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Christian Kummer SJ

A New Kulturkampf?

Evolutionary Biologists Dispute
about the "Christian Creation Myth"

 

From: Stimmen der Zeit, 2/2008, pp 87-100
webmaster's own, not authorized translation

 

    By a guest commentary in The New York Times in July 2005 about the subject Evolution and Creation the Vienna Archbishop Cardinal Christoph Schönborn provoked irritations that have a lasting effect until today. Taking two different world views as his starting-point CHRISTIAN KUMMER, professor of natural philosophy at the Munich School of Philosophy, presents creationism and shows how evolutionary biologists deal with the Christian creation myth.

 

In recent years creationism, originally an American phenomenon, wins more and more in importance in the German public. For biologists creationists are like a red rag for the bull, for by overbearingly insisting that the biblical idea of Creation is of scientific relevance they permanently question Charles Darwin's long since accepted evolution theory and even find increasingly sympathy with it.What are you to think of it, when even on the part of a ministry the proposal is made to include the biblical teachings on creation as object in the biology lesson in schools? Can you ask that of teachers of biology and are they at all to be able to do it? Here it is not about an additional topic of the biological curriculum but an extraneous import into the catalogue of scientific themes. It actually goes without saying that something like that can neither be beneficial for the scientific lessons nor for the faith content under discussion.

 

Two Different World Views

But the situation is different within the religious instruction. Here it seems quite advisable to have it out with the scientific findings. Why? Because the question of God, which here is in the centre of interest, has to do with the sense of the world, and this in turn with our understanding of the world, our world view.

According to the Brockhaus of 2002, this means the "summarizing of the results of objectifiable (objektivierbar) knowledge to a general view of the world". Even if one can argue about whether a world view really consists only of "objectifiable" knowledge without any ideological ingredient, it is nevertheless obvious that our modern "overall view of the world" is primarily scientific and thus fundamentally differs from the conception of the world of the Bible. Whether at the time of the Old Testament the interest in objectifying knowledge already existed is a question of its own; perhaps, the learned Six-Day-Scheme of the first, younger Creation story represents something like that.

 


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But for the nomadic tribes that the five books of Moses speak of the world view was certainly not determined by theories but practice. It was about the conquest of foreign territories for the sake of settling down, and the experience that this in league with a certain God, called Yahweh was at least on the whole a successful story. It was the experience of those insignificant nomadic clans to be strong when they were united and to be time and again unexpectedly successful in seemingly hopeless battles and emergencies that crystallizes to the common awareness of being led by a higher hand.

This "feeling of belonging together" (Wir-Gefühl), which goes beyond one's own limitations, is personalized in the religious practice of the invocation of a certain God whose name is known and who is superior to all other gods and finds its expression in forms, rituals and commandments that hand down to posterity the God experience of "the fathers". Only on this basis of faith ("Yahweh has led us with a strong hand and with raised arm") the question after the beginning arises out of the conviction that the one who had the ability to win from the enemies the country for "his people" ought to have also enough power to make the whole Earth habitable and to snatch it from the dangerous forces of chaos. Thus the momentous extension had taken place: the own history, now interpreted as salvation-history, had been made Creation history.

Although the belief in a Creator can in this way comprehensibly be described in its genesis, it is no small challenge for our teacher of religion and his listeners. For the question is whether our so very different experience of the world and our world view oriented towards scientific causal research still allow to hold on to this idea of God and Creation of the Bible. Oughtn't the conditions of the origin of this faith completely fall victim to Ockham's razor of a psychological or sociological explainability?

This at first glance seems inevitable, and yet the three-step of collective experience ("people"), religious interpretation ("God") and metaphysical reflection ("Creation") in the history of the origins of the biblical faith can also be transferred to today's experience of the word. Certainly, the afflictions and concepts of the enemy of our modern world are different from those of the times of the biblical Exodus, but the feeling of our insignificance in view of the dimensions of space and time of the cosmic event is certainly no less paralysing than that of the small group of Israelites opposite the Canaanite superior numbers. On the other hand it can be asked whether - in view of the grandeur of the universe and of life more and more discovered by the natural sciences - the hope of an ordering and caring hand behind the whole emerges less urgently than with the ancients' ideas of the cosmos.

