Evolution – Looking at the Universe Without God

I’ve been spending my free time these last couple of weeks working on a powerpoint presentation in regard to the Ballet.  In the opening section, I review how just like with the ballet I experienced when I was a teenager (as mentioned in a previous blog), what a difference it makes when I know the story that is being expressed in the dance.  It helps to make sense of the movement on the stage.

Then I continue by identifying how essential to this understanding is the fact that the Ballet of the Heavens must be God’s Story, not just any story.  As we consider science, here especially of the sky, all data must be interpreted – gone through a filter – as to whether it is merely magic, or happenstance, or the result of cause and effect that can be duplicated, or whatever else might be the choices.  Such interpretation is actually based on a philosophy – a philosophical approach to the universe – and that philosophy has at root either of two foundations: “Without God” or “With God.”

The foundation of “Without God” is most often expressed by the philosophy of evolution, not just biological evolution, but also cosmic, social, and the rest.  Although some laymen try to insert God into this philosophical approach, one needs only observe what happens to a scientist who would bring God or a God-centered view into his work.  He is “drummed out of the corps,” ostracized, papers he submits for publication are ignored, along with other reactions.  Sometimes the vehemence brought against such a scientist is startling when considering how science is supposed to be unimpassioned.  Over and over the message is that God has no place when it comes to science.

Being without God is very attractive to human nature.  It is interesting to see comment after comment in many website reactions that not only ridicule the thought of God being introduced when it comes to science, but also the proclamation that there is no need for such an archaic idea of such a Figure to Whom we must give account.  We don’t need to have Someone monitor what we do, telling us not to do what our culture has determined is not only permissible, not only fashionable, but also even essential to our comfortable lifestyle.

Our human nature loves this direction of thought.  Without a God to account to, it doesn’t matter what we do.  We can do as we please, without being told that something is spiritually not healthy for us.

But I can’t help but wonder how many who so gratefully embrace evolution with its absence of God – how many have taken evolution to its natural and ultimate conclusion?  The problem is not just that there is no God paying attention to what I do, it is that there is no God paying attention at all.  Not only does it not matter what I do, the message is also that – I – don’t matter.

I wonder how many who merely accept evolution have read what I call the “hard-core evolutionists” say, such as:

Q. You have written that humankind is an afterthought, a cosmic accident. Why?

A. Only in the sense that every species is.  Since evolution has no inherent or predictable direction, if you could play life’s tape again from any early point, you would get a completely different result that wouldn’t include human beings…. The reason I call humans even more of an afterthought than others is that our lineage is so young and so small…So humans in current form have been here only a quarter of a million years, which may be long but is a geological second.

Q. So…evolution as a ladder with humankind on the top rung is incorrect.

A. It is nothing more than a representation of our hopes. We have certain hopes and cultural traditions in the West, we impose them upon the actual working of the world.

Q. Why do we do that?

A. Oh, for the simplest and most obvious reason: the world is a pretty miserable place for many people. If we can reconstruct the history of life as somehow inherently directed toward us, it is a very comforting thought.  It is an old one too. It is embodied right in Genesis 1.  We are not willing to give it up early.    [Stephen Jay Gould, “Evolution, Extinction and the Movies” (interview)  Time Magazine  (5/14/1990)]
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… being an evolutionist, [Carl Sagan] could not keep from expressing this doctrine and his opinion of the eventual outcome of man: extinction, either by self-destruction, or evolution into another being, or a good roasting by the sun.

…”In five billion years, everyone we know and love will be gone, all humans will have become extinct or evolved into other beings, no human artifacts will remain on Earth, the continents will have been unrecognizably altered or destroyed, and the Earth itself will have been reduced by the evolution of the Sun to a charred cinder”

… Extinction is the reward of human evolution!    [Don Ruhl, “Carl Sagan And Voyager” (unfortunately the article identification has been lost)]


Q. If all creatures eventually vanish, humans don’t have a future, because we will either become extinct or evolve into another life form.

A. Yes, but that something else we evolved into would still be our legacy, so that would be all right.   [Gould   “Evolution”]

The message that comes from the natural conclusions of evolution is that a person is nothing, and is worth nothing.  The only satisfaction Gould offers is that at least we should be happy and thankful to have been a stair-tread in the climb(?) of evolution.  In other words, those who embrace evolution are clutching at something that tells them that they have no value, and likely if they were to disappear, there would be nothing that would care.  And then Sagan comes along and says that whether we were such a stair-tread or not doesn’t matter anyway since annihilation is the future.

Consider the eventual conclusion of the universe: 1. perhaps it will collapse back upon itself, reducing itself back to that dot, that singularity from which the first “Big Bang” happened; or 2. it keeps expanding, while according to the second law of thermodynamics, all energy is eventually reduced to its lowest form which then is no longer available for use, and therefore the universe eventually winks out like a burned-out light bulb.  Since science has revealed rather disconcerting evidence that the expansion from the primordial “Big Bang” is not only not slowing down, but actually is speeding up, this second option becomes the more likely outcome.

That means the greatest accomplishments in the universe (not just on earth) will mean nothing.  The effort that Gould and Sagan have done to make themselves famous is in the end worthless.  Nothing will exist that cares, nothing will exist that be the eventual result of anything.  The ultimate end is nothingness.  It would be far better if we were merely cattle – they live in an apparent blissful world where they eat, chew their cud and sleep.  They have no concept of what will happen tomorrow, and when one of them disappears, do the rest even notice?

But we humans have the smarts and ability to discover and come up with theories and to determine the eventualities of the universe, and although the universe probably won’t end tomorrow, we  have (supposedly) discovered that there is absolutely no value to what we do, how we live, or who we are today.  Although evolution is attractive on the surface because it removes the need or place for God, actually all that it ultimately delivers is despair – is there really any good reason to get up tomorrow morning?

This blog is long enough for today, so in the next blog we look at the opposite foundation for a philosophy of science – the foundation of “With God.”

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