Does Evolution Really Threaten Religion?


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Many proponents of the Abrahamic religions assume that the Theory of Evolution is ipso facto opposed to religion, and therefore, since religion derives from scripture, which is the divinely inspired word of an infallible God, the Theory of Evolution must be false. This paper argues that not only is this view incorrect, but that religion can be helped by accepting the Theory of Evolution. The paper will present a specific variety of the Problem of Evil known as Rowe’s ‘E2’, and try to show why existing responses to it fail. The paper argues, however, that Rowe’s E2 can be answered by the Theory of Evolution.

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Does Evolution Really Threaten Religion?

  1. 1. DOES EVOLUTION REALLY THREATEN RELIGION? JOHN OSTROWICK PhD Candidate (UCT/Edin.), MA (Phil) (Wits), HdipEd (Phys.Sci.) (Wits)
  2. 2. DISCLAIMER The views presented in this talk do not represent the views of the Universities of CapeTown, Witwatersrand, or Edinburgh, or the Origins Centre. The views presented in this talk are the views of the presenter alone.
  3. 3. Argument Structure • What is Creationism? Is it true? • What isTheTheory of Evolution? Is it true? • Does theTheory of Evolution threaten religion generally? • Does it threaten some religions?
  4. 4. Contents Part 1 — Creationism and Evolution • What is Creationism? • Problems with Creationism • Addressing Misconceptions • What is Evolution, then? • Where’s the evidence? Part 2 — Is Evolution a Threat to Belief? • Does Evolution threaten Creationism? • Does Evolution threaten Religion? • Does Evolution threaten Christianity?
  5. 5. What is Creationism? Three varieties: • Scriptural Literalism/Young Earth Creationism • Deism • Intelligent Design Coincidence? Or DESIGN?
  6. 6. What is Creationism? — Scriptural Literalism/ Young Earth Creationism • God exists • God created the world as we see it, with its current creatures, recently (e.g. 6000YA), in six literal days • God intervenes in the world regularly • Evolution does not take place • Fossils are: a Satanic hoax, a Scientific hoax (eg. Piltdown man), or Dinosaurs and humans coexisted •The Flood happened, hence no more Dinosaurs •The Ark has been found on Mt Ararat therefore Genesis is true • Argument: God exists, therefore the Bible is true, or,The Bible is the divine word of God, (dictated to ... ), therefore it’s true
  7. 7. What is Creationism? — Deism/Intelligent Design • God or ID exists (because science can’t explain what “came before” the “Big Bang”) • God or ID set up the laws of the universe, etc., and created the world using the natural forces, in a metaphorical ‘six days’ which could be six thousand or six million or whatever years. • God or ID then “sat back” and watched it take shape • Speciation does take place — it’s a law God or ID created • Differ on whether God or ID subsequently intervenes: ID intervenes = Intelligent Design/Guided Evolution God does not intervene = Deist/Accepts Evolution • Respected history of adherents e.g. Hume (1700s) • Modern ID proponent: Michael Behe • Where’s the evidence for ID?
  8. 8. What is Creationism? — Irreducible Complexity • Arch example,Watch in Desert example, Mousetrap example • Some biological phenomena are too complex to have evolved • Bacterial flagellum, blood clotting cascade, eye •Thus they were intelligently designed • We might call ID “God”, but it could be anything — even aliens (von Däniken) • No solid scientific answer on abiogenesis • However...
  9. 9. Problems with Creationism: Scriptural Literalism/ Young Earth Creationism • Contradictions in scripture: How to explain? (e.g.“face of God”: Genesis 32:30 vs John 1:18 and 1 John 4:12) • It can’t be literally true if it contradicts itself unless...? • Genesis contradicts well-established scientific evidence e.g. light and plants being created (Gen 1:3) before the sun (Gen 1:14) • If the world’s only 6000, why no partly fossilised Romans or Egyptians? • No evidence of Flood in tropics; apparent evidence is glacial. Epic of Gilgamesh, conservation of matter.Ark anomaly alternatives. • Dating methods used by scientists are reliable (why...) • Evidence points to earth’s age of ~4.54 BnY, life ~3.8-3.9 BnY • Carbon dating controversy is a red-herring (~60 KYA max accuracy is known).
