Begging the Questionrecently reminded me of one of the many fundamental fallacies of evolutionary thought. When I point out problems with evolution, and make arguments against evolutionary thought, it is not because I am against the idea or want it to be false. Life would be much easier if the evidence simply supported evolution, if evolutionary thought was a stellar example of intellectual progress, if—to put it simply—evolution was an undeniable scientific fact, just as evolutionists insist. But it’s not. Evolution is not any of those. Evolution is not supported by the empirical evidence, it is not a rational, intellectual movement, and it is not a scientific fact, undeniable or otherwise. I’m not grinding a personal ax here, I’m simply pointing out the obvious. It makes no difference to me if evolution is true, false, or somewhere in between. But it does make a difference when we lie to ourselves.
One of the lies we tell ourselves is about miracles and how they relate to evolution. Specifically, evolutionists have been making arguments against miracles for centuries. A convenient starting place is seventeenth century church history, when Roman Catholic and Protestant elements of the church argued with each other, and between themselves, about miracles. It is a long story, but the upshot was that miracles were increasingly viewed with disdain for several reasons.
By the time David Hume arrived in the mid eighteenth century, the dust was settling. Hume is well known for his arguments against miracles, but he was largely repackaging sentiment that had long since been expressed.
Some arguments were epistemological. Others were theological, philosophical or ontological. But the short version is that evolutionary thought emerged in a milieu in which miracles were on the way out, both as explanatory mechanisms and as historical reality. Darwin contemporary David Friedrich Strauss, and his Life of Jesus, is but one of many examples of this broad, robust movement.
The movement against miracles was, not surprisingly, influential in the natural sciences. Simply put, if we’re not to appeal to miracles, then the world must have arisen naturalistically. This had a profound effect on the critical thinking, or lack thereof, of the time. Speculative hypotheses, with little basis in fact, enjoyed serious consideration and triumphant acceptance.
The bar was placed exceedingly low for such theories as pure conjecture became acceptable and celebrated science. Monumental scientific problems with the notion of spontaneous origins went ignored and evolutionary theories (from cosmological to biological) soon became “fact.”
Today strictly naturalistic, evolutionary, theories are a given. They simply are accepted as true, or as true as anything in science can be. And it also is a given that miracles are false. But what evolutionists prefer to overlook is that there is a causal relationship here. The latter made way for, and mandated, the former.
What an incredible coincidence it would be if, on the one hand, miracles were known to be false and, on the other hand, the empirical evidence turned out to prove a naturalistic origins. Theology, philosophy and science would have converged on the same truth.
But there is no such convergence.
The “convergence” that occurred is artificial. It is artificial because the empirical scientific evidence was interpreted according to the cultural mandate. Science was told what to do.
Indeed, from an objective, theory neutral, perspective, evolution is unlikely. It is not good science. In fact it is an outstanding example of bad science, breaking all the rules of what the textbooks tell us about how science is supposed to work. The idea that the multitude of species, the cosmos, consciousness and, well, everything, arose spontaneously by the interplay of chance contingencies of history and natural laws is silly. And that is being kind.
The problem of miracles is another example of the failure of evolutionary thought. Religion drives science, and it matters.