 


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These are certainly no proofs for the accuracy of the biblical faith, but something like invitations to become aware of the expression of human experience in the Bible and to test whether the answers given there are suitable for today's generation. More than this a RE teacher who ventures on including the evolutionary world view in his lessons will not intend, and he will not be disappointed in his expectation: faith loses nothing in this comparison of world views but rather wins the ability to be spelled out anew.Now it may be that another RE teacher tackles the matter less generously and rejects the (just presented) three-step of the origin of faith in the Bible as too sociological. He places "God" and "Creation" before "people" and has so the theologically correct sequence enabling him to talk of revelation that directly comes from God and is accepted by man. Such a correction has the advantage that it better corresponds to the wording of the biblical texts, the sense of which you needn't first find out by a historical or sociological interpretation but can just take them literally.

But that faces the eminent disadvantage that now Ockham's razor can unsparingly be used, because now the (just mentioned) explanation patterns of sociology of religion no longer give an empirical basis encompassing the world view(s) but become the weapons of a radical demythologization. Against it also the objection of an illegitimate crossing of methodological borders achieves nothing, because it is no longer about the interference in a foreign terrain but the unmasking of this terrain as illusion. And there the natural sciences obviously have the better cards.

For the fundamentalist (i.e. those for whose faith the literal sense of the Bible is fundamental) there is only one kind of resistance against such an attack on the world view of the Bible: Since a debate on how the revelation of the Bible comes into being is not possible for him, he has no other choice than for his part to resort to an attack against the scientific world view challenging him. And since the evolutionary theory is the core of this challenge he concentrates on its negation.

Hence it is not about the in the scientific discourse usual objections against the accuracy or completeness of a theory that could lead to its revision or further development. On the contrary, it is clear from the outset that the theory of evolution must be wrong in so far as it contradicts the higher truth of the Bible, which is guaranteed by revelation (resp. what one takes for it). Only now creation and evolution diametrically and irreconcilably face each other as creationism and evolutionism.

 


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Creationist Ideology

The creationist attack on the theory of evolution puts the proof of its lack of explanatory power in the centre {1}. The argumentum ad ignorantiam is the chosen as means for it. It consists in keeping asking questions about the evolutionary explanations for the emergence of complex organic structures until the limit of knowledge is reached. Since in the natural sciences every solved problem as a rule results in a hundred new questions, this procedure - provided that there is enough tenacity and narrow-mindedness - will sooner or later always bring the desired result - the only question is what one.

The ultimate aim is to show that the theory of evolution practically always fails in explaining the issues allegedly explained by it, and therefore has no right to reject alternative theories such as the creationist "creation theory". The fact that this doctrine of creation is no scientific alternative is faded out. But it is obvious that no knowledge is gained when we declare that what we cannot explain had come into being by creation. Probably also the creationists realize that. But that is not their main point at all. It is not about the range of the individual evolutionary explanation but about defending the legitimacy of the fundamentalist revelation claim against its calling into question by the natural sciences. If scientific theories are as weak as the theory of evolution, so the argument, you are well advised to give priority to the biblical "revelation knowledge" as source of knowledge.

To make this message heard one proceeds with great expense in the media {2}. With it the use of the means by which the "ignorance" of the theory of evolution is to be shown is not always moulded by candour. What are you to think of it when in a beautifully presented poster {3} a recent herring can be seen next to a fossil skeletal imprint and the slogan reads: these fishes had obviously not changed in the last 30 million years - hence here no evolution had happened?

Ignorant people may be impressed by this, as long as they do not know that osseous fishes have existed for a good 400 million years, and that the stability of the herring's structure lasting for 7.5 percent of that period is really no sensation. Evolution within this period just takes place in much smaller details, accessible only to the eye of the specialist, or not at all in the bones but in the outer appearance or behaviour, which both are not accessible to the palaeontological comparison. Unfortunately you have to say that such tactics are not mere slips but they occur also in lectures and schoolbooks pretending to be reliable.

Time and again the layman is confronted with such false pretences, with distortions, with a flood of technical terms and at the same time with an inexact interpretation, but also with distorted quotations and sophistical thought acrobatics in the discussion about methods.

 


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That needn't even be always bad will. It is an empirical fact that the one who is convinced of the correctness of his position takes rather the usefulness of an argument into consideration than its legitimacy. But how can you still discuss with someone for whom the age of the earth is - due to biblical statements - 6000 years, and who responds to all references to the findings of the geological age determination conflicting with it (6000) with the remark that it was just the task of further research to resolve this contradiction?

