Daily Kent Stater

Atheism, evolution are very different

Dear Editor:

I am writing in response to Ms. Arntz’s column about evolution and creation. I particularly enjoyed the online cartoon, depicting a creationist lecturing an unlistening evolutionist about facts. I couldn’t decide if the author is poking fun at her own words or attempting to be insightful.

Since Ms. Arntz ends with a quote, I thought I might start with another; this one by Penn Gillette: “God lives in the margins of science. That’s why the believers like to keep those margins wide and blurry.” In this case, the columnist has allowed her bias to blur the lines between atheism, faith, belief and science. Let me explain.

Evolution is a scientific theory. A theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world (not something unproven). Because evolution is a scientific theory, it is substantiated by empirical evidence derived from rigorous experimentation, observation and measurement. As scientists, its researchers seek to eliminate bias (those things that might lead to false or misleading results) from experiments in order to more accurately measure and describe the natural world.

Conversely, a belief is simply an idea held to be true, usually without substantiating evidence. Take the existence of God. Because it can be neither proved nor disproved, the belief in it can only be supported by one’s own faith. The same can be said about the origins of life — although some chemists and microbiologists will probably argue that.

Atheism and evolution are very different things. One can be a Christian and still accept the theory of evolution. Even Charles Darwin was a religious man. Can the same be said of creationism and fundamentalism? Can a person be exclusively one and not the other, or does belief in creationism require faith in one’s religion? We might also ask why Ms. Arntz allows her beliefs to bias her arguments to the point of absurdity. If her goal was to assure us of her ignorance, she has succeeded admirably. Creation is faith. Evolution is science. Scientology is a religion founded by L. Ron Hubbard.

Andrew SuttonComputer science major