A Miscellany 185
The Ambivalent Agnostic
by: George Ardell
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Christian: Since you don’t believe in the origin of this world as described in Christianity, what do you believe? Do you believe in Evolution instead?
Agnostic: Define ‘believe in’. If you mean to ask if evolution is my religion and Darwin is its God, the answer is no.
Christian: There are quite a few people who appear to fit that description.
Agnostic: That’s true, but I am not one of them. I believe that there is clear evidence that evolution has occurred, but the evidence is all based upon changes in previously existing species. I have read that biologists have even created some evolutionary changes themselves in simple insects, but that is still just science tinkering with what already exists. It doesn’t prove that life originated that way.
Christian: What would in your opinion? If anything!
Agnostic: If some scientist mixed together a bunch of lifeless chemicals and zapped them with radiation and produced a single celled organism, or even just a self-replicating molecule that might go on to form a biological cell, that would be a big step. But it would only prove that life could have originated that way -- not that it did.
Christian: You’re a hard case. On the one hand you accept that evolution has occurred, but on the other hand you still seem to me to have some belief in religion. How do you justify that?
Agnostic: There’s no ‘justification’ for such a thing. It’s because I am an agnostic.
Christian: With a ‘foot in both camps’ it would seem. Isn’t that a cop out on your part?
Agnostic: I don’t think so. The way I see it is that an agnostic is like a person sitting on a fence and trying keep his or her balance in the winds generated by the storms of controversy between religion and science. In order to maintain balance an agnostic must put a foot down on one side of the fence or the other from time to time. Maintaining your balance requires a little ambivalence in other words. Thus, as time passes, an Ambivalent Agnostic will leave a trail of footprints on both sides of the fence. But the prints on any one side will all be from the same foot.
Christian: Well, that’s a neat way to explain it, I guess.
Agnostic: Thought you’d like it -- especially since it means that I will ’put a foot ’ in your camp every once in a while.