One would be well advised to avoid to get involved in a dispute on such a level, if there was not the creationists' blatant striving for influence on the public educational sector. The call for "equal treatment" of evolution theory and "creation theory" in school instruction, which has time and again been uttered in the USA since the 60s of the last century and has just as often been rejected but has time and again - like Phoenix from the ashes - been renewed, has increasingly success also in this country.

Add to it the promotion of the general ignorance in scientific questions that is accepted if not even intended by the creationists' public relation work. In wide circles of the population biological knowledge is no less rudimentary than theological. If one here pursues a dismantling of the theory of evolution, as if it was not proven but could only be believed, one will certainly not achieve a higher acceptance of the Christian faith, but at the most only an (even) greater readiness to draw one's own world view from all kinds of irrational sources. Hence it is not just a matter of a cheap prospect of success for small-minded people to take action against the abstruse sophistry of the creationist argumentations but also a worthwhile educational goal that deserves all the recognition and support of an enlightened theology.

 

Scientific Counter-Offensive

It is understandable that especially among biologists a major resistance is formed against the growing influence of creationist thought in the public. Besides clarifications from the pens of the famous old masters of evolutionary theory, such as Ernst Mayr or Stephen Gould, it is in Germany especially the "Arbeitsgemeinschaft Evolutionsbiologie im Verband Biologie, Biowissenschaften & Biomedizin" (Vbio) ("Association of Evolutionary Biology in the Association Biology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine") that distinguishes itself in the educational work and with the proof of the unscientific nature of creationism.

 


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It was constituted in 2002 at the annual meeting of the then still so-called "Verbands deutscher Biologen" (vdbiol) (Association of German Biologists) in Potsdam with the goal to counter the "evolutionary illiteracy" in the population and to pursue an effective public repulsion of "ideologically justified strategies against the evolutionary biology {4}. The homepage of the Association says about it:

"One of the main tasks of the working group includes the publication of articles and books on evolutionary biology and philosophy of science, in which we take a clear position against teachings that are critical of evolution. In this way we want to give arguments to all those who want or have to deal with counter-evolutionist reasoning, to give reasons for the view that the teachings on Creation can be no scientific alternatives to the evolution theory, and to offer information materials on current events around the topic 'evolution criticism / creationism'. But we only deal with critics of evolutionism who are acknowledged biologists and publish in recognized journals (web science)."

Even though the activities in pursuit of those objectives - according to the news ticker found on the same website - rather rest on the shoulders of few people, the list of members of this working group is notable and constantly growing. Hence you can, not only as biologist be reassured that here the public defence of the scientific reputation of the evolutionary theory is satisfied.

Es bleibt indessen nicht allein der Biologie überlassen, in der Auseinandersetzung mit dem Kreationismus die Zeichen der Zeit zu erkennen.

But it is not the task of biology alone to recognize the signs of the times in the argument with creationism. In June 2006 the "Union der Deutschen Akademien der Wissenschaften" under the overall control of its President, the Göttingen microbiologists Gerhard Gottschalk, drew up a statement in which it warns of a neglect or disregard of the standards of scientific education in schools and at the same time formulates something like a normal consensus of our knowledge about the evolution of life on earth. Literally it says:

"In schools the evolutionary theory must not be neglected in favour of the so-called creationism. As leading scientists of in all 67 science academies around the world - including the Union of Academies - demand in a statement of the InterAcademy Panel (IAP) the experimental results and findings on the origins and the development of life on earth must neither be veiled nor denied. Parents and teachers should ensure that schoolchildren have access to scientifically validated information about the evolution and that not instead creationist theories are taught that are without a scientific basis."

While you can fully agree with this appeal, a paragraph at the end of the German translation of the above IAP statement has rather an irritating effect:

"But evolution is not just a matter of the natural sciences. The human understanding of values and the meaningfulness of life lie outside the range of the natural sciences and open the introduction of social, philosophical, religious, cultural and political aspects into our knowledge of evolution."

