Darwin and Evolution: Why is the Theory of Evolution a Foundational Support to Atheists in their non-belief?

Darwin and Evolution: Why is the Theory of Evolution a Foundational Support to Atheists in their non-belief?

It is baffling to me that some self identified atheists deny even the possibility of the existence of God.  This seems to be a very unscientific or even an anti-scientific position to take.  If you cannot prove or disprove the existence of God by the methods and means of science, then according to reason and science you cannot deny the possibility of the existence of God, but rather you can suspend judgement on the question.

Atheists often point to Charles Darwin’s “Origin of Species” and the resulting theory of evolution as support for denying God’s existence.  But, upon closer scrutiny, this appears rather weak support.  An omnipotent God by definition has no limitations.  An all-powerful God could choose to create the universe, with life in it, in a blink of an eye (all at once), or guide an evolutionary process to bring about intelligent life over time.  (As to why such a God would do this, we could only speculate.  But, the why is nor relevant here!)

The problem for these so certain atheists is that they cannot deal effectively with the question of a first cause.  Ignoring the lightning striking a primordial scum in an ancient pond and somehow giving rise to micro-organisms, let’s go back to the ultimate event, the Big Bang.

Ask a Big Bang advocate: what caused the Big Bang?  If they give you any (rational, plausible) answer, other than “I dunno”, then ask: can you be sure of that?  It actually requires a much greater leap of faith to believe in the non-existence of God, given that you have to engage in increasingly complex and strenuous mental gymnastics to continue to keep God out of the big picture.

Let’s briefly look at the current state of the Big Bang theory.  Articles over the past decade or more have postulated what the embryonic universe looked like at ever earlier times.  Based on mathematical equations, advocates of the Big Bang are describing what the universe was like microscopic time intervals after the Big Bang.  In other words, the Bang was not even over, hardly had started, but this was what the universe looked like 40 one billionths of a second after time absolute zero.  (Perhaps, by now (2012), these computer hacks have run the equations through several more iterations and we are even earlier.)  Here is the problem with the mathematics employed, or with relying on the mathematics.  There is a required assumption that is incorrigible.  That assumption is that the physical constants used in the equations still have the same values as they have in post Big Bang universe physics.  So, you could say, a faith – in the assumption or assertion that these physical constants have the same values and still hold true in conditions prevailing even before (at a time before) all four of the basic known forces of physics have decoupled – is required.  The problem is that we cannot recreate an embryonic universe in any laboratory to confirm these mathematically postulated descriptions.  And, we can choose to accept or reject the assumption that the physical constants (which the mathematics depends upon) have the same values (and really are true constants), but we cannot accept the descriptions based upon such mathematics as proven fact.  So, Big Bang theory, with its attendant descriptions of a proto-universe, has its limitations and uncertainties.

Let us beware the danger of falling prey to Scientism with its exaltation of man’s intellect which is finite and rather limited.  Science has its limitations since man’s senses and instruments (basically extensions of his physical senses), and man’s intellect are limited and certainly not infallible.  Consequently, science is not able to pass judgement on some areas of enquiry.  There are some important questions that lie outside of the realm of science precisely because of the limitations of science.  (I am not being obscurantist here.)  Recognizing and admitting this can be a humbling experience for those who have so heavily relied on current scientific knowledge to order their lives by.  (Personally, I think that attempting to use science as a means to trivialize the existence of God, or to disprove God’s existence is a misapplication of science.  I also think that it does a disservice to man as man has a spiritual dimension to his fundamental nature.)

A final thought.  Could it be that some individuals do not want to allow for the possible existence of God in their thinking because of the possible implications and ramifications (of God‘s existence)?!  If God exists, then a God given moral code might exist.  Some atheistic folks have not lived lives that would fare very well when measured against such a moral code.

Tell your friends, and even your enemies, to stop by my blog.  It is going to be difficult, going forward, attempting quality writing for such a small readership.  I am not seeking your votes as I have no political ambitions.  But, I humbly ask that you refer folks, who may be interested, to stop by and peruse the various essays on my blog.  Thanks!

https://larrysmusings.wordpress.com/

10 thoughts on “Darwin and Evolution: Why is the Theory of Evolution a Foundational Support to Atheists in their non-belief?