  10. 10. Problems with Creationism: Deism and ID • Deism is a cosmological model, irrelevant to evolution. Under Deism, God intervenes at the Big Bang, but not after. Don’t confuse Abiogenesis — the eventuation of life itself, with Evolution — speciation. Different questions. Even if science has ‘inadequate’ answers for abiogenesis, this is irrelevant to evolution. • Putative examples of ID have all been successfully explained by reference to prior parts with different functions. Scaffolding on an arch. E.g. of a mousetrap: remove the catch, it’s still useful as a bulldog clip. Remove the base, it’s still useful as a spring. Half an eye is still useful for telling light/dark apart, or object proximity, even if it can’t resolve a clear image, just as partial hearing is better than full deafness. More primitive cascade mechanisms exist in more primitive species. Bacterial flagellum may have developed from viral injector or secretor or support mechanism or surface area increaser?This is called “recruitment”. •This means that Evolution is our only alternative.
  11. 11. Addressing Misconceptions and Objections • Just a theory • Linear Evolution • “I’ve never seen it happen”
  12. 12. Addressing Misconceptions and Objections: “Just a theory” •Other “theories” in science include Gravity, Relativity, and Quantum Mechanics. • What “theory” means in science is not “guess”, it means “model usually with a formula that predicts” • Scientific process: Make a hypothesis based on evidence. If it predicts future evidence, it is accepted as a standard theory.This is modesty: any future contradictory evidence that cannot be accommodated will result in the theory being thrown out and replaced. Examples include Bohr’s atom, the Greek elements, Phlogiston,The Ether.
  13. 13. Addressing Misconceptions and Objections - Linear Evolution • We are not a direct sequence of steps.Typical picture (shown below — the hominid parade) is misleading • Our ancestry is a tree with many dead branches •Your ancestors outnumber you: 8 great-grandparents, 4 grandparents, 2 parents; same applies to our race
  14. 14. Addressing Misconceptions and Objections- Linear Evolution Source: Many sites, can’t find original
  15. 15. Addressing Misconceptions and Objections - Linear Evolution • A fish did not one day give birth to a frog.A monkey did not one day give birth to a human.This is not what evolution says. • Creationists often complain that “monkeys still exist” - Response: it’s about success in a new niche, not successive replacement. This is the linear evolution fallacy. • Monkeys are somewhere further down on the same tree of Primata, just not the same branch, and further away than chimps. Chimps and hominins separated around 6 MYA. Note: not humans.“Human” applies only to cro-magnon or more recent.
  16. 16. Addressing Misconceptions and Objections - “I’ve never seen it happen” • Flu. XDR-TB. Dog breeding. Speciation controlled by humans • Mudskipper, Leaping Blenny, Lungfish, Handfish. • It just takes millions of years for a significant mutation to happen spontaneously in a particular birth
  17. 17. What is Evolution, then? • Actual process is:A mutation occurs. It is successful. Organism breeds. E.g. Good camouflage OR vice versa. • Some mutations have no major effect on breeding success and yet they perpetuate. E.g. alopecia.This will lead to the feature becoming randomly part of the population. • White lions vs tan lions. Polar vs Black bears. • Not about one species changing into another. If offspring are born with an advantageous feature, statistically speaking, they will succeed at breeding more creatures like themselves. • Geographical isolation of family units/tribes is important in speciation. More isolation = more speciation.
  18. 18. Where’s the evidence? • Fossils/Palaeontology
  19. 19. Where’s the evidence? • Palaeogeography - crust movement timespans give us species timespans for fossils. Plate tectonics and species similarities on tectonic boundaries gives dating and speciation estimates
  20. 20. Where’s the evidence? • Embryology: Foetal shapes, notochords and gill slits in human embryos appear in adults of other species (Google this if in doubt). • Morphology — e.g. five digits, four limbs, tails, 7 cervical vertebrae regardless of neck length
  21. 21. Where’s the evidence? • Atavisms/vestigial features — appendix, back limbs in snakes/whales, ostrich/ penguin/kiwi wings, coccyx • Unintelligent designs, e.g. sharing air and food passages. Bad design but not bad enough to go extinct. • DNA - we’re 98-9% the same as a chimp, and the percentage declines the more dissimilar the creature • DNA shows the same family relations as morphological studies do, reconfirming them • Uranium and other dating methods based on nuclear physics.
  22. 22. Addressing Misconceptions - We’re not monkeys
  23. 23. Where’s the evidence?
