Faith and Evolution

Written by Drew on June 19th, 2007

This just in: evolution explains everything. Or so says a group of scientists who have found a corrolation between religion and the survival of the fittest.

A cadre of scientists, including Washington University anthropologist Pascal Boyer, are trying to explain why, in almost every human culture, people choose belief in God over unbelief — why, it seems, the human brain is wired for belief.

And the scientists are finding something that would please Charles Darwin himself: Religion may have evolved through the same rules that led to big brains and opposable thumbs. From an evolutionary standpoint, they have found, belief can be useful.

For years theists have pointed to the religious nature of man as evidence of a Creator. If there was no God, why is man so religious? What on earth can explain worship, prayer, and faith?

Several scientists have been honest enough to admit this is something about man that we cannot ignore. Boyer, the anthropologist mentioned above, says belief is so solidily engraved in human minds that it’s probably not possible to eliminate. “It’s a bit like saying life would be better without gravitation.”

But instead of allowing this glaring fact to guide them in the direction of faith, Boyer and his colleagues are falling back on the same old thing: evolution. They say science can explain why man believes in God.

Their “proof” is explained in the Commercial Appeal:

Biologists who study evolution try to explain traits by measuring physical changes over generations and showing how they helped the species survive. It’s more difficult to talk about the evolutionary value of a mental state like a belief in God because religiosity is difficult to measure. But there are correlations between religion and health.

For example, the men of Cache County, Utah, mostly devout Mormons, have the highest life expectancy in the country. Studies have shown that religiosity is associated with lower rates of cirrhosis, emphysema, suicide and heart disease. Of course, much of this health effect could come from religion’s conventional taboos on smoking, alcohol, drugs and sex — which can all lead to disease.

Basically these scientists have based their findings upon two sizable assumptions, the first being that God does not exists and the second being that evolution is always the mechanism that explains man’s behavior. But nothing in these experiments has eliminated God from the equation. It could just be that people of faith fare better in this life because God blesses them.

Evolution is the Great Assumption Christians have to learn to deal with; it’s the age we live in. For that reason, we must always read the papers with a skeptical eye, taking nothing for granted. The majority may believe in God, but it doesn’t hold the bullhorn.


1 Comments so far ↓

  1. J-Train says:

    I personally can’t wait until monkeys become religious. What fun worship services those would be! I wonder if they would argue about if poo flinging is authorized during worship since it is not specifically mentioned in the New Testament. But man, how fun would that be!!


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