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Evolution is atheistic (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Evolution is atheistic (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.

Claim CA602:

Evolution is atheistic.

Source: Morris, Henry M. 1985. Scientific Creationism. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, p. 215.

CreationWiki response:

It is always important, when discussing an issue with someone, not only to know what they say, but also why they say it and their intentions. If you misunderstand any of these then you can really take a person's words out of context, or deal with issues they are not really talking about. Talk Origins does this a number of times, and their response to these claims is, at times, no different.

Firstly, in what way is evolution atheistic? Atheism is fundamentally godless. It will not and cannot incorporate deity into its framework. In the same way, evolution is fundamentally godless, not allowing deity into its history. Its account of history is not based on observable fact, nor on science, which is based on observation and experimentation, or documented history. It speaks about the unknown unseen past and makes dogmatic statements about it, denying any active role of the Creator.

The problem with a biblical creationist holding onto a evolutionary view of history is that it has a number of fundamental philosophical inconsistencies.

  1. Who determines what truth is? Man or Deity? The history in Genesis is not recorded in a figurative manner, but real life history. So the ultimate question must be "will it be man, who wasn't there, and his misguided theories, based on incomplete evidence, who tells you what happened in the distant past, or the word of Deity?"
  2. Since evolution is based on the religiously dogmatic belief in naturalism, which is an opposing view to biblical theism, then the person holding both evolution and the bible already have an internal inconsistency when they say different things about what Deity has done and how he did it.

(Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

For a claim that is so obviously false, it gets repeated surprisingly often. Evolution does not require a God, but it does not rule one out either. In that respect, it is no different from almost all other fields of interest. Evolution is no more atheistic than biochemistry, farming, engineering, plumbing, art, law, and so forth.

Since evolution does not require a Deity, its processes are purely naturalistic adhering to an atheistic belief, and its history does rule out any active role for a deity or any positive mention of it, contradicting the clear words of scripture. Real science is limited by observation and experimentation, limited by human experience. Evolution speaks religiously (without empiricism or direct observation by any human) about our history, the history of all life, directly contradicting the account given in the bible. Real sciences, such as farming, engineering, and disciplines like law and plumbing, explore creation and harnesses it without negating the word of scripture as it speaks about history and the Creator's work in it.

Many, perhaps most, evolutionists are not atheists. If you take the claim seriously, you must claim that the following people are atheists, to give just a few examples:

The website then quotes some Christians who have accepted evolution.

Let's be honest. If some "biblical" theists choose to accept evolution, it says nothing about whether evolution is atheistic or not. People can have inconsistent beliefs, and the plain understanding of the bible and evolution are inconsistent.

Here's an example of inconsistency. Society today claims that people should be tolerant of each other and each other's belief, meaning that we shouldn't condemn a person's belief as wrong because it disagrees with ours. Yet it still says that child pornography is wrong and judges people who are cannibals. It condemns people who believe that there is only one way of righteousness because that view is intolerant of the "tolerant" view of society. So within this tolerance there is shown an intolerance. This is inconsistent.

In the Hebrew scriptures, it is recorded that many times the Israelites thought they could both worship the idols, the creations of men, and worship the Almighty as well. But this was inconsistent with the Creator's clearly set rules about his exclusive worship.

In the same way the Creator, the bible, has clearly set out the way in which he created life to procreate within set boundaries and the way he judged the earth through a flood. If people who claim to believe in him then promote another way he did things that he, or his word, didn't say, things based on erroneously-called "scientific" ideas, creations of men, then they are also inconsistent and serving a man-made theory more than the bible's clear word.

Science cannot speak dogmatically about things beyond empiricism and beyond human experience, and evolution does just that. So it is a mistake to see it simply as science rather than what it really is: a philosophical view about the past which is godless, i.e., atheism. A person who claims to hold the bible as true and yet advocates evolution is inconsistent.

Creationism can lead to a crisis of faith when people discover that its claims are false and its tactics frequently dishonest.

It doesn't tell us which claims are false, so it is basically saying nothing. Creationism is a way of thinking and investigating the real world based on assumption that there is a Creator and that he created life and governed its history. Biblical creationism also adds a recent creation and a worldwide flood. These things have not been disproven so it is improper to call these claims false. Like any human endeavour seeking to explore nature, it can make mistakes, but it can improve. But its fundamental claims have never been proven false, but are based on the words of Someone who was there to see it: the Creator himself.

It is not deceptive or dishonest in its tactics, unlike evolution which deceptively conceals its philosophical and religious foundations, painting itself as arbiter of scientific, objective truth when it speaks of things true science can say nothing about.

By saying that only one religious interpretation is correct and universal, creationism typically is a rejection of every other religious interpretation. For example, young-earth creationists reject the religious interpretation that the universe is more than 10,000 years old (Sarfati 2004), and design theorists reject the idea that God has guided evolution (Dembski 1996). For people whose beliefs about God differ from those of a creationist, that creationism might just as well be atheistic.

Firstly, let's point out the obvious. If a person accepts any religious interpretation as true, they reject any other. Evolutionists, theistic or not, reject the interpretation of Genesis that says that it is plain history, as opposed to figurative or poetically metaphorical. A person believing in the evolutionary development of all religion will reject the claim that the Israelites literally stood at Mt. Sinai as Moses received the divine laws from the Creator of heaven and earth. When a person accepts one thing as true, something else has to be false. There is no escaping that.

The author makes a straw-man case with his last sentence by over-extending the scope of the word "atheistic". A young-earth creationist would not call a theistic evolutionist an atheist, but would only state that the god of the theistic evolutionist is not the Creator spoken of in scripture who said he created everything in six days. He or she may state that the theistic evolutionist uses principles derived from atheism and thus is inconsistent with the plain words of scripture. But it would be a stretch to class the theistic evolutionist's whole belief as atheistic. Hinduism isn't atheistic. It just worships a different deity.