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.
Crafting a label that sounds elitist isn't the way to make the public accept us. I'm well aware that the label 'Bright' replaces the label 'Atheist'.
I like being an atheist. It says what I don't believe in. I hate the label 'Bright'. It's an evasion, which I find vaguely dishonest.
Doesn't matter if they are elitist or arrogant. That's the impression given by the name they've chosen. This is an image issue.
We already have positive labels: skeptic, rationalist, secular humanist, and others. Trying to slap a positive label on what is an opposition position puts us in the camp with the Pro-Lifers, which I always refuse to call by their chosen label. Plus, 'Bright' just sounds silly.
I think what can be argued is that although I see your point, it really only makes sense in the confines of a debate or discussion on the question 'does god exist'. In the real world, learning the theory of evolution is far more important than answering the question 'does god exist'. I think that the reason there are so many non-believers in the scientific community isn't necessarily because they came into their fields as atheists or non-believers, it's that the science they learned shrunk god until it disappeared. (god of the gaps). In the same way, teaching our kids as much correct science as possible, will lead to this end, and creationists know this.
We will never be able to disprove god, we just to convince more people to not believe in it.
Evolution is not irrelevant. Did not man evove from a primordial goo to the sentient creature he is today.
Dare I say that without evolution there would be no progress since the dawn of time. The invention of the wheel is a direct evolutionairy product of the 'drag stick'. The computer is a direct result of the abacus, in evolutionairy terms. The airplane is an evolutionairy product of Wilbur and Orville Wrights experimwnts with the bicycle. And the list goes on and on ad infinitum. Evolution is an inevitable and parallel history of man.