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Cornelius Hunter on evolution as a religious theory


Excerpt: … theological claims are common in Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (Darwin 1859), where they are essential to his science. The religion is not a tangential message, and one need not read between the lines to see it. In the Origin, it would not be an exaggeration to say the religion drives the science. Darwin’s religion is not merely present, it is prominent and has primacy over the science. The religion is foundational.

The importance of religion in Darwin’s theory is also apparent in the science he presented. As Section 5 shows, Darwin did not have sufficient scientific arguments and evidence to advance his theory. Finally, as Section 6 and Section 7 demonstrate, these roles and relationships between religion and science persisted after Darwin. This religious foundation was by no means peculiar to Darwin’s thought. It has remained foundational since Darwin in motivating and justifying the theory. What we find in Darwin continued in later evolutionary thought. Therefore, the thesis of this paper is that evolution is best understood as a theological research program.

Here are all the videos.

The paper is open access.

Hat tip: Philip Cunningham

It's the "Darwin had an axe to grind" motivation for the theory of evolution. That's totally in keeping with IDers having an axe to grind motivation for the "theory" of intelligent design. Looks like the old grinding wheel is working overtime.... chuckdarwin
Since Darwinists have no real time empirical evidence to support their grandiose claims, faulty theological presuppositions are essential to Darwin's theory. As Dr. Hunter pointed out, this dependence on faulty theological presuppositions, instead of any compelling empirical evidence, was true of Darwin's theory at its inception,
Charles Darwin, Theologian: Major New Article on Darwin's Use of Theology in the Origin of Species - May 2011 Excerpt: The Origin supplies abundant evidence of theology in action; as Dilley observes: I have argued that, in the first edition of the Origin, Darwin drew upon at least the following positiva theological claims in his case for descent with modification (and against special creation): 1. Human beings are not justified in believing that God creates in ways analogous to the intellectual powers of the human mind. 2. A God who is free to create as He wishes would create new biological limbs de novo rather than from a common pattern. 3. A respectable deity would create biological structures in accord with a human conception of the 'simplest mode' to accomplish the functions of these structures. 4. God would only create the minimum structure required for a given part's function. 5. God does not provide false empirical information about the origins of organisms. 6. God impressed the laws of nature on matter. 7. God directly created the first 'primordial' life. 8. God did not perform miracles within organic history subsequent to the creation of the first life. 9. A 'distant' God is not morally culpable for natural pain and suffering. 10. The God of special creation, who allegedly performed miracles in organic history, is not plausible given the presence of natural pain and suffering. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/05/charles_darwin_theologian_majo046391.html
,,, and the Darwinist's dependence on faulty theological presuppositions remains true to this day,,,
Methodological Naturalism: A Rule That No One Needs or Obeys - Paul Nelson - September 22, 2014 Excerpt: It is a little-remarked but nonetheless deeply significant irony that evolutionary biology is the most theologically entangled science going. Open a book like Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution is True (2009) or John Avise's Inside the Human Genome (2010), and the theology leaps off the page. A wise creator, say Coyne, Avise, and many other evolutionary biologists, would not have made this or that structure; therefore, the structure evolved by undirected processes. Coyne and Avise, like many other evolutionary theorists going back to Darwin himself, make numerous "God-wouldn't-have-done-it-that-way" arguments, thus predicating their arguments for the creative power of natural selection and random mutation on implicit theological assumptions about the character of God and what such an agent (if He existed) would or would not be likely to do.,,, ,,,with respect to one of the most famous texts in 20th-century biology, Theodosius Dobzhansky's essay "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution" (1973). Although its title is widely cited as an aphorism, the text of Dobzhansky's essay is rarely read. It is, in fact, a theological treatise. As Dilley (2013, p. 774) observes: "Strikingly, all seven of Dobzhansky's arguments hinge upon claims about God's nature, actions, purposes, or duties. In fact, without God-talk, the geneticist's arguments for evolution are logically invalid. In short, theology is essential to Dobzhansky's arguments.",, http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/09/methodological_1089971.html
The fatal problem for Darwinists with their vital dependence on faulty theological presuppositions, instead of depending on any compelling scientific evidence, to try to make their case for Darwinian evolution, is that Darwinists hold, via their false doctrine of 'methodological naturalism', that God has no place in science,
