I mentioned in my first post that this is one of those arguments where I fall into an interestingly grey area. On one side of the argument you'll find a great deal of intolerance, ranting, name calling and histrionics... and the Creationists are pretty goddamn ignorant too.
I feel the need to start out with a warning. A lot of the faults and flaws I'm going to bring up are sweeping generalizations. I recognize that there are people in the ID (Intelligent Design) camp that are tolerant, educated and well spoken, but they usually can't be heard over the shouting howler monkeys that take the lead and pound the drums. I recognize, as well, that there are individuals within the Pure Evolution fold who are not militant atheists, and who accept the right of the individual to believe as they choose... They just don't get as much press as, say... Bill Maher. Not that I have a problem with Bill Maher, he's fucking hilarious and I see value in a lot of the arguments he presents on a lot of different issues. Just not on religion.
As a student of anthropology (once upon a time) the necessity of evolution and adaptation are obvious to me. By the same token, as a student of anthropology and of world religions, the existance of some creative 'force' is obvious as well. And while science has yet to be able to prove, with conclusive evidence, in favor of either side of the argument neither side will easily concede that fact. Either that the existance of a 'God' type entity cannot be disproven (because you can't prove a negative), or that the mechanism of evolution could have manifested without an omnipotent nudge in the right direction.
We'll start with Pure Evolution, because these arrogant motherfuckers piss me off to no end.
The crux of this argument seems to be (remember, I said there would be sweeping generalizations) that:
Life + Time = Sentience
Regardless of form, source, basic make-up, the manifestation of sentient life is a forgone conclusion, once the most basic form of life manifests. As a counter argument to creationism, this seems flawed. First, it gives no basis for a denial of a 'creator' entity. It's a simple enough formula, and leaves a lot of unanswered questions. We know that single celled organisms adapt over a few million generations, to suit their environment. Long-term adaptation by an individual species is fact. The fossil record proves it. It's repeatable. We can see it in a few months with bacteria that reproduce at a rate several orders of magnitude faster than multi-cellular life, we'll call this micro-evolution. The problem is, with multi-cellular life, as an organism becomes more complex, the apparent signs of adaptation takes longer, we'll call this macro-evolution. Micro-evolution takes days, months, and years. Macro-evolution takes thousands of years, at the minimum, in order for natural selection and adaptation to a new environment to become obvious to the observer. I've digressed, but there's the essence of it. So what about this pisses me off? Well... the simple answer is... nothing, really. It's logical, it's simple, and it's elegant. With this basic idea, I have no problem with the idea that life evolved in all its current forms from simpler forms, back to the muck that spawned the first wriggly amoeba.
What galls me is the idea that acceptance of the science of evolution apparently precludes religious faith. I've had arguments, vehement and vitriolic arguments, with militant atheists who insisted that I could not possibly believe in God and accept evolution at the same time. Like some how the two are mutually exclusive ideas. These are the people that I loathe. A closed mind is an ignorant mind, regardless of education or beliefs. Fine! Fuck it! You don't believe in God. Good for you. Welcome to America. Now shut the fuck up and put on your goddamn helmet.
One of the beautiful things about living in the time we live in, especially those of us who enjoy citizenship in countries that have legislation guranteeing religious freedom, is that we are free to believe (or not believe) whatever the fuck we want. You can believe in nothingness after death, and random chance as being responsible for everything that happens. That's fine, but don't tell me that I'm being irrational because I choose to believe in a creative force in the universe that predates creation. The theory of evolution, in this case macro-evolution, can be no more solidly proven than the existance of a 'God-Construct', for lack of a better term, which actually has a number of serious scientists working on it. The difference is, my belief has the potential to be proven. Yours doesn't, because a negative can't be proven with scientific method. Again, though, I digress from my point.
The other side of this matter doesn't win any prizes in my head either. There's nothing I can say to redeem a group of people who will shout themselves red-faced, prostelatizing that 'God Did It!' or that dinosaur fossils are here to test our faith, or worse, that cave men rode them. Vehemently rejecting an idea does not make you right.
Once again, the crux of this argument, from my point of view, seems to be:
God + ??? = People
Now, I'm no math major, and I fucking hate algebra, but even from where I'm sitting there's obviously something out of place here. I understand that 'Faith' by definition requires some one to believe in something without NEEDING proof. I'm fine with that, but not being able to reconcile one's faith with irrefutable science makes you look like a screetching gibbon. Complete with poo-flinging and chest thumping. Belief in a creator entity is all well and good. Hell, I'm a man of faith myself, but my faith tells me that science and religion not only can agree, but MUST agree.
My favorite quote on the matter is: "There is no contradiction between true religion and science. When a religion is opposed to science it becomes mere superstition: that which is contrary to knowledge is ignorance." -- `Abdu'l-Bahá
Anyone who cares to make a salient argument with me might do well to research the source of that quote, and get back to me.
In essence, what you're pounding on is becoming superstition, because you refuse to accept that there might be an alternate explanation to what some guy in a dress told you was so. News flash... clergy aren't special. They're just people. Even the Pope is just 'Some Guy'. Granted, he's 'Some Guy' in a pretty epic hat, but he's still just a guy... AND EVEN HE ACCEPTS EVOLUTION! How is this even still an argument. The highest ranking member of the largest single religion on Earth accepts evolution... End of argument! If you're still up in the air on this, I'd like to offer you some real estate under some high voltage electrical wires... Hopefully they sterilize you.
Once again, an closed mind is an ignorant mind. I don't care if you believe in Allah, Buddah, Zoroasterism, Juddaism, Christ, Muhammed, the Flying Spaghetti Monster or nothing at all. If you let that BELIEF (yes, even Atheism is a belief) prevent you from accepting an alternate point of view that can be supported with logical and well formed ideas... you're showing your ignorance. The Atheist chest thumping AGAINST religion is no less ill-concieved than the Religious Fundamentalist chest thumping FOR religion... but that's a blog for another day.
In the end, believe what you want, but accept that you don't know everything, and that neither science nor religion has managed yet to fully explain everything.