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Atheists and evolution

February 24, 2006 Leave a comment Go to comments

Once again we’re having this debate. Do outspoken atheists hurt the promotion of evolution?

I’m all for atheists being vocal, but I can imagine how it hinders the acceptance of evolution when the two are associated. Some of the objections to saying it hurts seem to be along the lines of it’s unfair to try to make atheists be quiet. That’s not a very useful objection, though it is true.

I have to say, though, I agree with this:

And scurrying to suggest that PZ — or whichever atheist evolutionist is third in the line of succession — tone down his or her remarks is granting victory to the other side. It’s letting the opposition define the terms of engagement.

For the most part, people like Dawkins are not saying that you can’t be a Christian and believe in evolution at the same time. They’re simply outspoken proponents of evolution and atheism, allowing the other side to conflate them. Giving in to that is giving in to dishonesty, which is simply not a useful strategy.

My general position is this: when directly promoting evolution, try to keep the religious talk to a minimum. That applies to Christians and atheists (and whatever else you might be). Have people with a wide range of religious views promote evolution. If someone wants to object about the religious views of some proponent of evolution, point out the people who have a different belief.

Now, that’s basically what’s happening now, I think. I don’t see outspoken atheists as the problem for us. I think our problem is that scientists are not out there enough showing people exactly where creationism is wrong and doing in a fashion that people understand and isn’t off-putting. Solutions to that? I don’t know.

Categories: Religion, Science
  1. March 2, 2006 at 9:26 pm

    I think you’re asking for something people aren’t going to give up here. We don’t have a bunch of proponents of intelligent design because evolution is a hard sell. It’s a perfectly reasonable theory. Intelligent design is a reorganization (or for that matter, obfuscation) of the facts so that they might suggest the presence of God. Without religion, we wouldn’t have such persistent denial of evolution.

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