Monday, March 12, 2007

Darwin's God? No Biggie.

I have been following the blogdom discussion on the “evolution of religion.” The idea being that man has evolved a propensity for religious belief as a survival mechanism. The discussions resulted from the article Darwin’s God published in the New York Times.

Although I am not even close to being knowledgeable on the subject, I’ll offer two sweeping observations:

  1. This represents the worst that evolution has to offer, in terms of its wanting to be recognized as science. This particular “research,” at least based on what I have read, contains some of the most egregious examples of ad-hoc, unscientific, just-so reasoning. Here are a couple representative arguments:

    Risk taking, to a certain degree, enhances survival. Religious belief facilitates risk-taking. Ergo a propensity for religious belief evolved.

    or how about

    Otherwise rational people, who claim that all religion and belief in the supernatural is superstition, will hesitate when put to the test—e.g., put your arm in this hole in this stone, tell a lie and your arm will be severed. Ergo we all have a tendency to embrace the supernatural .

    Independent of whether or not the hypothesis is correct, such post-hoc reasoning is utterly unscientific.

  2. The second point is that, as far as Christianity is concerned, it really doesn’t matter. Perhaps God really did provide an innate attraction toward religion, precisely for the some of the reasons the evolutionary psychologists are misrepresenting as “proofs” and “scientific evidence.” What we do know is this: that no man is born with a desire to find God with a capital G: there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. (Rom. 3:11) It does not seem unreasonable that God, as part of his common grace through which he prevents us from being utterly depraved and annihilating ourselves, would use such a tendency as a moderating influence. (Utter depravity should be contrasted with total depravity, the latter meaning that we are not born with any desire for the true God but not that we are as evil as we possibly could be.)

Seeking God requires illumination from the Holy Spirit, a bolt out of the blue for which we cannot prepare ourselves in advance. Richard Dawkins is not an atheist because of his intellect; he is an atheist because he has not been illuminated and so the gospel is foolishness to him. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor. 2:14) Likewise, those seeking false gods and false god-like prophets (Reverend Moon, Mohamed, etc.) are not seeking God but, at most, are seeking what they believe a god has to offer. Richard Dawkins’s intellect is not what prevents him from seeking the true God—he is simply, at the moment anyway, incapable of doing so—but it might permit him to resist a built-in attraction toward superstition.

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