Atheists who can defend their view—and those who can’t

Blind faith: The most striking point of agreement he [Gordy Slack] saved for last. Are evolutionists the unbiased, white-lab-coat objective empiricists seeking knowledge and finding evolution to be the clearest explanation? No; many are blind followers, just like the ID [intelligent design] people claim. He has empirical evidence for this.

“A few years ago I covered a conference of the American Atheists in Las Vegas. I met dozens of people there who were dead sure that evolutionary theory was correct though they didn’t know a thing about adaptive radiation, genetic drift, or even plain old natural selection. They came to their Darwinism via a commitment to naturalism and atheism not through the study of science…But I’m afraid they’re wrong to call themselves skeptics unencumbered by ideology. Many of them are best described as zealots.”

My two cents

Phillip Johnson and intelligent design profile...
Phillip Johnson and intelligent design profiled in the East Bay Express (Photo credit: Raymond Yee)

Adaptive radiation? Classic! I’ll have to remember this one and ask the man-on-the-street-atheist how much he knows about that. It would be an interesting to do a survey of atheists to quantify what proportion of them can define (and defend) such concepts as genetic drift.

I think of a person in my workplace, who once raised some point about human anatomy, physiology, or psychology—but had the audacity to ask what the “evolutionary” purpose was of that phenomenon. To me, that was a textbook example of fitting the evidence (the phenomenon) to the theory (evolution).

I assumed this atheist would have had a rational and considered understanding of evolution, philosophical naturalism, and the philosophy of science (surely this isn’t just the by-product of militant atheists on Yahoo! Answers). But the more I talk to this co-worker, the more I realise the office atheist isn’t very considered. Rather, I’m seeing a distinct possibility of anti-Christian zealotry as described in the quote.

Quote source

Slack, G cited in Creation-Evolution Headlines. (2008). Evolutionist Learns from “Neo-Creationists”. Available: http://creationsafaris.com/crev200806.htm. Last accessed 14th Dec 2013.

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