I think we all understand the basis of the disagreement, but we hardly ever talk about the disagreement itself. We tend to get caught up trying to argue about who is right, rather than why we disagree. Let me try to describe the problem as I see it - if you don’t like it, then I invite you to reword/rework the statement more to your liking.
Some people, primarily YEC, hold a view (practically a tenet) that their religion/beliefs are under attack in an increasingly secular world.
Within the above group, some people attack science and scientific reasoning based on their religious views.
Religious attacks on science draw ridicule from the secular world (and the science educated theists), which are interpretted as the attacks described in 1), thus creating a self-fulfilling prophesy.
I won’t put all of this on the YECs - I think it is clear that YEC and Militant Atheism feed of one another, propping each other up and leading to and endless argument. It’s a vicious cycle.
It is worth remember that YEC-ID-MilitantAtheism share a great deal in common and have benefited from the continued conflict. Not talking about official positions here regarding ID. All three seem to think that evolutionary science, if it is true, is a defeater for God, and the debate is a zero sum game of one sort or another. All three benefit from the conflict, and can’t help but instigate more of it.
It’s easier to fob off such criticism as religious nuttery than to actually address it.
If you don’t really know how the vertebrate eye evolved from some original light-sensitive spot, or even whether it did, just say so. Don’t make up a story about how it might have happened and call that science and then call anyone who criticizes your story anti-science. .02c
I think it has to happen within the Christian community. It’s a bit harder to claim that evolution is an atheist conspiracy when the scientists who accept evolution are your fellow Christian brothers and sisters. It may also help to point to Christian scientists who accepted evolution and an old Earth well before modern (i.e. secular) times. It is also much harder for misguided Atheists to claim that evolution falsifies the Bible when there are so many Christians who accept the theory.
It surprises me how little interest there has been in this from the big players like BioLogos. Early Christian evolution-friendly people (often scientists) had a lot to offer in combining critical acceptance of the new science with orthodox theology.
My favourite notables are Asa Gray, Charles Kingsley and B B Warfield. But even the co-describer of the theory, Alfred Wallace, though scarcely an afficionado of “organised religion,” and marked down as a “Spiritualist,” actually brought a clear theistic slant to his understanding of natural selection.
They were not alone - my impression is that “thinking Christians” were about as divided about evolutoion as the scientific community to begin with. Remember that such types had largely embraced “old earth” via the Gap Theory well before Darwin;s theory appeared, so they had less of an axe to grind than today’s YECs. Even some of the writers of the “Fundamentals” which kicked off the idea of “fundamentalism” were sympathetic to evolution.
My own feeling is that secularist adoption of evolution as a weapon against religion (think Huxley etc) was really the first polarising factor. Another, less often recognised, factor was the First World War, which was widely thought (and not without reason) to have been partly caused by the Kaiser’s ideas of German racial superiority from Haeckel’s social Darwinism.
It was not to be wondered if “ordinary church folks” seeing the bloodbath thought, “Well, if that’s the fruit of evolution, let’s get rid of it.” So then as now, it was probably less the science than the ideology grafted on to it that led to conflict.
Geology might be the best on ramp for these types of discussions. Acceptance of an Old Earth was very common within christian communities in the 1800’s. Geology can also be studied independently of evolution.
I don’t think that was the case. There were plenty of people who rejected evolution but also shared the racist views found in Europe and elsewhere.
I think anti-intellectualism had much more to do with it, and still does. It is worth noting that the Pulitzer Prize was given to the following book in 1964:
This is a great topic and there have already been some excellent responses… I see a similar issue with all groups. Our focus is about proving the other wrong rather than finding the similarities and points of agreement. I accept the fact that there are incompatibilities among some groups (theist vs. atheist, old earth vs. young earth) but the reason why I wanted to get involved here is for the reasons that Joshua highlighted above:
There are many, many points of agreement, and every position has gaps and weaknesses. By actually verbalizing both the points of agreement as well as gaps in our own positions (or thoughtful comments from positions opposing our own), we create a community that breaks down walls. The points of agreement will become greater over time. It takes humility, though.
