This is an e-mail I received from a reader.
I was having dinner the other day with Greg Koukl and friends, when the topic of THEISTIC EVOLUTION came up. Greg Koukl shared the following insight on this view in his usual clear-thinking manner…
Many people like to invoke theistic evolution as an explanation of the origin of life. Theistic evolution refers to the belief that God used evolution as a method of creation; God created life and then stood back and left things to run on their own though the laws of nature. If God intervened at all, it was only when absolutely necessary. While this explanation sounds really nice on the surface, the devil is in the details.
Simply put, theistic evolution is a self-refuting idea. An idea that commits suicide, so to speak. The ‘evolution’ part of theistic evolution is by definition a process that is blind, undirected and left to chance (natural selection). The ‘theistic’ part of theistic evolution, on the other hand, is by definition directed and personal (design). How do you reconcile these two opposing ideas? Clearly you can’t, since they are mutually exclusive. You simply cannot have something that is both undirected and directed.
It’s like asking the question: “How do you boil water?”. Someone could give the response: “Well, you take a pot, fill it with water, put the lid on, put the pot on the stove, turn on the stove, and add a leprechaun”. The question could then be asked: “What happens if I don’t add the leprechaun?”, to which the response would be “well…the water still boils”. The objective can be achieved without adding the leprechaun, which is therefore unnecessary. In the same way, both components of theistic evolution can, in theory at least, provide for the origin of life. In my opinion theistic evolution is a view held by those who have bought into Darwinism but don’t want to let go of God. Therefore, they proclaim both to be true. Unfortunately for them, the manner in which these two processes work (undirected versus directed) are contradictory and cannot both be true. The resulting mixture, theistic evolution, is not even an option, and proponents of this view should be called on this flaw in their thinking.
Below I’ll give my thoughts on theistic evolution.
Theistic evolution is basically atheistic evolution, with an unnecessary fairy tale riding on top. It’s like Santa Claus and Christmas. A child’s parents put the presents under the tree. If you film the tree, you see parents putting presents under the tree – that’s what actually happens, and who actually does the work. Santa Claus is a myth that makes children feel good – the concept of Santa Claus does no work putting presents under the tree in reality. And that’s the same role God plays in theistic evolution – he does no work in reality.
The dividing line between theists and atheists is whether the natural world shows any OBJECTIVE evidence of an intelligent agent at work. If a person claims to be theistic, but states that there is no OBJECTIVE evidence of intelligent causes acting in nature, then that person is actually an atheist. Theism is either real or it is nothing. I am not interested in personal preferences and personal delusions – I only care what is scientifically demonstrable.
The scientific evidence for intelligent design (fine-tuning, origin of DNA, Cambrian explosion, habitability, irreducible complexity, molecular machines, etc.) shows evidence of an intelligent agent causing effects in nature. It’s not up to our opinions to decide if an intelligent agent has acted – it’s the way the world is, regardless of what we want – or need – to believe.