Is there any opponent of evolutionary theory who isn't religious?

On forums I often find people who begin by claiming to be atheists, and then launch into well-worn arguments for either the existence of God or or the falsehood of Darwinian evolution. Invariably they’ve turned out to be Christians posing as atheists because they think atheists will be more likely to listen and agree. (I’m not saying they’re all Christians, but they are in all my experiences.)

The people arguing for God are more obviously faking it, but has anyone ever come across a real atheist who denies Darwinian evolution? Failing that, someone who is religious but whose denial of evolution is genuinely unrelated to his or her religion? (This may be difficult to determine, because many creationists give apparently evidential reasons to persuade people, whatever their real reasons are.)

Posted: October 16th 2009

Mike the Infidel www

The Raelians are technically atheists, but they’re still a wacky cult. They think super-intelligent immortal aliens made us, and that the Bible is (at least partly) literally true, but God, Jesus, and other key figures were aliens, not deities or prophets.

Posted: January 22nd 2010

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Paula Kirby www

Well, I’ve never encountered an opponent of evolution who wasn’t religious. There may be non-religious people who don’t actively accept evolution, simply because they are not really informed about it and therefore don’t understand how convincing the evidence for it is (and, let’s face it, it is rather counter-intuitive, isn’t it, so you would need to understand something about it to be able to accept it completely); but actively oppose it? Not in my experience.

The thing is, the moment an open-minded person starts looking into evolution it is immediately apparent that the evidence for it is overwhelming: so why should anyone reject it, unless they are in the grip of an ideology that requires them to?

This is why Richard Dawkins compared evolution-deniers to holocaust-deniers in his recent book, The Greatest Show on Earth: not because he was trying to suggest any moral equivalence, but because, in both cases, those who claim it didn’t happen do so in the face of all the evidence and purely because the idea doesn’t sit comfortably with their pre-existing ideology.

Posted: October 17th 2009

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brian thomson www

It’s certainly possible, though I’m not aware of any. The thing is, for there to be a non-religious opponent of evolution, there would need to be a genuine non-religious argument against evolution. Simply “not accepting it” would not be an argument against it, but even that would be an irrational position to adopt, considering all the positive evidence in favour of evolution.

So, you’d be looking for someone who is an atheist but irrational, which is kind-of missing the point. When it comes to science – which is what evolution is – I think it fair to say that rationality is more important than atheism. The reason behind the irrationality might be religion, or it might not be, but that hardly matters.

Posted: October 16th 2009

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