Regis NicollRegis Nicoll's weblog
- 2008 Aug 01
For the past six years, pastor-turned-evangelist Rev. Michael Dowd has been going from pulpit to pulpit preaching the gospel—no, not the good news of our salvation through Jesus Christ, but of our liberation and empowerment through Charles Darwin.
How’s that? The good Reverend explains:
“[Darwin gives us] a far more empirical way of talking about human nature than through stories like the original sin.”
As the New York Times's Yudhijit Bhattacharjee writes, “It explains our frailties, our addictions, our infidelities and other moral deficiencies as byproducts of adaptation over billions of years. And that, [Dowd] says, has a potentially liberating effect: never mind guilt; once we understand our sinful ways, we can get past them and play a conscious role in the evolution of humanity.”
Consider Bob Miller, an octogenarian whose string of infidelities, decades ago, led to a divorce, just as he was ascending the corporate ladder. For years Miller struggled to understand his behavior and the forces behind it. Then, a Dowd crusade came to Miller’s church.
There, the Reverend “explained” the evolutionary origin human behavior, and “Eureka!”: Miller realized that the culprit for his failures was not a fallen nature, but elevated testosterone, brought on by his corporate success.
With the burden of guilt gone, Miller reflects: “I think the physical change in my body was so strong that it completely overpowered any moral teachings and religious beliefs I had.”
There you have it--the science is in! It is not from the heart that evil thoughts, murder, adultery, and sexual immorality come; it’s from a physical law working on our chemistry. Feeling better now?
Now Michael Dowd is hawking his new book Thank God for Evolution with “Facts are God’s native tongue.” That’s a good catchphrase! Indeed, facts are God’s native tongue; facts like:
- Darwinian evolution has never been observed or reproduced even in micro-organisms whose explosive rates of replication would guarantee its validity.
- Based on a random, unguided process, Darwinian evolution has no predictive power. Consequently, Darwinian evolution has not contributed to a single technological or medical advance since it was conjectured 150 years ago.
- Information, like that found in DNA, is empirically known to originate only from intelligent causes.
- There has been insufficient time for the simplest gene, much less the simplest organism, to develop from an unintelligent process, even given all the necessary chemical ingredients.
- And then there's the fact of entropy, the universal law of physics that causes systems to go from bad to worse, unless affected by a rational application of energy.
But somehow I doubt that you’ll find those facts in Thank God for Evolution. Some you will find, according to the author, are “many of the core doctrines central to Christianity—sin, salvation, the kingdom of God, heaven and hell, Jesus as God's way, truth, and life,” unpacked in “an undeniably this-world realistic—way.”
Dowd represents this, pictorially, with a logo on the van he and his wife use in their “outreach.” It shows two fish kissing: one labeled “Jesus” and the other, “Darwin.”
Dowd calls his theological perspective “creatheistic.”
Would that be “cre-atheistic?” That seems right, considering his wife, whom he describes as his “mission partner," is an atheist.
What do you think of Darwinianity? Post your comments here.