The Three Things About Evolution That Revolt Creationists The Most


I suspect there's more than just logic behind the way some Christians react to the idea of evolution. There's also a conscious or unconscious revulsion to evolution going on, THREE of them in fact:

REVULSION #1 "I ain't no Monkey's Uncle!"

"1996 presidential contender, Pat Buchanan, said something along the lines of `You may believe that you're descended from monkeys, but I believe you're a creature of God.' I guess that Buchanan hadn't considered that one of the basic tenets of Christianity is that God is the Creator of everything, including `monkeys.' It seems to me that one of the basic reasons behind the so-called `creationism' is the feeling that somehow parts of God's creation are not worthy of being our ancestors."
TOM SCHARLE

However, Christians like C. S. Lewis were not threatened by the thought of a species of thinking religious animal:

"When the rationality of the hross tempted you to think of it as a man... it became abominable--a man seven feet high, with a snaky body, covered, face and all, with thick black animal hair, and whiskered like a cat. But starting from the other end you had an animal with everything an animal ought to have... and added to all these, as though Paradise had never been lost... the charm of speech and reason. Nothing could be more disgusting than the one impression; nothing more delightful than the other. It all depended on the point of view."
C. S. LEWIS, OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET (a Christian science-fiction novel)

And certain ironies arise from denying so vehemently that one is not a "Monkey's Uncle," while affirming that humanity was created from the "dust of the earth," because, isn't it just as respectable to be a "modified monkey" as "modified dirt?" Or as Will Rogers put it during the Scopes Monkey Trial in the 1920s:

"The Supreme Court of Tennessee has just ruled that you other states can come from whoever or whatever you want to, but they want it on record that they come from mud only!... William Jennings Bryan tried to prove that we did not descend from the monkey, but he unfortunately picked a time in our history when the actions of the American people proved that we did... Some people certainly are making a fight against the ape. It seems the truth kinder hurts. Now, if a man didn't act like a monkey, he wouldn't have to be proving that he didn't come from one. Personally I like monkeys. If we were half as original as they are, we would never be suspected of coming from something else. They never accuse monkeys of coming from anybody else... You hang an ape and a political ancestry over me, and you will see me taking it into the Supreme Court, to prove that the ape part is O.K., but that the political end is base libel... If a man is a gentleman, he doesn't have to announce it; all he has to do is to act like one and let the world decide. No man should have to prove in court what he is, or what he comes from. As far as Scopes teaching children evolution, nobody is going to change the belief of Tennessee children as to their ancestry. It is from the actions of their parents that they will form their opinions."


REVULSION #2 "If you teach people they're monkeys, they'll act like monkeys."

A second revulsion is related to the question of the origin of ethical values. Ethical values like "forgiveness," are assumed to be mysterious and sublime ideas that we owe primarily to a few millennia of Judeo-Christianity. However as Frans de Waal pointed out:

"Monkeys, apes, and humans all engage in reconciliation behavior (stretching out a hand, smiling, kissing, embracing, and so on), so such behavior is probably over thirty million years old, preceding the evolutionary divergence of these primates... Reconciliation behavior [is thus] a shared heritage of the primate order... When social animals are involved...antagonists do more than estimate their chances of winning before they engage in a fight; they also take into account how much they need their opponent. The contested resource often is simply not worth putting a valuable relationship at risk. And if aggression does occur, both parties may hurry to repair the damage. Victory is rarely absolute among interdependent competitors, whether animal or human."
FRANS DE WAAL, PEACEMAKING AMONG PRIMATES (see also, Morton Hunt, The Compassionate Beast: What Science is Discovering About the Humane Side of Humankind; and, Alfie Kohn, The Brighter Side of Human Nature: Altruism and Empathy in Everyday Life; and see especially the chapter on "Kindness" in de Waal's latest work, OUR INNER APE.)

One irony of this particular revulsion is pointed out below:

"Creationists criticize evolutionists for the demeaning idea of `coming from apes' and say that man is more noble than that, and then have sermons where man is called a miserable worm worthy to be burned eternally in hell."
WILLIAM BAGLEY


REVULSION #3 "Do we have an eternal soul, or not? Animals don't."

A third revulsion is related to the fact that animals die and we assume they never rise again, so if we are directly related to animals then maybe our lives will also cease with death:

"We do not like to be reminded of the ways in which we resemble animals. We sinners like to think our motives are more holy than those of animals. And since we generally assume animals cannot have eternal life with God, thinking about animal deaths and about our own place in nature frightens us."
ED FRIEDLANDER, CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVES ON EVOLUTION

A similar doubt is given expression within the pages of the Bible:

"I said to myself concerning the sons of men, God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts. For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath ['...all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life' Gen. 6:17; 7:15,22, both man and beasts] and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust ['...till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return' Gen. 3:19]. Who knows that the breath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth?"
ECCLESIASTES 3:18-21

And an irony of this revulsion is pointed out below:

"A preacher thundering from his pulpit about the uniqueness of human beings with their God-given souls would not like to realize that his very gestures, the hairs that rose on his neck, the deepened tones of his outraged voice, and the perspiration that probably ran down his skin under clerical vestments are all manifestations of anger in mammals. If he was sneering at Darwin a bit (one does not need a mirror to know that one sneers), did he remember uncomfortably that a sneer is derived from an animal's lifting its lip to remind an enemy of its fangs? Even while he was denying the principle of evolution, how could a vehement man doubt such intimate evidence?"
SALLY CARRIGHAR, WILD HERITAGE

5 comments:

bookjunky said...

Also, if there was no Adam and Eve and no original sin, then the redemption is pointless. It pretty much undercuts all of their religion. Which is why it's pretty weird that the Catholic church just came out for evolution.

Rich said...

I would like a creationist to explain to me what creation is? What is their definition? Did God snap his fingers? Blink an eye? Use midi-chlorians?
I find it interesting for religion and science to be at odds here because nowhere that I know of is creation defined or expanded on. Is is a process or an event? It would seem that reding the bible would put it into the process catagory. Isn't eveolution a process? The change in a species over time? While I think the biggest problem comes in the origin of life debate neither side has conclusive proof so we are left to what sounds best to us. Those who embrace evolution feel like there is enough evidence to pronounce evolution the winner but then those who believe in creation don't agree. While there are some transitional fossils there still, to me, is the question of how nature decides when to change a species so drastically and when to leave one alone? What is the exact method that nature uses to determine when to evolve and when to not evolve?

George Jelliss said...

I think you've left out the most important source of revulsion. Natural Selection. Nature red in tooth and claw.

This was made very clear to me when I attended a meeting at which the creationist Prof Andy McIntosh spoke, very passionately. He showed a drawing depicting Eden (Adam and Eve in an earthly paradise) and underneath it a charnel house of bones.

The creationists claim that God created a "perfect" world in which there was no killing, and that animals only started preying on one another after "the fall", i.e. after Adam and Eve disobeyed.

Mark Plus said...

Some christians blame the theory of evolution on "satan," whatever that means. I guess "satan" invented the idea to lead men away from god. But then you have to wonder why it took satan until the 19th Century to plant this idea in Charles Darwin's mind, when he could have introduced it into human thinking 2,000 years ago when christianity just got started.

beepbeepitsme said...

RE: evolution
Scientists Find Brain Evolution Gene
http://beepbeepitsme.blogspot.com/2006/08/scientists-find-brain-evolution-gene.html