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View Diary: MORE prominent Christians COOL with Evolution (and a little on why we don't hear about them) (143 comments)

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  •  The Catholic Church (10+ / 0-)

    has no problem with evolution. I know the Church has often been on the forefront of efforts to suppress science, but nowadays the official position is that evolution is almost certainly correct. But then Catholics don't take the Adam and Eve story literally, either.

    Please visit:

    by Noisy Democrat on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 05:34:10 AM PDT

    •  My qualm with evolution (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JBL55, linkage, Fiona West, dirkster42

      as a religion is the deification of "survival of the fittest".  One can see it seep into medicine.  It seems to make sense, until we decide who is worthy of life.  Very,very,very slippery slope.  Darwin was a vehement Racist (with a capital R)  See A black woman wrote the book, and she has little nice to say about the father of eugenics, or his attitude of the worthlessness of blacks, who, based on his non-scientific notions, decided that they were most related to the gorilla.  

      I was raised Catholic. No body thought a thing about evolution. It was just accepted.  Maybe my school was more liberal than most.

      Have some peanut butter....Romney's toast.

      by rosabw on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 06:11:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I read Janet Browne's two volume (7+ / 0-)

        biography of Darwin and saw nothing that would support this charge of racism. See link below for details.

      •  Your lack of knowlege is noted (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        linkage, Kevskos, dirkster42

        when you use the phrase "evolution as a religion".

        Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

        by milkbone on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 07:23:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Miss Brooks says, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          linkage, dirkster42
          "Darwin's evolutionary design included placing humans in categories based on skin color and other physical traits.  Darwin determined that Africans, especially those with the darkest skin color, were a sub-species of human, an intermediate intermediate man.  The break, between a fully-evolved white man and the ape.  This led Darwin to assume that intelligence and moral capabilities were decided by race as well.  For that reason, he placed the white race at the "summit" of human intelligence and moral capacity and the bottom were darker skinned people, having the lowest intelligence and moral capability.  In the area of intelligence, Darwin assumed that blacks were incapable of reaching the same level of intelligence as whites.  And in the area of moral capacity, he decided that blacks were amoral and thus unable to tell the difference between right and wrong.   Furthermore, he said that blacks could neither understand nor reciprocate "complex emotions" such as love and compassion."
          A.P.Brooks is a friend of mine.  She became so when I read her book and was astounded at the wisdom she had.   She goes on to describe Darwin:
          In support of his racial science, Darwin compared the sloping skull, dark skin (face, feet, hands) and other features of black people with the gorilla.  By this comparison, Darwin concluded that  black people were closest to the gorilla and chimpanzee making them neither fully ape nor completely human.  This basically summed up his proof in support of his racial theories.
          You an ape man, milkbone?

          Maybe you should read Origin of the Species.

          Have some peanut butter....Romney's toast.

          by rosabw on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 07:51:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Again, the only people who claim (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dirkster42, Kevskos

            that anyone "worships" evolution are lying, ignorant creationists.

            Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

            by milkbone on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 08:26:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  techinically, milkbone IS an ape man (5+ / 0-)

            humans are primates, as are apes.

            Some of the things you're describing aren't in The Origin of Species, and the concept of "survival of the fittest" long predates Darwin by millenia. Also, your friend is wrong. Darwin rejected the idea that different "races" came from different ape-like animals and correctly deduced that we all (as a species) have a common ancestry (with each other and that of the Great Apes like Gorillas, Chimpanzees, et cetera), which we do.

            pseudoscience can kill

            by terrypinder on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 09:04:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yet even today.... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              to belittle a black man, the ignorant will characterize him as Darwin did.

              Do you deny that eugenics is based on Darwin's theories?  

