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!