Time magazine has a cover story about the “Evolution wars”, that is, the controversy surrounding the teaching of intelligent design alongside evolution in schools. Again, thanks to the lame and stupid idea of ‘we are not taking sides’ that dominates present-day American journalism, anti-evolutionists are given about the same space and consideration as virtually all the biologists and scientists combined, Michael Behe’s and a baptist theologian’s opinion having apparently the same weight as that of Steven Pinker or Francis Collins. I am sure Behe and co. are celebrating: this is what they wanted, to have a credibility in the eyes of the media that equals that of some of the best scientists around.
Anyway, I just want to take note here of Pinker’s short but, as usual, crystal-clear answer to the question “Can you believe in God and evolution?”:
The theory of natural selection explains life as we find it, with all its quirks and tragedies. We can prove mathematically that it is capable of producing adaptive life forms and track it in computer simulations, lab experiments and real ecosystems. It doesn’t pretend to solve one mystery (the origin of complex life) by slipping in another (the origin of a complex designer).
Many people who accept evolution still feel that a belief in God is necessary to give life meaning and to justify morality. But that is exactly backward. In practice, religion has given us stonings, inquisitions and 9/11. Morality comes from a commitment to treat others as we wish to be treated, which follows from the realization that none of us is the sole occupant of the universe. Like physical evolution, it does not require a white-coated technician in the sky.