15 February 2009

Rejection of Evolutionary Biology in a Unitarian Universalist Congregation?

During the brief post-DVD discussion today, one of our congregation's leaders said that she had wished that people from both ends of the evolutionary biology debate spectrum had been at today's Thank God for Evolution DVD screening.

I asked if the folks who were rejecting evolution were members of our congregation or members of the wider community (we had a brief announcement about the DVD screening in the local paper).

I learned that we have some members of our congregation who reject evolution.

I was surprised. I would not be surprised that some members of our community outside All Souls would reject evolution - conservative religion is prevalent in our town.

But I was surprised that members of my congregation would reject evolution.

I know that we are a non-creedal faith tradition - but seriously?

A free and responsible search for truth doesn't mean one can believe anything one wants to believe. Responsibility would suggest that one should not reject settled scientific matters like the theory of evolution, the germ theory of disease, or the heliocentric theory of the solar system.

It's possible that some ideas may be nonsensical.

In a 1973 essay that criticized creationism and espousing theistic evolution, evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote:
Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution.
The entire essay can be read here.

Perhaps we can need an adult religious education class using the book Your Inner Fish? There's a catchy and fun music video associated with this book.


Anonymous said...


Science does its work, don't worry about it. Recall that many people in the humanities apparently believe that science is a "social construction", and if you believe that, you can perhaps believe that evolution is some kind of a social construction. Personally I think trusting science increases survival chances.

"Origin of Species" is written at a popular science level - the next time you see this person, ask her to take a few hours and look through it.

Best wishes
Dudley M Jones

Mickbic said...

I am not surprised at all that some UU folk have a problem with the theory of evolution. I certainly have a problem with it and I come from a conservative Baptist background which makes it even more difficult. I have been UU for about 15 years.

Buckminster Fuller once asked why does the universe need to have a beginning or an ending? At the present time, no one seems to be listening to his question.