Why Darwin Matters

evolutionI found one book that deals rather well with the perceived struggle between Christian fundamentalist religion and the science of Evolution. The book is Why Darwin Matters by Michael Shermer. Shermer started as a creationist, was educated in the sciences, and is a strong advocate of not only the undeniability of the theory of Evolution but also for the way natural selection is perhaps a better supporter for religious or spiritual interpretations of life on this planet than revelation and faith.

As Shermer writes: Evolution Makes For Good Theology. His discussion of the evolution of morality is especially convincing and in no way negates religion but rather shows that religion has a firm purpose in our lives .. a purpose that developed naturally along with the other cultural developments that defined the early humans. And Shermer makes his case convincingly using logic, reason and clear evidence, never requiring magic or miracles.

As a corollary to this, Shermer also shows how elements in the history of the evolving species we call man can provide an insight into man’s propensity for violence and brutality, lying and cheating, and still allow for sharing and altruism, loving and nurturing.

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Conflict, Cruelty, and Suffering

ROBERTSONI have regularly included posts on this weblog which emphasized the downside to a belief in a mythological god and especially in the inherent evils of an organized church. I’lll admit that, although I was committed to the information, it often was presented in seemingly unrelated pieces, a little here and a little there. But today I ran across a post at Salon which codified 12 of the worst things that religion foisted on humanity. I’ll just itemize them here but everyone should go to Salon or Alternet and read the complete article (the 12 evils are much more developed and far more upsetting in the original article).

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Freedom From Religion

This latest ruling by the best Supreme Court money can buy is actually quite problematic and may come back to bite those that are celebrating a win for religious freedom.

[For an excellent discussion of the lack of knowledge and understanding coming from the SCOTUS decision on Hobby Lobby (and another fine example of slut-shaming) read the article in The Daily Beast by Sally Kohn, “Hobby Lobby: Sex, Lies, and Craft Supplies” … Conservatives are making five arguments hailing the decision. They’re all factually wrong, which leads them to the sixth: women are sluts.]

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Inherit the Wind

He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.

When I was in High School the movie based on the stage play, Inherit the Wind, made a huge impression on me. But what I remember most is thinking how ignorant and stupid the people were back in 1925 actually believing in the infallibility of the Bible and what we now call Creationism. We also studied the Scopes Trial in school and added Tennessee to our list of states to avoid and even though Montgomery Clift in Wild River made us pause in our assessment, we still couldn’t imagine how unenlightened parts of the country must have been in the early 20th century. Of course, a few years later Easy Rider came along and solidified the sentiments.

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