Sunday, 6 November 2011
Theistic Evolution Leaves Sceptic Unconvinced
A sceptic has no need for God in this scenario. Image courtesy of José-Manuel Benito Álvarez, Wikipedia.
Sceptics are not actually fond of Alvin Plantinga, emeritus professor of philosophy at Notre Dame University, as he has repeatedly criticised “the four horsemen of the new atheism” (as he calls them), or Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens.
Although Plantinga has successfully defended the theistic worldview, sceptics have noted that he is not exactly logical in all aspects of his argumentation. Professor Plantinga thinks that God might have used evolution as His mechanism of creation.
He has said that religion (especially Christianity) is compatible with the naturalistic view of science (that is all too often newspeak for Darwinian evolution).
In his book Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism (Oxford University Press, 2011), Plantinga suggests:
“The scientific theory of evolution is not incompatible with Christian belief; what is incompatible with it is the idea that evolution, natural selection, is unguided. But that idea isn’t part of evolutionary theory as such; it’s instead a metaphysical or theological addition.”
Recently, Tim Callahan examined Plantinga’s views critically in e-Skeptic, the newsletter of American sceptics. Callahan finds it difficult to believe that the God of the Bible (or any creator) would have resorted to a Darwinian mechanism. He points out that fossils speak of mass extinctions and death. During the assumed millions of years, life on Earth has been on the verge of total destruction several times.
Genesis describes a world that was originally perfect in every way. Callahan is right in saying that Plantinga is inconsistent. Theistic creation and atheistic evolution are incompatible.
The Bible speaks of an almighty God who did miracles instantly in both the Old and the New Testament. He did not need to wait for billions of years before being able to create man in his image. He made him on the sixth day of creation that lasted only a fraction of the time that Darwinian evolution assumes it took to evolve humans.
Callahan, Tim. 2011. Where the Substance Really Isn’t. e-Skeptic (2 November).