Saturday, 28 May 2011

Evidence against evolution isn't Evidence for God

Micro-evolution, macro-evolution — it's just a matter of degree. At least, that's what I've always understood. The distinction between species is often described as a question of breeding. Males and females of different species can't interbreed (and produce fertile offspring). But I also understand that the difference between species isn't necessarily that clear cut. In fact it can be almost arbitrary, as a visit to the Natural History Museum's Darwin Centre and Cocoon will confirm.

Chapter 16 of Dembski & Licona's Evidence for God is titled "Limits to Evolvability" and is written by Ray Bohlin. It's all about how evolution cannot account for different species, how mutation cannot introduce additional genetic information, and how natural selection cannot produce all the different forms of animal life. It's all pretty tedious stuff that I've seen before in creationist literature, and I hardly need to go into why it's all mostly nonsense.

The fact that Bohlin has written this chapter, and it's in a book that purports to provide "evidence for God", really shows the creationist's hand. We have several lines of argument that attempt to show why evolution by random mutation and natural selection is impossible, which spawns the inevitable question: why are creationists so dead set against evolution? The answer is that evolution, if correct, removes the need for a sustaining creator god. Evolution shows how the complexity of organic life on this planet came to be, and it didn't require a god to do it. The creationist's god, who was once thought to be actively engaged in constant tinkering and routine maintenance, has nothing left to do. He's superfluous. The Earth — indeed the Universe — can get along quite nicely without an interventionist god. But the creationist can't let that be the case — evolution can't be right!

So presumably that's why we have creationists. Evolutionary theory contradicts scripture, therefore in the mind of a creationist it must be incorrect. The creationist must therefore work backwards from this conclusion to disprove evolutionary theory — hence this chapter. The irony is that even if Bohlin could disprove evolution he wouldn't have proved God.

But what I want to know is this: if Intelligent Design proponents evolved from creationists, why are there still creationists?


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