Is Darwinian evolution compatible with belief in God and robust religion?

Here’s Casey Luskin to explain the facts about God and evolution: (21 minutes)

About Casey Luskin: (just a snippet)

Casey Luskin is an attorney with graduate degrees in both science and law. He earned his B.S. and M.S. in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego. His Law Degree is from the University of San Diego. In his role at Discovery Institute, Mr. Luskin works as Research Coordinator for the Center for Science and Culture. He formerly conducted geological research at Scripps Institution for Oceanography (1997-2002).

Luskin is also co-founder of the Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness (IDEA) Center, a non-profit helping students to investigate evolution by starting “IDEA Clubs” on college and high school campuses across the country. For his work with IDEA, the Intelligent Design and Undergraduate Research Center named an award honoring college graduates for excellence in student advocacy of intelligent design (ID) the “Casey Luskin Graduate Award.”

If you can’t see the video, then you can check out this article by Casey from Salvo magazine.


Whenever someone avers belief in “God-guided evolution,” it’s important to clarify what is meant by “evolution.” It can mean something as benign as (1) “Life has changed over time,” or it can entail more controversial ideas, like (2) “All living things have a universal common ancestry,” or (3) “Natural selection acting upon random mutations produced the complexity of life.”

When the average theistic evolutionist says he believes that “God used evolution,” what he often actually means is that God supernaturally intervened at various points in Earth’s history to direct the course of life. He accepts evolution in sense 1 above, and maybe sense 2 as well, but has doubts about sense 3. This viewpoint differs dramatically from the standard neo-Darwinian paradigm that currently reigns in biology.

As defined by its proponents, neo-Darwinism is a blind process of natural selection acting upon random mutations without any guidance by an external agent. According to the architects of this theory, the evolutionary process has no goals or predetermined outcome, and is by definition unguided. Under this view of life, human beings are accidents of history—and not just their bodies, but their brains and behaviors as well, including their moral and religious impulses. Thus, true neo-Darwinian theistic evolutionists (and they are out there) claim that, somehow, God guided an unguided process.

But many of those who adopt the “theistic evolutionist” moniker actually reject neo-Darwinism and hold a view that’s much closer to intelligent design, that is, to the belief that an intelligent agent has actively intervened—in a meaningful and detectable manner—to guide the development of life. The Evolution Lobby, however, will never be satisfied until such people fully capitulate to the Darwinian view.

And a bit later in that same paper:

Evolutionary biologist Francisco Ayala makes this argument, stating, “Mutations are random or chance events because . . . [they] are unoriented with respect to adaptation.”

[…]Ayala continues:

The scientific account of these events does not necessitate recourse to a preordained plan, whether imprinted from the beginning or through successive interventions by an omniscient and almighty Designer. Biological evolution differs from a painting or an artifact in that it is not the outcome of preconceived design.

Ayala concludes that, “in evolution, there is no entity or person who is selecting adaptive combinations.”12 Again, that doesn’t sound like a religiously neutral model of biological origins.

Indeed, in surveying how mainstream biology textbooks define Darwinian evolution, we learn it is a “random,” “blind,” “uncaring,” “heartless,” “undirected,” “purposeless,” and “chance” process that acts “without plan” or “any goals”; that we are “not created for any special purpose or as part of any universal design,” and that “a god of design and purpose is not necessary.”13 If those don’t entail claims that cut against theism, what would?

Moreover, if Darwinian evolution is irrelevant to faith, why do so many atheists cite it as a reason for abandoning religion? A 2007 poll of 149 evolutionary biologists found that only two “described themselves as full theists.”14 Likewise, a survey of biologist members of the NAS found that over 94 percent were atheists or agnostics.15 It’s no coincidence that Eugenie Scott—the de facto head of the Evolution Lobby—signed the Third Humanist Manifesto, or that the world’s most famous evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, is also the world’s most famous atheist. In Dawkins’s own words, “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”16

He is one of my favorite people to listen to, because he is very very direct and definitely is not clouding the issues, the combatants and what each side is really trying to achieve. There is a lot of noise and obfuscation in this debate. But if you watch Casey’s video, you will get everything as it really is.

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