Friday, August 19, 2016

Evolutionary Heresies

In less than two hundred years, the theory of evolution has grown from simple observations of wildlife into a biological explanation of all living things to the epistemological foundation of everything we know about ourselves and the entire universe. Materialism -- the belief that nothing exists outside of the physical universe and that man is merely the chemical byproduct of an unguided process no more complicated than matter plus time plus chance -- is now the prevailing worldview of our culture. Nearly every institution that speaks with authority religiously clings to it. It is an inherently flawed dogma that has profound philosophical and practical implications on every aspect of how we think, how we choose to live, how we treat others, and how we raise our children.

Darwin’s theory of natural selection forms the basis of modern biology. Organisms with the best traits for survival produce more offspring, which results in change within species that makes them more resilient over generations. The theory is applied more expansively to explain change between species, making natural selection the mechanism for the incremental development of all life, from the simplest cell to modern man. Critics claim there is a lack of evidence to support macro evolutionary change and point to problems such as the irreducible complexity of even the simplest organisms, the inability of the theory to explain human consciousness, or even language. While their objections have grown into a sizable body of research, they remain in the distinct minority and are largely mocked by the broader scientific community.

If nothing else, those who critique evolution on purely biological grounds force the scientific community to more rigorously defend entrenched positions that have gone largely unchallenged. Such critiques do not, however, address the fallacious way in which the theory of evolution is mistakenly used as a philosophical explanation for the creation of the universe. When employed in this way, the theory violates its own presuppositions and is rendered invalid.

Evolution is silent on the origin of life. It only offers an explanation of how life developed. In other words, the acrimonious debate over evolution is irrelevant to the fundamental mystery of creation. On the question of where matter came from in the first place, the best science can offer is its own sterile restatement of the Genesis account: in the beginning, there was a big bang. But this version of creation lacks an eternal deity so it is just another way of saying that something came from nothing, a notion that is ironically at odds with science itself.

Absent a creator, evolution is an undirected process that sprang up out of nowhere. Its origin cannot be understood empirically, and metaphysically, it is illogical. But even if one is able to put this fundamental problem aside, another problem arises. Without a creator, the entire universe, including man himself, is simply the mindless and accidental result of this biochemical process that somehow began on its own. By definition, it is a process devoid of reason. But if we are merely a byproduct of a process that is devoid of reason, we cannot use reason to make an argument for the validity of that process. In other words, materialists have no way to determine whether evolution is true. Their worldview asserts (even though in cannot logically assert) that there is no such thing as truth.

Materialists have unwittingly invalidated not just the theory of evolution but the entire basis on which we can know anything. Their worldview is not only devoid of reason but also of right and wrong. Its empirical foundations and conclusions are nonsense and it offers no normative guidance on how we should live. Despite this intellectual bankruptcy, materialism has been given a treasured place in our culture. Is it any wonder that the modern world is unraveling?