The Limits of Darwin

Father Jonathan Morris argues quite correctly that evolutionary theory does not, by itself, prove or disprove the existence of God. Likewise, the natural sciences of electricity (which provided a naturalistic explanation of lightning) and geology (which provided a naturalistic explanation of large-scale formations) do not, by themselves, prove or disprove the existence of God.

The matter of theology rests on philosophy, not on any natural science, though of course the findings of natural science can buttress the case. (Even or especially theologians grant that evolution makes it easier to believe that natural forces, rather than divine intervention, created life.)

Unfortunately, Morris also errs in outlining the implications of Darwin when he writes that “scientists of evolutionary theory must avoid Darwin’s pitfall of making definitive philosophical or theological statements about the absolute randomness of the natural world.”

Evolution does not imply metaphysical randomness; it instead properly rests on a basis of natural law, meaning that things act according to their natures.

Morris is here sneaking in a metaphysical dualism — stuff versus order — that presumes supernaturalism and “intelligent design.” He is thus just as guilty of making up implications of evolutionary theory as are those he criticizes.

One thought on “The Limits of Darwin”

  1. It’s not hard to see why the fact that evolution doesn’t prove or disprove the existence of some divine entity is nonetheless such a frequent topic of discussion for these mystics. Evolution (biology) speaks with factual authority to the nature of our origins in a way that other fields (physics, chemistry, geology, etc.) can’t. It did serious, irreparable damage to their faith-based views on the creation of our species. And now with their butts to the wall, they want to talk about “compromise” and “recognizing boundaries” and so on. Sure.

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