Sunday, March 22, 2009

Does evolution inevitably lead to atheism? A response to a CMI article

The belief that atheism and evolution are intertwined is probably the most significant motivation behind the creationist movement. As you all know 2009 is the 150th anniversary since Darwin published his book, most would understand the cause for excitement is that in that year a theory which is now one of the founding theories in biology was first proposed. Creationists claim it is because Darwin made a theory which is held by some to make God redundant, however as far as I can tell the starting of the year 2009 caused a lot more excitement in creationist circles then evolutionist or atheist circles. One article (its also an editorial in Journal of Creation) on the CMI website would be an example of this concern.

How odd. Why is the whole world caught up this year in such euphoria over
Why haven’t the achievements of other great scientists ever captured
the global imagination—scientists like Sir Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, James
Maxwell, Albert Einstein or Gregor Mendel?

Well this isn't entirely true, 2005 was the "World Year of Physics" in memory of Einstein's work on general relativity. General relativity has had a large impact on the field of physics so it is simply natural that the 100 year anniversary of Einstein publishing his theory was commemorated.

It is the same with Darwin, he made many contributions to biology which greatly improved our understanding of how organisms relate to each other. Darwin's theory also helped us realize who we are exactly and where we fit in the ecosystem, it led to the modern understanding of the human race. Although it is true that atheistic organizations also celebrate it because it replaced God as the direct creator it is mostly about Darwin's contributions to science.

Because Darwin 2009 is not about science. Look at who’s cheering.
International Humanists Union honour Darwin because evolution, in their words,
‘made creator deities redundant’. Note, evolution made the Creator redundant.
Sir Julian Huxley gloated, ‘Darwinism removed the whole idea of God as the
creator of organisms from the sphere of rational discussion.' Underline,
Darwin removed God.
Atheist extraordinaire, Richard Dawkins said, ‘ … Darwin
made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.’ Observe, Darwin
justifies atheism.

As I mentioned earlier, of course atheists and secular humanists are going to remember Darwin for the ideological extrapolations which his theory led to. It should be noted that yes while evolution makes it possible to not believe in God, it does not make it impossible to believe in God. God could still be the creator of the universe besides the fact that he used evolution to create life. Evolution does not automatically imply God doesn't exist anymore then the theory of gravity does, since gravity draws objects together in space rather then God directly pushing them together.

The author continues, stating supposed evidence for intelligent design and creation and concluding that this year is an opportunity to spread the creation message, this is discussed in other articles and by other sources.

Now while it does not matter if the celebration of Darwin does have to do with Atheism, it does matter that it leads many to believe that evolution rules out God. Creationists think that by fighting evolution they are helping to restore and strengthen the faith of Christians as well as the over all respectability of Christianity. In reality they are helping to destroy Christianity by making the church look backwards, which has an adverse affect on the number of Christians leaving the chuch. At the same time atheists are not facilitating the debates end either; by promoting evolution as inherently anti-theistic they are only giving the creationists more incentive to fight the evolutionary theory, thus prolonging the controversy. What needs to be done is to focus on the motivation for the creationist denial of evolution; if we theistic evolutionists show both creationists and atheists that evolution is compatible with belief in God then the controversy will end soon thereafter.

1 comment:

Kapitano said...

Does evolution inevitably lead to atheism?

No more than Newtonianism leads to atheism. And Newton wasn't an atheist. Neither was Darwin.

Newtonianism is a theory which explains some observed facts about the universe - that rain falls, planets orbit and comets sometimes move in curves. It says nothing about why rain happens, where planets come from or indeed why the phenomenon of gravitation exists at all.

Darwin's ideas were controversial not because he suggested that species change over time (everyone knew they did), or because they contradicted any of the parts of the bible anyone pays attention to.

Darwin was attacked because his theory doesn't mention God at all. Maybe God set up the universe so that evolution happens, maybe it happens for a different reason - he doesn't say and refuses to speculate. Just like any good scientist who happens to be a christian.