What he said:

Theology is also awesomely sophisticated and complex, and I think it’s an indicator of the intelligence of the men (mostly) behind it that they have erected such a fantastically intricate collection of rationalizations for such deeply absurd ideas.

PZ Myers
Sunday Sacrilege: Cant Can’t

A great take on “sophisticated” theology and its clash with evolutionary biology. Team PZ!

What he said:

Science isn’t everything. We don’t use science to appreciate a piece of art (although, fundamentally, it is a material object and our brains are similarly natural); we don’t break out beakers and bunsen burners to determine if we’ve fallen in love; calculators have limited utility in writing poetry. That’s fine, but it doesn’t mean that religion fills in all the spaces! I don’t consult a priest to find out what I think of a painting, prayer has bugger-all to do with love, and there is better poetry in the world than what we find in holy books. You don’t get to simply assume that if science does something poorly, religion must do it well, and that the universe has to be neatly divvied up into these two mutually exclusive domains.

PZ Myers

Oh be careful little minds, what you think (or say aloud)

An interesting controversy has been brewing over the evangelical interwebs, or so it would seem.

A couple weeks ago, there was a video by the BioLogos Foundation that had an evangelical professor saying the following about the evangelical church’s refusal to accept the scientific theory of evolution:

I think that if the data is overwhelmingly in favour of evolution, then to deny that reality will make us a cult–some kind of group that is not interacting with the real world…To deny the reality would be to deny the truth of God in the world and would be to deny truth. So I think it would be our spiritual death.

transcript via Marc

When Marc posted this video (and transcript) a couple weeks ago, here’s what I said in response to the video:

I’m outside the church, but I LOVE this part of the quote you highlighted: “To deny the reality would be to deny the truth of God in the world and would be to deny truth. So I think it would be our spiritual death.”

I wonder where else this sentiment could be applied in today’s world — for example, maybe when there’s (even more) undeniable evidence of the genetic components of homosexuality, will the church have to adjust its dogmatic views toward gays and lesbians?

It’s interesting that the more knowledge of the natural world we understand and embrace, the more theology is forced to adjust to this material knowledge.

As someone who is outside the faith, I find it interesting that the reverse has yet to happen (ie., the more theological knowledge one possesses, the more adjusting views of the natural world must occur).

I was *so happy* to find someone within the evangelical culture willing to submit to scientific data (and not just religious dogma).

Unfortunately, it looks like there were implications for such a “voice in the wilderness” speaking out in support of actual evidence — Professor Waltke ended up losing his job at the seminary as a result of speaking out in such a video (one that has since been taken offline).

While I’ve read a couple examples of evangelical outrage on professor Waltke’s forced resignation, I wonder how much of this outrage will be (rightly!) directed inwardly toward the evangelical church culture that forces such censorship and suppression of ideas?

The cynic in me is thinking that there won’t be much. Alas.

EDIT: Looks like even the Huff Post has picked up on the story. From the article:

But the fact that his seminary did dismiss him is viewed as a sign of just how difficult it may be for scholars at some institutions to raise issues involving science that are not 100% consistent with a literal interpretation of the Bible.

The Reformed Theological Seminary’s Interim President, Michael Milton, told Inside Higher Ed that the situation caused the school “heartache,” but Waltke ultimately disobeyed the institution’s mandate on evolution: No Darwinian talk allowed.