The email below arrived this morning from a retired officer in the U.S. Air Force who had read my critical review of Michael Behe’s new Intelligent-Design book in the Washington Post. (I am, by the way, pleased that virtually all the commenters at the Post accept evolution and reject ID—something I didn’t expect). Re the email: it always surprises me when somebody who doesn’t seem to know much about evolution or biology (or biochemistry in this case) decides to lecture me about The Way Things Are. Even more presumptuous is that they think they’re going to make me a Christian without knowing much about my views and personal history. But of course that’s what evangelical Christians do.
Read and weep. Please feel free to comment (politely, please), as I’ve told this person that I’m posting his email and will send him the link in a bit.
After reading your Sunday Washington Post book review of “Darwin Devolves,” I can only ask you: you would presume that there is a creator for the wrist watch on your arm, the computer on your desk … why would you not similarly presume that our world, with all its complexity, variety, functionality, and even beauty, that there would not be a Creator—God—for our world … the universe?
Who is the crazier and off-base? The person who thinks that such variety, complexity, functionality and beauty just ‘evolved’ out of primordial mush (where did the primordial mush come from anyway?) Or, the person who believes and understands that such characteristics of ‘creation’ could not have come about without design and creation?
How does that logic flow? Order implies functionality; functionality implies design; design implies intelligence; intelligence implies a Creator?
I would think the clear solution to your dilemma is that ‘evolution’ since the world’s creation is a corollary to the larger plan of creation set in motion by God. Once the original creation was complete and God’s plan set in motion, evolutionary events and activities take place as part of that larger divine plan. Heck, the complexity—yet functionality—of genes and DNA that so much of your book review talks about needed ‘design’ for all that to work in some orderly fashion.
And as to your statement about “the Christian belief that homo sapiens is a special creation of God,” it is. Humans are the only sentient beings, “created in the image of God” (“imago dei”) with both a soul and a corporal body. Quite simply, God did not promise the cocker spaniel population (or any other creature on this earth) eternal life with Him after their time on this earth is finished. If anything, the “spark” of life and the inevitability of death for us all should have you at least thinking a little more profoundly.
I offer you the famous quote from Saint Anselm, the father of modern scholasticism: “Lord, let me not understand so that I may believe; let me believe so that I may understand.”
I could adduce Hume’s principle about miracles about the issue of “who is the crazier and off base” here, but I did that in a response to this person, also pointing out sources of information about how life could have evolved from chemicals. I also asked this person, since he seems to know that there is a Christian God, why that god would work through evolution instead of creating everything de novo, as it so plainly states in Genesis.
But I am vastly amused at his assurance that we have souls but cocker spaniels don’t, and therefore dogs don’t go to Heaven. This, of course, was the deranged conclusion of Edward Feser that I wrote about in 2015. The Argument from Dogs is the silver lining in this cloud of ignorance.