The Corner

Biodiversity: God’s (and Darwin’s) Plenty


The notion that belief in God and acceptance of Darwinian evolution are not mutually exclusive is no longer surprising enough to deserve much remark. Prominent geneticist Francis Collins published a fine book making that case, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, six years ago. But it’s encouraging that further impressive work is being done in this field. Cambridge University Press has just brought forth a book by evolutionary biologist Robert J. Asher that discusses how the evolutionary system proven by the fossil record doesn’t conflict with theistic belief. In Evolution and Belief: Confessions of a Religious Paleontologist, Asher writes: “The absence of a scientific proof for God is more indicative of the limits of science than the lack of a deity. . . . Evolutionary biology is not about the origin of life or the existence of God. It is about how living things are interconnected through a specific, natural mechanism, one which we can understand through the fossil record, individual development, and molecular biology.”

In short, evolution is about how it works, not about who made it. Richard Dawkins and his followers, in asserting that the fact of evolution disproves the existence of God, are making an unjustified inference into a sphere of inquiry outside their immediate competence. Asher writes that “it is rational to believe that an entity beyond our comprehension was the agency by which something was derived from nothing at the beginning of time. . . . Although I acknowledge my belief to be non-scientific, it is entirely rational. Science is a subset of rationality; the former has a narrower scope than the latter. To ignore rationality when it does fall beyond the scientific enterprise would be an injustice to both reason and humanity.”

UPDATE: I need to make a correction to the above. I have heard Richard Dawkins himself admit that the existence of God cannot be disproven. It would be more accurate to say, therefore, that he believes that the truth of the Darwinian system indicates that the existence of God is extremely unlikely. 


The Latest