Evolution and the False Dichotomy

One of my favorite theist arguments is an attempt to discredit evolution (or even science, as a whole) to prove the existence of God.  This is one of the most commonly used, and also most uninformed arguments theists make.  The argument goes something like this –

“I can disprove evolution because of (insert pseudo-scientific or uninformed argument X), therefore, God exists.”

Of course, there is a host of problems with this argument.  First, there is no substantial evidence to disprove evolution.  It is a scientific fact, and provides the best explanation for the (for a lack of a better term) evolution, of species through natural selection, mutation, speciation, etc.  Oftentimes, theists will cherry pick  an animal whose characteristics seem out-of-place with its surroundings.  Another example is the “complexity of the eye” argument, also known as irreducible complexity.  Neither of these, or any other arguments work, period.

Second, evolution and creationism are a false dichotomy.  A false dichotomy is a type of fallacy in which the arguer suggests that there are only two options to explain something, when other options actually exist.  Theists assume that, if evolution is disproved, that God must be the answer to the question – an argument from ignorance.  They assume.  In reality, if evolution was disproved, there is a multitude of possibilities.  Hell, it could be aliens.  That is no more outlandish (or unjustified) than an ethereal ghost flying around watching everyone, deciding the fate of world on a whim.  By assuming God, the only thing a theist has proven is that he/she has a lack of imagination.

Third, and most important in my opinion, is proof positive that the theist making this argument does not even understand evolution, which in no way attempts to explain the origins of the universe or the beginnings of life on Earth.  The only thing evolution explains is how living things change across successive generations, in an attempt to adapt and survive.  In other words, evolution does not explain how life began, nor does it try to.  There are other concepts addressing the beginnings of life on Earth, such as abiogenesis.  Therefore, creation and evolution are not diametric opposites, and could, in theory, coexist.  That’s where theists invented intelligent design.  But that is for another day… 🙂

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