Words of Advice for Atheist Literalists (and Many Bloggers)

For more than a decade, Rick Weiss covered science (and its politics) for the Washington Post. When he left the paper last year, the news organization lost one of the top two or three science journalists in the business and perhaps the very best at covering the intersections of biomedical research and policy.

Weiss now serves as a fellow at the Center for American Progress, contributing articles to the think tank's Science Progress site. In today's Washington Post, Weiss pens a guest op-ed weighing in on the continued culture war over evolution.

While Darwin himself never took his findings as definitive evidence against the existence of God, many people of faith have read that conclusion into his work. As a result, the man who first grasped biology's most unifying concept is today widely demonized as an enemy of the church, even as many scientists and others make a similar mistake and invoke Darwin in their rejection of everything theological...

...Darwin's humility in the face of insufficient evidence -- his willingness to say "I don't know" -- is as important a lesson as any to be found in biology texts today. This is not about "teaching the controversy" -- Darwin had a slam-dunk in his explanation of the evolution of species, including humans, and every modern test of evolutionary theory has only strengthened his conclusions. But he also knew there is plenty of room for God at the top, upstream of the business of biology.

Soldiers in today's culture wars, whether in black collars or white lab coats, could take a tip from Darwin on his birthday bicentennial. He loved the natural world, "most beautiful and most wonderful." And he knew enough to not pick fights over what he did not know.

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