 


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You can regard these lines as relativization and see in them the admission that the natural sciences do not occupy the whole framework of explanation of human life. But you can also read this sentence as if here evolution became the utmost paradigm of explanation, a sort of "theory of everything" in which all the achievements of human knowledge are integrated and defined. Evolution as highest level of explanation - that strongly reminds of the headword "consilience", with which the socio-biologist Edward O. Wilson propagated the program of a synthesis of all the knowledge areas under biology as leading science {5}. Whether this allusion is intended remains to be seen; at any rate, the German text does not correspond to its English original:

"Human understanding of value and purpose are outside of natural science's scope. However, a number of components - scientific, social, philosophical, religious, cultural and political - contribute to it. These different fields owe each other mutual consideration, while being fully aware of their own areas of action and their limitations."

This formulation is acceptable because it does not overdo the claim of scientific explanation but gives the proper room to the diversity of sciences and their interdisciplinary function for the understanding of man. In the German translation (or should we say: interpretation?) not much is to be felt of such self-restraint.

You needn't already see in it a tendency to an unjustified extension of the natural sciences' entitlement to explain the whole of reality. There are clearer signs of this. There are above all the books that the chairman of the "AG Evolutionary Biology," the Kassel zoologist Ulrich Kutschera wrote loyal to the task of the working group to "take a clear stand against statements critical of evolution."

In the year 2004 his book "Contentious Issue Evolution. Darwinism and Intelligent Design" was published, in which he primarily records his dispute with the geneticist Wolf-Ekkehard Lönning, employee at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne and a committed creationist. Lönnig is one of the most pointed supporters of the Intelligent Design variant of creationism in Germany and until recently openly presented his personal conviction on the official website of his institute - though with tacit permission of his superiors. It is Kutschera's merit to have disclosed this abuse of a renowned scientific institution for one's own ideological struggle. Whether in addition to that Kutschera's attacks have become too much infected by Lönnig's incorrigible doggedness is a different question.

 


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But that is not our point. It is more interesting that this confrontation takes place on a second scene too. In the garment of Lönnig's fundamentalist view of the Bible the Christian faith (in Creation) as a whole is dismissed as irrational mystical and magical "brew of dogmas" ('Dogmengebräu'). Kutschera uses a trite tactic for it. He reproduces the corresponding pictures in the Nazarene style of Bibles for children and school catechisms of the 19th and 20 century, which from today's perspective can only be called religious kitsch, and presents them as the epitome of Christian conviction.

In comparison the academic theological literature, let alone its development over the last 100 years are totally ignored. In these escapades you look in vain for names like Karl Rahner SJ and Hans Küng, Jürgen Moltmann or Wolfhart Pannenberg. You cannot help feeling that creationism's naivety in questions of biblical theology is all right for him in order to deny that the Christian faith as a whole has any intellectual relevance. Thus one beats - under general applause (of the theologians too) - the creationist sack in the quiet intention to frighten à la longue also the Christian donkey.

 

Ideology Behind the Theory of Evolution

That this impression is not wrong is proved by another book edited by Ulrich Kutschera: the anthology "Creationism in Germany" published in 2007. One will not be mistaken with the assumption that a major reason for this publication was Cardinal Christoph Schönborn's statement on the topic Intelligent Design in the New York Times of 7 July 2005.

The unease about how in Schönborn's statement the doctrine about God's recognizability from nature is presented has found expression in many publications, not least theological ones, and needn't be repeated here. In many scientists' opinion the effect of this article was devastating for the reputation of the Catholic church. The remarks of the evolutionary biologist Thomas Junker (not to be confused with Reinhard Junker from the creationist "Studiengemeinschaft Wort und Wissen") in Kutschera's anthology probably describe the feelings of many of his colleagues:

"Historical and current experiences are indications that Schönborn states here nothing else but the Catholic Church's general conviction in matters of policy of science. The scientists are to restrict their claim and their conception of themselves and come to terms with the fact that they (are) a 'family of inventive dwarfs who can be hired for everything', as Bert Brecht so vividly described it in the Life of Galileo." {6}

 


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That may be laid on thick but is understandable when you recall the corresponding formulations of Schönborn: "The Evolution in the sense of common ancestry (of all living beings) may be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinist sense - as aimless, unplanned process of random change and natural selection - is not true." {7} And shortly before that in the same context:

"The Catholic Church leaves to science many details about the history of life on earth, but it also announces that the human mind can in the light of reason easily and clearly discover an aim and plan in the natural world, including the world of living beings." {8}

One would hardly blame Junker that he too adopts hard tones against such a patronizing view of theology, if here was not a significant undertone of fighting the church: "Not only scientists are happy that ... the church is currently not in a position to force the mental bondage for which it is striving." {9}

