Can Evolution and Religion Coexist?


While scientific societies around the world believe that evolution is supported completely by all our knowledge, is it possible for the idea of evolution to coexist with religious beliefs? Scientists have attempted to convince Americans in particular of this however many are not ready to believe it, and possibly for good reason.

In a Gallup poll in 2010 it was found that only 16 percent of Americans believed in “Naturalist Evolution”, the theory that man has developed over millions of years from less developed life forms with God playing no part in the process. Of all the 34 nations surveyed, only Turkey had a lower percentage than the United States.

So what about the other 84 percent? According to the survey, 30 percent of Americans agree with “Theistic Evolution”, that is evolution being guided by God, and another 40 percent believe the “Creationist View”.

Considering these figures, it seems unlikely that the theory of naturalist evolution can ever co-exist with religious beliefs, however, it is possible. While Darwin’s The Descent of Man implies that our evolution has been pure luck rather than divine purpose, there are a minority of prominent biologists who are both believers as well as defenders of evolution. One such scientist is Kenneth Miller. In 2005 he acted as a star witness in a federal case for the teaching of intelligent design in Dover public schools after the publication of his 1999 book, Finding Darwin’s God, in which he argued that God could still be behind the perceived randomness in evolution, but this is belief at play without any evidence to support it.

While the scientific community wishes to keep themselves on the right side of the believers, there seems to be a fundamental incompatibility between the evidence backed random evolution and the faith based divinely-guided evolution. Will we ever get to the point where we will be able to bridge the gap between the two?

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