What are your reasons for not believing in God, but believing in evolution?

I’m writing about the Christian god.

Many atheists believe in Darwin’s concept of evolution, and the typical reason for not believing in God/gods, is that “there is simply no proof” (and that is true, considering that Christianity is faith, not facts -and its your choice to believe it or not) – well is there any solid proof, for sure, that humans have evolved from monkeys?

I’m sure you’re educated enough to know that nothing in this world can be solidly, FULLY, proven. Thus, it is impossible to prove that God exists, indeed – but isn’t it impossible to prove that long, long ago we all were just chimps?

I’m not talking about giving what you think are facts, pointing to the fact that evolution exists, I am saying that you can’t TRULY prove that evolution is real – just as well as you can’t prove that God exists. (Anything is possible, right?) Fairies, unicorns – you name it – you can’t prove that they DON’T exist, either.
So, with that said, what are your reasons for not believing in God – other than the fact that evolution makes more sense?

Posted: August 23rd 2011

Mike the Infidel www

“I’m sure you’re educated enough to know that nothing in this world can be solidly, FULLY, proven. Thus, it is impossible to prove that God exists, indeed – but isn’t it impossible to prove that long, long ago we all were just chimps?”

Well, you’ve got me convinced. We can’t know anything with 100% certainty!

Hmm… I’m hungry. I think I’ll fix myself some breakfast. Scientists tell me I need to eat a balanced diet rich in a wide variety of nutrients… but they can’t know that with 100% certainty! I’ll eat some glass and rocks instead, because if we can’t know anything with absolute certainty, we might as well believe whatever we want, right? You can’t PROVE that I can’t survive on a diet like that. What are your reasons for not believing I can?

(Can you detect the sarcasm? I hope so. Evidence: that’s the key.)

Posted: August 30th 2011

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George Locke

Suppose someone offered to sell you a used car. You ask to see it, and he takes you to his garage, but he wouldn’t open it up to let you see. He assures you the car is in perfect running order and that you’ll believe him if you just squint real hard and try to believe. Something in that garage is very smelly; the guy says, “It’s a skunk,” but you know what a skunk smells like and that ain’t it. He tries to convince you that it’s arrogant of you to tell a skunk what it should smell like. How do like that sales pitch? No takers, huh?

Now imagine a preacher selling you on his religion. You ask him how he knows that God is real and this is his book and so forth, and he takes you to his church. He sits you down to pray, and says if you “seek God sincerely”, then you’ll believe just like him. Then he says you have to burn hours a week at church and Bible study, follow rules that don’t make sense, and hand over 10% of your income or else you’ll burn in hell for eternity. Don’t worry about the suffering in the world because God loves you, and all that anguish is part of his plan. Don’t worry if that doesn’t make sense either 'cause that’s arrogantly supposing that you can understand God’s plan. What do you say now?

Finally, imagine you ask a science teacher about the evidence for evolution. You ask him how we knows common descent is true, and he points you to a large body of evidence that leads to several different lines of argument: fossil evidence, genetic evidence, physiological evidence, etc. You ask him about natural selection, and he describes a number of observations of natural selection, including bacterial antibiotic resistance and Lenski’s long term E-coli experiment, and he makes a simple argument that any entity that replicates itself with slight modifications must give rise to natural selection so long as there is competition for resources. Accepting the force of the evidence costs you nothing. It seems to me you need a very good reason not to buy this one.

Take a look at this essay by Isaac Asimov, an excerpt from his book The Relativity of Wrong. The article exposes the false equivalency you assert between uncertainty about evolution and uncertainty about God. (Yes, we know there will always be uncertainty, but it’s wronger than wrong to claim that since our answers to both questions are uncertain, they’re both equally valid beliefs.)

Posted: August 29th 2011

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Tauriq Moosa www

Firstly, if you are going to ask such a loaded question – which seems like a challenge hiding behind a question mark – then please get the facts in order. It does not reflect well on you when challenging another side to create a Strawman. For instance, the fact that you say “humans have evolved from monkeys” and “long, long ago we were all just chimps”. (a) So what were we: monkeys or chimps? They are two different things. Monkeys have tails; chimps don’t and (b):

We didn’t evolve from either!

We share a common ancestor with monkeys and chimps. From that one ancestor, diverse species like monkeys and chimps and humans evolved. You do know we share a common ancestor with daffodils, too, right? So it’s not actually that remarkable in terms of occurrence.

