Can God and Darwinism coexist? Bit of an odd question, really, given that they do. I suppose this is an example of the weak anthropic principle: They can coexist, because we can clearly see we have both.
I suspect what is meant is ‘Is Darwinism compatible with God?’ I’m going to go farther out on a limb and say that the ‘God’ in question is the Christian God, because very few other religions tend to make such a fuss about the concept.
And herein lies the problem. In the one corner, we have a theory that’s well over one hundred and fifty years old, has been subject to peer scrutiny for all that time, weighed against the evidence around us, and has not found to be wanting. If it had, we’d have ‘Lipschitz’s Modified Theory of Evolution’, or some other sucessor to replace or augment it, just as Relativity added to and modified Newtonian physics.
In the other corner, we have a collection of bronze age tribal folklore legends, translated from the original Hebrew into Greek, followed by Latin, and eventually into English, where they have been bastardised and toned down for centuries into various editions. The evidence supporting these is ‘Because we say this is how it happened.’
And this is the problem, really. Most Christians I know don’t have a problem with ‘Evolution’ (or more correctly, Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection). They’re perfectly willing to see the accounts of Genesis as an allegory, and nothing more. Bear in mind most Christians I know are British, and by their nature tend to be rather more sensible about religious matters than some of their colonial cousins. The problem arises when certain sects insist that as the Bible is the divine gospel of God, and thus as perfect and precise as He is. Therefore, whatever is in there must be read literally. How this quite works in Genesis where plants were created before the Sun and Moon, as one example, is never quite explained. Nor do they tend to offer much advice on how to deal with the parts which contradict, quite flatly, the other parts. Which only happens several hundred times throughout both testaments, but never mind.
One of the worst of these literalists was James Ussher, who patiently sat down and, working backwards, worked out the exact date of the first day of creation. Which, in the modern Gregorian calendar, would be October 23rd, 4004BC. About midday, apparently.
Not only does this particular interpretation (which is unaccountably popular nowadays) contradict any biological evidence for evolution (which takes millions of years for even minor changes), but a lot of science in total. As an example, the Earth itself, from geological evidence, is approximately 4.55 billion years old. The figure varies by a minor percentage depending on who you’re talking to, but any reputable scientist in the earth sciences who tried to claim the Earth was 6000 years old wouldn’t remain reputable for very long.
Another example. There are stars visible in the night sky which are quite a distance away; Betelgeuse in the Orion constellation is around 50,000 light years away. Nothing travels faster than the speed of light; this has been empirically proven numerous times in the last 100 years. The light from this star would take at least 50,000 years to reach us, by definition of ‘light year’. If the universe has only been around for 6,000 (and remember, he made the stars in Genesis too), how are we even seeing Betelgeuse?
In short, yes, there’s no reason On the Origin of Species and the Bible can’t co-exist. If we’re going to be sensible about it, though, only one of them can be literally right. I know which one I’m putting my money on.