  24. 24. Does Evolution threaten Creationism? • It depends on which Creationism. • Deism, confined to cosmology/Anthropic Principle, is not threatened, since evolution takes place after abiogenesis • As long as we lack 100% explanations for these two things, we can “fill the gap” with “God”. Or whatever else you like — aliens, ID, etc. • Intelligent Design is threatened because it insists on ongoing intelligent intervention in speciation — like “Guided evolution”. It would need to explain why ID designed atavisms and vestigials. • Evolution threatensYoung Earth Creationism because of time scales disagreements betweenYEC and science •The only real threat to theism from evolution is the ever- decreasing number of gaps that we need to fill with “God”.All past mysteries explained, so we induce that all phenomena will eventually be explained without God.This is a probabilistic argument.
  25. 25. Does Evolution threaten Religion? • Bayes’Theorem (simplified): P(h|e) = P(e|h)P(h) / P(e) :The probability of theism, given the evidence of evolution, is equal to the probability of evolution being true, given theism, times the probability of theism being true, divided by the probability of the evolution being true without theism. • If the probability of evidence for evolution being found is high (since it massively supported), and the probability of the hypothesis of scriptural literalism is low, (since the evidence seems to contradict it), the overall probability of the truth of theistic scriptural literalism is low, given the evidence. • But that doesn’t mean religion is false, or that God doesn’t exist. It might mean that only Deism is plausible.
  26. 26. Does Evolution threaten Religion - 2? • Religion offers many things, e.g. moral codes, comfort under stress/loss, certain wisdoms, many of which are not offered by science • None of those advantages are threatened by Evolution, but are in fact supported by it, since chimps and others show moral behaviours, e.g. fairness and sharing, mutual support, etc. • But if Genesis is false, surely the rest is false? • Not necessarily.Think of a historical novel. Evolution just lowers the probability of the truth of the Bible by ~1.5%.That’s 98.5% possible accuracy on the rest. • But if a book is admitted to be flawed, did God write it? Is God perfect and incapable of designing something flawed? Vestigials are flaws.Therefore flawed things weren’t designed.Thus, the Bible was at least 1.5% not written by God.
  27. 27. Does Evolution threaten Religion - 3? • OnlyYEC or ID are threatened by evolution • Materialism (the belief that there’s no such thing as the spiritual) is not the same as the theory of evolution. • If you’re not a materialist then it is coherent to believe in evolution and in God. • Question to ask yourself: Is there any such thing as the spiritual? If you answer ‘yes’, you can believe in some kind of religion, and also accept evolution.
  28. 28. Does Evolution threaten Christianity? • We only need redemption if we’re born in sin, through the Fall in the Garden of Eden (Rom. 5:12, Rom. 5:19). • If that’s the foundation of Christianity, then Evolution threatens Christian doctrine, since evolution repudiates Genesis, & there’s no evidence for a literal Adam and Eve • But there can be value found in some of the teachings of the Bible even if eschatology is false.
  29. 29. Does Evolution help Religion? •The problem of evil: God is all-good, and all-powerful, yet evidently unwilling or unable to prevent evil. • Many responses to the problem of evil exist, but all seem to fail, including the free-will defence, because that in particular does not account for natural evils: Rowe’s E2 — the dying/burnt fawn, Hurricanes as tools of punishment, indiscriminate punishment, etc.Also doesn’t cover victim suffering. •The best escape from the problem of natural evil is to say it helps creatures evolve.Thus believers need theTheory of Evolution to answer the problem of evil! Evil is necessary to evolve, therefore evil is necessary and part of God’s plan. •Thus, the theory of evolution helps some religious points of view. (Some Eastern religions account for evil through Karma etc., so this is addressing Abrahamic religions).
  30. 30. Does Evolution help Religion? “[T]he Martians—dead!—slain by the putrefactive and disease bacteria against which their systems were unprepared; slain as the red weed was being slain; slain, after all man’s devices had failed, by the humblest things that God, in his wisdom, has put upon this earth. ...These germs of disease have taken toll of humanity since the beginning of things—taken toll of our prehuman ancestors since life began here. But by virtue of this natural selection of our kind we have developed resisting power; to no germs do we succumb without a struggle, and to many—those that cause putrefaction in dead matter, for instance—our living frames are altogether immune. But there are no bacteria in Mars, and directly these invaders arrived, directly they drank and fed, our microscopic allies began to work their overthrow.Already when I watched them they were irrevocably doomed, dying and rotting even as they went to and fro. It was inevitable. By the toll of a billion deaths man has bought his birthright of the earth, and it is his against all comers; it would still be his were the Martians ten times as mighty as they are. For neither do men live nor die in vain.” - H. G.Wells,The War of the Worlds.