Also, you have created a black-and-white fallacy: why are you equating god’s existence with evolution? The Argument from Design is one of many proofs offered for the existence of god. Whether they’re right or wrong, there are plenty of people who believe in evolution and god. As with all arguments for the existence of god, they are not more justified in their belief than anyone else – like creationists – but it shows that belief in god and evolution are not inextricably linked as you have considered it.

Of course they are still wrong though, since there are no good argument for the existence of god that I’ve seen.

You also don’t seem to understand that scientific evidence and theories don’t work with certainties but probabilities: What is the most likely thing to happen if we do this? Will it consistently happen? Why? We know drugs are not 100% effective; we know that there is no absolute way to disprove we’re not here as some harvesting farm of powerful aliens; and so on. But given the enormous amounts of evidence, the wonderful working hypotheses and models that frequently prove themselves again and again, evolution – like every other working part of science, like medicine – is firmly in the realm of scientific facts.

It irritates me that believers always look at evolution as some special branch of science for some reason tied up with god’s existence. Why not medical science? There is as much evidence and we can see it working – just like evolution. All you need to do is look up, say, experiments with E.Coli to prove to you, before your eyes, that evolution occurs.

Evolution was in action when you’re parents picked your name, for goodness’ sake: that name out of all others continues to live, because your parents chose it amongst others. It had qualities like being pleasing to the ear, easy to spell, and so on, to allow the name to continue, which means someone else might be named it and so perpetuate the name. Think of all those awful or “strange” names that are no longer in use: Alexander and Julius are still in use, but not Adolf or Hitler. That’s really all that evolution is, to simplify it dramatically. The only difference is that evolutionary biology tends to deal with aspects of physical life.

Posted: August 29th 2011

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Galen Rose www

You wrote, “I am saying that you can’t TRULY prove that evolution is real – just as well as you can’t prove that God exists.”

You appear to be suggesting that one should be 100% certain of something before making any kind of decision. That is an unrealistic and unachievable expectation. The 100% certainty standard is not only unreasonable, it is also counter-productive, as it paralyzes the doubter, leaving him unable to make a decision.

The standard theist argument generally goes something like this: “If you can’t disprove god with 100% certainty, then it’s still reasonable for me to believe.” If we think about this for just a moment, it quickly becomes obvious that this is a false statement. Is it reasonable for one to believe our universe is merely a computer simulation in a junior high school lab in another universe . . . simply because it can’t be disproved? Is it reasonable for one to believe there is a race of microscopic, intelligent beings living among the dust motes under your bed? After all, one can’t prove they’re not there, because there is always that one in a quadrillion-squared chance that whenever you move your microscope that way a few inches, those beings move this way a few inches, so you can never see them. Thus, it is not reasonable to believe something simply because it can’t be proven false; one should also insist on positive evidence for that belief.

Clearly, the 100% certainty standard is not just absurd, it is counterproductive, since, by that standard, everything is possible and nothing is impossible (except by definition). But, obviously, if science used such a standard, we would still be living in caves. Wouldn’t that be counter-productive?

In fact, the evidence for evolution is overwhelming – scientists have even made many correct predictions using the theory. Conversely, there is absolutely no evidence for any gods except hearsay. That is, people have written that there are gods, and others claim from pulpits every Sunday that there are, but there is not the slightest bit of testable evidence and no logical necessity for gods. Thus, it is perfectly reasonable to believe in evolution but not gods. In fact, that is the only REASONABLE stance.

Posted: August 29th 2011

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SmartLX www

Just because there’s no such thing as absolute proof (except perhaps in mathematics) doesn’t mean everything is equally likely to be false.

Evidence is what makes one thing more likely to be true than another, and with enough evidence you can even be confident enough in something to behave as if it’s certain.

The evidence that humans evolved from apes comes from many sources. Here are two, which work well together:

- By finding and dating hominid fossils deposited over millions of years, we have pieced together not only a history but a branching family tree of primates. One branch of that tree grows larger and more upright over time until it’s almost indistinguishable from modern humans.

- The DNA of modern primates other than humans is incredibly similar to that of humans, in the same way as human cousins’ DNA is similar but on a different scale. The levels of similarity between different primates independently suggests a branching family tree, which accurately matches what parts of the tree we’ve sourced from the fossils.

Anything is possible, as far as we know, but some things are more likely than others. Evolution is so likely to have happened, and to have produced the human race from a population of apes, that biologists are happy to call it a fact. Special creation has nowhere near that level of evidential support and in fact, it can be argued, has none at all.

Posted: August 29th 2011

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