Over at EvolutionBlog, the normally-sanguine Jason Rosenhouse has a hissy about one of those soft-headed religious guys who want to make nice-nice with Darwin. I take him to task as follows:
In particular, the first eleven chapters of Genesis must be discarded almost in their entirety if modern science is to be accepted. Jettison those chapters and the Bible's foundational teachings go with them.
Jason, this is simply untrue. One does not have to discard Genesis, one merely has to recognize that the Bible is not a science textbook and not misread it as such. St. Augustine came to that conclusion in the fifth century with the limited amount of scholarship available in his day, as Ken Miller has pointed out on more than one occasion.
Now, Jason, I have to admit that I can't rule out the possibility that you feel that a literal reading of Genesis is (in your words) foundational. If so, you're wrong. The Catholic Church does not require such a reading as a litmus test of faith, and neither do the mainline Protestant churches---in other words, the vast majority of those who call themselves Christian do not find it necessary to regard such a reading as foundational. Given that, isn't the above declaration a bit of a 'straw man'?
The cause of human integrity is not furthered in the slightest by Christianity.
That may be true, Jason, but it is a non sequitur with respect to the passage that you are quoting from Brown: "For the sake of human integrity -- and thus for the sake of good Christian living -- some rapprochement between Darwin and Christian faith is essential." Here Brown is not saying that human integrity is furthered by, much less dependent upon Christianity. Rather, he is saying 'good Christian living' must be in accord with 'human integrity.' It is a poor faith that denies the existence of facts simply because they seem to be at odds with traditional beliefs. I don't doubt that a believer like Brown sees Christianity as making a world a better place, and as a skeptic you are more inclined to see it as a plague, but that's not the claim that's being made. You clearly misread the claim because you are provoked by any positive association with Christianity.
Brown has not squarely faced the problems evolution poses for Christianity. He does not even seem to recognize them.
No, what you mean is that he does not appear to accept the zero-sum game you are playing as an inevitable outcome. You don't actually have any evidence that he doesn't as a personal matter recognize the very real problems that evolution poses for Christianity---which, I might add, are not based on a literal interpretation of Genesis, but on Pauline theological glosses. Rather, you just presume that such must be true and appear wistful that all religious aren't as polarized as Ken Ham.
Picking and choosing the parts of Christianity you like while ignoring the parts that conflict with science is not an act of integirty. It is an act of intellectual desperation.
As mentioned above, there are legitimate textual reasons to reject a literal understanding of Genesis as theologically binding. There is nothing desperate about using scholarship and reason to place a text in the appropriate historical context. To find real desperation, you should look at the extraordinary pretzel logic employed by evangelicals to justify the radical inerrancy that they are committed to due to decades of poor scholarship and worse theology.
Oh, and enjoy the Bernard Herrmann score!
Jason has replied with a correction. I may have misunderstood one of his comments. I think, also, that he may misunderstand the Rev. Malcolm Brown, but I could be wrong. Brown's prose (or at least my ability to interpret it) is a little fuzzy at the moment. In the spirit of humility, I've offered to write Brown for clarification. This should be fun.