Wednesday, 19 November 2014

More on human evolution

It is a testament to how fear and dogma can blind reason when the copious fossil record for human evolution is not even acknowledged, let alone contemplated. Although writing for an evangelical audience, these remarks from geologist Davis Young apply equally validly to our community:
The modern evangelical church is extremely sensitive about open discussion of scientific issues that bear on Genesis 1-11. Enough Christians are so afraid of what might turn up in such discussions that anyone who does try to explore the issues is in ecclesiastical jeopardy. The prevailing atmosphere of fear tends to squelch attempts to deal with these issues. The issue of the origin of humankind is especially sensitive. It seems that the church is afraid to look into paleoanthropology. Where is the curiosity about the physical history of human beings? Among the multitude of evangelical commentaries on Genesis, hardly any of them address the problems of anthropology. Geology is often discussed. Some of the commentators have admitted the possibility of a local flood; others are not yet sure of the legitimacy of geological findings. But virtually all of the commentators assume the anthropological universality of the flood without any engagement whatsoever with the archaeological and anthropological data relevant to the question of the flood's impact on the human race. It's as if the hundreds, perhaps thousands of ancient human sites around the world didn't exist. - Young DA “Theology and Natural science,”  Cited in Noll M The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (Eerdmans 1994)
Although a few years have passed since the announcement of the transitional fossil Australopithecus sediba, this presentation is well worth viewing again:

The evidence is real. It confirms the reality of evolution. It will not go away. If however we respond to it with fear, excommunication, stifling of discussion, and the privileging of human dogma over the true witness of creation, then it is our community that will go away as the best and brightest leave, or are driven out, and the fundamentalist residue collapses in on itself and withers away.