Expelled redux: Darwinism leads to atheism?

[Following up on previous posts here and here.]

Perhaps the most specious claim in Ben Stein’s creationism polemic Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is that Darwinism leads to atheism.

While certain atheists may claim inspiration from Darwinism, there is no reason to take their word for the accuracy of this connection.

In truth, evolution simply removes one argument for theism—the argument that speciation and variety in nature can only be explained by appeal to god. (Mono)theists got along without this argument for nearly the whole life of monotheism. Nor do all theists make use of it now. The moral philosopher Immanuel Kant, to whom contemporary Christians are arguably indebted for their ethics, denied the whole of such “natural theology.”

By analogy: The fact that ‘god didn’t cause speciation’ is like the fact that ‘my best friend didn’t cause the coffee stain in my carpet.’ My friend didn’t spill the coffee—nor did he murder Jimmy Hoffa, nor has he done the great majority of things which are done every day in the world. But this hardly means he doesn’t exist. When I offer an alternate explanation for the coffee stain—the cat did it, or I did it—it has no bearing on my belief in my friend’s existence; there can be spilled coffee with or without my friend. In this sense, there can be natural speciation with or without god.

My point is not just that replacing a ‘godly’ mechanism with a natural one leaves any other arguments for god untouched. It is that there really should be more arguments. If Darwin’s single omission invites atheism, the case for theism was pretty weak to begin with. Similarly, if my marriage is over simply because my wife forgets how to cook pasta, the argument for us staying together (i.e., her pasta skills) was poor anyhow.


One response to “Expelled redux: Darwinism leads to atheism?

  1. Pingback: All wrong: A thematic review of Ben Stein’s “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” part I « amerikanbeat

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