New on BBC 2 TV

DID DARWIN KILL GOD? “In a TV documentary to be broadcast on Tuesday 31 March 2009, 7 to 8 p.m., Conor Cunningham argues that it is possible to be a christian and to believe in the theory of evolution.

He claims that the debate between religion and evolution has been hijacked by extremists: on one side stand fundamentalist believers who reject evolution, and on the other side are fundamentalist atheists who claim that Darwin’s theory rules out the possibility of god.

Philosopher and theologian Conor Cunningham declares that it is time to set the story straight”.
Comment by Terence:
“All atheists would declare this philosopher and theologian to be totally wrong in thinking that he can reconcile evolution with christianity. For a start atheists hold that there is no substance in the dogma and doctrines of christianity, and that theology is just pointless philosophy—as empty as a void. The value of this film lies in the hope that it will at least shift more people from the pitiful ignorance of creationism to an acceptance of the brilliant explanations that account for evolution.”

A short extract from the transmission is on the Internet at

where you can sign up to get e-mail reminders about the several other Darwin programs this year.
I hope that in due course all the Darwin documentaries will be networked in the USA and everywhere worldwide.

Views: 118

Replies to This Discussion

It will be good to watch this documentary. I believe it will be an uphill task for Connor Cunningham to reconcile a notion based on reason and that based on pure blind belief. Evolution is alive, open and would continue to grow as evidence for its validity emerge with time. The bible story is static, sectional, not universal as evolution theory. The creation story has no logical or historical background to back its origin or the credibility and the autheticity of the authors. We will wait and see.
The extreemist straw men are eating his cake arguement. That's ripe alright!
Thanks for this.
Since bibleGod existed nowhere and no when in the Universe except in the dehydrated minds of desert shamen, and latterly a few other humans minds, Darwin can not possibly have killed him, her or it. The whole premise of the program is poor to start with since acceptance of the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection as the driving force behind evolution totally and utterly unmakes God. That is unless one adopts the intellectually duplicitous and morally dubious standpoint of a "dual belief system". I have heard many of the religiously deluded, humans I have met, try to rationalise their mutually exclusive dualistic views when presented with overwhelming evidence that supports Darwinian evolution that "Oh well, God must have given everything the power to evolve". Having watched the introduction of the program, Conor Cunningham appears to be no different to those poor fools who cling onto their bronze age sky god at all costs, even their intellectual integrity. To my eternal shame, even as I taught Biology, Physics and Chemistry, I held such a dual belief system for half my adult life until I had the moral courage to abandon my religious safety blanket and stand blinking at the light alone. Take it from me, such dualism is worthy of nothing but contempt.

The Human species must eventually understand that this life is all there is. There is no resurrection, death is final. God is imaginary. The bible is a grand lie.

It will be interesting to watch because at some point he's going to have to explain why genesis can be taken as myth or metaphor but The Gospels account of resurrection can't. (I can guess the answer: casuistry: it must be true because it it was false I'd be wrong.)

He's going to have to challenge that guy who said the bible tells us the earth is only 6000 years old. ( it doesn't that's a bit of lazy intellectualism from Bishop Usher counting the genealogies. Show me in the bible where it dates the Earth.)
He's going to have to confront the radiometric dating ( don't let them call it carbon dating) and evidence from geology, biology, genetics, astronomy, chemistry and physics.

If he accepts all of that he's going to have to reconcile the parsimony of Occam's Razor. Okay okay that *is* how the world works - but that's just how god wanted it. So why assume the extra entity?
Or worse, he'll get snarled up in having to defend some form of deism (again no evidence of that) or untangle Dawkin's argument that assuming a complex creative force is a bad assumption to make when all examples of complexity we know of start from simple and become complex, so invoking something complex to explain something simple (like the first replicating cell) is a bad argument.

Alternatively we'll get some spin on ta-da! it's mystery, lets be satisfied with that or 'and then a miracle occurred' even if he's not so blasé as to do that, we might get some variation on non-overlapping magisteria and 'equal truths' or some other contemptible bullshit.

I am a philosopher by training so this is kind of painful for me, since I've subsequently crossed over to an empirical point of view - but what Darwin did is to remove one of *the* central planks used to justify belief for centuries - that is the question of design. Moral and ontological arguments long since discredited, design was one of the big beats left, and it has been wholly destroyed as credible.

Now he may say that's all true. But how he gets from there to 'and yet I still believe' will have to be based on arguments that either try to codify religious texts in a way that is acceptable to modern standards or he will have to find a way to say why this religions is true but other religions aren't. and he'll have to find some way of reconciling reality with fantasy. in my view it can't be done. but watching him fail in the effort will be worth watching.

P.S also I don't like this idea of comparing extremes. Dawkins, Dennet et al are extreme, their polar opposites are Ken Ham and the AIG brigade...what we need is a happy fudge in the middle.
The biggest problem most Christians seem to have with evolutionary theory is not that it rules out the "possibility of a god" but that it does not make that possibility a requirement.

Whether or not one can reconcile evolutionary theory and Christianity depends very much on what one means by the latter. Certainly, it is incompatible with any sort of fundamentalist theology. I suspect what happens in the minds of most of the Christians who claim to have come to terms with both is not so much a reconciliation as a somewhat strained cohabitation.
I just finished watching this documentary.

Between us George and me covered most of his main arguments and faults.

I'm going to grit my teeth and watch it again tomorrow with a notebook and pen and note down all the parts worth responding to and then come back with a review.




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