Evolutionary Biologist Admits Incompatibility of Christianity and Evolution

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Evolutionary Biologist Admits Incompatibility of Christianity and Evolution

University of Washington professor David P. Barash rejects the notion of the “nonoverlapping magisteria” of the Christian faith and evolution. He writes,

It’s irresponsible to teach biology without evolution, and yet many students worry about reconciling their beliefs with evolutionary science. Just as many Americans don’t grasp the fact that evolution is not merely a “theory,” but the underpinning of all biological science, a substantial minority of my students are troubled to discover that their beliefs conflict with the course material.

Until recently, I had pretty much ignored such discomfort, assuming that it was their problem, not mine. Teaching biology without evolution would be like teaching chemistry without molecules, or physics without mass and energy. But instead of students’ growing more comfortable with the tension between evolution and religion over time, the opposite seems to have happened.

He describes “The Talk” he gives his students, telling them that “these magisteria are not nearly as nonoverlapping as some of them might wish” and then concluding,

If they insist on retaining and respecting both [biology and religion], they will have to undertake some challenging mental gymnastic routines. And while I respect their beliefs, the entire point of The Talk is to make clear that, at least for this biologist, it is no longer acceptable for science to be the one doing those routines.

For Professor Barash, the time has arrived that we cease and desist disseminating any possible compatibility of the Christian faith and evolution. It is a cognitive dissonance to assume that these two competing ideas have any chance of romance. Though we disagree with the professor about which worldview should take the upper hand, for Seventh-day Adventist schools, teachers, and students, this message cannot be emphasized enough.

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Valmy Karemera is associate editor of The Compass Magazine and posts daily news updates on the Compass Twitter page. Originally from Rwanda, he now lives and works in Texas with his family.