In 1994, when this debate was held, intelligent design was still pretty new. This debate, more than any other resource, clarified what was at stake in the debate over origins.
Provine makes clear what follows from the truth of evolution: no free will, no objective standard of good and evil, no life after death, no meaning in life. Johnson argues that the Cambrian explosion disproves Darwinian evolution, and the only reason why Darwinian evolution is widely-accepted is because materialism is pre-supposed.
If materialism is pre-supposed, then only atheistic answers to the origins question are allowed, so naturally Darwinism wins – it has to win once you make a philosophical assumption that matter is all there is. (An assumption contradicted by the big bang theory, which requires the creation of all matter from nothing.
Debate before an audience between two professors on the naturalistic vs. the theistic way of understanding human existence.
William Provine, Professor of Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University, cites evidence supporting neo-Darwinian theory and argues that microevolutionary processes account for the origin of all life. He asserts that modern evolutionary theory is incompatible with belief in God; that there are no absolute moral and ethical laws; that free will does not exist; and that human character is merely a result of heredity and environment.
Phillip Johnson, Professor of Law at the University of California in Berkeley, agrees that modern neo-Darwinian theory is atheistic and scientific; however, as a general theory it is a philosophical dogma that is inconsistent with the evidence.
Provine and Johnson debate basic questions: Do we owe our existence to a creator? Can the blind watchmaker of natural selection take the place of God? Moderator is Timothy Jackson, Dept. of Religious Studies, Stanford University.
And here’s a couple of clips from the opening. (H/T Uncommon Descent via ECM)
This is very much worth watching, especially for atheists who typically are not aware that evolution rests on a philsophical assumption that is assumed, and that contradicts astrophysics. That has to stop. And the best way to stop it is by calling it out into the open using debates like this one.
For those of you behind a firewall, here are text excerpts.
And don’t forget about my recent post about the role of pre-suppositions like the pre-supposition of naturalism in historical Jesus research. The post contains debates where this is actually discussed as well.