              Have some peanut butter....Romney's toast.

              by rosabw on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 09:57:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well... (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dirkster42, Matthias, Kevskos, JosephK74

                ... the father of eugenics, Frances Galton, took evolution in some directions that have been widely discredited. A more modern view (since evolution has undergone at least a half-dozen revolutions since Darwin) would point out that genetic diversity across a population is a good thing because it's difficult to predict a priori which traits might be adaptive over hundreds of generations. A molecular biologist would point out that the classifications of race used by the U.S. Census have no genetic justification because the genetic analysis identifies three clades in modern Africa and only one for the rest of the world. The behaviorist contemporaries of Galton were no less influenced by Darwin, and pointed out that eugenics only works if you can establish that socio-economic status is a genetic trait rather than an environmental one.

                •  It had little to do with socio-economics (0+ / 0-)

                  and more to do with biological fitness.

                  Have some peanut butter....Romney's toast.

                  by rosabw on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 10:31:25 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Pardon? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Eugenics certainly had a lot to do with socioeconomic status since the whole thesis was that low socioeconomic status was a genetic problem and therefore should be fixed by limiting reproduction among the lower classes.

                    Other biologists took a look at the same theory and criticized the assumption that socioeconomic status was actually correlated to biological fitness.  

              •  There is a distinct racist (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                terrypinder, Kevskos

                history to evolutionary theory, which is a different thing than saying that evolutionary theory is inherently racist.

                In the nineteenth-century, you had people like Joseph LeConte, a nineteenth-century professor of biology at UC Berkeley, and Alexander Winchell, a proponent of Darwinism in the Methodist Church, using evolutionary theories to make and support explicitly racist arguments.  For the Nazi's evolutionary theory reinforced their ideas of racial superiority.  That is part of the historical record, and one that liberals need to grapple with as part of proclaiming ourselves "reality-based."

                On the other hand, you have one of the premier evolutionary scientists of the twentieth century, Stephen Jay Gould, making a case, again based on evolutionary theory, that really destroys any basis for racism, in The Mismeasure of Man.  Just because the theory of evolution was applied toward justifying slavery doesn't make it inherently racist.  Christianity was used to justify slavery - and to resist it.  Things in this world aren't that simple.

                Scientists don't take other scientists as authorities - they just work with the findings.  Darwin is significant because he synthesized the findings to a remarkable extent (though Alfred Wallace almost beat him to it), not because he had the last word on the topic.

                I'd have to do more research on this, but it would be interesting to see how many scientists were developing anti-racist arguments before the Civil Rights movement.

                -9.38/-7.69 If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

                by dirkster42 on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 10:30:56 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  More interesting might be (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  determining who sees themselves as the pinnacle of creation (not to be taken literally...) today?

                  dirkster42, I've always been a proponent of the theory of evolution, found it beautiful and elegant, but never really saw the dark side, until I looked into the T-4 Aktion.  

                  Ms. Brooks book was simple in it's presentation, but profound in it's thought.  I think we have to be careful.  I think she presented ideas in a way to heal her people, to start a new conversation.  We are so ethnocentric, when most of us, being European, are hardly removed from the barbarians we came from just a few hundred years ago.  I loved it.  I want to buy it for every black kid I know and say look at your come from far more elegant stock.  She presented her ideas out of an innocence that just knocked me over.  There is no shame in being dark skinned.

                  For the Nazi's evolutionary theory reinforced their ideas of racial superiority.
                  If we refuse to see science or religion with clear eyes, we do ourselves a profound disservice.  The masses are easily manipulated either way.  I can see you are a thinker, not a reactor.

                  Have some peanut butter....Romney's toast.

                  by rosabw on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 10:46:23 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I try to think and not react. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Some days are better than others. :)

                    -9.38/-7.69 If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

                    by dirkster42 on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 10:58:26 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I'm sorry, too (true confession time) (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      I took advantage of you...I just read this book, and you know how you just have to give a shout out to some people?  I just love the way this woman thinks, this woman writes.  She is basically a "nobody" and a "know-nothing" like me.  You've been very kind. I just saw the subject and it seemed like perfect timing.

                      Back to your earlier scheduled diary.  Thanks.

