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13 May 2009

Does Evolution Contradict Religion?

With the work I have been doing lately on the Facts, not Fantasy site, I have been just doing a lot of research. Now, to be honest, I am quite the anti-theist type of person, but since that site is supposed to be more educational, I am taking a much more neutral approach to the conflict between science and religion. So I was interested in this particular article I found. Especially considering that the writer is also an avowed atheist, and writes about it a great deal more than I do.

Here is the text of the article:
Does Evolution Contradict Religion?

This is a very important and fundamental question; there is so much debate in America over evolution and the nature of life that it is worth considering whether or not the theory of evolution contradicts religious beliefs. However, the question is also too broad. There is no such thing as "religious beliefs," without context or content.

Because of this, the only way to really answer the question is to say: sometimes yes, sometimes no. Evolution does contradict certain religious beliefs and even at times, certain religions. Evolution is also readily compatible with other religious beliefs and other religions. Indeed, it should be noted that there does not appear to be any contradiction between evolution and any one entire religious tradition.

The reason for this is that any large religious tradition with much of a history behind it will contain enough variety that even if there are groups which object to evolution, there will be groups which either welcome or simply ignore evolution. Sometimes this multiplicity of ways in which a religion can be interpreted may be a source of embarrassment - after all, it is hard to claim a religion to be True when there is so little agreement as to just what the religion really is.

On the other hand, it is also a principle of evolution that those individuals which are best able to adapt to changing environments are the most likely to survive, reproduce, and pass on their genes. Perhaps it also true for belief systems - those with the widest internal variety are best able to adapt to changing social circumstances and pass themselves along to succeeding generations. It may be difficult for some religions and some religious traditions to survive in the scientific environment of evolutionary theory, but not impossible.

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