Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Refuting William Lane Craig: His Attempt To Marry Evolution With Christianity

The process of evolution and its compatibility with religion has been a heated debate for 150 years. Many contemporary Christians acknowledge evolution as fact and as being compatible with the doctrines of Christianity. William Lane Craig put out a podcast addressing evolution and Christianity and how the two can be successfully married. In the podcast he says that the random aspect of evolutionary biology is not actually random, but is instead guided by god. He further says that the genetic mutations that result in organisms evolving over time do not occur with the benefit or detriment of the organism in view, and this is what he says biologists mean when they say evolution is "random".

So William Lane Craig now thinks he's an evolutionary biologist. While trying to fit evolution into Christianity, he explains that an evolutionary process that is random in the sense that it is completely unguided or without any end goal in mind is not compatible with Christianity, but one guided by god is. He even says that there is no justification for any scientist to say that the genetic mutations that result from the evolutionary process is unguided and that such a claim would be "a metaphysical statement which no scientist could justifiably make".

As far as I understood it, the genetic mutations that result from the evolutionary process are random in the sense that they are unguided, with no end result in mind. I don't see how WLC can justify saying that god designs the whole process unless he were trying to fit the process into Christianity, which he is. In evolution, when organisms reproduce, every so often there is a genetic letter that changes in the DNA molecule. So an A might turn into a G, and a C might turn into a T. This is called a single-nucleotide polymorphism. The genetic change can have no affect on the organism, or it could help or hurt the organism. If it helps the organism survive in its environment, the organism will have a greater chance to reproduce and pass on the genetic mutation, and other organism with out the genetic advantage of the same species will have a lesser chance to reproduce in that environment. That is the general basis of evolution and it is all random in that there is no end goal in mind.

Now if god guides the genetic mutations, how does the theist explain genetic mutations that hurt organisms? Is god directly interfering with the DNA of creatures to purposely make their lives more difficult? What is the justification for that? Think of diseases and deformities that are the result of genetic disorders in humans and in animals that cause them to suffer horribly from birth. Did god specifically design that? If so, why did he design specific genetic diseases that cause humans and animals alike to suffer if he is all loving and benevolent? If species are designed with an end goal in mind, why have so many millions of species gone extinct? This would mean that they were purposely designed in such a way that they were not compatible and were thus not able to survive or evolve into other species. Believing that the evolutionary process is guided by god forces you to address these problems, whereas if the process is random, there is no one to blame other than chance.

We have no evidence that mutations are chosen or designed by any kind of supernatural force, and this rather silly attempt to justify the randomness of evolution by making it part of god's grand design is just another way Christians like WLC are forced to come to the recognition of evolution's undeniable truth. WLC isn't exactly a young Earth creationist so I will give him that, and I think it is better to have creationists embrace this highly distorted view of evolution, rather than the typical young Earth creationist nonsense. At least they are getting one step closer to the truth when it comes to science, and some progress is better than no progress.

I know WLC has a large loyal following among Christians and is regarded by many as one of the best theologians alive today, but almost every time I hear him speak I can see right through his bullshit that few others call him out on.

4 comments:

  1. I'm not even sure why WLC is trying to defend evolution at all... maybe to appease the less loony Christians? He's an ID creationist. His latest Q&A is just to that point.

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    1. WLC seems to walk both lines on evolution. He sometimes denies it, he's sometimes for it. He even once said evolution proves the existence of god since the chances that it could happen on its own are so rare!

      Theists like him have denied evolution for 150 years, and now all of a sudden they accept it and are turning it around and using it to prove god exists.

      WLC and many slightly less fundamental Christians know evolution can no longer be denied and so they must find a way to make it work with their religion. It is just hilarious watching them do so.

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    2. WLC appears willing to use whatever means necessary to defend his beliefs. If he thinks he can marshal science in his favour he'll do so. If there is science which conflicts with his beliefs he'll ignore or misrepresent it. He does the same with history and philosophy.

      I think WLC accepts "micro evolution", but not "macro evolution". I remember him stating as much directly in a "talk" involving Peter Atkins a couple of years ago.

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    3. He appears to now accept macro evolution, but he's insisting that god of course guides the whole process. It will be interesting to see how many Christians adopt this view going forward.

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