67  Dogma of evolution theory

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In the mind of many scientists, science is nothing more than applied naturalism or in the words of Steven Weinberg, “Science – regardless of which branch – can progress only when it assumes that there is no divine intervention and recognizes how far it can go with this assumption.” However, the existence of God cannot be excluded based on natural science. And, if God did exist, science – regardless of which branch – would make real progress only when He is included in its considerations. 

As shown by the introductory quotation from Weinberg (1), many scientists work under the non-verifiable basic assumption that there is no divine intervention in nature. However, science should not allow the assumption of dogmatic prerequisites as a matter of principle. True science means finding the truth, regardless of what means are used and regardless of what they contain.

In spite of many applicable experiments, it is necessary to establish that it is not possible to disprove the existence of God. Moreover, it is an irrefutable principle that no knowledge exists without presuppositions and that our cognitive capabilities are subject to limits (see, for example, Gödel’s incompleteness theorem and Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle).

Karl Popper described this fact, “Certain knowledge is unattainable. Our knowledge consists of critical guessing, a network of hypotheses, a web of speculations … and our guessing is directed by the unscientific, metaphysical belief that there are laws which we can unveil and discover” (2).

On the history of evolution theory:

The idea of evolution is not new. Even centuries before Christ, there were concepts that life had developed and that living creatures originated from one another. For example, Anaximander of Miletus (610–547 BC) supported the belief that creatures similar to fish had emerged from the waters and evolved into animals and humans. The breakthrough for the evolution concept and its acceptance as well as its social implementation was made possible by philosophical views during the eighteenth century.

As rationalism placed human reason as the highest authority the end of the seventeenth century and materialism made material the only real absolute value, it was possible for the naturalistic philosophical current of thought to develop optimally. Naturalism does not recognize any authority outside the visible world. The Britannica dictionary describes naturalism as, “The doctrine that phenomena are derived from natural causes and can be explained by scientific laws: opposed to supernaturalism” (3).

The philosopher Wilfrid Sellars wrote, “When we speak of describing and explaining the world, the natural sciences are the measure of all things” (4). The logical sequence of this worldview is inevitably a type of development doctrine that refutes all supernatural events. However, in the final analysis, scientific knowledge has not lead to exclusion of the supernatural. On the contrary, it is excluded from the very beginning by the philosophy of naturalism.

The Jesuit and palaeontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote that evolution is a “generally valid postulate to which all theories, all hypotheses and all systems will have to bow in the future and must satisfy it in order to be perceived as imaginable and true. Evolution is a light which elucidates all facts, a track which all paths of thought must follow” (5).

Evolutionist and Nobel Prize winner Konrad Lorenz believes that “irrational, emotionally obsessed resistances are exclusively responsible for the fact that there are still educated people who do not believe the theory of evolution” (6).

Zoologist D.M.S. Watson, however, wrote that evolution is accepted, “not because anyone has observed it, or because it has been proven to be correct by a contiguous logical chain of proof, but because it is the only alternative; the act of creation by God is simply unimaginable” (7).

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(1) Steven Weinberg, Dreams of a final Theory, Vintage, 1994.
(2) Karl R. Popper, Logik der Forschung, zitiert in Volker Kessler, „Ist die Existenz Gottes beweisbar?“, page 84.
(3) Britannica world language dictionary, 1964, Vol. 1, page 845.
(4) Wilfrid Sellars, Science, Perception and Reality, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1963, page 173.
(5) Marie-Joseph Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man, 1959, deutsche Ausgabe: Der Mensch im Kosmos, C.H. Beck, München, 1959.
(6) Konrad Lorenz, zitiert aus Hoimar v. Ditfurth, Evolution, Hoffmann und Campe, 1975, page 13.
(7) D.M.S. Watson, Nature 123, 29 June, 1929, page 233.

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