Religion and evolution have some conflicting ideologies, but at the same time, they seem to borrow from each other to complete their approaches. Several authors in fields like biology, theology, and history have tried to fathom the two disciplines. For instance, dualists contend that evolution and religion are complementary. They argue that religion evolved to complement evolution by providing means of survival. On the contrary, these terms do not seem to form a middle ground. It is necessary to research why this incompatibility exists between religion and evolution, their argument on the origin of life, the correctness of these two perspectives, and whether or not at one point they are compatible.
Evolution and religion are incompatible. This incompatibility is seen in their meaning of different aspects of life. Evolution is science-based, while religion is based on faith (Kerrigan n.p). According to evolution, life evolved from genetic mutation and natural selection. It attributes life to the natural aspects of development. Religion, on the other hand, states that life evolved from a supernatural being through creation.
Additionally, evolutionary scientists such as Richard Dawkins argue that religion does not exist. Therefore, there is no comparison. They reject religion because there is no evidence to back up its existence (Kerrigan n.p). They presume that the world is as it is because of evolution as it has a naturalist aspect. How life began can be seen, therefore enough evidence. Therefore, evolution is the only approach that explains how life developed. Religion is based on faith, which lacks natural aspects that can be subjected to experimentation. Also, in evolution, the role of God in creation is not recognized. This completely contradicts the religious aspect of creation, where God is the sole creator as recorded in the book of Genesis. In evolution, creation is purely a natural notion where life results from the genetic mutation of species.
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Evolution is attributed to the origin and development of life. Several authors argue that human beings came into existence as a result of evolution. According to Charles Darwin, Evolution is the gradual change in organisms due to genetic mutation and natural selection (Gishlick 840-841). The changes that occur enable these organisms to adapt to the prevailing environment, thus increasing their survival. Evolution suggests that life is interdependent in that all life on earth depends on each other. Despite this interdependence, some life prevails over others in the ecological niche that they exist. An organism whose survival fitness is high prevail all conditions and sire more lives (Gishlick 840-841). This aspect suggests that a new life is dependent on the survival abilities of their parents. Those which do not have stronger survival capabilities become extinct in the process. Therefore, the evolution of life depends on natural selection as one of the survival tactics.
Evolution also suggests that life evolve spontaneously from non-living matter. According to this evolution theory, when some wrapped pieces of cheese and bread are left in a dark room, mice developed after several weeks (Pross 214). The bread and the cheese also mutated into maggots, which are living organisms. However, this theory of evolution received criticism in the 18th century since life can only develop from pre-existing living cells that mutate into a new organism.
Just as evolution, religion also explains life on earth using various alternate. Some of these alternatives are creationism and intelligent design (“Evolution, Creationism, And Intelligent Design” n.p). In creationism, God is regarded as the sole creator, and all credit is put upon His name. The life of earth results from God’s creative works (“Evolution, Creationism, And Intelligent Design” n.p). The universe and everything in it could be void if a supernatural being were not involved in creation. This alternate seems to criticize evolution because, according to creationism, organisms cannot mutate into other similar organisms as in evolution. God’s creative works must be employed. Thus in creationism, life is fully dependant on God.
On the other hand, intelligent design suggests that a supernatural designer was involved in creating life on earth. The supernatural designer is not necessarily God. The designer is mainly associated with the universe’s order (“Evolution, Creationism, And Intelligent Design” n.p). Also, nature is complex; thus, intelligent designers’ efforts were employed to design nature (“Evolution, Creationism, And Intelligent Design” n.p). This alternate does not borrow references from the scriptures, so it eliminates itself from religious beliefs. Thus in intelligent design, life is complicated and cannot entirely depend on natural forces; a divine force is involved.
Both religion and evolution explain on origin and development of life. The two aspects are incompatible, and their correctness depends on who is judging (Coyne 311). Religion can be regarded as correct based on its argument on the origin and development of life. Life development is a complex process and cannot be figured, for example, to have evolved through organisms’ gradual change over time. A supernatural being must be involved to command life in that organism.
Additionally, the nature of life and the order seen in creation must have involved a divine force in coordinating the whole process. Also, evolution claimed that life developed from non-living things that mutated an organism with life over time. This claim became obsolete in the 18th century when it was proven that life could only develop from a living creature. Therefore life is more of a religious aspect more than an evolutionary aspect.
We cannot completely disregard the correctness of evolution on the origin and development of life. According to evolution, life developed through natural selection and mutation of the organism as a natural process. This evolutionary process is physical; therefore easy to understand how life came to being. Scientists such as Charles Darwin have provided evidence of how fossils underwent chemical processes and later mutated into different cells, bringing life (Gishlick 841). Therefore, the evolution of life is not a fiction but a reality of how life developed.
There is no middle ground between religion and evolution argument on the origin and development of life. The two terms offer contradictory arguments against each other. Scientists critic the religious aspect because it ignores the natural aspects of evolution. According to religion, life’s origin and development is purely a miraculous process that involved the creative works of a supernatural being. A scientist cannot observe these miraculous works, and there is no evidence of whether these things happened. On the other hand, religion criticizes evolution because giving life is complex and cannot just happen through natural selection and mutation; a supernatural being must take charge of the process. The world of religion and evolution operates differently; finding a middle ground would call for disregarding one of them’s merits.
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In conclusion, evolution and religion portray their compatibility in their argument concerning the origin and development of life. Evolution attributes life as a natural process, while in religion, a supernatural being commanded life through faith. Both terms provide evidence on existence life; therefore, the correctness of these perspectives depends on who is judging. Linking the two terms would mean disregarding the importance of one, and therefore they should be regarded as incompatible.
“Evolution, Creationism, And Intelligent Design”. Vol 48, no. 05, 2011, pp. 48-2657-48-2657. American Library Association, doi:10.5860/choice.48-2657.
Coyne, Jerry A. Faith Vs Fact “Why Science And Religion Are Incompatible. Viking Press, 2015, p. 311.
Gishlick, Alan. “Living With Darwin: Evolution, Design, And The Future Of Faith”. Science Education, vol 91, no. 5, 2007, pp. 840-841. Wiley, doi:10.1002/sce.20231. Accessed 29 Jan 2021.
Kerrigan, Nathan. “How Can Scientists Believe Evolution Is Compatible With Religion?”. The Conversation, 2016, https://theconversation.com/how-can-scientists-believe-evolution-is-compatible-with-religion-54495. Accessed 29 Jan 2021.
Pross, Addy. “Early Life On Earth: Tracing The Chemical Path From Non-Living To Living”. Proceedings Of The International Astronomical Union, vol 14, no. S345, 2018, pp. 206-214. Cambridge University Press (CUP), doi:10.1017/s1743921319002047.