Friday, 14 June 2013

Just one Evolution

Jimmy Akin is a Catholic Apologist who I'm generally a fan of and who has written a lot of stuff that I have found very helpful over the yeras. Having said that, I think this article, which he wrote recently is more than a little off-base.

Mr. Akin attempts to examine the debate on the origins of the human species. He notes that views on said question fall on a broad spectrum and divides that spectrum into four groups: Creationism, Intelligent Design, Theistic Evolution and Atheistic Evolution. He does acknowledge that the spectrum could be divided in other ways but says that “... it seems that, today, most participants in the origins discussion would say that they advocate one of four major positions.”

I have to say, I doubt this very much. I am a theist (I believe in God) and I am also a person who accepts the overwhelming scientific consensus that evolution happens. I reject the label “Theistic Evolution”, however, because I don't see the two issues as directly related. This isn't to say that I see no link, I'm philosophically convinced that the very existence of scientific laws requires a certain metaphysic and that metaphysic implies a God. This however, is a philosophical question. The question of whether or not humans are evolved from other species is a scientific one. To lump a person's positions on the two questions together seems arbitrary and silly. People's beliefs about physics are not divided into those who believe in “theistic gravity” and “atheistic gravity”, there is just gravity.

Lest I be misunderstood, let me repeat myself; in saying that the two subjects are not directly linked I am not saying there is no link at all. As I said, I'm convinced that the very existence of scientific laws requires a certain view of reality and that view of reality, if consistently applied, leads to God. Alternatively, I am aware that many atheists see the regular structure of the universe as doing away with the need for a God.

Having said the above, I'm quite confident that, if you asked the majority of practising evolutionary biologists, by which I mean people actually studying evolution, they would tell you that they and their colleagues, whether theistic or not, are all studying the same process and believe in the same evolutionary process. There is no such thing as theistic or atheistic evolution; there is just evolution.

p.s. There are other things in Mr. Akin's article that I disagree with. If anyone writes a critique of some other part of his article, send me a link, if I agree with it, I'll happily post the link.

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