Thursday, August 25, 2011

QOTD: Theistic evolution is a problem for theists

Paula Kirby writes in the "On Faith" column of the Washington Post regarding the inherent problem within theistic evolution, and it bears repeating:

While I welcome anyone who recognizes that the evidence for evolution is such that it cannot sensibly be denied, to attempt to co-opt evolution as part of a divine plan simply does not work, and suggests a highly superficial understanding of the subject. Not only does evolution not need to be guided in any way, but any conscious, sentient guide would have to be a monster of the most sadistic type: for evolution is not pretty, is not gentle, is not kind, is not compassionate, is not loving. Evolution is blind, and brutal, and callous. It is not an aspiration or a blueprint to live up to (we have to create those for ourselves): it is simply what happens, the blind, inexorable forces of nature at work. An omnipotent deity who chose evolution by natural selection as the means by which to bring about the array of living creatures that populate the Earth today would be many things - but loving would not be one of them. Nor perfect. Nor compassionate. Nor merciful. Evolution produces some wondrously beautiful results; but it happens at the cost of unimaginable suffering on the part of countless billions of individuals and, indeed, whole species, 99 percent of which have so far become extinct. It is irreconcilable with a god of love.

I fell into the Theistic Evolution camp during my transition from the Young Earth Creationism that I was indoctrinated with as a student. But to argue that God 'tinkers' with species that mostly evolve on their own so that humans will one day stride the Earth means that God takes a dim view of the suffering of creatures. Was the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago a chance happenstance that was very fortunate for our mammalian ancestors? Or was it a deliberate strike by God because he grew frustrated with a pair of T-Rexes who kept blundering past each other, unable to find each other so that they could mate and continue life's inexorable advance?

I'm not interested in the sort of Designer who has to perform assassination in order to further his goals, even if they might happen to be favorable for me.

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