Friday, September 21, 2012

Explaining Evolution Without Appealing to a Creator God (Part 1)


Many atheists assert that evolution can be sufficiently explained without appealing to God, as if their assertion holds any force.  There is an underlying argument for that assertion, though the fact that most atheists are unaware of the assertion's underlying argument suggests they are simply repeating something they've heard. Allow me to lay out the argument underlying their assertion.
Premise 1:
If you can sufficiently explain (x) without appealing to (y), then (y) is not necessary for (x).
Premise 2:
If something (y) is not necessary for (x), then (y) does not exist.
Premise 3:
Evolution (x) is a given.
Premise 4:
I can sufficiently explain Evolution (x) without appealing to a God (y)
Premise 5:
Therefore, God (y) is not necessary.
Conclusion:
Therefore, God (y) does not exist.

I'll focus most on premise 2.  Think about your television.  A person can give an account of how that TV functions, and even how that TV was manufactured, without appealing to evolution – appealing to evolution is not necessary in order to explain how the TV works, and yet you still believe in evolution.  But it would be silly for me to explain how the TV works and how someone made it, and then say to you, “Since I can explain the TV sufficiently, without any necessity of appealing to evolution, then evolution must be a false theory.”  Perhaps the only thing more silly would be for me to expect my assertion to carry any force.
It’s silly for you to assert, “Since I can explain evolution sufficiently, without any necessity of appealing to a Creator, then a Creator must not exist.”  Perhaps the only thing more silly would be for you to expect your assertion to carry any force.  Let's apply the logical form of the atheistic argument to the TV and evolution. You'll see we needn't go any further than the second premise to see the silliness of the argument.

(1) If you can sufficiently explain the TV (x) without appealing to Evolution (y), then Evolution (y) is not necessary for the TV (x).
(2) If Evolution (y) is not necessary for the TV (x), then Evolution (y) does not exist.

That's how silly the argument is; it breaks down in the second premise. Really the only point is this: if the argument which asserts, "Appealing to God is not necessary for explaining how things evolve" is used to conclude anything about the existence of God, then it's a bad argument--the argument has no force whatsoever.  It has no force, in that it gives no reason to believe anything, pro or con, about the existence of a Creator.
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In this post, I attacked Premise 2, and I attacked the jump from Premise 5 to the Conclusion--they're both really the same thing. This particular atheistic argument is unsound.  The argument is valid, because if all the premises are true, then the Conclusion must be true (1).  But at least one Premise is false; there is no reason to accept the 2nd Premise, which says, "If something (y) is not necessary for (x), then (y) does not exist." And there is certainly no reason to make the jump from Premise 5 to the Conclusion.

In the sequel (2) I will attack the argument by way of the 4th Premise, and show that even a weakened form of the argument will not work.  That is, even if we change the conclusion to "Therefore, God most probably does not exist," the argument would still fail.  It would be a less-silly argument, for sure; however, I don't see it coming out any better. Why?  Because with the definitive denial of premise 2, along with premise 4 being most likely false, the whole argument will break down no matter what the conclusion is.
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1.  Validity and Soundness
2.  Explaining Evolution Without Appealing to a Creator God (Part 2)


1 comment:

Danny said...
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