Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Evolution vs. Creation - Round 1 Rebuttals

Welcome to the first round of the evolution vs. creationism debate between myself @weaksquare and @NewFarmOrder.

Our opening statements can be found here: Opening Statements



Premise #2 For Creationism: Without Our Creation To Ask Existential Questions, We Would Not Have Darwinism

I’m glad, in your first point, you raised the idea of the common coexistence of evolution and creation as theories. I would like to now argue that not only can they exist together, but that creation is, in fact, a prerequisite of Darwinism. This is because Darwinism doesn’t offer plausible reasons as to why we would know our own purpose outside of the gene-preservation-and-propagation machines that are our mortal vessels. Creation does - we must be able to think about why we are here, and choose whether or not to love our God, because the criteria for afterlife depend on belief. Every human must thus be born with the capacity to think outside their own physical existence.

Indeed, I find it an irony when evolutionists, as they so frequently do, assert that a belief in the existence of a God results from some misuse of reason, because this inadvertently reveals their belief that the faculty of reason is there (or, as I would prefer, ‘designed’) to fulfil the purpose of discovering the truth of our being. There is no real evolutionary reason, to my knowledge, for man to ponder existential questions as he does. I doubt a dog thinks much about its place in the universe, only the particular motor functions to which its genes assign it for survival.  If thought is a neuro-physiological phenomenon to Darwinists, as I’m inclined to believe, then why am I to trust it?

In other words, if the thoughts in my mind are but motions of atoms in my brain to suit survival and propagation  - this, a mechanism arising from unguided, mindless processes over millennia - why should I believe anything it tells me (including the fact it’s made of atoms)? Creationism gives a more cogent argument as to why we are able to think about why we are here. We have to have the free will to choose whether to believe or disbelieve, in order that we may be judged. If there was a creator, His mind could comprehend cause and effect, and so too must ours, if we are indeed created ‘in the image of God’. It also explains why this capacity is unique to man amongst animals. Because we are, in effect, mini-Gods, we too have a world of dominion. The animals and the plants yield to our superior intelligence, and we can treat them as we wish; with forgiving kindness, tough justice, or base cruelty.

Indeed, it seems little known that the reason there was such a flourishing of scientific thought in the 16th and 17th centuries’ Enlightenment was due to belief in the Christian God, and scientific discoveries, unlike today, did not challenge believers’ faith. As C.S Lewis wrote, ‘men became scientific because they expected law in nature, and they expected law in nature because they believed in a lawgiver.’ Even Newton’s magnum opus, Principia Mathematica, was, in his own words, written to ‘persuade the thinking man’ to believe in God!

This is  Wittgenstein called the ‘deception of modernism’ - the notion that the laws of the universe explain the world to us, when all they do is describe structural regularities. Even if I were to accept evolution as fact - and there is no doubt it has, regardless of absolute truth values as a theory, provided some great advances in all aspects of human understanding of the universe - it still cannot explain ‘something from nothing’ as creation can. Apologies for the cliche, but ‘what caused that Big Bang?'


You stated in your opening argument, “we were created with the knowledge of good and evil unique amongst the animals… evolution cannot explain this.”  Your premise is demonstrably false. We can directly observe animals, mostly social mammals, engaging in moral behavior. These creatures will help other members of their group with no expectation of reward. Animals have been witnessed saving other animals, not even of their same species, in distress. Dolphins frequently fend off sharks attacking humans. Gorillas have protected humans that fell into their habitats from other gorillas. Killer whales frequently work together to gain a meal, even though only one member of their group enjoys the spoils. Apes will share their food with other members of the group, to ensure fairness. Your premise that animals have no concept of morality is false.

Secondly, evolution perfectly explains this. When the group prospers, the individual prospers. We stand a better chance of survival the greater number of healthy members we have. Thus, it is in my best interest to ensure everyone is healthy and able to contribute. When a member falls on hard times, we help them up. Because one day I could fall on hard times and it would be nice if you help me up. All of this behavior is of a direct benefit to the group and is at the very essence of what describes evolution and survival advantages.

Your second premise states, “without creation to ask existential questions, we would not have Darwinism.”  That is possibly a true statement. Evolution (Darwinism) is still a fact.

You also claimed in your rebuttal, “there is no evolutionary purpose… for man to ponder existential questions as he does.” Also false. There is a tremendous survival advantage in having an accurate understanding of reality. Yes, there are questions bigger than us, that’s a given. There are a lot of gaps in our understanding of nature. Pondering the answers helps us to gain a better understanding of this life and by proxy increases our odds for survival. Having your beliefs comport with reality provides a direct evolutionary advantage.

You claimed the Age of Enlightenment was due to the Christian God. I disagree. The Age of Enlightenment was due to Christianity, and would not have even been necessary if it were not for the Dark Ages, for which Christianity is also responsible. Nonetheless, outside the scope of this debate.

Finally, you asked claimed evolution cannot explain “something from nothing” and then asked, “what caused the Big Bang?” It does not matter. Evolution is an explanation for the diversity of life on Earth, not an answer for questions of cosmology. Whatever did or did not cause the Big Bang has zero bearing the evidence for biological evolution, which is ample. Shall we return to the topic of evolution?

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