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Scary Pew Research

Posted by Graeme in Religion,Wrong at 11:39 am on Monday, 16 February 2009

Many people have called the recent Pew Research Centre poll that “showed” that only 26% of Americans believed in evolution. What is really scary is that no-one seems to have looked closely enough at it to see that it showed nothing of the sort.

The categories used present the majority of Christians with the a problem. We have to choose between asserting belief in God’s purpose in creation (lumping us with the creationists) or we can assert our belief in natural selection (which would mean denying belief in God’s purpose for evolution).

The other problem faced by any poll of this nature. Ideas of the relationship between God and creation are varied and subtle. This leads to problems with words like “quides” that Pew use. If God creates the universe so that certain things happen is that guiding? What about guiding (supposedly random) event? Is guiding restricted to a miraculous type of intervention that has visible effects that would be verifiable miracles if someone was there to observe and test them?

Bear in mind that the orthodox Christian view is (and has been for a long time) that God created time. That gives him a very different range of potential interventions from any actor within time who wishes to intervene. This is how natural selection is reconciled with guidance and purpose. Perhaps Pew’s researchers have not managed to get a grip on ideas like eternity yet?

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