  31. 31. Summary and Conclusion • Evolution calls into question the origins of species and speciation only, not the origins of life (abiogenesis) or of the universe (cosmology) •There may still be “gaps” for God to fill — abiogenesis and cosmology. Can science answer those questions? • Evolution does not seem to threaten Deism • Evolution refutes Scriptural Infallibility • Evolution does contradict Genesis and Original Sin, so probably, the salvation doctrine of Christianity is false. But this does not entail that the entire Bible is false. • LiehTzu, an ancientTaoist figure, pronounced that higher creatures emerged from lower creatures, as did Ancient Greeks who were polytheists •Therefore it is possible to believe in both God and evolution • Evolution is a potential answer to the problem of natural evils — necessary evils • Atheism does not follow from evolution — it follows from materialism •The real threat to theism is whether there is any such thing as the spiritual. Neuropsychology, for example. If humans turned out to be just computers of a kind... then what would that mean for religion?
  32. 32. JOHN OSTROWICK PhD Candidate (UCT/Edin.), MA (Phil) (Wits), HdipEd (Phys.Sci.) (Wits) THANKYOU
  33. 33. Responses to Criticisms At the talk, various criticisms were raised by the audience. I’d like to thank my critics for pointing out ways in which my argument can be improved. I am most appreciative of these criticisms, as they provide me with an opportunity to better my argument. In this section, I remind my readers of some of the criticisms that were raised. If I have omitted to mention your criticism, please feel free to email me and I will add it here and respond to it if I think it is worthwhile.This list below is “from memory”. Please note that I am unable due to time constraints to engage further in debate. 1.That my argument contains non-sequiturs and fallacies of affirming the consequent (FAC).That would be because it is an inductive, probabilistic argument.All inductive arguments are structured the same, logically speaking, as FACs. (If A, then B, B, therefore A). If you consult Swinburne (2004), the Existence of God, you’ll see that he justifies God’s existence using probabilistic arguments based on Bayes’Theorem, which is bidirectionally implicative, unlike formal logic, which defines any bidirectionally implicative proposition as a fallacy or circular or self-justifying. IE in this argument the premises entail the hypothesis, and the hypothesis entails the premises. But all science is like this: a hypothesis derives from observed evidence, and predicts future observations or evidence, by stating a theory which has law-like entailments that the future will resemble the past.The evidence entails the hypothesis, and the hypothesis or theory entails future evidence of the same kind. So this criticism isn’t revealing anything I wasn’t aware of, hence my originally placing the Bayesian equation in one of the pages. 2.That my presentation doesn’t show nuance as to the various types of evolutionary arguments or presentations of sub-models etc.Yes, this is not a formal academic presentation or paper, in the sense of intended to show detail to an academic audience who are experts in evolutionary theory. I was presenting an intelligent layperson’s comprehendable model of evolution which an educated layperson could follow, and was limited by time to not go into detail.You may notice, for example, that the last few screens of philosophical argument do not go into as much technical detail as this response collection here.The reason is the same: if one has one minute per slide, it’s not possible to go into technical detail. I apologise for misrepresenting anything, however, or oversimplifying. 3.That the present research ignores recent research by ID proponents. See my reply to (2) above regarding limitations. I also responded to this particular criticism by pointing out that the scientific consensus is in favour of evolution, which my interlocutor accepted as true.This does not, of course, mean that scientists are right, just that ID proponents need to get more peer-reviewed articles on ID published in scientific journals if they want to be taken seriously, by presenting incontrovertible evidence of something biological that had to have been designed, for which no mechanism would suffice as an explanation. I am not aware of any such journal article, but I look forward to reading one. In particular, my objection to ID is not that it is covertly theistic. My objection to ID is that it assumes that a complex designer, with complex (universe-sized and universe-detailed plans) pre- existed the universe, and pre-existed life, which means that something more complex than our existing universe pre-existed our universe. That strikes me as highly improbable. In our observation, less complex things come first and are followed by more complex things, hence, bacteria and jellyfish first, then fish, then amphibians, reptiles, etc. Or to use a human analogy: fire, spear, Boeing, not, Boeing first. If we use Bayes’ equation of probability, then, given that in our observation, complex things usually appear after simpler things in technology and in nature, it seems as if the prior probability of there being an intelligent designer is low. Given the massive explanatory power of evolution, barring perhaps an as-yet-unexplained example here and there from the ID camp, it seems to follow that the posterior probability of ID is low, too. From Bayes’ equation, it follows, that the total probability of ID is low. ID supporters have to provide an argument, like any other