ROME (AP) — A Vatican cardinal said Tuesday that the Catholic Church does not stand in the way of scientific realities like evolution, though he described as “absurd” the atheist notion that evolution proves there is no God.
The cardinal went on to mention Richard Dawkins personally and to reiterate that it’s absurd to suggest that evolution proves that there is no God. He’s right of course. Evolution does not prove that there is no God. The thing is, Richard Dawkins, to my knowledge has never said that it does. Neither has PZ Myers. This is just another example of theists creating a straw man.
Let’s make sure we understand what evolution does and does not prove, ok? Evolution is the science of heredity with variation. It does not address abiogenesis. That is, it does not address how the first replicators came to exist, only how they behave. So, right off the bat, we have a reasonable denial of evolution as proof against a God. Perhaps God created the first replicator and then sat back to watch the show. Perhaps earth is a giant petri dish, and we are an experiment with one kind of replicator — DNA.
Now, let’s look at what evolution does reasonably prove. Man is an ape. We are part of the continuum of life, and not a special kind of creature. We are, like every other animal on the planet, unique in our own ways, but there is nothing “set apart” about humans.
Evolution also proves that if there is a god, its hand is not actively manipulating life. That is, natural selection is mathematical, methodical, and consistent. We see no evidence that there has been any supernatural tinkering with life. It is as we would predict based on the natural laws of the universe.
Much to the chagrin of the Vatican, there is a pretty good argument to be made that evolution disproves the Christian God. Granted, Christians are very good at retreating behind “interpretation,” but let’s be honest about this. Adam and Eve did not exist. Man is far, far older than the Bible says. There was no “first man” or “first woman,” only a steady and incredibly gradual change from our most recent ape-like ancestor into us. So, the concept of original sin is bunk. That’s the foundation of Christianity, folks.
So yes, I see why the Vatican is upset with Richard Dawkins and the other evolutionists who happen to be outspoken atheists. Evolution doesn’t disprove a God. It effectively disproves their god.