Sunday, August 9, 2009

This Masquerade

Evolutionists criticize any use of religious premise in science while raising the art form to a whole new level. They sound the alarm upon detecting the proverbial speck in their neighbor's eye while ignoring the beam in their own eye. For instance, President Obama's recent nomination of Francis Collins to lead the National Institutes of Health has stimulated yet another round of such hypocrisy.

Collins is a Christian who sees evolution as nicely fitting within his religious beliefs. But he also sees evolution as a limited process. Is not the evolutionary explanation of altruism, for instance, clearly strained? Collins infers from the data that evolution is limited--his reasoning does not rely on religious premises.

And yet evolutionists, in typical fashion, issue condemnations for what is, in fact, their own transgression. They are their own judge. Here, for example, is PZ Myers' judgment on Collins:

What is disturbing is that Collins is a fervent evangelical believer who inserts his superstition where it doesn't belong, in the execution of his job. [...] The situation is this: the White House has picked for high office a well-known scientist with a good track record in management who wears clown shoes. Worse, this scientist likes to stroll about with his clown shoes going squeak-squeak-squeak, pointing them out to everyone, and bragging about how red and shiny and gosh-darned big his shoes are, and tut-tutting at the apparent lack of fine fashion sense exhibited by his peers who wear rather less flamboyant footwear.

Collins inserts his superstition where it doesn't belong? This precisely describes the evolution program. Its proclamation that evolution is a fact rests solidly on religious and metaphysical pronouncements. Here, for example, is what Myers wrote recently in the LA Times:

We go right to the central issue of whether there is a god or not. We're pretty certain that if there were an all-powerful being pulling the strings and shaping history for the benefit of human beings, the universe would look rather different than it does.

It is the age old problem of evil. As Enlightenment thinkers such as David Hume argued, the existence of evil contradicts design, creation, and perhaps the existence of god altogether. It is foundational to evolutionary thought and it is a deeply religious argument for it entails assumptions about what god would and would not create.

While Collins explains that the theory of evolution does not explain the existence of altruism, Myers explains that his concept of god does not explain the existence of evil. The former reasons from a public hypothesis of mechanism; the latter reasons from a private religious belief. The former is an objective, scientific inference; the latter is a subjective religious claim.

The former can be evaluated using the methods of science. It can be falsified. The latter is based on a private religious belief. It cannot be falsified.

Evolutionary thought is hypocritical. Its claim to be "just science" is false, and its search for religious enemies is telling. It condemns others for precisely what it does.

The hypocrisy inherent in evolutionary thought does not mean that evolutionary theory is necessarily false. But it does reveal internal contradictions and other serious problems.

Religion drives science and it matters.