The knee jerk reaction of any Evolutionist reading this will be, “Of course not, Evolution is science not religion.” However this claim presupposes that a belief in General Evolution theory is not at its heart religious in nature and it is a presupposition that is questionable given the religious like devotion of many of its adherents. This claim also limits the definition of faith in a manner deliberately intended to exclude evolution by definition. Before continuing let we need to define our terms so as to eliminate ambiguity.
Evolution refers to the evolutionary view of origins and not just decent with modification and natural selection. Basically the evolutionary view of origins the idea that we came into existence by totally naturalistic means as opposed to being created directly by God. This view includes the idea of common decent and specifically that man evolved from a common ancestor with apes. It can also include the entire Big Bang to man view of origins. The word “Evolution” is being used to refer to the entire evolutionary view of origins so as to prevent needless wordiness.
Evolutionist refers to anyone who believes in Evolution.
Faith can be most objectively defined as a belief in something without direct evidence.
Now there are two types of faith: rational and irrational.
A ration faith is one founded on evidence as seen from the perspective of the person holding the faith. You have faith that a chair will hold your weight because it has done so in the past. However you have no proof that no one has tampered with that chair making it incapable of holding your weight, so sitting in a chair is by definition an act of faith be it a rational one.
An irrational faith is one contrary to evidence as seen from the perspective of the person holding the faith. You can have faith that a chair will hold your weight despite the fact that you can see that someone has tampered with the chair, so sitting in such a chair is by definition an act of faith and an irrational one at that.
The point is that a rational faith while lacking direct evidence is based on trust in the source that faith is based on. For example you can have faith that what a person is telling you is true without evidence because you have past evidence that what they tell you is true. In this case your faith is in the person giving you the information.
The reason for mentioning this is that in many cases where faith is contrasted to science, all faith is made to look irrational when it is not. The question here is not faith vs. science but weather or not a belief in Evolution is ultimately based on faith and no effort will be made to determine if that faith is rational or not.
So give our definition of faith is Evolution based on the believing in things for which there is direct evidence.
The knee jerk reaction of any Evolutionist at this point will say. “See we have empirical evidence so Evolution is not faith based.” Aside from the fact that Creationists also have empirical evidence in support of Biblical Creation, the question is how do you know there is empirical evidence in support of Evolution?
Before you start on the unusual Evolutionist rant that there is overwhelming evidence for Evolution, honestly ask yourself how do know there is? Have you seen it all? Have you even seen a significant fraction of it? Even if have seen some it have ever been able to study it personally? Have you ever seen a single important fossil in the ground where it was found?
The simple fact is that most people have never seen any of the evidence claimed as support for Evolution including scientists. Even those that have examined actual fossils and other evidence have only personally looked at only a small fraction of what is claimed even if the fraction is considered an important find.
Even if you have seen some photographs, reproductions or even actual evidence, did you ever see it where and how was found? If not how do you know it’s not a fake. Hoaxes have occurred from time to time and in some cases the hoax was not discovered for decades, and maybe not at all. How do you know a picture you see is not CGI or some other form of photographic fakery?
Have you ever even read any of the original papers on any major or minor discoveries? For example the age of the Earth is often sighted as 4.5 billion years, but few people have ever read the original paper Age of Meteorites and the Earth by Claire Patterson 1956 on which that figure is based. If you did you would see the 4.5 billion year figure is only valid if the Earth formed by accretion into an initial molten state and that if it was formed any other way the 4.5 billion year figure is at best a maximum possible age. The fact is that most people, even geologists have never read this paper and so they do not know this detail but they spout they 4.5 billion year figure as absolute fact anyhow.
So if no one has seen all of the evidence claimed for Evolution, and most people have not seen so much a fragment of bone then what direct evidence do we have that there is any real evidence for Evolution? The answer is that there is no direct evidence for any of it and thus by the above definition accepting the claim that there is evidence for Evolution is an act of faith in those claiming that there is evidence for Evolution.
Having not actually seen any of the evidence claimed for evolution the reason most people think that there is overwhelming evidence for Evolution is the way it is presented. These presentations are in museums, schools, TV programs, and on the internet. However such presentations are also one sided. Not only are alternative interpretations usually ignored, but so are any weaknesses in the interpretations presented.
So when you watch such a presentation about any aspect of Evolution be it biological, chemical, geological, or cosmological there is no direct evidence that what you are being told if factual even from the perspective of those making the presentation. There is also no direct evidence that the material is being presented without bias or deception.
As a result based on the definition we given above, accepting the content of Evolutionary presentations is an act of faith in the writers, producers, and presenters of the material in the presentation.
In many ways the validity of any evidence presented in support of Evolution comes down to the honesty, and unbiasness of the people making the discoveries, and presenting the material to people. So unless you personally know all or at least most of these people involved you have no evidence at all that they are honest, and unbiased. Even if you know them all unless you have personally followed every step of the process you have no direct evidence of the validity of any evidence presented in support of Evolution.
As a result based on the definition we given above, accepting the content of Evolution requires faith in the people if involved in the research and presentation of evidence presented in support of Evolution .
