Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, the archbishop of Vienna, was saying nothing very different when he argued in a New York Times op-ed piece on July 7 that random evolution can't be harmonized with Catholic doctrine. To be sure, there are plenty of scientists who believe in God, and even Darwinists who call themselves Christians. But the acceptance of evolution diminishes religious belief in aggregate for a simple reason: It provides a better answer to the question of how we got here than religion does. Not a different answer, a better answer: more plausible, more logical, and supported by an enormous body of evidence. Post-Darwinian evolutionary theory, which can explain the emergence of the first bacteria, doesn't even leave much room for a deist God whose minimal role might have been to flick the first switch.
So, what should evolutionists and their supporters say to parents who don't want their children to become atheists and who may even hold firm to the virgin birth and the parting of the Red Sea? That it's time for them to finally let go of their quaint superstitions? That Darwinists aren't trying to push people away from religion but recognize that teaching their views does tend to have that effect? Dennett notes that Darwin himself avoided exploring the issue of the ultimate origins of life in part to avoid upsetting his wife Emma's religious beliefs.
One possible avenue is to focus more strongly on the practical consequences of resisting scientific reality. In a world where Koreans are cloning dogs, can the U.S. afford—ethically or economically—to raise our children on fraudulent biology? But whatever tack they take, evolutionists should quit pretending their views are no threat to believers. This insults our intelligence, and the president is doing that already.
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