Ahead of the 200th anniversary of the pioneering naturalist’s birth on Thursday, they warn that militant atheists are turning people away from evolution by using it as a weapon with which to attack religion.
However, in a letter published in The Daily Telegraph, they also urge believers in creationism to acknowledge the overwhelming body of evidence that now exists to back up Darwin’s theory of how life on Earth has developed.
It comes after a survey of 2,000 people conducted by Theos, the religion think tank, found that half believe the theory of evolution cannot explain the complexity of the natural world. One in three said they thought God created the Earth within the past 10,000 years.
The influential signatories of the letter include two Church of England bishops, a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain and a member of the Evangelical Alliance, as well as Professor Lord Winston, the fertility pioneer, and Professor Sir Martin Evans, winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine.
They write: “Evolution, we believe, has become caught in the crossfire of a religious battle in which Darwin himself had little personal interest.
“We respectfully encourage those who reject evolution to weigh the now overwhelming evidence, hugely strengthened by recent advances in genetics, which testifies to the theory’s validity.
“At the same time, we respectfully ask those contemporary Darwinians who seem intent on using Darwin’s theory as a vehicle for promoting an anti-theistic agenda to desist from doing so as they are, albeit unintentionally, turning people away from the theory. …
via Scientists and religious leaders call for end to fighting over Darwin’s legacy – Telegraph.
I find it crazy for anyone to complain that Darwin’s theory is being used “as a vehicle for promoting an anti-theistic agenda”. To me, that’s like saying we should stop using videos taken of the rotating Earth from space to promote an anti-flat Earther agenda.