Gould and Darwin: Is Nature Talking to Us

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A secular being looks at nature and hopes to observe a sign of Divine inspiration. Many find a moral message from their deity in everything created. They humanize every situation as they seek out each nuance of His subsistence within the circle of life. Conversely, each religious conviction has a different opinion concerning how our world came into existence and how it has changed since. Charles Darwin attempted to answer the question of how we came to be as we are today. Although Darwin was educated as a minister, he made his attempt by looking at the facts through the process of observation. In his mind, there was no divergence between his theological education and his scientific curiosity. He proposed that there was a gradual change of species through adaptation of each variety by natural and sexual selection. Darwin was talking about evolution. Since more offspring are produced than can survive, those most adapted for their environment would be able to compete more competently for scarce resources. Species whose individuals are less adapted would eventually become extinct.

In North America, there are three broad-spectrum categories of belief concerning evolution assuming an individual believes in a supernatural being creation science, theistic evolution, and naturalistic evolution. Those who believe in creation science say that God created the universe during six consecutive 4-hour days less than 10,000 years ago, exactly as it depicts in the book of Genesis in the Bible. “All of the various species of animals that currently exist (and that once existed) on earth are descendants of the animals that God created during the single week of creation.”(Robinson, Evolution, 15) While this is the most popular belief among the public, it is the least popular belief among scientists. “Theistic evolution states that the universe is about 14 billion years old. The earths crust developed about 4.5 billion years ago. God created the first cell, and then used evolution as a tool to guide the development of each new species.” (Robinson, Evolution, 15) This is an interesting concept, but does not signify that the progression of nature has a moral message from God to humans. Naturalistic evolution is the same as theistic evolution, but proposes that God had no hand in it. (Robinson, Evolution, 15)

One might inquire why Darwin never used the word evolution to describe his theory. “Evolution,” from the Latin evolvere, literally means, “An unrolling”--and clearly implies an unfolding in time of a predictable or prepackaged sequence in an inherently progressive, or at least directional, manner.” (Gould, History, 000) Stephan Gould stated, “Darwin would not use a word that meant progress, especially when he was trying very hard to separate the mechanism from the common social belief, the psychological hope, the desire of everyone, to equate this process with progress.” (Gould, Revolution, 15)

Creationists persist that since inhabitants were not around as witnesses, evolution is still just a supposition. According to Gould, the feud between science and religion is nonsensical because the two play in different ballparks-they address fundamentally different issues. Tribulations surface when people try to switch playing fields by using science to substantiate religious conviction, or vice versa. “By insisting that the Bible is a bona fide biology/geology/physics textbook, creationists cause needless dissension. What scientists believe and believe in (the latter implying faith rather than reason) is irrelevant. In other words, live and let live. Gould sees no conflict between evolution and religion, if only we compartmentalize.” (Palevistz, 000)

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Gould also asks why such cruelty exists in nature if God is so benevolent. He says there is not any answer. That it is not even an appropriate question to ask. “The natural world is neither made for us nor ruled by us it just is. Suffering caterpillars are not put here to “teach” us something metaphorically or theologically.” (Gould, 18) This is the very reason that science and theology do not mesh. However, not everyone would agree with Gould. This anonymous writer sees no reason to compartmentalize science and religion, and makes an argument for the two going hand in hand.

So one could ask how the process of evolution can be controlled by an intelligent power if there is a physical explanation for all the events in the process. The same question could be asked about a car production line, because there is a physical explanation for every production step. What an objective observer fails to see is the ultimate source of the actions that bring about the events. In a car production line, all actions can be traced back to individual acts of human free will. In the process of evolution, the sub atomic particles which penetrate the cells to form mutations are most likely not random, but aimed with a precision beyond our comprehension. If human free will can interact with the physical world to bring about man’s creations, then there is reason to believe that God’s will can be used to bring about the creation of man. (Campfire, 001)

The question remains, ‘Is there a moral message from God in everything created.’ This question cannot and will not be definitively answered as long as there is a great divide between science and religion. One cannot comprehend complicated mathematical equations when he has not yet learned the art of multiplication. Further, theologists do not even agree about who or what “God” is. In China, many believe that,

Creation began with a cosmic egg. Inside the egg was a chaotic mixture of yin/yang, male/female, cold/heat etc. From the egg was born a giant by the name of Phan Ku. He separated the earth and sky. He grew in stature by ten feet a day, raising the sky above the earth by that distance. He also created the heavenly bodies, and carved out the mountains and valleys with a huge chisel and mallet. When he died, the fleas in his hair became human beings. (Robinson, Beliefs, 00)

With every culture having different religions and Gods to worship, and accounting for individual belief, it seems implausible to think that one answer would be fitting of every one in the world. For that reason, I support Gould’s stance that religion is religion and science is science. Let each be what it is.

References

Alan. (001, Nov .) Evolution - truth or myth? Charles Darwin Campfire [Msg. 56].

Message posted to http//killdevilhill.com/darwinchat/shakespearew/57.html

Gould, S. (000). What does the dreaded “E” word mean anyway? Natural History, 10. p.8, pp.1 New York. NY. Retrieved September 15, 00, from http//search.epnet.com/direct.asp?an=754060&db=aph

Gould, S.(18) Nonmoral Nature. Natural History. 1. Boston, Ny.

Gould, S. (15) The Unfinished Revolution. New Statesman & Society. Retrieved September 16, 00, from http//libsrv.wku.edu06/citation.asp?_ug=dbs+0%C1%C16+ln+en%Dus+sid+FD04C7C%DC86F%

Palavitz, Barry. (Oct000). Falling off a tightrope Compromise and accommodation in the war between creationism and evolution. Bioscience, 50 p.6, pp.4. Washington DC. Retrieved September 15, 00, from http//search.epnet.com/direct.asp?an=680&db=aph

Robinson, B.A. Various Faith Group’s Beliefs about Evolution & Creation. Retrieved September 16, 00, from http//www.religioustolerance.org/ev_denom.htm

Robinson, B.A Main Evolution & Creation Science Belief Systems. Retrieved September 16, 00, from http//www.religioustolerance.org/ev_world.htm

References

Alan. (001, Nov .) Evolution - truth or myth? Charles Darwin Campfire [Msg. 56].

Message posted to http//killdevilhill.com/darwinchat/shakespearew/57.html

Gould, S. (000). What does the dreaded “E” word mean anyway? Natural History, 10. p.8, pp.1 New York. NY. Retrieved September 15, 00, from http//search.epnet.com/direct.asp?an=754060&db=aph

Gould, S.(18) Nonmoral Nature. Natural History. 1. Boston, Ny.

Gould, S. (15) The Unfinished Revolution. New Statesman & Society. Retrieved September 16, 00, from http//libsrv.wku.edu06/citation.asp?_ug=dbs+0%C1%C16+ln+en%Dus+sid+FD04C7C%DC86F%

Palavitz, Barry. (Oct000). Falling off a tightrope Compromise and accommodation in the war between creationism and evolution. Bioscience, 50 p.6, pp.4. Washington DC. Retrieved September 15, 00, from http//search.epnet.com/direct.asp?an=680&db=aph

Robinson, B.A. Various Faith Group’s Beliefs about Evolution & Creation. Retrieved September 16, 00, from http//www.religioustolerance.org/ev_denom.htm

Robinson, B.A Main Evolution & Creation Science Belief Systems. Retrieved September 16, 00, from http//www.religioustolerance.org/ev_world.htm

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