For some reason the theory of evolution seems to raise the hackles of some fundamentalist Christian groups. Other Christians accept the theory of evolution and still find room for God in their worldview. I certainly don’t want to speak for either group, but perhaps the side that each group comes down on is directly correlated to how strictly they interpret the Bible. Because if you literally believe that God formed Adam from the dust of the Earth on the sixth day of Creation, and Eve maybe in the late afternoon from one of Adam’s ribs, then it’s probably got to be nigh impossible to also believe that humankind evolved. And if humans didn’t evolve, then the whole theory has to be wrong.
The human brain does a pretty good job with cognitive dissonance. But two ways the human race came into being? It’s too much, and it would force a person to reject something. Hm. What to choose. Reject God? Nah. Too drastic. Reject Christianity? Nah. Too scary. Reject the literal interpretation of the Bible? Nah. Too chaotic. Reject evolution? There you go. And science itself is responsible for providing the weasel words to make it all possible: it’s only a theory.
But that’s where they usually stop. They learn just enough about the science to find a way to reject it, and then refuse to research any more into it. The “only a theory” argument is so easy to debunk it’s laughable. Yet it still continues to be effective. The problem? Science–as a discipline–is too humble. Not that there aren’t haughty scientists. But the idea that science is always changing its mind about things is pretty powerful, and is a great tool in the hands of those who wish to reject its current findings.
You can latch onto the idea that the truth you’ve been taught about God is the perfect truth, and that secular science can only ever approximate that truth. So these poor scientists who have no faith are trying their best to understand the world but you know, they just can’t get there without God. And so they come up with these crazy ideas, often based on their agenda to remove God from society, and then do their best to reject, censor, and hide any data that might disprove their pet theory. But someday the truth of God will be known by all. It’s only a matter of time.
You know, you can almost see the logic in that approach. Just don’t learn any of the actual details about the science you want to reject. Because then it gets messy.
These evolution-rejecting fundamentalists love to say it’s only a theory. But don’t bother trying to explain what the word theory means. Don’t pull out the polysyllabic word hypothesis on them, either. Just say, “Yes. Science uses the technical term theory for the large body of evidence supporting evolution. Just as it uses the same word regarding gravity. And the Earth revolving around the sun? Only another theory. And while we’re on the subject, I’m sure you know the word science uses to describe Christianity: myth.”
Let science be humble. But you don’t have to be. That’s my theory.