Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Status of God in Light of Evolution

I would go even further than that: I'd say evolution provides strong evidence that no god worth having exists. I would define a god worth having as being at least an approximation of the traditional view of god: all-powerful, all-knowing, supremely benevolent. Now, if this god does not exist, what is the probability that complex and morally valuable agents like us (and some animals) came about through evolution? Well, if god doesn't exist, then the probability is basically 100 percent. On the other hand, if there is a god, he could create life all at once or allow it to develop through evolution. Which means that theism doesn't predict the evidence of evolution as well as atheism. And if you know something about Bayes' Theorem,* you'll know that this means that evolution counts as good evidence that there is no god.

Now, before I leave you with that let me return to a point I just made: that if god existed he could have created everything at once or allowed it to evolve. That sounds like a 50/50 split. But if you think about it, the probability that God would create through evolution has to be a lot less likely than 50 percent. There are many reasons that a God would prefer direct creation: it would provide more evidence of his existence so that people could know the truth (which a good God would surely want), it would avoid the millions of years of animal death and suffering that evolution entails, and it would also make more sense for a rational agent with all-power to go the most direct route to his goals. When we put it in that perspective, evolution is a devastating piece of evidence against god.

* Which is covered to some degree in Richard Carrier's chapters in The End of Christianity


Paul said...

Now, if this god does not exist, what is the probability that complex and morally valuable agents like us (and some animals) came about through evolution?

what is a "morally valuable agent"? I would have left that part out of your question.

AIGBusted said...

Hi Paul,

I consider conscious beings that can feel pleasure, pain, happiness, misery, etc. to be "morally valuable".

What I'm asking is, more or less, given that interesting things like that exist, if we propose that God does not exist then how could these things have gotten there? Evolution is really the only way.

On the other hand, I reckon that there could be some other process that brings about complicated things like us, but it would have to be something very similar to evolution, as Richard Dawkins has argued.

Tim said...


I am also going to make some comments on your book review if you do not mind. I will do this one first. I hope I am not intruding.

First, I think I need to say that I am not here to "argue" nor "debate". I am here to give the opposing view. I am also not your enemy so I hope this is not taken as a personal attack on your views. I appreciate your views and respect them. I just do not agree with them.

With that said allow me to present a different view on this.

If there was no God, evolution would definitely be an option. We all had to get here somehow. There is evidence that can point to this theory. So, if there was no God I could put some belief, perhaps even faith, into the idea. But this post did something very important with this theory. One has to take God out of the picture for this to be an option. "If God" was mentioned three times.

Okay, so even if God is real, could He still use evolution as part of His plan? Sure. An all-powerful Being can do anything He wants. Would it diminish His power to do his creating by evolution? No. However, being that when God created, He said all things were good. Death is not good. Death is not the end, but it is still not good. If God said it was good then why would He have billions of years of creating things that died without cause? Even you mentioned this. He gave man a free will (and that is another topic). Man chose to have evil. This allowed separation from God and death. Now man is not so "good" and needs to get back to "good", hence Christ (another topic).

The proof that is sought ("so people would know the truth") is there. But over the 6000 years of man's existence, the separation between man and God has caused the idea of not being created to become a theory.

Bayes' Theorem does allow for the probablity of the improbable to happen as well. Even the 0.5% has a chance to happen.

Creation, if you look at it scripturally, could be that "evolution-like" process that Dawkins was referring to. The Bible says that fish were first, then mammals and then man. Sounds evolution-like doesn't it?

Thank you for an opportunity to post here. Again, I respect your view, I just do not agree with it. I will now respond to the post about the End of Christianity.

Tim said...

I am sorry. I wanted to leave you with some of my postings on evolution. Enjoy. :)