The debate about whether or not evolution is ‘real’ or not is one with which atheists and theists alike will be familiar. I recently received a very well written and nicely produced pamphlet attacking ‘scientific myths’, including evolution: pointing out that there is no complete consensus on how evolution works, and that there are gaps in the evidence. Within discussions of the validity of religion, such debates are, however, something of a red herring – evolution has no relevance to considerations of the veracity of religion.
Yet by engaging atheists in debates about evolution, and evidence and arguments for and against, theists are distracting from this simple fact. More seriously, there is a danger that this debate sets up an implication of an ‘either/or’ situation, which is clearly not the case. Humans always want certainties – that is why they invent religions and argue strenuously about evolution – but the argument over the certainty of where life comes from should not distract from the certainty that really matters: there is no god.
I give credence to the theory of evolution, because it is afforded widespread scientific/academic credence, there appears to be plenty of evidence and it seems to me to make sense. However, that position could arguably also have applied to various (‘scientific’) beliefs in, say, early Christian times that are no longer taken seriously, therefore:
Can I personally say with absolute certainty (that certainty with which I can say that there is no god) that evolution, as we currently understand it, is a fact of nature? No. Does that have any bearing on the simple fact that there is no god (or does it indeed have any relevance to discussions of this matter)? No.
Perhaps we will eventually be able to produce an account of evolution in all its features and workings that is completely accurate and incontrovertible. Perhaps we will have to alter or expand our current understanding substantially to achieve this. Perhaps a more differentiated alternative will be developed. Perhaps we will never know entirely and exactly how we arrived at our present state as a species. Do these possibilities have any bearing on religion? No.
There will almost certainly always be things that we can’t explain, and humans evidently feel the need to formulate answers to questions that preoccupy them, to the best of their (often feeble) abilities.
I’m not arguing against scientific endeavour (on the contrary - I’m an academic), just keep in mind that you don’t have to ‘prove’ evolution to disprove god. Put simply: there is no need for a definite alternative to disprove god – it’s not an either/or situation: however the universe began, and however life developed, god does not exist.
The elephant is a defined, physical object (i.e. It isn't invisible, or a holograph, or lacking dimensions, etc.). It has mass and volume. Likewise, the room is a physical structure and has a measurable volume. Count the four ton, African elephants in the room. If the count is zero, you just proved the absence of an elephant.
I mean, philosophically you can't really prove anything. Could be the Matrix or a dream or whatever. But, proving an elephant is not in this room meets the same standards for logic and reason as proving the volume of milk in a gallon jug.
In other words, proving that I have zero chicken eggs on my plate is equally as valid as proving I have 2 chicken eggs on my plate. You can talk about microscopic chickens and such, but simply counting the eggs meets scientific standards for proof
I agree with your final statement, it is irrelevant to a discussion of god~ for the most part.
Abiogenesis is the creation of life~ evolution describes how life developed into the forms we currently see.
Evolution isn't a fact~ it is a law of nature. Its like gravity, and is an explanation to the processes we see all around us~ its not a thing to be discovered or something that can be destroyed~ it is merely the observation that a living thing will, over time, adapt to its environment through mutations (that may be a gross oversimplification, someone may correct that if they have a better wording)
Evolution IS important in discussions of god when the question "well how do you explain all these animals and stuff, huh! Must be a god!" because the real point is that ALL of the natural world, at this point, has a NATURAL solution~ there is NO need for a Supernatural hypothesis to explain our environment.
Ah, yes, but while gravity can be observed actively all the time, evolution cannot be observed in the same way. Theists use gaps in people's understanding of evolution to argue that it is no more sustainable than their own beliefs. While this can be argued against, it nevertheless misses the essential point -
Arguing for or against evolution is not comparable with arguing for or against the existence of a deity, and the two debates have no bearing on each other...
Gaps in peoples understanding does not equate to it not being active all the time. We cannot see gravity (actively) throughout the entire universe~ but we can see it constantly at work here, and the effects of it as well. I would say the same hold for evolution~ it is apparent, and so its effects, in all life on earth. In fact, if that were not true, it would be evidence against evolution.
btw the reference to not being able to see gravity is in reference to our technical inability to see it, not that there are some places that it doesn't effect (although the latter may also be true)
Yes, that's a fair point. I suppose I'm concerned with how people experience the world, and, more importantly, what issues they think about.
For most people, the statement 'gravity does not exist' would be much more difficult to accept than 'evolution does not exist', not least because they have a fundamental understanding of gravity and how it affects them.
Again (I have a feeling I'm going to get tired of saying this), I'm not arguing against evolution, just that as an issue it is fundamentally irrelevant to the existence or non-existence of god. It provides an alternative to creationism, but in the absence of alternatives, or in the presence of further alternatives, creationism still wouldn't make logical sense or be supported by evidence...
Mr. Freud, I would like to say that it is not my interest to contest your overall point~ Reasoning that there is no god is not contingent on a theory of evolution, or something comparable. It is more so the fishyness of certain statements (which may or may not mean anything at all, I accept that it may be completely inadvertent) and my perpetual boredom that compels me to pick apart such things.
[edited for grammar]