Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Darwin and evolution discussed at lecture

“Can one be a Darwinian and a Christian at the same time?”

This was one of the many compelling rhetorical questions Keith Parsons asked his audience during his “Charles Darwin, Hammer of the Creationists” lecture.

Parsons explained how he emphatically believes that a person can profess himself to be a member of the Christian faith and still believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution at the same time. He said a person should consider the Apostle’s Creed recognized by many denominations of Christianity.

“Look to see if you can find anything in the creed that says you cannot believe in evolution. I have pursued this document carefully and could find no contradictions,” Parson said.

However, Parsons dismissed the Genesis version of how birds and other beings came to exist. He said he refuses to believe that a booming voice brought an entire feathery species into existence with a single command. Instead, Parsons quoted one of Darwin’s major arguments for natural selection regarding the identical bone structure of the human hand, lion or bear paw, bat wing and dolphin fin.

“If you try to insist that your religion is joined at the hip with something that is obviously fallacious, you do discredit to your religion,” Parson said.

In his lecture, Parsons admired the personal family values that Darwin employed as well as his honest, straightforward manner of reacting to any and all objections raised to contradict his hypotheses of natural selection.

“Charles Darwin is my hero because he is a man of incredible candor who worked very hard with a degree of devotion to his theory. Even when his wife, Emma, wrote her husband a tearful letter fearing that they would be parted in the afterlife, Darwin stuck to his convictions. As Aristotle said, ‘We must value truth even more than our dearest ones,’” Parsons said.

Parson, who serves as a professor of philosophy from the University of Houston-Clear Lake, said he believes the purpose of science is not to make excuses for God, but, rather, to explain. He said humans have no way of proving that there is a higher being in existence who will one day cancel out all of the evils found in the world.

Parsons also said that while the Judeo-Christian beliefs of the morals and values of God are written to be good and fair, much of the repugnant evils that occur in nature are not consistent with a loving and powerful creator. Instead, he said the theory of natural selection clearly lays out the process where a certain species of woodpecker is destined to live on the ground because it was once forced to adapt to some external circumstance in the environment.

However, he doubted the existence of a moral God who would allow such a thing to occur for no apparent reason when he has the power to stop it.

The lecture prompted many questions from audience members. Parsons said he is a “friendly atheist” and tries not to be confrontational to people who do not believe as he does. v

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