Assuming evolution is discovered to be junk science, would you believe in God?

I would like to discuss the philosophical critiques that have been leveled against the “Argument from Design.” Some atheists, Richard Dawkins included, have claimed that even if evolution is eventually shown to be false, he would still not believe in God. I have heard four philosophical arguments against the argument from design:

  1. Invoking God is just passing the buck. We would be left to explain who created God. This is Dawkins’ “Ultimate Big Bang” argument.

  2. The argument from design is an argument based on ignorance: we don’t know what designed life, so we assume that God must have designed it. But let’s just wait around till science explains what designed life.

  3. The argument from design is based on an analogy – a flawed analogy. We know that if we’d find a watch, we’d automatically assume that it was designed by an intelligent human. But that doesn’t mean that if we find a masterfully-designed cell, we should automatically assume that it was created by God, since we never saw God make anything; however, we have seen humans make watches. This was Hume’s response to the argument from design.

  4. Nature is actually designed quite poorly. If anything nature displays that whoever designed it was surely not too intelligent. Certainly, God didn’t create the universe.

I disagree with all of these four “flaws”. What about you? (the only argument that I find to be debatable is the second flaw).

Evolution is far too well supported to be junk science. We’ve observed it happening. But that said, even if evolution were proven wrong, why would that suggest that the psychotic moron worshiped by the Abrahamic religions would be real? Why wouldn’t a false evolution prove that say, the Norse religion were true?


It does not follow either that if evolution is false that then the “argument from design” is true.

Um. At this point, discovering that “evolution is junk science” would be like discovering that gravity doesn’t exist. Actually worse, since different laws of physics might not include gravity, but evolution is a straightforward logical result of reproduction with variation, and would hold true even with different physics. And all of those flaws are true.

And at any rate, evolution or not, “God” is still an incoherent Bronze Age myth that it is extremely stupid to believe in. Why not Zeus or Ra or Anu or little green cosmic bunnies instead?

It’s not really possible for evolution to be “junk science” since that phrase refers to methodology and the methodology behind evolutionary science is rock solid.

The argument from design is patent nonsense, and regressive to boot.

As already pointed out, not only is the issue not binary so that “if not evolution than the Abrahamic God”, but evolution is as solid as gravity. It’s a fact.

Obviously this is true. If you claim that everything has to have a first cause, then it’s turtles all the way down even for God. If you say that some things don’t need to have a cause, then the universe can be self-caused itself.

Correct, this is a classic God of the Gaps argument. We can investigate facts and see what we understand, and that which we don’t undertand we can explain. Or we can throw up our hands and declare “a wizard did it.”

This is true. Things we make are designed. Things that are brought about by selection pressures are not like watches or airplanes or digital clocks. By the way, rather obviously you are making a huge leap and begging the question when you talk about a “masterfully designed cell”. Especialy since human cells, supposedly the ‘pinacle of evolution’, are susceptible to cancer.

If it was “designed”, then yes, the designer is an absolute incompetent.

Before I understood how rain worked, I didn’t think there was a supernatural explanation for it. I fail to see how if we didn’t know how species arose why that should require a supernatural explanation either.

If there was a theory that rain was caused entirely by birds pissing, disproving that theory isn’t evidence in any way for a supernatural explanation (angels weeping?). If evolution was somehow disproved, that also would not be evidence towards anything supernatural.

Although that is a pretty standard “God of the Gaps” type of example: unexplained phenomenon = place to insert supernatural explanation. Phenomenon gets explained = supernatural recedes a bit more.

Agreed. All that has happened is the gap has got bigger again.

Why should I? If gravity is disproved, does that imply Superman exists? If the germ theory of disease is disproved, does that imply the liver is what pumps the blood? If thermodynamics is disproved, does that imply flying carpets work?

(bolding mine)

I’ll just jump in along with everyone else and make this point: life was not designed. Life happened (and continues to happen).

