Just Like Huxley and White
My belief is that in the field left to them—their proper field—the clergy will more and more, as they cease to struggle against scientific methods and conclusions, do work even nobler and more beautiful than anything they have heretofore done. And this is saying much. My conviction is that Science, though it has evidently conquered Dogmatic Theology based on biblical texts and ancient modes of thought, will go hand in hand with Religion; and that, although theological control will continue to diminish, Religion, as seen in the recognition of “a Power in the universe, not ourselves, which makes for righteousness,” and in the love of God and of our neighbor, will steadily grow stronger and stronger, not only in the American institutions of learning but in the world at large.
In other words, rightly understood science and religion should divide along the fact-faith split. Science gives us facts while religion gives us faith and feelings. This was the implicit message of the closing scene of Inherit The Wind which had Clarence Darrow (Spencer Tracy) clutching a Bible after demolishing William Jennings Bryan’s (Fredric March) belief that the Bible gives us facts, as well as faith. The message was not to reject religion, but to keep it in its place. Of course Darrow was not a Christian, and he never defeated Bryan. But the Warfare Thesis never was about truth.
So while the Warfare Thesis speaks of conflict between science and religion, it also seeks harmony between science and religion. The difference is in the religion. Religion needs to accommodate science’s new truths and restrict itself to faith and feelings. That will lead to harmony but otherwise there is conflict.
Nowhere is this more evident today than at BioLogos where, for example in a recent post, President Deborah Haarsma expressed concern that Bethel College has decided that its faculty ought not to be advocating the view that God used evolution to create the first humans. The concern at BioLogos is that such a decision “effectively sets faith commitments in opposition to clear scientific evidence [for the evolution of humans] in God’s creation.”
This is the Warfare Thesis. Religion is in conflict with “science” and that is a problem.
But of course elsewhere BioLogos calls for harmony as they invite “the church and the world to see the harmony between science and biblical faith as we present an evolutionary understanding of God’s creation,” and provide “5 Reasons the Church Should Embrace Science.”
This too is the Warfare Thesis. Religion is in conflict with “science” and the solution is to acquiesce and retreat to the realm of faith and feelings.
The Warfare Thesis is based on the erroneous equating of evolution as empirical science. Evolution was never about the science, but rather is motivated and justified by, yes, religious beliefs. That is abundantly documented, from Leibniz to Darwin to Coyne. The claim that science has arrived at Epicureanism is simply absurd. The fact is, Epicureanism has arrived at Epicureanism. Evolutionary thought is thoroughly ensconced in metaphysics. There are no scientific proofs for the spontaneous origin of the species, they are theological and philosophical.