Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time


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On ‘Darwin Day,’ many Americans begged to differ | csmonitor.com

Two centuries after the famed naturalist’s birth, more than 40 percent of Americans believe human beings were created by God in their present form, according to recent polls from Gallup and the Pew Research Center – a view impossible to reconcile with evolution propelled by natural selection.

Such creationist beliefs lack scientific merit, educators say, and in classrooms evolution reigns supreme. Opponents have tried an array of challenges over the decades, and the latest tactic recently scored its first major victory. It’s a tack that is changing the way the cultural battle over evolution is fought.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0212/p01s03-ussc.html


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The ‘Evidence for Belief’

The ‘Evidence for Belief’: An Interview with Francis Collins

If you see God as the creator of the universe – in all of its amazing complexity, diversity and awesome beauty – then science, which is, of course, a means of exploring nature, also becomes a means of exploring God’s creative abilities. And so, for me, as a scientist who is also a religious believer, research activities that look like science can also be thought of as opportunities to worship.


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How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution

July 1, 2008 | With biologist Richard Dawkins leading the way, many scientists today are locked in an unending match of whack-a-mole with Christian creationists, who insist that God created heaven, earth and humanity in its present form, and with disciples of intelligent design who want to expel evolution from its scientific prominence in public schools. If you’ve been following the battle, you might be inclined to believe that Americans are faced with a choice between believing in God and scientific fact.

In his new book, “Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution,” Karl Giberson calls this a false choice. A professor of physics at Eastern Nazarene College, and director of the Forum on Faith and Science at Gordon College, Giberson believes in evolutionary theory as adamantly as he does in God. For Giberson, evolution and Christianity are not in competition but complement one another. Holding equal disdain for creationists who read the Bible literally and scientists who disregard God altogether, Giberson seeks a middle way, and attempts to resuscitate Darwin’s reputation as both a religious man and a scientist. In conversation, Giberson possesses a boundless inquisitiveness typical of many scientists, but also displays the wry wit of a seasoned polemicist. He seems to know how to counteract your best arguments before you have even made them.

Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution | Salon Books

A must-read for anyone who wants to understand the basic struggle about evolution “v.” God.

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Ben Stein’s Blunder

In a new documentary film — Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed — the actor, game show host and financial columnist Ben Stein falls for the pseudoscience of Intelligent Design

Michael Schermer writes:

In 1974 I matriculated at Pepperdine University as a born-again Christian who rejected Darwinism and evolutionary theory, not because I knew anything about it (I didn’t) but because I thought that in order to believe in God and accept the Bible as true that you had to be a creationist. What I knew about evolution came primarily from creationist literature, so when I finally took a course in evolutionary theory in graduate school I realized that I had been hoodwinked. What I discovered is a massive amount of evidence from multiple sciences — geology, paleontology, biogeography, zoology, botany, comparative anatomy, molecular biology, genetics and embryology — demonstrating that evolution happened.

It was with some irony for me, then, that I saw Ben Stein’s anti-evolution documentary film, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, opens with the actor, game show host and speech writer for Richard Nixon addressing a packed audience of adoring students at Pepperdine University, apparently falling for the same trap I did.

Actually they didn’t. The biology professors at Pepperdine assure me that their mostly Christian students fully accept the theory of evolution. So who were these people embracing Stein’s screed against science? Extras. According to Lee Kats, Associate Provost for Research and Chair of Natural Science at Pepperdine, “the production company paid for the use of the facility just as all other companies do that film on our campus” but that “the company was nervous that they would not have enough people in the audience so they brought in extras. Members of the audience had to sign in and the staff member reports that no more than two to three Pepperdine students were in attendance. Mr. Stein’s lecture on that topic was not an event sponsored by the university.” And this is one of the least dishonest parts of the film. eSkeptic: April 17th, 2008