Tuesday, March 4, 2014

“We don’t need evidence,” says the reasonable scientist

When it comes to evaluating the scientific data allegedly supporting the theory of evolution, it’s important to remember the philosophical foundations of the theory. Evolution is the inevitable theory of origins for the one who has made a prior commitment to the philosophy of naturalism, the belief that there is nothing beyond nature. Carl Sagan expressed the view about as concisely as it can be stated in his famous paean to the Cosmos. “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.”[1]

It’s this basic underlying philosophical assumption that determines in advance the outcome of one’s scientific investigation concerning origins. This is reflected in a statement made several years ago by Richard Dawkins, one of the world’s foremost promoters of evolution. In a speech delivered at Washington University in St. Louis, Dawkins said, “We don’t need evidence. We know it [evolution] to be true.”[2]

We don’t need evidence? Isn’t a scientific theory based on evidence? And if we don’t need evidence, on what basis can we say we know it to be true? Obviously, Dawkins “knows” evolution is true because of his philosophical presupposition. His prior commitment to naturalism (i.e., atheism) is all he needs to be persuaded. His worldview doesn’t admit of any other possibility. Dawkins admitted what Christian philosophers and scientists have been contending for a long time:  the theory of evolution is rooted in philosophy, not in science.

[1] http://vimeo.com/68345819
[2] http://www.worldmag.com/1997/03/quotables_1

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