Philosophical critique of Evolution

I have been asked several times why I criticise Evolution and not any other scientific theory. It would seem to me to be obvious, but I will indulge my adversaries.

It has to do with Genesis 1, of course. If the account of Genesis 1 was evene remotely credible in terms of science and reality there would be no problem. We could simply claim a difference of opinion and leave it at that. But, Genesis 1 clearly does not conform with the physics of what I can see. So I understand Genesis 1 in a more philosophical and theological manner. And have had many confrontations with people who seem to think that you cannot argue the bible wth science, only theology, which is an annoying, if familiar stance
And, if Evolution was theistic and therefore could be incorporated easily into my faith I would not have any arguments with it. But, Evolution, as it is taught, is not only atheistic it can be used to disprove the existence, or at least influence, of God completely.
Furthermore, the advocates of Evolution have the same annoying and similar stance that Evolution can only be argued using Scientific arguments.
As has been stated elsewhere, there is no scientific way to promote theistic Evolution, and my attempts to discredit any science in Evolution are easily (at least to their eyes) fended off. (Although I do keep trying).
If I propose any philosophical arguments they are dismissed as inadmissible, so I am going to change the rules of “combat”. This is a philosophical thread and only philosophical arguments will be admissible. If there is a critique of an analogy or philosophical model it must be answered philosophically, so that if you consider something inaccurate or inappropriate you must explain why rather than just dismissing it as irrelevant.
I invite any philosophical model whether it is in favour or against Evolution ( as it is taught, not theistic for now).
I will leave it for a few hours or so before suggesting which model I would like to discuss, so that others may either criticise the whole idea or perhaps suggest a philosophical model/argument of their own.

Richard

Then it is taught incorrectly. It can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God, just like anything else scientific.

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So that makes God 50:50? ; )

If science needed God, that would be (a) proof. As it doesn’t, it doesn’t need to disprove him.

Your post is atheistic. It denies the very reason I believe in God and Christianity. Therefore it must be atheistic. And since evolution is one of the reasons I can believe in God, Christianity and the Bible the theory of evolution certainly must be theistic.

Agreed. The above is in a subjective font. Objectively speaking that is all nonsense. Evolution says nothing about God, so calling it atheistic or theistic has no objective validity whatsoever. It is only when we mix in our personal experiences and personal ways of thinking that those labels can in any way be applicable.

The Bible can and has been used to disprove the existence of God. One can use a violin to hammer in a nail.

But evolution can also be used to not only prove the existence of God but it can also be used to counter the most powerful argument against the existence of God, known as the problem of evil (and suffering).

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So you want to go back to Rationalism?

The important thing to remember is that both the world and the Scripture came from God. Scripture was created specifically for humans, with their limited understanding and biases to teach them how to live and how to unite with God. But because humans differ so much, they make different interpretations, like taking Bible literally or symbolically.

The world which was also made by God, is quite stable and science is a tool to eliminate interpretations and try to arrive as close as possible to how the world behaves and even this was very hard as it took us centuries to begin to grasp it.

God gave us this firm universe so we can understand what is meaningless and what is meaningful. I think it’s fair to think that God didn’t want us wander around blindly and leave his lessons up to too extreme interpretations so he gave us hard rules that we can understand objectively to guide us along with Scripture.

Then Evolution, a name for how reality works, just cannot be left to interpretation, because it was created stable so we can clearly see how world works. Evolutions shows us, that it’s meaningless to look at Genesis like a literal history, that trying to be super literal would just miss the point of it. As the world and it’s workings were created by God, it’s impossible to deny his existence on the basis of his creation.

Obviously Evolution can be argued philosophically, but rather in a way of how to understand the world, why God decided for it to work like that, what different light does it give on God’s teachings, and not if it’s true or not.

In the end, God passed to us his most important teachings, the real world is very complex but it’s understanding is not really needed to get the major moral lessons or guide us to salvation. There is no reason for God to complicate things by giving us additional 10 books explaining how world works to already existing 2 books the same as there is no reason for him to force worship down our throats by giving us a lot of evidence of his existence.

