Evolution and Religion Compatible?

This is an age-old question.  Can one have both faith and reason?  If so, how does one draw the line between where one uses reason and logic, based on the facts of reality vs. where one accepts divine revelations in dreams and ancient dogma written in scrolls thousands of years ago?

It was to marry faith and reason that Immanual Kant dedicated his work in philosophy.

The two can’t be integrated, because they are based diametrically opposite methods.  Reason is based on observing reality, using logic, identifying the truth, and acting accordingly.

Faith is based on ignoring reality, accepting dogma or whims, believing just because, and acting on this mush.

Reason gave us the Rennaissance, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and our current Information Age.  Faith gave us the Medeival Age, Jihad, and stagnation and death wherever and whenever it ruled.

At best, you can compartmentalize your mind.  Use reason sometimes, and faith other times.  But what principle can you use to determine when to use reason and when to use faith?  Would this be a reason-based principle, or a faith-based principle?

Faith is diametrically opposed to reason.  Reason is diametrically opposed to faith.  No matter the muddled (or dishonest) attempts to marry them, either reality is the final standard and final judge, or it’s not.  Either one looks to reality or to dreams.  Either “it is what it is” or it is whatever you wish.

Either reality is real, or the “supernatural” is real.

I usually agree with Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs.  Not just on the jihad we’re (reluctantly) fighting, but other matters.  He is neither “conservative” in the sense of Bush, Buckley, or Buchanan.  Nor is he “liberal” in the sense of Clinton, Obama, or Nader.  He is a thinker and an honest one

For some time, he has had a series of blog entries on natural selection, and has risked the ire of many of his long-time fans by taking an uncompromising position, that “intelligent design” is nothing more than the latest attempt to teach the Bible in public schools.  This is unconstitutional, wrong, and dishonest.

But I have to disagree with his post today.  I think he is trying to make the point that there is room for all of us to get along (which I certainly support).  But it came out a little like “faith and reason are compatible”:

How ridiculous to make evolution the enemy of God. [emphasis in original]

It’s not ridiculous.  It is the nature of religion to oppose science, and faith to oppose reason.



After thinking about the comments, I wanted to say something explicitly in the main body. Communism is based entirely on faith.  While communists may be atheists, that does not mean that they in any way accept reason or reject faith.  Quite the opposite.

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

This is the central faith underlying communism.  Do whatever you can, and whatever you need will be magically provided to you.  Where are the goods to come from?  There is no more answer to that–by design–than there is to: where is heaven?

Just believe.



I am noticing something ironic.  My thesis was that science and faith were incompatible.  So far, three people have posted in disgreement.  But each has made a number of errors that no scientist would make.

Does this prove my thesis?  Hardly.  But it does tend to support it!


10 Responses to “Evolution and Religion Compatible?”

  1. Marc P. Says:

    I am an old-earth Creationist who doesn’t want ID taught in public schools but you are wrong about faith and reason co-existing and you’re wrong in your examples of what they have each brought us. Think Totalitarianism and it’s spawn; Marxism, Communism, Statism. Much higher death toll than our sad legacy in the Inquisition. I could have you speak with a couple I know. She has a Phd. from MIT in Astronomy and he has a Phd. in Physics from Harvard and they are both strong believers. Science tells us What and How, Faith tells us Who and Why. They are not incompatible.

  2. Might I suggest the author do some research into the Catholic Church’s history in science and engineering. I could come up with quite a list, but in the name of brevity, I’ll only scratch the surface. The creation of the academic disciplines of seismology, archeology, the solar calendar, and the European university system.

    The idea that religion can’t coexist with science was largely a lie told by the rising philosophies of communism, socialism, liberalism and progressives. In order to enslave the masses to their ideology, they needed to break the tie between the unwashed masses.

    So, they simply white washed over some 1,300 years of commitment by the Church to science and insist the only connection between science and religion was Galileo’s imprisonment.

    Galileo’s crime wasn’t daring to say the earth isn’t the center of the universe. His crime was insisting not only was his theory correct, which he hadn’t fully proved at the time (the Jesuits were anxiously waiting for his scientific proof) but to go further and insist if the Catholic Church didn’t agree with his work in progress, then the Bible needed to be tossed out.

    In other words, it wasn’t a conflict of religion vs. science, it was a conflict between the status quo.

    I’ll also mention, Galileo was educated at a Catholic university, as was his mentor Copernicus.

  3. Dear Marc,

    I appreciate that you don’t want ID taught in schools. That is the main item of contention generally.

    I have a few thoughts in response to your comment.

    First, reason was not responsible for communism, marxism, or statism. I think the “credit” for those go to Immanual Kant. While he pretended to be an advocate of “reason”, he tried to marry faith and reason. The result was political systems based on rule by force.

    Your major thesis boils down to the claim that reason is about facts and faith is about values–the “is” and “ought” dichotomy. This is straight out of Immanual Kant.

    The problem with it is that it faith is another word for whim-worship. In the medieval period, faith was ruled by vicious brutes. Today, most Christians are decent people. I would sooner spend time with a Christian than a hate-America-first marxist “progressive”!

    But faith is quite subjective. It once motivated people to commit atrocious acts. Today, Christian faith does not. But muslim faith does. The irony of this discussion is that the muslim mass murderers who are waging war against us are more faithful than most Christians.

    Their faith tells them to kill infidels. Your faith tells you to turn the other cheek. Who is right–and how do you know it?

