What are the ramifications of the theory of evolution on spirituality? In the news lately have been stories of “hobbits”, a miniature primitive version of mankind. It has created quite a stir in the scientific community. What are the religious and spiritually minded to think about this? According to polls about 50% of Americans believe in Biblical creationism (a 10,000 year old earth beginning with Adam and Eve), about 40% believe in a version of theistic evolution (evolution guided by God), and 10% believe in naturalistic (Godless) evolution. Is there a divine influence guiding human evolution? If so, what about these hobbits…were they human? Half human? Would God create a halfway humanoid?
I think we can dismiss the idea of Biblical creationism. I know a lot of people believe in the literal version of Genesis, but do we really want to believe in something that can be easily disproved? Here is a joke…how did the kangaroo get on Noah’s Ark? The answer…the backstroke! That pretty much sums up the argument against biblical literalism in one jest…the kangaroo. Exactly how did the kangaroo (or the kola bear) travel all the way from Australia to Noah’s Ark? It’s a long swim across the ocean, not to mention avoiding being eaten by all the dinosaurs that supposedly existed at the same time before Noah’s flood. An even bigger riddle is…after the flood, why didn’t the kangaroo settle down in the Middle East around Mount Ararat? Why swim all the way back across the vast ocean, suffering starvation and dehydration, just to return to Australia? Add to them every unique species inhabiting every isolated island in the world…it’s a LONG swim from the Galapagos Islands to Mount Ararat. Maybe they paddled on logs? Rejection of absolute literalism does not mean anyone has to abandon his or her religious beliefs. It just means we have to understand that things are not so simpleminded.
The other side of the coin is the atheist’s view of reality, which dovetails nicely with the theory of evolution. It is harder to dismiss their viewpoint, based as it is on science and logic. However, I think the atheist worldview is also flawed. Evolution is a process, and that begs the question…where did the process come from? And it is not a simple process, but one that led to the development of human consciousness. Science can’t explain where this process came from, or how any of the laws of physics emerged.
The biggest challenge for skeptical materialists is the anthropic principle. In the past December 2008 issue of Discover Magazine was a fascinating article: Science’s Alternative to an Intelligent Creator: the Multiverse Theory
The article concerns itself with how science can’t explain away the fine-tuning of the laws of nature, which allowed life to evolve. The chances of every law of nature being “just right” to permit evolution is pretty remote if not virtually impossible. The article suggests there is a multiverse, an unlimited number of alternate universes separate from ours, each having their own different laws of nature. And out of this infinite number of universes, we reside in one where all the laws have (by accident) come together “just right”. Virtually every other universe would be a dead zone incapable of evolution. The multiverse concept is a remarkable idea. So remarkable that it is hard to believe. And so far, there is zero proof in a multiverse…I call it science’s Noah’s Ark. The idea of an infinite number of universes is an act of faith. Not too different then believing in God is a matter of faith.
Other then a Multiverse, what else could explain why we exist? Another explanation could be pure coincidence. It could be just chance at work. What are the odds that a few different types of quarks emerging from the Big Bang could eventually configure itself into sentience? The odds would seem almost infinitely remote. It seems the only way life came into existence is by some form of infinity…an infinite number of universes, an infinitely small chance of pure luck, or an infinite God. All of these ideas require faith in the unknown.
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Hamlet