Science while not a priority still explains a lot about Bible. It helps us to see how the culture that lived in that times understood passages that seem odd to modern people or decide on some grey areas where humans can’t quite agree on. God just as he could easily make world that just appears old could make a world that would be nigh-impossible to understand, God gave us Scripture to understand the indispensable and reliable universe to take our understanding further, in the end there’s no point to teach a baby higher math, instead he made his creation visible in it’s glory so as our understanding grows we learn more and more, if it was just an illusion of how things work, then the more we would go out of our way to understand the world the more confused we would become. I can’t see that that’s what God wanted to achieve.

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Thank you. I was half expecting this to be ignored, but if the reason for making an argument cannot be established then both the argument and the answers are basically irrelevant. I will try to address the points from my perspective so that I can either convince or fail to establish a reason to offer a purely philosophical crit of evolution. Unfortunately, being Sunday I have other commitments so it may be a while.

Richard

In this forum, I’m not sure that “…only X will be admissible” is your call to make, is it?

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That’s not even a syllogism. And it’s perfectly logical to deny Him on the basis of the experience of existence.

It seems to me that the basic thrust of the arguments against this thread is that evolution does not impinge on the concept/existence of God so there is no need to examine it further?
This now throws up the need to establish the concept of God, which, although interesting, was not my intention, but never mind. I might also suggest that it involves the concept of man’s existence, which I will address first.
Biblically man is the image of God. Now I am not claiming that means the physical appearance, I would suggest it means that we have the powers to do the will of God, that is have dominion over, shape and ultimately “rule” the earth (within certain limits that need not be established IMO) But Evolution has no goals or design so the exact form, constitution , even cognissance cannot be predetermined. By Evolutionary design I could be a reptile, Amphibean or eaven a crustacean in terms of the , so called, highest form of life on the planet and it does not guarrantee that Iwould have the capabi;ities to carry out this function that the Bible claims is my right and place. Furthermore, if God has no active control over the results of His creation, then He is basically impotent and not worthy of my worship. Furthermore, if God has no influence over His creation the Biblical Jesus becomes an impossibilty because God cannot form Him and separate Him apart, or claim to be His direct Father, or claim any sort of connection to his actions and the salvation we claim comes from them. If God just created the world and let it go then the age of the Dinosaurs could still be now and it is only a pure fluke that humanity occured at all. Jesus was just a Brontosaurus who got killed by a Tyran.

This one really confused me. My stance is theistic and always has been. And the above demonstatrates how I think God and creation must intertwine.

Clearly Mr Dawkins does not agree with this. And neither do I. And this is why I think people need to understand the concept of Evolution and the way it was deduced, and the differences between that and any other Scientific theory or “rule”. I have never disputed science or claimed it somehow disproves the existence of God. I have always claimed it is just one of the hands of God that we can better understand. But Evolution does not conform to pure scientific rules and I can only prove that if people can understand the differences I see. The fact that people just lump it in with any other theory proves that people do not see any differences.
How does Evolution deny the existence of God? It denies the need for HIm. It claims that the world could be, as it is, without God. If so any need for God’s slavation is removed. Neither God, nor humankind have any bearing on the world. Ecclesiastes 3 becomes a truth, not a gripe (I will discuss that elsewhere if someone wishes to).

Now I rather like this piece of reverse psychology and it is actually rather difficult to answer when I believe that God must remain a God of faith and not proof. I would claim that the one does not actually stem from the other, and that Evolution can disprove God but even if His influence is necessary not everyone will believe it (as is proved by the existence of this forum, thread etc.). Besisdes, you are still misunderstnding my intentions. I am not trying to claim theistic Evolution as correct. All I am claiming is that there are places in the current theory that Theism fits (and here appears to be no other solution), but, unlike Evolutionists I would not claim that because it fits it must be so.