species of creationist, as to why they think the prior probability of a universal designing intelligence that wants to design and create, is high. Swinburne (2004) provides such an argument, as do Unwin and Plantinga. But they’re all mistaken if they consider such a being to be ‘simple’. For my detailed argument, see Ostrowick (2012), South African Journal of Philosophy, available on 4.That evolution is inherently a materialistic hypothesis and comes from the materialist paradigm, and is therefore anti-religious. If this were true, then Evolution would threaten religion broadly. But I do not think it is true.The specific simplified model of evolution presented does not require materialism to be true. It’s agnostic towards metaphysics. If angels were capable of genetic mutations, they’d evolve. Thus, if evolution is one possible answer to the problem of natural evils, and if evolution does not contradict Deism, then it follows that evolution helps a theist (or specifically a Deist) to respond to the problem of natural evils. 5. I’d like to point out that the purpose of the presentation was to show that it is possible to coherently hold that God exists and that evolution is true, provided that one rejects scriptural infallibility. By self-identifying as a creationist, as two audience members seemed to do, one is presuming the truth of something and then afterwards interpreting the evidence in the light of that. One audience member suggested that “we’re working from the same evidence” but just “interpreting it differently” based on our “prior assumptions”. I am not certain that that is how science works, but I stand to be corrected. My understanding of the scientific method is that (i) one makes an observation, (ii) one draws a theory from it, and then (iii) one makes a prediction, which, if confirmed, (iv) confirms the theory.Theism, Intelligent Design, or creationism omits step (i) and starts at step (ii) - postulating a theory first, which is why it is unscientific. It starts by assuming that there’s an intelligent creator - the “theory”. If an ID supporter wants to dispute this, he has to explain why it is, then, that he thinks that intelligent purposive/teleological explanations are the only suitable ones, when less complex explanations that fit the normal scientific efficient-causal framework are available.That seems to be his starting point.
  34. 34. Of course, he will then point to various examples of evolutionary oddities that are prima facie hard to explain from within evolutionary theory, without reference to an intelligent designer. All I can say in response is that this seems to require that we assume that they’re inexplicable, ipso facto, without a designer, that they are, ipso facto, purposive, and that ipso facto, science will never ever be able to explain them sans a designer, using a purely efficient-causal model like evolution. All three of these assumptions are false, and the latter, that “we will never find a mechanistic explanation” for how certain miraculously complex things eventuated, is another inductive assumption, prone to fallacy of affirming the consequent, like any induction. In this latter case, one is arguing from Bayesian probability and saying, it seems prima facie improbable, for example, that the eye could have evolved, and was not created. My response is that it depends on one’s intuitions, and these derive from one’s assumptions. So, if one assumes, ipso facto, that God exists, one will no doubt see his design in things. And if one assumes, ipso facto, that he doesn’t exist, one will no doubt see the “design” as explicable, at some stage, by a mere mechanism. So I acknowledge that my interlocutor was right about how our prior commitments lead us to assume different types of explanation. However, I disagree on the notion that these prior commitments must assume intentional design prima facie, or that it is the preferable explanation, and that we will never find a mechanistic explanation, for evolutionary oddities, or that a materialistic presumption is somehow ruled out prima facie.To be charitable, one must see which explanation best predicts the type of thing one is seeing. In one case, one explanation would be that God wanted bacteria to have flagella, and designed them meticulously. In the other case, one would say that some virus injected a cell, and the cell erroneously copied the DNA and produced instead a motile flagellum-bearing cell rather than another virus with an injector. Which of these explanations seems prima facie more probable? It strikes me that saying “God did it” in this case is really bringing up further questions, like, “Why did he want to do that?”, whereas the materialist explanation seems to bring up no further questions, just as one would not ask “why did the dice land on a double-six?” - They just did.The trick here is that "Why" is ambiguous. It can mean "For what goal or purpose?" and it can mean "Due to what previous cause?". It is this intuitive difference in the style of explanation one accepts that leads one to prefer ID or evolution. 6.That genetic mutations always destroy or remove information.This was a bald assertion, and is demonstrably false. As pointed out, certain genetic diseases exist because of the addition of codons, and meiosis involves the merging of two sets of DNA, and meiosis is one of the mechanisms of mutuation - indeed, probably the main mechanism. Hence evolution can occur because of adding, removing or changing quantities of DNA codons or information, provided that the changes have some effect as to the animal’s fitness for survival. 