That strongly reminds of the slogans with which the "Humanistic Union" once made a stand against the position and influence of the churches in the German public. Indeed, the same attitude can be found in the "Giordano Bruno Foundation", a group that takes as its aim the promotion of an "evolutionary humanism". Four of the authors of the anthology, including Thomas Junker, significantly trade as board members of this association. That is their right. But it is also our right to inform ourselves about what kind of persons the members of this association actually are. Their homepage readily gives information about it:

"We live in a time of different times: While technologically we are in the 21st century, the world view of the majority is coined by age-old legends. This combination of highest technical know-how and most na´ve childlike belief could in the long run have fatal consequences for our species. ... The aim of the foundation is to make the basic outlines of a naturalistic world view and secular, evolutionary humanistic ethics / politics available to an interested public." {10}

This is now clearly more than just standing up for the place of the evolution theory within the scientific landscape or the spread of evolutionist thought. The point at issue is the enforcement of a certain world view, i.e. naturalism, which explicitly wants to dispute the place of the biblical-Christian world view in our culture.

Thus however the suspicion is strengthened that the fight at least of some evolutionary biologists against the spread of creationist positions aims at more than just the freedom of science.

 


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Rather Christianity's ideological confinement to creationism is opposed with a just as narrow, or better said pointed naturalism, and that is no less ideological. When Kutschera {11} emphasizes "religious and political beliefs (ideologies, also called '-ismen') have in the natural sciences no right to exist", he has tripped himself by it. The naturalism held here has world view character: It sees itself as Weltanschauung and often talks and acts then as militant atheism.

This confirms our suspicion that the campaign against creationism, which is generally regarded as commendable, only serves as a favourable opportunity for a general reckoning with the manifestations of religion of any shade. A look at the website of the Giordano Bruno Foundation suffices to prove this Kulturkampf allegation. It is remarkable to what faux pas against faith especially the speaker of the executive committee, Michael Schmidt-Salomon gets up, and it goes far beyond the usual offence that liberal circles take at the public influence of the churches {12}. Schmidt-Salomon deliberately accepts the allegation of violation of religious feelings and regards the consideration for them not only as superfluous but wrong:

"For what, sorry, are 'hurt religious feelings' seen in the light of the day? Nothing else than a conglomeration of fear to lose one's faith, of offended pride and the thirst to take revenge on the supposed malicious tongues! That is hardly worthy of protection! On the contrary, the one who shows consideration for 'religious feelings' puts so ideological bigotry' under a 'preservation order'. And this would in the long run be fatal." {13}

Now the members of the advisory committee are certainly not to blame for all activities of the Foundation Board. But they support, as the website says, the "general thrust" of the Foundation. Junker leaves no doubt that this support is also his concern: "As scientific theory it (the theory of evolution) gives no room to religious belief in miracles and thus to the Christian God. It is simply unnecessary, totally out of place and without relevance." {14}

 

Criticism of Naturalism

You could dismiss such a formulation as emotional slip unless it was not about a fundamental problem behind it, namely the question whether God is excluded from the scientific approach only for methodological reasons, or whether he generally has nothing to do with reality.

In his books Kutschera stands up for a non-interference between faith and science, which he also calls "Dobzhansky-Mayr Principle". For the two, Theodosius Dobzhansky and Ernst Mayr, although the former was a devout Christian

 


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and the latter atheist, worked as biologists hand-in-hand in the formulation of the synthetic theory of evolution. This for Kutschera is an example that as a Christian you can be a good natural scientist and evidence that his attacks against the "Christian Creation myth" are not to be understood as assessment of the religious faith in itself but as defensive action against the mixing of faith matters with such of science.

Thus one understands under this principle what commonly is called methodical, or better methodological naturalism. With it a method is named that is essential for the causal natural-history research, not to admit as explanation any non-empirical factors and thus also no God. How useful and necessary this principle is can not only be proved historically by the long list of research successes won by it but can also be understood in principle. Without such a methodical restriction the natural-history research would lack the sting of restless proceeding from explanation to explanation that makes it so successful. With God as admissible explanation it would get a passport that relieves it from further annoying questions.

