The debate about whether or not evolution is ‘real’ or not is one with which atheists and theists alike will be familiar. I recently received a very well written and nicely produced pamphlet attacking ‘scientific myths’, including evolution: pointing out that there is no complete consensus on how evolution works, and that there are gaps in the evidence. Within discussions of the validity of religion, such debates are, however, something of a red herring – evolution has no relevance to considerations of the veracity of religion.
Yet by engaging atheists in debates about evolution, and evidence and arguments for and against, theists are distracting from this simple fact. More seriously, there is a danger that this debate sets up an implication of an ‘either/or’ situation, which is clearly not the case. Humans always want certainties – that is why they invent religions and argue strenuously about evolution – but the argument over the certainty of where life comes from should not distract from the certainty that really matters: there is no god.
I give credence to the theory of evolution, because it is afforded widespread scientific/academic credence, there appears to be plenty of evidence and it seems to me to make sense. However, that position could arguably also have applied to various (‘scientific’) beliefs in, say, early Christian times that are no longer taken seriously, therefore:
Can I personally say with absolute certainty (that certainty with which I can say that there is no god) that evolution, as we currently understand it, is a fact of nature? No. Does that have any bearing on the simple fact that there is no god (or does it indeed have any relevance to discussions of this matter)? No.
Perhaps we will eventually be able to produce an account of evolution in all its features and workings that is completely accurate and incontrovertible. Perhaps we will have to alter or expand our current understanding substantially to achieve this. Perhaps a more differentiated alternative will be developed. Perhaps we will never know entirely and exactly how we arrived at our present state as a species. Do these possibilities have any bearing on religion? No.
There will almost certainly always be things that we can’t explain, and humans evidently feel the need to formulate answers to questions that preoccupy them, to the best of their (often feeble) abilities.
I’m not arguing against scientific endeavour (on the contrary - I’m an academic), just keep in mind that you don’t have to ‘prove’ evolution to disprove god. Put simply: there is no need for a definite alternative to disprove god – it’s not an either/or situation: however the universe began, and however life developed, god does not exist.
Ah, yes, but while gravity can be observed actively all the time, evolution cannot be observed in the same way. Theists use gaps in people's understanding of evolution to argue that it is no more sustainable than their own beliefs. While this can be argued against, it nevertheless misses the essential point -
Arguing for or against evolution is not comparable with arguing for or against the existence of a deity, and the two debates have no bearing on each other...
Yes, that's a fair point. I suppose I'm concerned with how people experience the world, and, more importantly, what issues they think about.
For most people, the statement 'gravity does not exist' would be much more difficult to accept than 'evolution does not exist', not least because they have a fundamental understanding of gravity and how it affects them.
Again (I have a feeling I'm going to get tired of saying this), I'm not arguing against evolution, just that as an issue it is fundamentally irrelevant to the existence or non-existence of god. It provides an alternative to creationism, but in the absence of alternatives, or in the presence of further alternatives, creationism still wouldn't make logical sense or be supported by evidence...
Maybe this will help you
It's not a matter of "proving a negative" as it is being sure there is NO god, superman, batman, pokemon, etc. in existence. Proof is not needed to be sure of some things.