  1. Assuming you want an answer to the question in your title from an atheist:

    It isn’t central to my non-belief. What’s central to my non-belief is the lack of any evidence that gods or other supernatural beings exist.

    If someone were to conclusively falsify all evolutionary theory tomorrow, I would merely be left with a larger gap in my knowledge of the universe than I thought there was. In order to fill that gap by placing a god in it, I would still need strong evidence in support of the hypothesis that such a being exists.

    • Daz,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. Please do not think that I am condemning you beceause you have not (yet) found faith. I, too, struggled with this years ago.

      Faith often times springs from the heart, not the rational, logical part of our minds. And, by heart, I do not mean the organ in your chest that keeps you alive by pumping blood.

      What I would humbly suggest is that you try to be flexible in your thinking and adopt an agnostic position instead of the pure hardcore atheist view. As I understand the term, an agnostic is one that says “Hey I do not see the evidence for God’s existence so I do not believe in Him. But, I am open to considering any new indications, evidence, arguments, etc. in favor of His existence, but right now I don’t see any.” This differs from the atheist that denies even the possibliity that God could exist.

      If we are open to them, many subtle hints come our way as we go through life that God does exist. However, do not expect Him to slap you upside the head to get your attention. The hints are there, but they tend to be subtle – sometimes things occur that just cannot be passed off as mere coincidences. And prayers are answered as well and at times in ways better than we could have hoped for.

      If you are open to reading further, you could read the 2 essays in my Religion – eastern category on the right sidebar above.

      Larry

      • I didn’t think you were condemning me, honestly. I merely thought that someone should correct the assumption you made about why (most) atheists don’t believe in gods. It’s a common misapprehension. Well, two misapprehensions: that the science causes the disbelief (though I admit, it can lead to questions that lead to disbelief), and that falsifying the science automatically makes the god-did-it hypothesis more likely to be true.

        I’m already both an agnostic and an atheist.
        As an agnostic, I believe that the existence of gods is ultimately unprovable, by any usual definition of the word ‘god’.
        As an atheist, I see no reason to believe in gods, because I see no evidence for their existence.

        It’s possible, though rare-ish, by the way, to be an agnostic theist. To believe in gods even though you don’t think your belief can ever be proved, one way or the other.

        I have to ask; why do you assume that I’m ‘struggling’ with religious belief, or lack thereof? It would only be a struggle if I thought I needed to believe in one of the various myths, but couldn’t.

        Thanks for replying. It’s sad, but true, that all too many theists don’t do so when someone disagrees with them; or often even allow the comment, no matter how polite, through moderation.

  2. Daz,

    I admit to being a little puzzled now. Are you saying that you cannot believe something unless it is proven to you? In ancient times, it could not be proved that the earth revolved around the sun, (folks believed the reverse was true) but it was true back then even though few people believed it.

  3. True, but without evidence they’d have been acting irrationally to have believed it. Let’s take an obviously wacky example:

    If I believed that Earth is a long-lost colony founded by the inhabitants of a planet in the Centauri system, you’d think I was crazy to act on what I believed were the final instructions received before contact was lost.

    If, next year, a ship arrived from the Centauri system, looking for survivors, that would be a co-incidence; nothing more. Unless I had, for instance, the ship’s log or something like that, as evidence, I would still have been basing my belief on nothing but (until next year) non evidentially-supported hypothesis.

    [And I’d be really disappointed when we found out that the dolphins, not us, were the colonists’ descendants. 🙂 ]

  4. Perhaps the honey bees will inherit the earth. More likely the cock roaches that have been around for 300 million years or so.

    Daz, you are never going to get “rip it apart, tear it apart, dissect it in the laboratory” tangible touchable type proof of God’s existence in this world. If that is what you require, and you are not willing to question that chosen requirement, then I cannot help you. I could offer suggestions, but you would not likely be receptive to them.

  5. I realise I’m not going to get the evidence. That’s why I’m agnostic.

    The question then becomes, why bother to believe something for which there is no supporting evidence? If—though I doubt it will be—evidence is produced, I’ll reconsider; but until then it’s off my radar, just as a recovery-fleet of Centaurans is, or unicorns are, or hobbits.

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  7. Pingback: idealist philosophers’ “impersonal Absolute” and our individual consciousness | larrysmusings

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