Yet most Darwin-friendly churches (i.e. established European and American mainline) have been in decline relative to theologically conservative, “magical nonsense” churches. Through most of the 20th Century, “more people moved from mainline to conservative churches than in the other direction,” according to Associated Baptist Press.
In “Creation conversation” (Letters, Feb. 23, Gazette) Batchelder asked, “Does anyone believe God could not have created life through the process of evolution?” That depends on what Batchelder means by “evolution.” Logically, God could have created all species through common descent from one or a few ancestors.
The problem for Batchelder is that science further defines evolution as purposeless and without supernatural causes.
As Darwin himself wrote, “The view that each variation has been providentially arranged seems to me to make Natural Selection entirely superfluous, and indeed takes the whole case of the appearance of new species out of the range of science.” Darwin also wrote, “I would give nothing for the theory of Natural Selection, if it requires miraculous additions at any one stage of descent.”
If Batchelder means by evolution what science means by evolution, he is in effect asking, “Does anyone believe God could not have created life through a purposeless process that has no supernatural causes?” As a matter of logic, God could not. If Batchelder disagrees, he is either being illogical or conflating scientific and nonscientific senses of the word “evolution,” just as some conflate the scientific and nonscientific senses of the word “theory” to dismiss evolution as “just a theory.”
As atheist historian of science William Provine notes: “As the creationists claim, belief in modern evolution makes atheists of people. One can have a religious view that is compatible with evolution only if the religious view is indistinguishable from atheism.” No wonder 87 percent of leading evolutionary scientists are atheist and Provine declares, “Evolution is the greatest engine of atheism ever invented.” History, sociology and reason refute Batchelder’s naïve claim that accommodating evolutionary theory will gain the church a greater hearing.