey

    What started Evolution?

  7. “Evolution wasn’t even necessary to kill the god idea. God is just another word for magic, and only uneducated insane gullible morons believe in magic” (Human Ape)

    That’s a pretty simple view of people of any faith, I can’t believe how one stranded that thinking is. It’s your choice, I think it’s as ignorant as the stuff you propose about Christians and people within religions. I am guessing you think this about pretty much any area of humanities study – since you knock both religion and philosophy?

    “Nice example. Collins is a wacko, about equal to the worst fundamentalist or Muslim terrorist. You know any god-soaked scientists who aren’t insane? I didn’t think so.” (Human Ape)

    You can consider Collins a wacko, no probs, but he did help humanity (including you) understand the human genome. This has resulted in new breaks for science and new routes to look into for treating diseases. Now if that’s crazy?

    As for any god-soaked scientists that aren’t insane, Collins is one. Had he been ‘insane’ he would be sitting in a prison and not in scientific position of high authority. Which would likely be of higher authority than you are I in any field we are likely in…making us less than insane on the intellectual side of it.

    “Darwin got talked into using “by the Creator”.” (Human Ape)

    Even if this were true, what does it matter – Darwin still made the claim It seems to me absurd to doubt a man may be an ardent theist and evolutionist”. You see a problem with science and faith, not Darwin, and not many people in the science community.

    Darwin was an atheist or agnostic, no doubts there – I make that claim in this very blog! I am not saying Darwin is defending Christianity or atheism, personally I could care less if he defended either, but that he saw no problem with theists being evolutionists (fact)…because when he started his journey for the ‘Origin of Species’ he was an Anglican.

    “He used the word “god” exactly zero times in all of his books. That was intentional” (Human Ape)

    Of course it is, he was talking about natural selection and not theology. Why in the world would he even mention God one time – it’s not a search for God but for the process of evolution and a scientific theory. I don’t know why this is strange at all, he presented this to a scientific panel in Victorian England – amongst many religious people – and they did not reject it. It was not as much a blast as people want to think it was.

    That all being said, the blog is about the fact a Christian can be a scientist and believe in evolution – which Conor Cunnigham does and did a documentary on. You might disagree with the concept – but it’s a real phenomenon and has been since science (as a field of study) has been on this planet.

    The history is all there concerning Genesis and the movements into literalism – which are the edges of the debate and not the actual meat of it. If you wanna debate the edges – feel free – but that’s only symptomatic of the ‘made up’ clash between science and religion that has sprung up in the 20th century in America. So let’s at least remain on point about this.

  8. Can a Christian be a scientist and believe in evolution? Yes, it happens all the time. But I personally think it is an oxymoronic relationship and certainly not a symbiosis of thought. One idea is actively defeating the other on a continual basis. The two ideas are often incompatible and cannot be disseminated equally in a belief system or in a thought process. One idea, or hypothesis, will be hegemonic over the other and one will ultimately win out in the end (regardless of what the hard data and evidence says).

    But the reason why religion and science can coexist in a single mind is because science is in no way a faith-based pursuit (it relies only on evidence). And it demands no rigid moral absolutes from the scientist (it is not totalitarian in its scope). Science is wholly dependent on personal research and then discovery of evidence that supports and/or disproves hypotheses and most hypotheses are totally scrapped in favour of a better evidences; religion has never done this.

    Let us also be clear on this point. There is no good scientist or scientific field that has ever set out as a path and goal to totally debunk religion. But we can honestly say that all religions have at one time been hostile to scientific research and ideas; many religions still are hostile. Furthermore it is only religious believers that have actively attempted to lessen scientific knowledge among their greater society.

  9. “I never met a philosopher who wasn’t full of shit.”

    This argument and logic is both asinine and ridiculous. It presupposes that you have met every single philosopher in the entire history of the world and have actively debunked their philosophies at the same time. This is highly unlikely.

    In truth, all kernels of knowledge start of as a mere hypothesis (whether scientific or not) and then they move into theory, all of which are philosophically based.

    Here is what philosophy actually means and it not some weird abstract idea: “the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.”

    Philosophy is a search for a rational truth. Does that not also encompass modern science?

    • Furthermore, the search for sound rational truths would not even exist in the human species if it were not for the history and mental discoveries of all streams of classical and modern philosophy; regardless if you accept every philosophy which no one can do. Scientific discoveries and their hard data represent a clear logical step in the human pursuit of rational truth and even in our evolution as a species.

      We are no longer willing to accept untested thoughts as mere fact, we need sound evidence; good philosophy has attempted to do the same throughout our existence and good philosophy has debunked its share of irrational behaviours and thoughts in our species.

  10. “The two ideas are often incompatible and cannot be disseminated equally in a belief system or in a thought process” (Johnny)

    I don’t think that is true at all. It’s like saying the world is ‘black’ and ‘white’ and while black becomes the more prominent color white becomes less the prominent color. Your concept is true if religion and science are at actual loggerheads and when one gets something right the other side loses something. This is not true at all.

    Sure Creationism/Intelligent Design want to propogate this as the actual case (religion vs. science) but they are using a ‘literal’ translation of books that even the oldest people that used these books (ie: rabbi’s or early Christians) wouldn’t have done. It’s a ‘false dichotomy’…false in the sense that the the ideas are not mutually exclusive (belong to one not the other) nor are they jointly exhaustive (all or nothing).

    Intelligent Design is plainly ‘wrong’ and not based on the best science available. It’s a proposition of an idea to make it seem more like there is a certain type of ‘designer’. Fact is, even if there was a designer – he/she seems to be working through our modern science in many ways.

    I think my best understanding of how evolution and faith can co-exist is in the music example from the paleobiologist. Music can be found in many species – who all took various paths of evolution. The findings on music is they are similar – from melodies to even playing drums. Evolution can be seen as revealing this in many species – in this sense it is a ‘search engine’. It leaves question that are open-ended about the ‘origination’ of these similarities…the wonder of it is still the wonder of it.

    I see this throughout evolution, a dynamic process that was allowed to work in a way that developed so nice and orderly. That’s weird isn’t it?

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