7.That natural evils are not evil, because no free-will or evil choices are made by animals.This observation is probably correct, however, animals are subjects of morality, in that they have moral worth. So their suffering is morally significant.Therefore, if they are subjected to wanton cruelty or other futile forms of suffering, they are morally significant as sufferers, and hence, as subjects of some ethical concerns. One such ethical concern might be the question as to why God allows them to suffer.The quickest and strongest response, in my view, is that it is so they can evolve into better creatures. No other response will suffice. My interlocutor at this point suggested that that is a bad argument, and I agree, but since I am, as it were, playing “God’s advocate”, I must stop there and not explore further lest I find the answer inadequate to support theism.The point I was making was it seems, prima facie, that theism and evolution are not incompatible, and that evolution might help theism.That’s all.Again, for reasons of time limits, it’s not practical to go into too much detail about whether an argument is really good or not. 8.The purpose of the talk was primarily to reassure theists that it’s not necessarily the case that evolution is a threat to theism.You have to first demonstrate that it is a threat, and I believe that I have shown that evolution is not necessarily a threat, particularly if the theist opts for Deism.This means that arguments such as ID which assume that evolution is a threat, are starting from false assumptions (that ‘designed-looking’ things can’t appear by accident), and hence, their entire argument becomes a moot point (whether evolution occurs). If evolution supports theism, as I argued above, then it follows that everything that has evolved might also have been intentionally pre-designed to do so by God, and allowed to manifest through evolution. Etc. So my point is that an argument can be made for the compatibility of evolution and God, and that theists are barking up the wrong tree by attacking evolution; they should be attacking neuropsychology. 9. As for designed-looking things appearing spontaneously, I mentioned the clock experiment in which a mathematician showed that random clock parts can and will spontaneously evolve into working clocks, given just the requirement that non-working clocks ‘die out’. Moreover, chaos theory shows that certain convergence points of statistical randomness, called ‘strange attractors’, exist. Just this fact alone is sufficient to explain a large proportion of the apparent order that we see in the universe. Indeed, whorls like galaxy shapes or flowers follow from fractal mathematics. Likewise, crystals are organised and structured in a manner that looks like intentional artifice, but quantum mechanics explains it away. Design, then, could just be an illusion. So to assume design instead of evolution is an assumption. It is stronger to argue instead that God just created the laws of evolution. 10.That evolution is a tautology, and predictions from it derive from a mere tautology. I am not sure that this is a criticism. Many tautologies are useful, e.g. I saw three tigers enter my forest, and now I see two leaving (3-2=1).That tells me I ought to watch out. I go to the shop and buy something and pay $5, and the item I bought had a price tag of $3. I get $1 change.That tells me something: that I’ve been short-changed (5-3=2). So tautologies are not necessarily bad. As for whether evolution is a tautology (“Things survive because they’re fit to survive”) - that’s neither here nor there regarding my argument. My argument was that it’s apparently coherent with the theory of evolution to be a deist, and that evolution may help answer the problem of natural evils. What exactly the theory of evolution says, and how its logic is structured, doesn’t really matter for my argument. Moreover, I don’t think evolution has the logical structure of a formal tautology. I think it has the logical structure of a predictive model, ie “Things will probably survive if they have a feature which will probably lead them to survive”.This is not virtus dormitiva, it’s statistics. Moreover, the claim is more like this:“Things will probably live long enough to breed if they have a feature which will probably lead them to survive”. Since it’s a probabilistic argument, it means that it’s Bayesian, and hence, bidirectionally implicative, or inductive.That means that it cannot, by definition, be a tautology.
  35. 35. 11.That we might just not know God’s plans for evil, and that is the better response to the problem of evil. I address this criticism in my PhD research.The reply, briefly, is that this argument, called Skeptical Theism or Appeal to Omniscience, is simply that if we cannot claim to know why God allows evil, we cannot appeal to theodicy, which relies on providing an exact answer as to why God allows evil. IE you can either appeal to skepticism as to our ability to understand God’s purposes, OR you can appeal to a theodicy such as free-will, but not both. If you appeal to skepticism, moreover, you lose the claim to know that God wanted to create the universe and did do so for good purposes. So skeptical theism actually costs you too much in the end; it costs you theodicy and cosmology, which are the strongest theistic arguments. 12.That I have not acknowledged how other religions cope with things such as evolution or the problem of evil. Hinduism, in particular, has replies to these. My reply was yes, I acknowledge that, but I am primarily addressing Abrahamic religions as they seem to be the ones complaining about evolution,