The role of theology in current evolutionary reasoning - Paul A. Nelson - Biology and Philosophy, 1996, Volume 11, Number 4, Pages 493-517 Excerpt: Evolutionists have long contended that the organic world falls short of what one might expect from an omnipotent and benevolent creator. Yet many of the same scientists who argue theologically for evolution are committed to the philosophical doctrine of methodological naturalism, which maintains that theology has no place in science. Furthermore, the arguments themselves are problematical, employing concepts that cannot perform the work required of them, or resting on unsupported conjectures about suboptimality. Evolutionary theorists should reconsider both the arguments and the influence of Darwinian theological metaphysics on their understanding of evolution. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00138329
And the reason why Darwinists are vitally dependent on faulty theological presuppositions, instead of empirical evidence, is simply because, Modern science was born out of, and is STILL dependent on, essential Judeo-Christian presuppositions, and modern science was certainly not born out, nor is it currently dependent upon, naturalistic presuppositions (as atheists falsely claim).
New Book: For Kepler, Science Did Not Point to Atheism – Stephen C. Meyer – January 17, 2023 The Conflict Myth Unmade,,, As historian Ian Barbour says, “science in its modern form” arose “in Western civilization alone, among all the cultures of the world,” because only the Christian West had the necessary “intellectual presuppositions underlying the rise of science.”2 So, what were those presuppositions? We can identify three. As Melissa Cain Travis shows, (in her book: “Thinking God’s Thoughts: Johannes Kepler and the Miracle of Cosmic Comprehensibility”), all have their place in Kepler’s seminal works. More generally, all find their origin in the Judeo-Christian idea of a Creator God who fashioned human beings and an orderly universe. (1) Intelligibility First, the (Christian) founders of modern science assumed the intelligibility of nature. They believed that nature had been designed by the mind of a rational God, the same God who made the rational minds of human beings. These thinkers assumed that if they used their minds to carefully study nature, they could understand the order and design that God had placed in the world.,,, (2) The Contingency of Nature Second, early pioneers of science presupposed the contingency of nature. They believed that God had many choices about how to make an orderly world. Just as there are many ways to design a watch, there were many ways that God could have designed the universe. To discover how He did, scientists could not merely deduce the order of nature by assuming what seemed most logical to them; they couldn’t simply use reason alone to draw conclusions, as some of the Greek philosophers had done.,,, (3) The Fallibility of Human Reasoning Third, early scientists accepted a biblical understanding of the power and limits of the human mind. Even as these scientists saw human reason as the gift of a rational God, they also recognized the fallibility of humans and, therefore, the fallibility of human ideas about nature.,,, Such a nuanced view of human nature implied, on the one hand, that human beings could attain insight into the workings of the natural world, but that, on the other, they were vulnerable to self-deception, flights of fancy, and prematurely jumping to conclusions. This composite view of reason — one that affirmed both its capability and fallibility — inspired confidence that the design and order of nature could be understood if scientists carefully studied the natural world, but also engendered caution about trusting human intuition, conjectures, and hypotheses unless they were carefully tested by experiment and observation.11,,, https://evolutionnews.org/2023/01/new-book-for-kepler-science-did-not-point-to-atheism/ Stephen Meyer, (Ph.D. in the philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge)
Again, modern science is STILL very much dependent on Judeo-Christian presuppositions. As Paul Davies succinctly put the situation, “even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least partly comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.”
Physics and the Mind of God: The Templeton Prize Address – by Paul Davies – August 1995 Excerpt: “People take it for granted that the physical world is both ordered and intelligible. The underlying order in nature-the laws of physics-are simply accepted as given, as brute facts. Nobody asks where they came from; at least they do not do so in polite company. However, even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least partly comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.” https://www.firstthings.com/article/1995/08/003-physics-and-the-mind-of-god-the-templeton-prize-address-24
In fact, directly contrary to the oft repeated false claim from Darwinists that intelligent Design is not a science, the fact of the matter is that ALL of science, every nook and cranny of it, is based on the presupposition of Intelligent Design and is certainly not based on their false doctrine of methodological naturalism,
