Eden and Evolution

Eden and Evolution is an article by Shankar Vedantam in the Washington Post. It starts out with an irritatingly positive-sounding description of a young “Creation Science” biologist presenting a specious distortion of what she was supposed to be teaching (eg “No one has ever seen a dog turn into a cat in a laboratory.” as evidence against macroevolution), and concludes with the following:
< < Peter Lipton, a University of Cambridge historian and philosopher, said the only way he has found to reconcile the factual evidence for evolution with religious faith is to think of religious texts as novels, texts in which believers can emotionally immerse themselves, while still knowing, at another level, that the truth claims being made are not literally true. Russell Stannard, a religious physicist and the British director of the fellowship where Lipton spoke to a group of journalists, bristled at the idea. "I can't see how a Christian can approach the New Testament as a novel," he said. "Whether there is a Resurrection or not is not the stuff of novels -- it is supposed to be historical fact." "Maybe I am asking less of religion than you are," Lipton replied. "Think of all the worldly benefits you derive from religion -- they are benefits that might or might not be divinely caused. I get those benefits; I don't think they are divinely caused." I asked Lipton whether he was trying to have his cake and eat it, too. He admitted he was: "Here I am in a synagogue on a Saturday morning, and I say the prayers and say all these things to God and engage with God, and yet I don't believe God exists. As I am saying that prayer, I recognize it as being a statement to God. I understand it literally, and it has meaning because of the human sentiments it expresses. I am standing saying this prayer that my ancestors said, with feeling and intention, those things are moving to me. What I am saying is, maybe that is enough." >>
How sad… and how evil! to lend credibility to beliefs that one knows to be false and which others hold true and thereby lose their humanity by delegating their moral judgement to the self-proclaimed guardians of the faith.

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