As UD readers know, Charles Darwin changed history when he argued that naturalistic processes, acting alone, can drive the macro-evolutionary process from beginning to end. His earth-shattering message was that nature’s pseudo-creative mechanism can mimic the work of a designing Creator. That he could not support his claim with empirical evidence did not seem to bother him very much.
From then until now, the texture of the argument has not changed. Neo-Darwinists, without a shred of evidence, and in the name of disinterested science, declare that nature can produce biodiversity all by itself, which means, without God’s help. Incredibly, some well-meaning Christians try to argue the God “used” this aimless mechanism to achieve his specific goal of creating man.
“What’s the problem,” they ask? “Evolutionary scientists are the ‘experts,’ aren’t they? They have no special axe to grind even if most of them are partisan atheists. Besides, God can use purely naturalistic processes to produce the outcome He wants.”
This is bad logic on parade. Let’s examine that last claim from a rational perspective. A (Neo)Darwinian process, as described, is open-ended. By virtue of its randomness (purposelessness), it is free to produce many possible outcomes, most of which will not reflect the Creator’s intentions. To guarantee the desired outcome, the Creator must front load or tweak the process (mechanism) so that unwanted outcomes are closed off. But if the process is constrained from the outside, then it is no longer “acting alone,” and is no longer “free” to produce unwanted outcomes. In other words, it is no longer a Darwinian process as defined by the evolutionary scientists. Thus, God cannot use a Darwinian mechanism to achieve a specific goal. If God did use evolution to create man, he would have had to either design or supervise the process.
To understand more fully why Christian Theism is on a totally different pathway than Darwinian evolution, we can subject the two models to a sequential analysis:
In the case of Teleological Theism, the design precedes and shapes the process. In the case of Darwinian Evolution–the process precedes and shapes the design (appearance of). Notice that there can be no reconciliation. To affirm one perspective is to negate the other. Either God’s real design precedes and shapes the process (Teleological Theism) or, the evolutionary process precedes and shapes the appearance of design (Neo-Darwinism). It must be one or the other. It cannot be both.
The attempt to reconcile God with Darwin may be likened to a misguided carpenter who tries to plug a square peg into a round hole. In the absence of a natural fit, he may press, twist or re-position the square peg in a futile attempt to make it “compatible” with the circle. Or, he may even hammer the peg until it breaks the wood and penetrates the hole—or what is left of it. At that point, it may seem to fit the hole, insofar as it occupies the same space, but of course, it doesn’t. The damaged hole is compromised; it is no longer the same hole.
Christian Darwinists may try to twist words, distort meanings, and mix messages in a futile effort to blend the Darwinian model with the Christian model, but it will not work. Insofar as the attempt is made, the Christian world view will be damaged and its teachings compromised. It will no longer be the same religion. The part will not blend with the whole. Does this mean that science is incompatible with faith? No. It means that Neo-Darwinist ideology is incompatible with science. I sincerely wish that flexible Christians who are inflexible Darwinists would try to make that distinction.