I am not 100% sure how to answer this. I want to be ale to use rationalism, but , as pointed out, it does not prove anythin although it might convict (point out errors or flaws)

At this point I will also concede that the end may be correct despite the means used to reach it but, of course, I do not wish to believe that.

If i missed anything feel free to repeat or refer to it

Richard

Technically not, but the thrust of the thread requires it, otherwise, it degenerates into “can and cannot” assertions.

Richard

And besides, there is no absolute conclusion that God exists so to assert that He is the creator becomes theistic dogma. Then, if creation seems to deny His existence it loses all credibility To use the bible, Paul claims that God is reflected in (His) creation, rather than denied by it…

Richard

You are certainly free to use rationalism to your hearts content (it is really what you have been arguing all along) but

  1. It doesn’t prove anything
  2. How can it point out errors in an empirical argument

I believe this is called a category error.

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This answer probably needs more space than I have here to respond to it but may I just note some salient points?
I am not looking for a philosophical version of the Evolutionary theory. I am looking for a philosophical understanding of the way it is/was constructed and used/taught.
I am not intending to “defeat” any part of the Evolutionary theory with scripture. I do not think that is either possible or required.
Claiming 2 books for the bible is, IMO a little naive. And the precise content was made by a committee in the 3rd or 4th century, not God as such. The bible is considered finite by tradition rather than any other pragmatic or logical reason. There would be a great deal of precedent and sense to “update” or add to it, but that would somehow diminish it in many eyes.

I am not arguing for or against science (as stated elsewhere).

Although I agree that Genesis cannot be used as a model for creation it does not automatically follow that Evolution does, especially if it proves to be damaging to other parts of Scripture.

Richard

Perhaps this is the root of your complaint. Exactly how can evolution disprove God when it says nothing about God? How does evolution conflict with the Bible post Genesis?

By proving

1 It is not actually an empirical argument
2 That the way the theory has been formed allows for errors to exist without acknowledging them, or even having to acknowledge them

Is a repetition and one I have already answered before. Having said that, it does/can prove something(s), but not necessarily that Evolution is wrong.

Richard

I believe I was agreeing with Mr. Dawkiins that Evolutionary theory, as it stands, does deny the existence of God.
I think I have already answered this. It excludes God, not only in options, but also in necessity. As a Christian, that is enough. I concede that if you are not a Christian it might not seem so relevant.

It is part of the concept of God that I adhere to.

Richard

Yes it doesn’t agree with the controlling God who only creates as a means to an end, seeing us as as nothing but things to use for His own purposes, to destroy in fits of displeasure the things not meeting His design specifications. Now you get at some of the theological differences between you and me. I don’t believe in your God. I believe in the God who chose love and freedom over power and control and that is why God created life – for the process of life serves no purpose in the creation of tools. Evolution is exactly what you would expect from a God choosing love and freedom – involved as a shepherd, teacher and parent with His creations rather than as a watchmaker designer who wants nothing but machines to do His bidding. The latter is a notion of God which works very well with religion concocted as a tool of power and control making up a God in their own image, where sin is all about disobedience and goodness is all about following His commands whether it be genocide or prolicide.

You are assuming that Evolution can produce the relevant population without guidance or assistance. And clearly you would not mind, or see any problem, if Evolution had made you a reptile or even a crustacean.

Evolution does not really address cognisance, as far as I can tell other than as some sort of progressive capacity formed by a deviation.

I do not see how you can claim puppetry on my life because God actually created me instead of leaving it to chance. (and I am not talking about the immediate circumstances of my birth, I am talking about the human race) Your theology seems pretty close to how the devil justifies his existence. (He thought/thinks God is too much in control)
Evolution has little or nothing to do with sin.

Richard

No. Evolutionary theory, just like gravity, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, etc. does not deny the existence of God. True, those theories don’t have God built into them. But that is different from saying that they (gravity, e-m, q-m, evolution) actively deny the existence of God.

So do gravity, e-m, q-m, etc.

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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