Saturday, March 18, 2006

Layin the Smack Down on Evolution and Atheist Dogma

The more I look into scientific theory and what the "demarcation line" (line dividing science and religion) criteria, I find Darwinism weighed and found wanting. Lots of different supposed demarcation lines float around but none of them seem to pass muster. Some will say repeatability of tests is the line, however repeatability eliminates valid sciences like paleontology. Others will say something needs to be empirically verifiable to be true science. By empirically verifiable they mean able to be tested ex: weighed, measured, calculated etc. Thus all the Christian talk of soul and God is nonsense they will say because it is not empirically verifiable. However, under such criteria one could include Astrology to be a valid science. Not to mention the fact that the original statement "Empirical verification is the demarcation line between science and non-science" is itself not empirically verifiable. Laying out a demarcation line is not my goal here. Rather, I want to talk about is the blatant attempt not only in constructing demarcation lines but also in the outworking of science in general, to eliminate the reality of the transcendent altogether. What I am saying is that from the outset science has already ruled the supernatural out of the equation. That being the case everything is explained in purely naturalistic terms. What I then see in the talk of evidence for evolution is an undefeatable theory in which irregardless of the evidence, the evidence only supports the theory. Is that science?

I) Weighing a Chicken With a Yardstick:

Greg Koukl from Stand to Reason has an excellent article where he addresses how science is basically stacking the deck against theism. Everything must by necessity (for it to be science) be explained in purely naturalistic terms. I agree to a point, for instance we as Christians when asked "How do trees grow?" answer, "God makes em grow", although I think that is theologically correct. We live in a universe with laws, and it is sciences job to explore and define those laws I think, to tell us how trees grow. I mainly disagree about obtaining purely naturalistic conclusions in the area of origins and the transcendent. Questions surrounding God and the origins of the universe as well as questions like "What is a soul?" by very nature can not be explained naturalistically. Therefore to demand only naturalistic answers is to rule many plausible answers out right from the start. As Koukl says:

"It's like trying to weigh a chicken with a yardstick. Yardsticks don't give weight; they give length. If you said your chicken weighed 27 inches, you'd be speaking nonsense. It's called a category error. Yardsticks simply weren't made to do that sort of thing. That's my point. Science, strictly speaking, is not even capable of testing for souls, so how can it disprove the existence of souls? It can't."

The point is that science is incapable by very nature of answering questions about the existence of God and the origin of the universe. What about the popular debate of evolution and creation? Why is there such an outcry against Intelligent Design and Creationism? Hardly a week goes by that I don't see a newspaper/magazine article or political cartoon calling ID stupid. Why is that?

II) Atheist Dogma

I think the answer to why evolution is defended so viciously is because evolution is basically necessary for atheism to be plausible. Now I as a Christian am willing to accept theistic evolution, so for me the truthfulness of evolution really isn't a religious threat. However the atheist I think must defend evolution lest his very religion be shown to be impossible. Alvin Plantinga writes well on this as he says in his article "When Faith and Reason Clash":

"So why all the furor? The answer is obvious: evolution has deep religious connections; deep connections with how we understand ourselves at the most fundamental level. Many evangelicals and fundamentalists see in it a threat to the faith; they don't want it taught to their children, at any rate as scientifically established fact, and they see acceptance of it as corroding proper acceptance of the Bible. On the other side, among the secularists, evolution functions as a myth, in a technical sense of that term: a shared way of understanding ourselves at the deep level of religion, a deep interpretation of ourselves to ourselves, a way of telling us why we are here, where we come from, and where we are going."

The validity of evolution has deep religious implications, namely evolution makes atheism possible. The point is that if that is the case then science is not religiously neutral. Plantinga quotes Richard Dawkins to back the fact that science isn't religiously neutral:

"It was serving in this capacity when Richard Dawkins (according to Peter Medawar, "one of the most brilliant of the rising generation of biologists") leaned over and remarked to A. J. Ayer at one of those elegant, candle-lit, bibulous Oxford dinners that he couldn't imagine being an atheist before 1859 (the year Darwin's Origin of Species was published); "although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin," said he, "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist."

As I said the theory of evolution is necessary for atheism to be true, and Dawkins basically admits that fact in his remarks to Ayer. So to say science is cool and neutral is a mistake I think. To presuppose the only answers one can obtain are naturalistic ones is as I said a stacking of the deck. Thus when ID proponents point to a Designer for the origins of life they are labeled as doing non-science, because their theory about origins is not a purely naturalistic theory and thus in part untestable. But how testable is the theory of evolution? Not very. That is why cases of micro evolution (variety of dog types) are almost always what is cited as evidence in support of evolution. For example bacteria or virus' developing resistances to drugs is often cited to show that theory of evolution is indeed true, one problem whatever developed resistance is still a bacteria or virus. I see that example as something akin to my growing calouses from guitar playing. Ultimately I think the need for evolution to make atheism plausible, makes many completely unwilling to be open to the possiblility of being wrong.

III Conclusion

There is still much to be said on this issue in no way have I disproved the theory of evolution rather I am just laying some preliminary work for posts to come. My points are that 1) Science by it's very nature can not prove or disprove the existence of God by its self, it can onlyy speak in hypotheses terms of :"If this than probably this". And 2) Science is by no means a religiously neutral endeavor.

There will certainly be more to come, I will try in coming papers show that evolution is the worst theory ever.

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