Dec 17 2008

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Evolution is Religion

Posted at 10:30 am under Blog Post

Every time I go deep into the woods, I am astounded by the fecundity of nature, by the myriad life forms taking root all around me.  Living things abound, even in the dead of winter.  The planet is teeming with them.  The oceans are soups chock full of plants and creatures great and small. Even in the coldest, most inhospitable regions of our world, colonies of bacteria thrive.  Others live on the hot rims of volcanic eruptions.  Life is everywhere and thriving.

While engaging in a series of mundane tasks the other day, it suddenly occurred to me that evolution is religion.  The great debate between Creationists and Darwinists is a contrivance – an artificial argument where the parties involved conspire against the reality manifest both in this planet of ours and in the stars.  This is clearly evident to anyone paying attention to the march of living cells: one splits into two, two split into four, and so on until everything living comes into being.  This sequence explains the seemingly endless variations found in nature, but it also begs the question: Where did that first living cell come from?

A genetic code is just that – a set of instructions by which a specific living organism takes shape.  Any self-respecting atheist will insist that the rise of the first cell was purely happenstance, that the animate sprung spontaneously from the inanimate after an incredibly long series of random events.  At face value, this appears to make sense.  But the stars refute it.

The evolution of inanimate matter draws attention to the problem of the first living cell.  Because we have become a species of specialists, the vast majority of us do not see the paradox here.  Biologists break down living things to long chains of proteins, naturally assuming that the building blocks of life have always existed.  Physicists study subatomic particles and see randomness at work in all things physical without giving much thought as to how this extends to their own living, breathing selves.  Cosmologists compile more and more data pointing to the emergence of the universe from an infinitely dense point in spacetime 14.7 billions years ago, offering no explanation as to how the physical world can be both random and organized.  Meanwhile natural historians present hard evidence that complex life forms have evolved from simpler ones, but stop short of explaining life’s origins.  Everyone assumes that the other specialists hold other important pieces of the puzzle, and that together these pieces will reveal a mechanistic world that’s mathematically comprehensible.  But the math never explains how that first living cell came to be.

The universe consists of countless stars organized into galaxies over eons.  We know that before there were galaxies, stars, planets, atoms, or any kind of organized material whatsoever, there were subatomic particles running amok in white-hot plasma that was the direct consequence of the Big Bang.  So again, I ask you: Where did the first living cell come from?  Where did this urge to live and reproduce originate?

A logically consistent atheism must deny the existence of nature altogether.  Both the laws of physics and genetic codes must be seen as mere accidents.  There is no room for natural laws in any worldview that denies a Lawgiver, unless the universe itself has always existed.  But we know this isn’t true.  We know that everything points back to the Big Bang.  We know that all matter can be reduced to four basic forces, and that a fraction of a microsecond after the Big Bang there were only two.  What happens when we go back in time and reduce that two to one?  Then we are standing eyeball-to-eyeball with God.

A true atheist must deny evolution because that seemingly scientific description of nature assumes a certain order to things that an utterly random universe cannot support.  Hence, evolution is religion.  This is so obvious that I don’t see how anyone can miss it.  But we are a species of specialists, so the left hand never knows what the right hand is doing.  When this fact is taken into consideration, it is amazing that we can figure out anything at all.  Too much information.  The particulars obscure the generalities.  We can’t see the forest for the trees.

10 responses so far

10 Responses to “Evolution is Religion”

  1. MGDon 17 Dec 2008 at 11:52 am 1

    One of the best blog posts yet. Should spark some interesting discussion.

  2. Walton 18 Dec 2008 at 9:23 am 2

    Glad you think so. I’m often surprised by what appeals to whom. If this one doesn’t spark discussion at my blog site, nothing will.

  3. Tomon 28 Dec 2008 at 7:12 am 3

    I wonder if what always keeps us guessing on these topics is that we have to work within the framework “man” has built. Linear time etc. What if time is not linear? What if the big bang, if there really was one, is not the “starting point”? What if “infinite” really means “infinite”? How will we ever get our head around those concepts? If we can just try to remember that we really don’t even know what we don’t know and that the statement, “As a circle of light increases so does the circumference of darkness around it” (Einstein?) really does have merit then we can always look up into that night sky and say, “WOW! What’s that all about?” Thanks for the great blog

  4. Walton 30 Dec 2008 at 1:05 pm 4

    You ask some pertinent questions, Tom. The infinite is certainly worth considering. Thanks for responding to my blog.

  5. Andrewon 30 Dec 2008 at 6:48 pm 5

    Hi Walt –
    As you might have guessed, this post did get me thinking. I first read it during exam week and then my computer died and was in the shop for over a week. I’m going to give it a thoughtful reading before responding.
    While our love of nature overlaps, we differ significantly in our worldviews. And as I am one of those atheists you refer to, I feel nearly baited into responding. But I’ll do that over on my blog, in some form. I’ll let you know when I do.

  6. Walton 31 Dec 2008 at 9:31 am 6

    Rats. I was hoping you’d respond at my blog site. The more you disagree, the better.

  7. Andrewon 01 Jan 2009 at 12:25 pm 7

    The first of my responses is up here:

    My point: You have use the word “religion” very loosely if you want to call believing in evolution a religion.

    I decided to post my thoughts/response at my website for these reasons:

    1. It would feel less personal to me.
    2. I could address the topic more generally.
    3. To share with my readers.

    Feel free include any material at this site.

  8. Walton 02 Jan 2009 at 8:57 am 8

    You got me, Andrew. I use the word “religion” very loosely. I’ll check out your response at evolvingmind and encourage my readers to do the same.

  9. Andrewon 05 Jan 2009 at 12:56 pm 9

    Two more response-posts up at my site:

    “The Origins Gap” & “A Scientist by Any Other Name”

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