,,, from the essential Christian presuppositions that undergird the founding of modern science itself, (namely that the universe is contingent and rational in its foundational nature and that the minds of men, being made in the ‘image of God’, can, therefore, dare understand the rationality that God has imparted onto the universe), to the intelligent design of the scientific instruments and experiments themselves, to the logical and mathematical analysis of experimental results themselves, from top to bottom, science itself is certainly not to be considered a ‘natural’ endeavor of man. Not one scientific instrument would ever exist if men did not first intelligently design that scientific instrument. Not one test tube, microscope, telescope, spectroscope, or etc.. etc.., was ever found just laying around on a beach somewhere which was ‘naturally’ constructed by nature. Not one experimental result would ever be rationally analyzed since there would be no immaterial minds to rationally analyze the immaterial logic and immaterial mathematics that lay behind the intelligently designed experiments in the first place.
Again, all of science, every nook and cranny of it, is based on the presupposition of intelligent design and is certainly not based on the presupposition of methodological naturalism. Moreover, assuming 'methodological naturalism', instead of Theism, as the 'ground rule' for 'doing science', as Darwinian atheists insist that we do, drives science itself into catastrophic epistemological failure,
Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist (who believes Darwinian evolution to be true) is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris, Coyne), who has unreliable, (i.e. illusory), beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. the illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who also must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the hopelessness of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is simply too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft). Who, since beauty cannot be grounded within his materialistic worldview, must also hold beauty itself to be illusory (Darwin). Bottom line, nothing is truly real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, beauty, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,, - Jan. 2023 - defense of each claim https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/is-the-galton-board-evidence-for-intelligent-design-of-the-universe/#comment-774417
Thus although the Darwinian atheist may firmly, and falsely, believe that he is on the terra firma of science, (in his appeal, even demand, for naturalistic explanations over and above God as a viable explanation), the fact of the matter is that, when examining the details of his materialistic/naturalistic worldview, it is found that Darwinists/Atheists themselves are adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to. It would be hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to modern science, indeed more antagonistic to reality itself, than Atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism have turned out to be.
2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
So thus in conclusion, it turns out that the primary reason that Darwinists are vitally dependent on faulty theological presuppositions, instead of on any compelling scientific evidence, is simply because all of science is itself based on essential Judeo-Christian presuppositions. You simply can't do science without those essential presuppositions. Thus, in order for Darwinists to try to have a semblance of scientific credibility, they are forced to try to use faulty theological presuppositions about what God may or may not do in this universe, in order to try to counter the necessary Judeo-Christian presuppositions that were, and STILL are, essential for the successful practice of modern science.
Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict* – Robert C. Koons IV. The Dependency of Science Upon Theism (Page 21) Excerpt: Far from undermining the credibility of theism, the remarkable success of science in modern times is a remarkable confirmation of the truth of theism. It was from the perspective of Judeo-Christian theism—and from the perspective alone—that it was predictable that science would have succeeded as it has. Without the faith in the rational intelligibility of the world and the divine vocation of human beings to master it, modern science would never have been possible, and, even today, the continued rationality of the enterprise of science depends on convictions that can be reasonably grounded only in theistic metaphysics. http://www.theistic.net/papers/R.Koons/Koons-science.pdf Rob Koons is a professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. With degrees from Michigan State, Oxford, and UCLA, he specializes in metaphysics and philosophical logic, with special interest in philosophical theology and the foundations of both science and ethics.
In short, Darwinists are vitally dependent on faulty, even false, theological presuppositions about what God may or may not do in this universe just in order to try to have the capacity to argue against the necessary reality of God for a 'rational' universe in the first place. As Cornelius Van Til put this self-refuting position for atheists, the atheist needs God just in order to have the capacity to oppose him.
“In other words, the non-Christian needs the truth of the Christian religion in order to attack it. As a child needs to sit on the lap of its father in order to slap the father’s face, so the unbeliever, as a creature, needs God the Creator and providential controller of the universe in order to oppose this God. Without this God, the place on which he stands does not exist. He cannot stand in a vacuum.” - Cornelius Van Til, Essays on Christian Education (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company: Phillipsburg, NJ, 1979).
Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

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