Non-Christians: Do you believe in Evolution?

As a thought, I might suppose that Hindus would accept evolution - of a sort - because they believe in ‘progression’ through reincarnation.

However I don’t know that the two are compatible; evolution and Hinduism. Are they?

What about other non-Christian faiths? Where do you stand on this issue?

I’m a Christian and I believe in that evolution is the most probable explination for the creation of the universe. Therefore at this point in time, I believe in evolution.

Woops…didn’t read the non-christian part. That’s selective reading for you.

No worries. :thumbsup:

I am Buddhist. I accept evolution as the best explanation we have for the diversity of life on earth. “Believe” is the wrong word - I accept evolution because of the evidence. If the evidence changes then my acceptance would change.

The Buddha was not interested in questions of origins so Buddhism will fit with many different ideas on the subject:‘The religious life, Malunkyaputta, does not depend on the dogma that the universe is eternal, nor does it depend on the dogma that the universe is not eternal etc. [many dogmas omitted here] Whatever dogma obtains there is still birth, old age, death, sorrow, lamentation, misery, grief and despair, of which I declare the extinction in the present life.’

(Cula-Malunkyovada sutta, Majjhima Nikaya 63)

Cool! It doesn’t clash with your faith

I’m Jewish and would agree with the observation that it’s not a matter of ‘believing in’; rather it’s saying that it’s the best explanation currently available of ‘how things worked in getting where we are’. Undoubtedly somebody will come up with a ‘bigger and better’ theory (in the same way that Relativity explained more than Newtonian mechanics) in due course.

Have you proof that a bigger theory will come about? If not, then you have ‘belief’ in evolution.


Scientific theories are ‘tentative truths’ - one doesn’t ‘believe’ in them, it’s a matter of ‘best explanation so far’.

If holding that something is the best explanation so far but being quite prepared to accept that it’s only ‘tentative truth’ is what you define as ‘belief’ in it, then that’s entirely up to you - doesn’t matter to me in the least, those people who know what I mean will know what I mean and you’ll know what you think that I mean.

As to ‘proof’ that a bigger theory will come about - what on earth do you mean by that? I know what I mean - I mean ‘it’s how science works’ - towards bigger and better, more powerful, more explanatory, more predictive theories.

Of which you ‘believe’ that another better one might come along.

The you have faith that this will continue to be so.

Unless you can prove to me that this is so… even tentatively

Hey, your OP asked whether we believed in evolution. I’ve said that I think that it’s the best explanation but it’s a ‘tentative truth’ and that’s not what I call a ‘belief’ in something ‘in and of itself’.

That’s you answer.

It’s not a question of proving anything to you at all.

Scientific theories are based on the available evidence. Since I do not know what evidence may show up in future I can never be absolutely certain that an existing theory will not be changed by new evidence at some time in the future. This is why all scientific theories are provisional and subject to replacement.

Science does not provide absolute truth, all it does is to provide a method to get us closer to the truth. We can never be certain that we have actually arrived at the truth, though we can sometimes know that we are still short of the goal. For example, under some circumstances of large mass and small distance we know that quantum mechanics and general relativity give different answers. One or both must be incorrect somewhere. That is why scientists are looking for a theory of quantum gravity, because in this case we know that there is more to be discovered.

Isaac Asimov wrote a good essay on The Relativity of Wrong which deals with the provisional nature of scientific knowledge.


In order to have a productive discussion one must agree on the defnition of terms used.

From Merriam Webster

intransitive verb
1 a : to have a firm religious faith b : to accept as true, genuine, or real
2 : to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something
3 : to hold an opinion : THINK
transitive verb
1 a : to consider to be true or honest <you wouldn’t believe how long it took> b : to accept the word or evidence of <couldn’t believe my ears>
2 : to hold as an opinion : SUPPOSE

I “believe” in evolution according to definition 1a and 1b of the transitive verb form of the word “believe.” I consider it to be true or honest based on the evidence available. It is the most compelling explanation that fits the available evidence. I fully acknowledge that it is entirely possible that that explanation may be modified if new and different evidence becomes available. That is how science works.

Darwin said it.
I believe it.
That settles it.

Putting my right hand over my heart, and looking solemn:

I pledge allegiance to Evolution
of the biological diversity found on earth,
and to the divine guidance which informs it,
one DNA under God, cellularly divisible,
with allopatric speciation and adenine triphosphate for all.

:thumbsup: Here’s a good resource for you

That’s not how science works, at least it’s not as smooth a process as many might think - see Kuhn and his work on paradigm shifts (or as Feyerabend might have put it “science does not proceed by any set of rules, criterion or methods”)

However, as I not you’re a pagan, do you believe your gods evolved?

I’m Catholic, but I would say that it is not a matter of believing or not.

I simply find Neo-Darwinism’s arguments unconvincing, particularly its clashes with the fossil record. It also has not addressed the issues Behe et al raised, eg irreducible complexity in cell structures. I also don’t think Gould’s punctuated equilibrium has explained its mechanism well enough, although it certainly accounts for the fossil record better than Neo-Darwinism.

To make up for replying despite not being non-Christian:
Ancient Lucretian philosophers (I believe a branch of the Epicureans) came up with the first evolutionary theory, and it was actually an outgrowth of their philosophical/religious beliefs.

Have you heard of those that are trying to re-invent the “hopeful monster” thesis? (see Richard Goldschmidt)

I got his book in Penguin Classics version (*On the Nature of the Universe *) years ago and I’ve never begun to read it yet.

With a degree in physics, I think I have a bit of an idea “how science works” thanks, so I don’t think of myself as entirely uninformed or naive in that respect.

However, as I not you’re a pagan, do you believe your gods evolved?

I have no idea. It is sufficient to know that They are because that is who I interact with, not with any potential precursors to Them. Certainly there are stories in the tradition of humans who were elevated to the ranks of the immortals, but they are sacred stories, not literal historical fact, and that would not be evolution as we know it.

Science and faith are two different realms, asking entirely different questions.

Oh, dear! I’ve got someone’s nose out of joint.

Have you studied the history of science, or the philosophy of science? You’ll be amazed at what you learn ABOUT science. Are you aware of the socialising factors involved in your learning science?

ROFL! That’s based on a particular model of what science* is*!

Fred Hoyle is a person of some repute who has studied the maths behind the ‘chance’ of beneficial mutations.

He believes in evolution - just not Darwinism - he’s awaiting for an alternative theory.

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