                      Have some peanut butter....Romney's toast.

                      by rosabw on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 11:10:14 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  no, but all life on this planet (0+ / 0-)

                is because of evolution and that's all there is to it. I'm glad Darwin put it together.

                pseudoscience can kill

                by terrypinder on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 11:18:46 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Lots of people were sexist back then too. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kevskos, JosephK74

            He reflected the cultural stupidity and racism that existed openly in the time he belonged.  It was culturally normal in that time.  Cultural thinking is difficult to change quickly.

            Anyway, the scientific community has moved on quite a bit from there (Guns, Germs and Steel is an amazing book that anyone who claims racism is scientific ought to read).

            Anyway, the racist claims in the scientific community have disappeared.  Give me one prominent biologist, historian or anthropologist who is a racist jackass and I'll show you 20 that aren't.  Evolutionary thinking has moved on.

            Anyway, the people who founded the United States had some pretty stupid thoughts about slavery.  I mean, that's kind of difficult to reconcile.  It doesn't mean the United States is an evil country.  It doesn't mean we have to defend that history as if we want it to come back.

        •  consider what religion is (0+ / 0-)

          and how evolution as an organizing principle is used, and reflect on the possibility that the phrase might be more accurate than you imply.

          Are the goals of its supporters that different?

          Your implicit ridicule is noted when you use the phrase "lack of knowledge".

          Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good. ~ Romans 12:21

          by Mickquinas on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 10:33:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Too Narrow (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Please note that evolution is only ONE process created by God.  Evolution is consistent with the description of creation in the Bible, if one understands evolution as the process of that creation, but evolution is not the end of the story.  Admitting that evolution played a role, even a major role, in the creation of Genesis does not require that one adopt the view that evolution is God's ONLY process and/or capability with respect to mankind.

      •  Ought/Is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dirkster42, Kevskos

        Not many people consider evolution a moral or social law, and indeed, why should it? Nature gives us a multitude of reproductive strategies from communalism to parasitism. Evolution is no more a moral or social imperative than the theory of gravitational attraction, and yet, we still jump, dance, and make flying machines.

      •  I've read "On the Origin of Species" (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dirkster42, Matthias, Kevskos, JosephK74

        The only place he even implies a connection of his theory with human beings is in the last (or next-to-last) sentence in the book. Darwin was fully aware of how religious types were going to take that implication, and how it would distress the faithful. The book itself just doesn't support your argument.

        Of course, I'm not entirely certain just what your argument is. If you mean to say that because Darwin held racist views we ought reject his theory, then let me point out that in the 1860s a large majority of white people everywhere held those same, or similar, views. How is Darwin's racism supposed to invalidate his theory? It's pretty irrelevant to the science.

        As to the charge that evolution is attempting to fill the religion's ecological niche, it seems to do so only for some people. The catch-phrase "survival of the fittest" tends to used only by those who disapprove of the concept of evolution, but are ignorant of what the modern theories are. The phrase is also popular with certain social Darwinists, most of whom tend to vote Republican. But social Darwinism has absolutely nothing to do with the biological sciences, and can be dismissed as simple hand-waving used by social dominators to justify their prejudices. Real scientists are very, very leery of the phrase.

        Evolution is really only a threat to those who feel that they must take every single word in the Bible literally. If one is not a biblical literalist, then evolution offers a compelling explanation of how life on this planet changed over time.

        The whole point of society is to be less unforgiving than nature. - Arthur D. Hlavaty

        by Alice Venturi on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 10:08:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  "Survival of the Fittest" (5+ / 0-)

        "Survival of the Fittest" is what people know about evolutionary theory when they know nothing else.

        That is sad, because it was not Darwin's formulation. I've seen it attributed to "Social Darwinism.

        What Darwin taught was natural selection. It might be called "survival of those who fit best." For example, as the skies in England turned smoky, one species of moth turned from white to grey. This is almost the only evolutionary change one can see over so short a period. Obviously, neither color was intrinsically superior. Each was more appropriate for a particular environment.

        But this suggests that the successful man just might be successful because he fits into a particular society. Which wrecks Social Darwinism, and shows how far that is from real Darwinism.

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