Deep Explanatory Power?
If you want to understand evolutionary thought just read the literature. Charles Darwin accurately characterized his 1859 book on evolution as “one long argument.” That argument was based on several popular religious beliefs leading to faulty science. For example, throughout the volume Darwin’s ideas rely on a popular religious doctrine called utilitarianism, and in Chapter Six Darwin explicitly states that his theory would absolutely fail without it.
Ever since Darwin, little has changed. One after the other, evolutionists have attempted to explain and prove Darwin’s idea. And one after the other, they have simply confirmed that evolutionary thought is not a scientific theory in the normal sense but rather is, at its core, a religious idea with little regard for the science. It really is nothing more than the ancient Epicureanism, inserted into modern science. Consider the latest entry, Adam and the Genome, a brand new Brazos Press title authored by Dennis Venema and Scot McKnight.
In the tradition of the evolution literature, the first part of the book presents a long list of arguments for why we should believe the biological world arose by evolution—a combination of chance and natural law. The second part of the book, as the title suggests, addresses the question of Adam and Eve. Simply put, the book argues that Scripture, read rightly, never did point to a historical Adam in the first place. This makes Scripture consistent with evolution’s call for humanity to begin as a relatively large population.
But this reading of Scripture is influenced by evolution. As McKnight explains, his approach accepts “the reality of genetic evidence supporting a theory of evolution”.  But, in fact, there is no such “reality.” The genetic evidence does not support evolution—quite the opposite.
Religious beliefs mandating evolution are what led to today’s theory of evolution, not empirical scientific findings. And now, new scientific observations (such as genetics) are interpreted according to evolution. The observations are theory-laden. Furthermore, with the broad acceptance of evolution, theologians such as McKnight are telling us we need to adjust our religious understandings in light of the “reality” of the scientific evidence.
This is what computer scientists refer to as Garbage-In, Garbage-Out (GIGO). It is little wonder McKnight and many others are calling for this “new” understanding of Scripture, for that “new” understanding is centuries old, and is what mandated evolution in the first place. What goes around comes around.
Unfortunately the myth that evolution is a scientific no-brainer, a given, a fact, and on par with gravity and the round Earth, is difficult to dispel. The powerful religious ideas mandating evolution have led to the myth that evolution is legitimate and compelling science.
For example, in his review of Adam and the Genome, Hans Madueme rightly explains that the history of science should give us pause regarding evolution. Too often scientists have had high confidence in ideas that later would be discarded. Madueme accurately detects such high confidence in evolutionary thought, as exemplified in Adam and the Genome.
Unfortunately Madueme also gives high marks to the science presented in the book. According to Madueme, it “unpacks the genomic evidence for evolution and common ancestry,” and even “skeptical readers will come away impressed at the deep explanatory power of evolutionary theory.” Impressed?
And what exactly is this “deep explanatory power of evolutionary theory” to which Madueme refers? Well, err, Madueme fails to mention any for he “skipped over most of the details.” But it is precisely in those details where the evidences and arguments fall apart. We have already seen that the book makes erroneous arguments that the fossil evidence and echolocation support evolution (here and here). In fact, as we saw, both these evidences and arguments, once stripped of the religion, far from supporting evolution, severely contradict the theory.
In my next post I will look at another one of the book’s arguments involving pseudogenes. What we will find, again, is not “deep explanatory power of evolutionary theory” but exactly the opposite.
Religion drives science, and it matters.