There's an interesting post at Neuroanthropology
:- Richard Dawkins on ‘Elders’
It is about Richard Dawkins, and how his brand of atheism is distasteful even as his version of evolution is not hundred percent accurate. The author of the post is sympathetic to Dawkins, I think he admires him- what he objects to is Dawkins' manners, and his incomplete version of evolutionary theory. To quote, "I feel that Dawkins’ account of evolution is too directional, too comfortable with assumptions about improvement, increased complexity, and growing fitness"
It is a good post, I'd suggest we should read it- but why I write this here is, I don't see how evolutionary theory is seen to be a threat to religious belief.
In Thiruvasagam, there is a hymn titled, Sivapuranam, it is very popular, and we find in it, the following lines:
"புல்லாகிப் பூடாய்ப் புழுவாய் மரமாகிப்
பல் விருகமாகிப் பறவையாய்ப் பாம்பாகிக்
கல்லாய் மனிதராய்ப் பேயாய்க் கணங்களாய்
வல் அசுரர் ஆகி முனிவராய்த் தேவராய்ச்
செல்லாஅ நின்ற இத் தாவர சங்கமத்துள்
எல்லாப் பிறப்பும் பிறந்து இளைத்தேன், எம்பெருமான்
மெய்யே உன் பொன் அடிகள் கண்டு இன்று வீடு உற்றேன் "
"Having been a grass, a weed, a worm, a tree,
and many an animal, a bird, and a snake,
been a stone, and a man, a ghost, some spirit of nature,
An evil demon, and a sage, a noble angel-
Of this interminable compounding of elemental nature,
I am tired, I've been through all possible births, my Lord,
And really, it is now, having seen your golden feet-
I am home"
The translation is mine, so it is raw and there could be distortions: but there is no distortion of sense, I can assure you of that. What this means is that the soul undergoes many a birth: and the soul being embodied in the body, it can even be said, it is me, my body, that undergoes all these changes.
Anyway, I evolve- body, or soul, whatever. And it is not really impossible that this world evolves. There is no real constraint that a creator God should not create a world that evolves in accordance with some natural laws.
What the Dawkins' brand of atheism does is. it undermines a particular idea of creation, and denigrates a particular form of faith; there could well be other forms of creation-stories, and Dawkins with his theory of evolution does not bother to disprove their Gods or interrogate such beliefs.
For example, when someone asks Sri Ramana Maharshi about his opinion of the theory of evolution, he answers to the effect that such a belief is similar to the belief of a man, who when seeing a house in his dreams, propounds the theory that someone had built it brick by brick!
I think scientists should stick to science and not speak out on matters of faith. If they do so, they should take into account all the varieties of faith and temper their criticism accordingly. Otherwise, to assume that there is only one kind of God (God of the Semitic religions) and only one creation story, as Dawkins does, and deny all other Gods, ignoring their creation stories, is to invite charges of intellectual imperialism, may be.