My research of Darwinian evolution has led me to believe that there is little room for spirituality of any kind in a truly rigorous scientific theory of the origin of life. This is disconcerting, to say the least. Obviously we have outgrown a strictly creationist lens, but has religion become completely obsolete? Does spirituality have a real place amongst the scientific tenets of evolutionary theory, or is it merely a crutch that we lean on? Can God and Darwin co-exist?
The constantly mounting collection of evidence for evolution by natural selection is almost impossible to ignore. However, there is a neo-creationist school of thought, called "intelligent design," attempting to modernize the concept of a God to fit the challenge presented by a Darwinian explanation of life. Proponents of this theory, such as Michael Behe, claim that the cellular structures and pathways in living organisms possess "irreducible complexity," meaning that minus any one component, they become functionless. This implies that these components could not have evolved in a step-by-step process, but would all have to be present simultaneously. Cilia and blood-clotting are commonly cited examples. Taken a step further, irreducible complexity can also be applied to complex organs, such as the eye, and complex behaviors, such as flying. How could they have evolved in gradual increments, with each one providing an adaptive advantage? Evolutionary theory according to Darwin is certainly not a complete and irrefutable account of the origin of life. In many instances, the door has been left open and the explanation remains unresolved. Additionally, the claims of Behe, and other natural theologists, are not just religious superstition anymore. Their interpreta...
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...und here on Earth. However, Darwin's theory alone seems to be an inadequate interpretation of the entire scope of life.
My thoughts on religion changed significantly as I researched the creationist perspective on evolution. I am not at all convinced by the intelligent design hypothesis, despite the fact that natural theology has become a great deal more sophisticated since Genesis. In a way, I agree with evolutionists who claim that until the existence of God can be proven, no creationist theory will hold water against Darwin. It's frightening to abandon the idea of a higher power, but after reading several creationist texts, I question His place in the scientific community.
1.) Mayr, Ernst. What Evolution Is. New York: Basic Books, 2001.
2.) Pennock, Robert T. "Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics." Endeavour 26 (2002): 118-119.
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