Chapter

It’s not about the Evidence

Charles E. Mitchell

in For the Rock Record

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780520257580
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943711 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520257580.003.0007
It’s not about the Evidence

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The apparent conflicts between science and religion with respect to human evolution owe their origin to the different roles that metaphysics plays in the two approaches to knowledge and to understanding what it means to be human. At their most divergent, these perspectives place humans in a very different place within their explanatory framework and define what it means to be human in many ways. For many evolutionists, humans are merely one of a vast number of well-adapted but fundamentally natural outcomes produced by an unguided process (natural selection), whereas, for many religious people, humans are the central reason for being of a divinely created and actively sustained, goal-directed universe. This chapter argues that scientific and religious accounts of human origins are founded on different philosophical approaches to knowledge. It describes these differences from the perspectives of Earth science and paleontology and discusses how creationist metaphysics leads to erroneous criticisms of Earth and evolutionary science. It summarizes some features of the intelligent design argument and its connection to previous views about the relationship between Christian theology and Earth history.

Keywords: Earth science; metaphysics; intelligent design; Christian theology; human evolution; religion; paleontology

Chapter.  9911 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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