  4. Dear Edski,

    Revisionism aside re: Galileo, I’ll grant that the Church has been mixed towards science. Sometimes, they treated scientists atrociously and tried to suppress science. Other times, they mixed this with support for science. OK. So the Church has been a mixture of good and evil. Where does this get us? Surely not to the premise that faith as such is compatible with science!

    I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to show how it is pure evil to kill someone for advocating that the bible be tossed out. I would simply like to note that a real scientist goes where the facts take him. He does not try to steer clear of some conclusion or towards another. How would a scientific mind function under the threat of “if you disagree with this book, you will be killed?”

    It wouldn’t.

  5. Creation vs. evolution:
    Creation= Intelligent Designer=all existence is planned.
    Evolution=random selection=innumerable atomic and sub-atomic accidents.
    Science is not exclusive to either evolutionists or creationists.
    Evolution=presently considered by a perceived (since it can not be determined either way) majority as the truth. This change in perception can be attributed, in large part, to the work of Charles Darwin in the mid 19th century, Albert Einstein in the 20th century, and many other scientists past and present. A main tenet of evolutionists is that science and creationism are incompatible.
    Creation=with the exception of ancient Greeks who considered science an intellectual exercise, not a practical application, from around 600 B.C., science originated in the 16th-17th century A.D.. A main tenet is that science is a means of identifying the creator. Here are some examples:
    Francis Bacon- considered the father of modern science—said “There are two books on which we should read. One was Scripture, the other the book of nature.”
    Johannes Kepler- Celestial Mechanics — said scientists are “thinking God’s thoughts after Him.”
    Sir Isaac Newton, arguably the greatest scientist of all time,-calculus and dynamics— is quoted as saying…”this most beautiful system of sun, planets, and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being. This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all and account of His Dominion He is wont* to be called Lord God.” And,
    “Atheism is so senseless. When I look at the solar system, I see the earth at the right distance from the sun to receive the proper amounts of heat and light. This did not happen by chance.”
    Other creation believing scientists include:
    Louis Pasteur- bacteriology.
    Lord Kelvin-energetics
    Blaise Pascal-hydrostatics
    Charles Babbage-computer science
    Lord Joseph Lister-antiseptic surgery
    Robert Boyle-chemistry
    James Simpson-anesthesiology
    Samuel Morse-telegraphy
    Belief doctrines for the beginning of all existence:
    Creationists believe in the formation of all things by The Almighty God, in 6 literal days.
    Evolutionists currently believe that nothing exploded nothing else, nowhere, thus the big bang created all that exists. This belief should be left open to change based on future scientific discoveries.

    * From Wikipedia, in the list of commonly misused English words:
    Won’t is a contraction for “will not”, while wont is a rare, slightly archaic word meaning “accustomed” or “inclined to” (as an adjective) or “habit or custom” (as a noun).

  6. Dear Bud,

    What part of your comment I can understand boils down to two logical fallacies.

    The simpler is argumentum ad hominem (appeal to the man). Pascal believed, and so who are you not to believe? This is a fallacy because it asks the reader to suspend his own thinking in favor of someone else’s.

    The other fallacy is more complex. Basically, you’re saying that you cannot think of any way that existence could be the way it is, without a god. The lack of an alternative idea does not prove your supposition.

  7. Dear Ragnard,

    Thank you for your reply. I apologize for any unclear comments that I made. If you want clarification on any given point, just let me know.

    In regards to Pascal, argumentum ad hominem, I agree wholeheartedly that Pascal believed (and I do as well) but this is in a Creator God. Even to the point of being a Christian apologist.

    “In the Pensées Pascal attempted to explain and justify the difficulties of human life by the doctrine of original sin, and he contended that revelation can be comprehended only by faith, which in turn is justified by revelation. Pascal’s writings urging acceptance of the Christian life contain frequent applications of the calculations of probability; he reasoned that the value of eternal happiness is infinite and that although the probability of gaining such happiness by religion may be small it is infinitely greater than by any other course of human conduct or belief. ”

    ( from Encarta Encyclopedia )

    It is not that I can not think of another way of existance. It is that I believe that Almighty God has not left any other truth than Himself.
    ( DNA, carbon 14, and creation of all of man and the cosmos. We know today that we can not create matter. how did that change? )

    Once again, I appreciate the post and response.

  8. ragnard Says:

    Islamists have faith that murdering infidels will land them a space in heaven.

    Christians have faith that belief in Jesus will lead to salvation (forgive me if I am not 100% accurate in this, but I hope this is the right basic notion).

    Obviously, both can’t be right. Without appeal to reality, reason, facts, or logic–that is only by use of faith–how can this contradiction be resolved?

    It can’t.

  9. Marc P. Says:

    It can’t be resolved right now with logic. I understand that makes your hyper-rationalist mind hurt, but there it is. All we can do is study the world around us and listen to “that still, small voice” and muddle through the best we can.

  10. Dear Marc,

    If it can’t be resolved with logic, then the only resolution is by force.

    Voluntary trade is the consequence of reason. Force is the consequence of faith.

    And this point is being proven out every day all over the world by islam’s faithful. It is important to note that these are not islam’s rejects or apostates. They are not islam’s condemned. They are islam’s most dedicated faithful. They are praised by every imam, cleric, ayatollah, mullah, and sheik around the world.

    Christians used to behave this way. That was hundreds of years ago. Today, Christians use reason more than faith (i.e. the religion was reformed). Muslims behave this way today, because their faith is unchecked by reason.

    How can you tell the muslim he is wrong to torture women and murder infidels? He will tell you that *you* are wrong to disobey allah!

    And there is no resolution, other than what comes out of the barrel of a gun. Such is the nature of faith.

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