Saturday, May 16, 2009

Theology: Still Queen of the Sciences

Evolutionist PZ Myers approves of this religious YouTube video challenge, and Myers adds another metaphysical mandate to the mix. Myers writes:

Scientist find a gene, and what do they do? Figure out what it does, and dig into the databases to find its relatives within that organism or in other species. Creationists claim genes can't be created without the intervention of a designer, and what do they do? Nothing.

Myers' religious passions are well known. Like most atheists he has strong religious views. And as an atheist, he is stuck with the theory of evolution for his creation myth. His dogmatic claim that evolution is a fact does not come from science. And his argument above is an example of how metaphysics drives evolutionary thinking.

Myers' point is that there is an intellectual necessity for evolutionary theories. Without them science cannot do much. This is a centuries old non scientific argument that gained strength in Darwin's day. For instance, Charles Lyell, for many the father of modern geology, argued strenuously for uniformitarianism. Lyell's argument was not merely that geological history is dominated by uniform processes, he was arguing for uniformitarianism. In other words, science, in general, should be restricted to uniformity.

This view had been slowly but surely gaining strength, as many theists had argued that this is how God would interact with the world. The Reverend Baden Powell argued that naturalism and continuity are required. To deny them in any instance "would be to endanger all science." And so, not surprisingly, Darwin made good use of this intellectual necessity justification for evolutionary explanations. It was one of his many metaphysical arguments for his theory.

After Darwin this tradition continued to hold sway. And as evolutionist Joseph LeConte reminded the world thirty years after Origins, strict naturalism was not merely good science--it was true:

The origins of new phenomena are often obscure, even inexplicable, but we never think to doubt that they have a natural cause; for so to doubt is to doubt the validity of reason, and the rational constitution of Nature. So also, the origins of new organic forms may be obscure or even inexplicable, but we ought not on that account to doubt that they had a natural cause, and came by a natural process; for so to doubt is also to doubt the validity of reason, and the rational constitution of organic Nature.

Today this dogma has become a truism for evolutionists. One example from Niles Eldredge will have to do, though evolutionists routinely employ this metaphysic:

But the Creator obviously could have fashioned each species in any way imaginable. There is no basis for us to make predictions about what we should find when we study animals and plants if we accept the basic creationist position. … the creator could have fashioned each organ system or physiological process (such as digestion) in whatever fashion the Creator pleased.

Today's atheists, such as PZ Myers, rely on evolution's theological claims no less than did Darwin and the earlier thinkers who laid evolution's non scientific foundation. It is not atheism that motivates evolution, but rather theism. The science is ridiculous, but the religion is compelling. From Lyell and Powell to Eldredge and Myers, the science is superfluous. Metaphysical mandates such as the intellectual necessity leave no choice. It does not matter what the empirical evidence says, evolution must be true.