Darwin’s Legacy: Finding a Common Ground between Science and Religion

Tochi - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on February 19, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
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A week ago – February 12th 2009 – was Charles Darwin’s bicentennial. In his honor, many people discussed his legacy on the theory of evolution, which not unexpectedly, sparked the age old debate between the scientists and the religious crowd. The scientists argued that the evidence pointing to the fact that all species (including humans) descended from common ancestors through the process of natural selection; and that man and apes are related, is so overwhelming that it leaves no doubt in one’s mind as to its validity. The religious crowd on the other hand, argues that there is one God, who created all living things – humans, primates, other animals, micro-organisms alike; each being special in its own way, and accounted for, by God in its own right.

The Bible, Torah and the Koran, agree that God created the smaller beings including the fish and sea creatures; as well as the birds of the air and flying animals before he created larger land animals, wildlife and livestock. He finally created man and woman. I remember my 10th grade biology teacher many years ago looking at our confused faces when she told us that science agrees that the process of creation took millions of years. At the time, we tried in our little heads to reconcile what we had just heard with what we had been taught many times over at bible study – that creation took only 6 days. Our biology study teacher looked like a genius to us when she finally said “You know, the bible also says that a thousand years in our eyes is like a day past to God”. The light bulb suddenly went off in my head – the old teachings of the bible are now being confirmed by science. In other words, rather than look at each discipline in isolation and create a wide crater between them so that they can never merge or agree, we can look at them as being complimentary to each other.

Darwin, and others who have built on his theory, propose that man descended from less complex apes/primates; that in turn descended from other smaller creatures, and so on. In the end, the lineage of this complex being we call man can be traced back to the sea-dwelling organisms and eventually, a single cell as some would suggest. The holy books say that God created the smaller, less complex creatures before creating the more complex, larger man. I believe that whether it took a few days in God’s eyes, to thousands and millions or billions of years in our eyes, all views basically insinuate the same thing. All creatures come from the same source – God and/or nature – as we each see it; all creatures are therefore somewhat related. I believe then that regardless or which views one holds – religious or scientific – rather than agree to disagree; we can all agree… to agree.