That is precisely the accusation against the Intelligent Design variant of creationism, which regards the conclusion from the existence of the unexplained complexity to an intelligent producer as inevitable. Since such a creator can make everything that exists his assumption explains nothing; it is a causal joker, a fill-in of ignorance, but no explanation for those who want to know how things were done. (But this can conversely also be used as objection against the theory of evolution, if you only maintain by it "the evolution" had done something without being able to say in what way.)

Today among scientists the commitment to the methodological naturalism is a matter of course. The only question is whether the Dobzhansky-Mayr Principle is always understood in this sense by all co-operators involved in the anthology - and also by Kutschera himself. Admittedly, corresponding formulations are not missing: "Methodological naturalism, which is compulsory in the natural sciences and admits among other things only verifiable and demonstrable facts, is the ideology-free basis of all natural research." {15}

But the speech about the "Real Sciences" ("Realwissenschaften") lets arise doubts whether this sentence is more than lip-service. In Kutschera's opinion 'Real Science' are those sciences that comply with the naturalist method, i.e. only the natural sciences. Only here "verifiable and demonstrable facts" exist - hence reality is scientifically defined. What cannot be grasped on the condition of methodological naturalism is not regarded as real. This is no longer methodological naturalism (natural science deals with that part of reality that can be scientifically defined) but an ontological one (reality is naturalistically defined as what is accessible to natural sciences).

 


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This transition is inevitable when the expression 'Real Sciences' is used in Kutschera's sense, and it is - after all (what) we know about the background of his ideological conviction - probably also intended. It is methodologically not justified but an unproved preliminary decision, an option. In their ontological foundation of naturalism {16} Mario Bunge and Martin Mahner are aware of this axiomatic pre-condition and regard the commitment to materialism as epitome of all reality as a kind of metaphysics. If metaphysics is to be understood as searching for last, no longer derivable reasons of recognition of reality, we can agree. Matter as principle of changeability {17} is then seen as such a final reason for the "nature of things". But metaphysical justifications are not untouchable; they are accessible to a critical review of their logical consistency and coherence.

Such metaphysics-criticism is also appropriate and possible as regards materialism or naturalism in its ontological expression. This is only to be stated here without further detail {18}. It is perhaps this ground of philosophical reflection, which is too hot for scientific feet, that lets Kutschera think it advisable to retreat behind the security barrier of a mere methodological commitment to naturalism. But at least some authors of the anthology also expressly emphasize that naturalism with its claim to be a world view cannot stop at its methodological boundaries. In the contribution of the Munich chemist Martin Neukamm we read for instance:

"Secondly, the scientific naturalism is not just a 'methodological atheism', a 'tool', the range of application of which is primarily limited to the experimental sphere and that otherwise had to be accepted as non-scientific 'border-crossing', as Junker and Scherer assume (2006, 14, 17f.), no, it is a universal principle of philosophy of science: Supra-naturalist or teleological factors occur neither in practical-experimental nor in the theoretical-explanatory area nor in philosophical 'foundation' of the 'Real Sciences'. Science is just 'not only a metaphysically neutral methodical collection of rules for carrying out experiments but lives and thrives just also because of its fruitful philosophical assumptions' (Mahner 1989, 34)." {19}

It is totally incomprehensible how you can make such a statement from the premisses of the methodological naturalism. It actually needs not much insight to see that something that I have deliberately excluded from reality can also not emerge then in the so-drafted "Real Sciences". But the intention to transport - under the banner of legitimate pride on the actual explanation power of the evolutionary theory - a certain world view makes such a statement only too understandable. But it must then be treated in the same way with ideology criticism as creationism.

 


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Hansjörg Hemminger rightly writes in a declaration of principle of the 'Arbeitsstelle für Weltanschauungsfragen' (Department for Issues of Weltanschauung) of the Protestant Church of Württemberg:

"As mirror-image to creationism and 'intelligent design' the criticism of religion on the basis of natural science wins in influence. Many scientists publicly take the view that only a mere naturalistic or materialistic interpretation of world and man was reasonable. With it they refer to their scientific knowledge. Thus they cross the boundary of natural science and ideology and attempt - similar to creationism - to connect science and naturalism (or agnosticism) to an integrated world view. ... Creationism and the attempt to give proofs for God's existence out of nature confirm this criticism of religion by giving it a concept of the enemy. That's why the scientists' world-view claim where it is made should not be met with a Christian ideology but with ideology criticism." {20}

Certainly, not all evolutionary biologists and all the more not all scientists can be subsumed under the label evolutionary humanism. But it remains a fact that atheism in biologist circles is socially more acceptable than among physicists. The latest book of Richard Dawkins "The God Delusion" shows how much here the historical legacy of Darwinism continues to work. Here the eloquent socio-biologist {21}, evolutionary theorists and {22} teleology critic {23} finally styles himself as protagonist of a missionary atheism. Besides encouraging wavering defectors to abandon their faith ( "I did not know I could" {24} ), he also offers on his own website {25} addresses assorted after nations for joining like-minded people - the Giordano Bruno Foundation trades here of course for Germany.

