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Argument from evolution

An argument from evolution attempts to prove or disprove the existence of God.

That God does not exist

This section is about the argument from evolution concerning the non-existence of God.

Theories of God will often cite God as the Creator of man, plants and animals. Darwin's theory of evolution, while not describing the process of original creation, proposes that all living organisms are descended from a common ancestor, and that species evolve through natural processes. In other words, Darwin's theory implies that humans were not created by a more complex being, but rather evolved through a relatively simple natural process.

This theory of evolution does not suggest that God does not exist, but it does argue that the existence of God is unnecessary and irrelevant to any explanation of the evolution of species. This theory is highly regarded by scientists not only because of a plethora of evidence that evolution has occurred, but also because it accounts for facts of nature in terms of natural processes.

Followers of Darwin thus reject hypotheses such as Intelligent design because they explain natural facts through a non-natural (or supernatural) process, evidence of which is lacking.

This apparent contradiction leads some people to believe that either the science is wrong, or the claims of Genesis are wrong. Advocates of the latter view maintain that there is no physical evidence suggesting that Genesis, or other theologically based creation theories are correct, and that there is no shortage of physical evidence supporting the theory of evolution.

This usage of the theory of evolution to undermine belief in the existence of God led to a considerable backlash among a number of Christians, particularly in the United States. This led to the Scopes Trial and the eventual development of scientific creationism. (Many scientists object that scientific creationism is wrong to mix theology with science, while many creationists say that doing so was partly a reaction to bringing science into theology.)

The overwhelming majority of scientists say that evidence from paleontology, genetics, zoology, molecular biology has shown beyond a reasonable doubt that evolution is correct.

Philip E. Johnson[?], a law professor at University of California, Berkeley and author of Darwin on Trial, states that advocacy of intelligent design by him and others is is intended to reopen classrooms to discussions about God (particularly, the Christian concept of God).

Common criticism: "Evolution is only theory and not a law."
According to the National Academy of Sciences, a theory is "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses." A law of nature is a general description of the Universe that is held to be true in all cases and in all places. Since we only know about life on Earth, evolutionists argue, it is not at all possible to make such a generalized statement about evolution. Even if we had access to many other living worlds we could not make such a general statement about the Cosmos. Therefore when scientists call something a theory, such as quantum mechanics, atomic theory, plate tectonics or evolution, they are not casting doubt on its validity. Moreover, a common criticism of creationism made by evolutionist scientists is that it is not falsifiable; following Karl Popper, the fact that a theory can be disproved makes it a more useful theory than one that cannot.

Some things by their very nature are not knowable or can be applied in all cases (such as the Law of Gravity can). Even though one cannot talk about evolution being a law, evolutionists argue, a person can speak of it as being a determined fact beyond reasonable doubt. Even though no one has observed these transformations, evolutionists maintain that the fossil record clearly shows descent with modification of organisms, and some scientists even claim that evolution has been observed with bacteria in the laboratory.

Indirect evidence is used in all the sciences, from atomic physicists inferring the existence of subatomic particles by measuring the effects they have on observable atoms, to astronomers inferring the existence of black holes by the gravitational effects they have on nearby objects.

Another common argument is that although evolution proves that the earth could exist without God, it does not say that it necessarily does. Several theists, agnostics, and religious denominations accept evolution. They argue that if evolution is true, this only means that a literal interpretation of a religious creation story cannot be literally true.



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