God is ok with evolution, really.

There’s been a bit of controversy lately at Iowa State on the subject of “intellectual suppression” of intelligent design. Some pent-up drama from Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez’s tenure denial is still around, and Expelled brought the beast back to life. Of course, having Dr. Hector Avalos here helps to keep things interesting. The first ISU Daily article in this round, “Avalos: ‘Expelled’ wrong on Holocaust” has accrued almost as many comments and letters to the editor as the articles about Gay Pride week. The whole subject is frustrating, because I don’t think there is a controversy. No one should dictate what religious beliefs a person can or can not have.
In this country, separation of church and state is a necessity (due to the many faiths or absence of faith present). Therefore, religion can not be taught in state funded schools. Period. If people want to study things other than approved evidence based curricula, they are welcome to do so at home. Dr. Gonzalez is also welcome to study these things, but not while he is on the payroll of a public university to study science. If he was a religious studies professor, things would have been entirely different. The NY Times reports today about Dr. Francisco Ayala, a former Dominican priest and current evolutionary biologist and geneticist at UC, Irvine. Dr. Ayala’s thoughts on the ID / Evolution controversy are amazing, unlike any I have every seen. The article is: “Roving Defender of Evolution, and of Room for God”, which I learned about from the Knight Science Journalism Tracker.

Dr. Ayala [said] that evolution is a well-corroborated scientific theory, but also that belief in evolution does not rule out belief in God. In fact, he said, evolution “is more consistent with belief in a personal god than intelligent design. If God has designed organisms, he has a lot to account for.”

Consider, he said, that at least 20 percent of pregnancies are known to end in spontaneous abortion. If that results from divinely inspired anatomy, Dr. Ayala said, “God is the greatest abortionist of them all.”

Or consider, he said, the “sadism” in parasites that live by devouring their hosts, or the mating habits of insects like female midges, tiny flies that fertilize their eggs by consuming their mates’ genitals, along with all their other parts.

These things makes sense when we consider evolution, but seem absolutely horrible if directed by intelligent design! These and other examples are presented in his book: “Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion.” According to the comments on Amazon, the book is a straightforward introduction to the ID / evolution controversy. COI Statement: I was elected President of ISU Atheist and Agnostic Society on the day of Dr. Avalos’s lecture (that’s me in the front row of the top photo).

Media Credit: Manfred Strait. Caption:Hector Avalos, professor of religious studies, is applauded at the end of his lecture in response to the anti-evolutionary film Expelled by members of the Atheist and Agnostic Society along with the rest of the room on Tuesday, April 22nd. Avalos was highly critical of the emotional, rather than fact-based approach of the documentary. Photo: Manfred Strait/Iowa State Daily