As others have mentioned, you are begging questions all over the place. However, I am mildly curious:

Care to share why?

You disagree that nature displays some very bad design? Can you elaborate? I (and probably everybody else in the thread) can give examples of problems in nature that a retarded chimp could have avoided if it were designing it.

You’re not going to get an interesting discussion starting from a totally implausible premise.

I’m not clear on what the OP means by evolution being discovered to be junk science. I don’t want to be a jerk about fighting the hypothetical, but I don’t understand what it is that we’re supposed to assume has been disproven. Is the hypothetical that there’s no such thing as heredity at all, that over time no changes can actually occur in the inherited traits expressed in a population, or something else?

I’d probably ask for the blue pill at that point…


I don’t believe this is entirely accurately stated, though it’s not wrong. The point is not necessarily to explain who created God - that is to say, if we assume a designer we need to explain who’s the designer of the designer - but rather, the problem inherent in coming up with an explanation for the existence of God (or god, or gods, assuming we do not intend only to look at the Abrahamic god) that cannot also be applied to man, or the universe. We need to come up with a reason that God may exist that can’t also be a reason why other things exist.

Again, somewhat inaccurately stated; we’re not simply waiting around until science explains it, otherwise we’d have no opinion at all. Rather, we’re going with what appears to be the best explanation as of the moment, with the understanding that, tomorrow, it may be revised or even changed significantly. Nor is it a matter of waiting for science, in particular, to come up with an explanation; it would be silly to only accept answers from one source without evaluation. If through some other means than science an explanation is found, and that explanation is more likely seeming, then that would overtake it.

You’ve put that pretty well. Another problem with the analogy is that we have no alternative explanations with good evidence behind them for the existence of a watch other than its creation by a watchmaker. Whereas we do have alternate explanations for the existence of a cell with good evidence behind them, other than its creation by a creator deity.

I’ll actually chip in my own flaw to the argument here, though it’s more of a definitional disagreement; whether nature is designed poorly or well is not in and of itself evidence for or against a god, but rather, the nature of that proposed god must be taken into account. A god that values perfection, certainly, might well be likely to create perfect natural things. But design is a matter of purpose, and purpose is contextual. A spanner is an imperfectly designed device for cutting a lawn; it may be that when we spy imperfection in design, we’re merely looking at it being used for a different purpose.
As to the question of the title; no, I would not believe in God, because evolution, junked and rejected, does not for me leave the explanation of God as the next best solution. If nothing else, it is far too specific; I think I would be considering several other non-supernatural explanations before I got into creator deities, and probably several other gods before I got to God.

Actually the OP has some sort of weird point. Because given the huge piles of evidence for evolution at this point, about the only thing that would be able to disprove it is evidence that there was a conspiracy to create these life beings with an illusion that they have experienced evolution in the past (not to mention fooling the scientists into thinking they are presently observing evolution.)

About the only entity I can think of that could pull it off is so close to a deity that it may as well be.

Me, either. It’s like saying, “Assuming that fire is shown to be junk science.” What does it mean to say that something observable is junk science?

How it was discovered to be junk science would affect my answer, of course. Some discoveries might make me believe in God; others wouldn’t. I’m open to the evidence.

If a theory that better explained what we observe came along and bumped evolution, it would in no way prove any gods exist.

Actually evolution isn’t a theory anymore; it’s an observed fact. You’d need to come up with an explanation for why what scientists have actually seen happening didn’t actually happen. This is “we’re all in the Matrix” territory, as xtisme touches on.

Exactly. The only way evolution could be ‘junk science’ is if everything we have and continue to observe is wrong. We KNOW that evolution has happened and continues to happen. It’s been observed. There are so many lines of evidence that it touches on just about every aspect of modern science. If it was all wrong then that means everything we observe is wrong.

So…give me the blue pill. Oh, and make me a rich rock star with tons of large breasted, large bottomed groupies to peal me grapes and fan me with those big palm frond thingies…