Evolution Is Philosophy, Not Science

Author Greg Koukl Published on 04/22/2013

Greg shows that Darwinism is driven by philosophy more than science.

I’m mystified by the opening sentence of an article in Friday’s Union Tribune (October 25, 1996). It says, “In his most comprehensive statement yet on evolution, Pope John Paul II insisted that faith and science can co-exist.”

So far, so good. I agree with the Pope wholeheartedly on this first point. If you heard my opening address at our conference on Science and Faith, you’d know why I think they can co-exist if they are properly defined. (How science and faith are defined is an important part of answering the question.)

I part ways with the Pope in his next statement. He said that “Charles Darwin’s theories are sound as long as they take into account that creation was the work of God.”

That’s an odd thing to say, it seems to me. I mean no disrespect here at all to Pope John Paul II. But doesn’t that strike you as odd? It seems to me that Charles Darwin’s theories—scientific theories, theories about the origins and development of things—are either sound or not sound. If they’re not sound, you can’t baptize them by bringing God into the picture and miraculously make them sound. And if they are sound in themselves, then you don’t need to add God to make them work, do you? It’s already doing fine on its own. Which is the point of evolution: mother nature without father God.

I don’t think evolution works at all. I don’t think Charles Darwin’s theories are sound, so I’m not in the least bit tempted to baptize them with some form of theistic evolution.

By definition, evolution offered an explanation for how things got to be the way they are without God (I’m referring to what’s known as the “general theory of evolution”). This is why it made such a splash. Do you think that if God could be worked into the evolutionary picture, then evolution would have taken off the way it did? Of course not.

Richard Dawkins, author of The Blind Watchmaker and one of the world’s preeminent evolutionists, was right when he said that Darwin made the world safe for atheism. But if Darwinism can be easily baptized with theism, how can it be that Darwin made the world safe for atheism? It’s precisely because evolution seemed to explain things that used to require the existence of God to explain them that Darwinism became so popular and accepted within ten to fifteen years after Origin of Species was published in 1859. It’s precisely because God is out of the picture that evolution is so appealing.

When you listen to evolutionists like Harvard paleontologist Stephen J. Gould, he’s very willing to admit you can believe in God and also be an evolutionist. No problem. But that doesn’t mean Gould approves of theistic evolution. Gould means that plenty of his friends believe in God, but their belief in God is a religious thing they do in their closets, inside their homes and behind the closed doors of the churches. They don’t mix religion and science, God and evolution, fantasy with fact.

Gould’s attitude is typical of other evolutionary scientists. Believe in God if you want. Practice your religious alchemy in the privacy of your own home if you must. Just don’t pretend that it has anything to do with the real world. When it comes to the real world, the fact of the matter is that God was not involved in the process. Life evolved through non-directed, materialistic processes. Stephen J. Gould and everyone else who writes on this issue makes that very clear.

When people try to fit God into the process of evolution, that’s when evolutionists like Gould stand up and say, “Wait a minute, you don’t understand evolution if that’s what you think actually took place. Evolution is by chance, not design, and you can’t have design by chance.”

Theistic evolution means design by chance. That’s like square circles, ladies and gentlemen. There is no such thing.

The real question is whether the evidence supports evolution or not, not whether we can baptize evolution with the word “God” so Christians feel comfortable.

To put it simply, lest there be any confusion about the matter, evolution must be dealt with scientifically, on its own merits. Is it an adequate explanation of the origin of things?

I think it’s wholly inadequate. Contrary to the Pope’s views, the more knowledge we get, the more problems we see with the origin of life by evolutionary means—the more problems we see with the change from one kind of life into another by evolutionary means.

The passage of time and the increase of knowledge haven’t helped evolution; they’ve hurt it. Evolution was popular early on precisely because there was so little information about the process. Now we know much more about the details of biochemistry and genetics, and information theory, and the incredible complexity of even the simplest living thing. It’s become evident that evolution is just not capable of explaining life.

You want proof for that? Here, it’s very simple. This is my handy-dandy evolution refuter. It’s the simplest way I know to right to the heart of the problem, proving that evolution is not based on fact, but on philosophy.

For evolution to be a fact, you must have two things, minimally. First, you’ve got to have life coming from non-life—abiogenesis. Second, you’ve got to have a change in that life from simple forms to complex forms over time. You must have the kick-off, and you must have the rest of the game.

Now, here’s my question: How did life come from non-life? How did the game get started by evolutionary means. Does anyone know? Guess what? Nobody knows. Oh, there are some ideas and people have suggested some possible ways, but nobody has sketched out any way that really answers the question. There are so many problems and complications. There are competing models that have been suggested, but they’re just starting places. They’re just ways of saying, “Let’s start here, and we’ll see where it leads.” There are possibilities, but no one knows how it happened, or even how it could have happened in enough detail to be compelling.

Now, here’s the kicker. If you don’t know how it happened by naturalistic, evolutionary processes, how do you know that it happened by naturalistic, evolutionary processes? Evolution is claimed to be a fact, but you can’t have the fact of evolution unless you have the fact of abiogenesis. Yet nobody knows how such a thing could ever take place. And if life can’t be shown to have come from non-life, then the game can’t even get started.

Then why do we call evolution a fact when evolution can’t even get off the ground, based on the information we have right now. The answer you get is always the same: Because we’re here. It must have happened. That’s called circular reasoning, friends, based on a prior commitment to naturalism that won’t be shaken by the facts.

Which proves that this is not about science, it’s about philosophy.