I was watching The Genius of Charles Darwin on Channel 4 recently, presented by Prof. Richard Dawkins. His position has always been that the theory of evolution as postulated by Darwin all those years ago, proves that God simply doesn’t exist. The evidence for evolution is insurmountable and this is the reason why Dawkins himself does not believe in God.
I can’t help but feel that his premise is a little skewed and that his derision of God is baseless. I am not religious and fully accept that religious doctrine is incompatible, if not entirely at odds with the theory of evolution. But is that enough to stop believing in God? After all, isn’t religious doctrine by it’s very definition; principles that are taught or advocated as part of a faith system? Something that was declared The Word of God, in all it’s indoctrinated glory, by the word of man? What has religion got to do with God? Well that’s another debate, but I put the question forward to highlight the flaw I see in Dawkins argument. He uses religion to deride the existence of God, as if he accepts that the religious sphere is the only forum that has any rights to God.
What an absurd position. I agree with many of his arguments that religion doesn’t accurately describe our physical world, after all, the Earth is more than four thousand years old, it clearly wasn’t made in six days, it is not flat and it is not at the center of the universe. We have evidence of this (Creationists)! These facts should have no bearing on the question of God’s existence. By citing religious texts to enforce our own scientific beliefs we inadvertently give them more credence than they truly deserve. By the way, I’m not deriding religion either. Whilst I think much of it is untrue and does not lead the way to God, there are aspects I think that are worthy of our attention and dare I say it, even reverence.
My argument is that material science cannot prove or disprove the existence of God. Material science describes the physical world, ‘spiritual science’ does not! It’s analogous to an astronomer postulating theories regarding the cure for cancer! He or she is not in a position to do that (not through a telescope anyway) – they’re two entirely separate fields of study. Material science describes the ‘how’ and the ‘when’ and the ‘what’. It can never lay claim to knowing the ‘why’. We know the universe has a law governing it as Einstein predicted. We know it is expanding, we know it is unfolding, we know it is evolving and we know there is an energy that enables it to do so. Under what or who’s energy? Dawkins, as a scientist and thinker, does himself a disservice for utterly disregarding this question as part of his natural thought processes. Instead he makes bold assertions based on a questionable premise to begin with and tries to convince us of his way of thinking. His argument is based on the false premise that God can only exist within the confines of a religious framework. As for Darwin, I submit the following excerpt from the Telegraph:
Darwin never formally renounced the concept of God. “It’s easy to make Darwin out to be like Richard Dawkins, and to see Darwin as an acid that eats through our belief and faith, but Darwin didn’t see it like that,” says James A Secord, Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge, and Director of the Darwin Project . . .
“He doesn’t believe Christ has come to save us. But he does think the reason we understand the laws of nature is because there is some sort of way the universe operates, and there is some sort of creator.”
Telegraph excerpt: Charles Darwin and religion
It’s not so much a question of evolution versus God, but evolution versus religion. Putting aside all religious texts, is it so much of a conceptual leap for people like Dawkins to entertain the idea that evolution, cosmological, biological or otherwise, may be happening under a divine energy?