Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Evolution Weekend

This past weekend, countless couples the world over celebrated Valentine's Day. Far fewer, however, marked Evolution Weekend 2010 on our calendars. I did not participate in any Evolution Weekend events this year; I hope to rectify that oversight next year, as the goals of the project are worthy and important.

From the project's website:
"Evolution Weekend is an opportunity for serious discussion and reflection on the relationship between religion and science. One important goal is to elevate the quality of the discussion on this critical topic - to move beyond sound bites. A second critical goal is to demonstrate that religious people from many faiths and locations understand that evolution is sound science and poses no problems for their faith. Finally, [...] Evolution Weekend makes it clear that those claiming that people must choose between religion and science are creating a false dichotomy. Through sermons, discussion groups, meaningful conversations and seminars, the leaders [of this effort] will show that religion and science are not adversaries."
To date, roughly 13,000 American Christian, Jewish, and Unitarian Universalist clergy have signed letters stating that evolution and religion are compatible. To some of us, this compatibility is a no-brainer, but for many intractable anti-religionists and literal-minded religious Americans, there can be no comfortable cohabitation. Both extremes are guilty of arrogance, thoughtlessness, or both.

Yet those of us in the middle might do well to take a lesson from the activist extremes. As Rabbi Robert Barr, of Congregation Beth Adam in Loveland, Ohio, said recently,
"It is amazing and disturbing that biblical literalists have been able to successfully challenge the concept of evolution and in doing so change how science is taught in school and [require] congregations and clergy to stand up and endorse an idea that is 150 years old. [...] Perhaps what has made the anti-evolution crowd most successful is their passion. While I disagree with them, I appreciate their energy and their commitment, and I want those of us who embrace science, modernity, and religion to be equally committed to our beliefs."
It's not enough to know that there needn't be conflict between the material and metaphysical. We must also speak truth to bigotry and ignorance.

Image credit: ripped from C95 FM website


mordicai said...

I gave my wife that Valentine last year!

Donald Frazell said...

Its not a belief, as it is verifiable everyday. Look at the Westchester dog show, all those breeds have been selectively created by man. Grains, fruits, domesticated animals, all have been bred genetically to be of service to us. The data is there, adn more being collected everyday. Theory in science simply means can't be reproduced in the lab, it doesnt mean its not a verifiable truth.

While the big bang cant be recreated, the overwhelming and supportive fields all point in the same direction.

The thing literalists dont get,is that does anyone think God could have spoken the literal truth to Moses or Abraham about how we got here and be comprehended? Those were bronze age times, languages guttural and barbaric. Symbolism was needed even if one does believe God spoke directly to these men, Yeshua and Muhammad later.

God didnt lie, he was dealing with dolts. And we still are. Humility is always the best trait of man, and th key to all true religions. To claim to know the mind of God the ultimate blasphemy and arrogance.

art collegia delenda est

Hungry Hyaena said...


It's a good one!

Hungry Hyaena said...


Indeed, humility is among the best of virtues.

Donald Frazell said...

Hope all is going well, I know you wre pretty burned out after Nebraska. Like i have said before also, The Catholic church long ago accepted Evolution and all science as a way to truth, simply not the only one. They just don't like to bring it up much, as it really does caue problems for many, who simply cant get their heads around the idea that god could have been a creative force of the Big Band, and all of life, and that we are not the center of it, and his/hers/its attention.

Many feel threateened and scared at the thought of not understanding, which all religions have attempted to fill that void with mythologies, from the American natives to Japan to the Ganges to the Levant. The desert a fertile ground for contemplating God, and hallucinating there too. Been there, done that. The emptiness provoke feelings of revelations and communing with the heavens.

Acceptance of what is is key to understanding as much as we humanly can of what we call god. An evolving concept, always has been, and the only one that truly matters. Conceptualism in art being but the elevation of oneself unto godhood, not as one, but excluding all others. Minigods, and there is no humility in that. And so, no truth, beauty, or art.

PS. just suvived a vote off at the LA Times culturemonster, as with SoCalHoops where i irritated both rich basketabll dads and those who preyed on our innercity youth, there is always a third, and much more truthful, way. Socrates is key, asking good, relevant questions that attempt only to follow truth wherever she goes. Not either flippant and youthfully ignorant, like artistes, nor defending the status quo in ones self-interest. Which somehow Contemporary art hs managed to do both. It is interesting times we live in, the classic Chinese curse.