I think that @Mung has a valid point regarding how many of us perceive the narrative as presented from the evolution community. There is a feeling that the dialog is lacking a description of any challenges or obstacles that exist. Everyone appreciates the confidence shown, but, at the same time, it’s much more realistic if folks articulate the degrees of confidence that they have. Sometimes it makes sense to make a claim with vigor, and sometimes it makes sense to tiptoe a bit. I’m not calling them out here, but including them as well. We all are guilty of this.
I know that I have experienced some epic blown gaskets in some conversations (on my part.) I was guilty of not listening as well as I should have and not conceding certain points when it made sense to do so. I hope that I’ve learned from that. We all need to know that we’ll never be 100% correct about anything as complex as the topics addressed here. So we may as well have a good conversation, at least.
I think what this misses is that the main factor underlying YECism has nothing to do with science, so “scientific” arguments aren’t likely to help. Young Earth Creationism arises from a particular way of interpreting the Biblical texts, and really that is what needs to be addressed. The irony is that the atheists tend to apply the same hermeneutic to the texts as the young earth creationists. Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor.
In point (2) you make a wrong accusation.
Nobody, in YEC/ID, attacks science or scientific reasoning. If you mean YEC/ID we plead NOT GUILTY.
We are doing science. We are scientists(degrees or no degrees or too many).
Why is this accusation made???
Its just because we disagree with those who insist they are the experts and thats that. BE YE SILENT!
Creationism only “attacks” certain conclusions in subjects touching on origin issues which bump into biblical boundaries or general mankind historic beliefs in a creator(s) and the evidence of same in nature and that obvious.
THEN WE ARE ATTACKED by those claiming to be or speak on behalf of science and all things beautiful and pure.
We are not understanding the basis of the disagreement if this is how one side sees it.
Its all about conclusions about origins of the universe and the quality and quanity of the evidence to that end.
THIS would be a better understanding and stop all the dumb hostility.
I’m never hostile ever. I can be peaceful. Its easy.
I think getting to know each other on a personal level, committing to seeing humanity and decency in each other regardless of which “side” they are on, and holding intellectual humility as a virtue. Those are good for both sides.
From a Christian perspective, I think we have to find a way to articulate and be persuasive in saying that these issues are not salvation issues. Most lay people I know are defensive primarily because they feel that once Genesis 1 “goes”, the whole Bible falls apart. I think we need to go to the creeds (Apostle’s and Nicene are especially common and “neutral” about all this stuff) and to really think about whether our belief is grounded in the person of Jesus Christ or a particular interpretation of the Bible (no matter how inspired). We also need people like Francis Collins and yes, Joshuas Swamidass, to show fellow Christians that one can be a serious scientist and a “serious” Christian. We need public confessing scientists.
From a secular/atheist side I think realizing that most Christians (and people in general) do not think that much about science is important. They aren’t really anti-science, they just have been told much of their life that scientists are biased in certain ways against belief and that universities are antagonistic towards Christianity. Honestly, I was very surprised that my science professors in college weren’t constantly “harassing” me. They were mostly kind and supportive of me as a person (I remember one biology prof trying to use some Noah analogies to describe evolution just as a way to say “hey, I’m not rejecting you outright”) and in return I treated them with respect and took them seriously, even if I disagreed.
This discussion reminded me of a story I heard on NPR yesterday about a former white supremacist who had come out of that culture. I big part of how that happened was a relationship with a couple jewish college students who spent a year inviting this person to dinner without talking about white supremacy at all. They just ate and got to know each other as people. After that the white supremacist couldn’t reconcile what he was hearing on forums and rallies with those guys he was getting to know. It’s so much easier to write off a tweet or a forum post. It’s much harder to lob “grenades” at someone you know and care about.