Yes contrary to how many evolutionary scientists sound, Evolution has many underlying assumptions. An assumption is something taken for granted that is another way of saying that it is something believed without direct evidence. This means that by definition believing assumption is an act of faith. This means that faith does in deed underlay Evolution.
Let’s look at some of the assumptions remember I am using Evolution to refer to the entire evolutionary view of origins for purposes of convenience, as such it refers to more than biological evolution. A complete list would be quite long so let’s look at seven big ones.
The Big Bang.
The biggest assumption about the Big Bang is that it actually happened. This assumption is made despite the fact that there is no evidence for it that is not easily explained or even predicted by other cosmologies.
The other big assumption about the Big Bang is that it is even possible. It is purely an assumption that nothing can spontaneously exploded. While the appearance and disappearance of virtual quantum particles is presented as evidence that this can happen it, these virtual quantum particles do not appearance out of nothing, but they come from and return to the zero point energy of the universe.
Dark Energy is based on the assumption of the reality of the Big Ban. In fact it was invented solely for the purpose of saving the Big bang from the reality of observation that indicates an acceleration of the expansion of the universe. It is now assumed to be real and to be the most abundant substance in the universe despite the fact that other cosmologies exist that explains the data without dark energy.
Planet Formation is assumed to occur despite no direct observation of the process and the fact that it does not predict any of the planetary arrangements of extra solar planetary systems. In fact they were total surprise to Evolutionary astronomers.
Like the Big Bang new add-on theories had to be developed to save the theory from the reality of extra solar planetary systems. These theories allow a planet found any place in a planetary system to be moved from where it would theoretically form. The point is that the theory planets forming from accretion is assumed to be true and has simply had migration theories added to save the assumed accretion theory from reality.
Abiogenesis is one of the biggest Evolutionary assumptions there is because there not only is there no evidence that it is possible, but the thermodynamics indicates that it is impossible. Yes some of the building blocks of life have been shown to be produced by chemical process but that is far shore of life. That is like saying that demonstrating that bricks can form by some type natural process that you could get an entire house by some type natural process.
The simple fact is that there is that the only evidence for abiogenesis is the assumption that it had to have occurred because the only alternative has already been rejected by another assumption. The makes a belief in abiogenesis a 100% act of faith.
Mutations can result in increases in useful genetic information.
Another assumption is that mutations can result in increases in useful genetic information. While mutation can result in new traits they always represent a loss in the total amount of usable information in the organism. In fact it is the accumulation of mutations in the individual the leads declining health and ultimately death as one ages.
The usual response is that natural selection causes the increase in useful genetic information. However natural selection is just a filter and filtering out the worst mistakes won’t increase the amount of useful genetic information. It’s like taking pure water and dumping rat poison into it. No matter how much you filter that water you will not get milk.
The simple fact is that there is no evidence that mutations can result in increases in useful genetic information, and thus accepting that it happens is nothing short of an act of faith.
Absolute Naturalism is the assumption that all phenomenon can be explained in term of the laws of nature. While starting an investigation of a given phenomenon with the assumption that it can be explained in term of the laws of nature makes sense holding to that assumption as absolute principle goes beyond reason, because there is no proof that all phenomenon can be explained in term of the laws of nature. In fact it is impossible to prove that all phenomenon can be explained in term of the laws of nature because there could always be an unknown exception.
Furthermore it is not really possible to explain all known phenomenon in term of the laws of nature. While it is possible to force a totally naturalistic explanation on all phenomenon, in many cases it involves ignoring facts or assuming that the phenomenon is some form of mental delusion.
As a result of the fact that absolute naturalism cannot be proven and that there are reasons to question this assumption believing absolute naturalism is by definition an act of faith.
God does not exist
The ultimate assumption of Evolution is that God does not exist making it an intently atheistic theory. Yes you can believe in God and Evolution as well but it is not a logically consistent position. The simple fact is that the main goal of the Evolutionary Big Bang to man view of origins is to explain our existence apart from God.
If you need proof that this is the case just look at some the reactions to Intelligent Design. If the main goal of Evolution was not to explain our existence apart from God, Intelligent Design would not be attracted the way it has even if the theory were bad. There would not have been the law suits to keep Intelligent Design out of public school curriculum.
The point is that this is an assumption and not based any evidence. Logically you can’t disprove the existence of God since it is impossible prove a universal negative. The most one could potentially do is show that God is not needed to explain the world around us. The result is that the Evolutionary assumption that God does not exist is an assumption made without evidence and thus believing this assumption is act faith.
The simple fact is that believing in the Big Bang to man evolutionary view of origins requires a lot more faith than most people tend to think. There is a lot about this view that cannot be supported by direct evidence and therefore must be accepted on faith. Faith that the evidence claimed is there and accurately interpreted, faith way evidence is presented, faith in the people and faith that all of the assumptions are right.
As result it has to be concluded that the Big Bang to man evolutionary view of origins has to be considered a faith based belief system as much and possibly more than any religion.
------ Charles Creager Jr.