Compared with such conviction of one's mission our teacher of religion (drafted at the beginning) with his suggestion to look for compatibility of faith and science is from the start fighting a losing battle. Even Eugen Drewermann's concession to banish all causal explanation from the theology on Creation and to leave them to natural sciences alone {26} will build here no bridge. Against a metaphysical preliminary decision against all metaphysics only the fight by arguments with the rational means of just this science will help. The study group 'Evolutionary Biology' resists being subsumed under the ideology suspicion raised by Hemminger {27}. But seen from Dawkins' platform it must willy-nilly put up with that allegation.

 

Notes

{1} See Ch. Kummer, Evolution u. Schöpfung, in this periodical 224 (2006) 31-42.

{2} See e.g. the websites of the study group "Wort u. Wissen": http://www.wort-und-wissen.de/ueber.html or of the US-American "Discovery-Institute": http://www.discovery.org

{3} H. Yahya, Atlas der Schöpfung (Istanbul 2007) 56. The costly presented work of this Islamic creationist can be downloaded from the Internet without charge.

{4} See http://www.evolutionsbiologen.de/, Quotation: H.-J. Jacobsen.

{5} E. O. Wilson, Consilience. The Unity of Knowledge (New York 1998).

{6} T. Junker, Schöpfung gegen Evolution - u. kein Ende) Kardinal Schönborns Intelligent-Design-Kampagne u. die Katholische Kirche, in: Kreationismus in Deutschland., edited by U. Kutschera (Berlin 2007) 75.

{7} Ch. Schönborn, Finding Design in Nature, in: The New York Times, 7.7.2005.

{8} In the same place.

{9} Junker (note 6) 76.

{10} http://www.giordano-bruno-stiftung.de

{11} In: Kreationismus (note 6) 41.

{12} This becomes clear for instance by the Manifesto of Christian Humanism written by Schmidt-Salomon, by his online petition against the religious foundation of education, and recently by the picture-book edited together with Helge Nyncke "Please, where is the road to God? Asked the little piglet" in which already six-year-olds are to be enlightened in an "amusing way about the God delusion". The presentation of this book in the Humanist press service speaks for itself: http://hpd-online.de/node/2557

{13} From the mentioned information of the Humanist press service (note 12).

{14} Junker (note 6) 81.

{15} Kreationismus (note 6) 24.

{16} M. Bunge u. M. Mahner, Über die Natur der Dinge (Stuttgart 2004).

{17} In the same place 19.

{18} See Ch. Kummer, Evolution - offen für Gottes schöpferisches Handeln, in: Zufall Mensch?, edited by L. Klinnert (Darmstadt 2007) 91-108).

{19} M. Neukamm, Wissenschaft u. ontologischer Naturalismus. Eine Kritik antievolutionistischer Argumentation, in Kreationismus (A. 6) 190.

{20} http://www.gemeindedienst.info/weltanschauung/texte/inmatkreastionismus_Grundsatz.htm

{21} R. Dawkins, The Selfish Gene (Oxford 1976).

{22} The same, The Blind Watchmaker (Harlow 1986).

{23} The same, Climbing Mount Improbable (New York 1996).

{24} The same, The God Delusion (London 2006).

{25} http://richarddawkins.net

{26} E. Drewermann, Wenn die Sterne Götter wären. Moderne Kosmologie u. Glaube (Freiburg 2004).

 

{27} "Unfortunately Hemminger gives naturalism also the term 'ideology' that implies immunity to criticism and the irrational urge to be entitled to reign. Since naturalism as scientific-ontological null hypothesis like scientific theories is constantly subject to criticism, the allegation of ideology is invalid." Quoted from the website of the AG Evolutionary Biology, news ticker of August 6th 2007.

 

Link to 'Public Con-Spiration for-with-of the Poor'