In their zeal to defend
evolutionists often make unfounded
and fallacious charges and
accusations. Following is the
problem with three of those attacks.
Misguided attack on reason:
The only alternative to life arising via some form of evolution, is that all life originated from God. There is no other alternative. Thus, in support of the godless theory of evolution, atheists and evolutionists alike tend to use the argument "there's no evidence of God", and its variant "there's no evidence for x" - for any "x" they don’t believe. They don’t believe in God, so they say there’s no evidence of God. They don’t believe in an intelligent designer, so they say there’s no evidence for intelligent design. They don’t believe in miracles, so they say there’s no evidence of miracles, and some will foolishly go so far as to say there's no evidence of the miracle worker Jesus. What are we to make of such allegations?
For the Christian, it strains credulity that anyone can say that there is no evidence for God, when evidence is literally all around. Every created thing is a testimony to God. And it's not only scripture that says that (John 1.3), but a little reflection on what British cosmologist and astronomer royal Martin Rees considers the "preeminent mystery" - why anything exists rather than nothing - will quickly lead one to the conclusion that every created thing ultimately owes its existence to something else. That statement of course does not apply to God, because God is not a created being, he's the eternally existing, uncreated creator. This argument has been formalized as the argument from contingency and basically states there are two types of existence: contingent existence and necessary existence. What we see around us and above us - all of it - need not exist, and thus owes its existence to something else. Thus all things in the visible world are contingent things. Again, the only exception to this is God - whose very nature is existence, and so his name "I Am" (Ex 3.14) is most appropriate; and his existence is not contingent, but necessary. God necessarily exists because that is the nature of God.
This necessity of God's existence is also the basis for the ontological argument for God. For if you properly understand the concept of God, you understand God exists, because existence is a fundamental characteristic of God, without which he cannot be God. Put another way a God without existence, is not truly God. Thus eminent philosopher Alvin Plantiga argues if you merely concede the concept of God is possible, you have conceded he exists. God, the necessary being, is thus the source of everything that is not necessary, or contingent. So all you need to do is look around to see evidence of God. Every created thing is evidence of his work, and thus of his existence.
Apart from everything that exists, given the amount of evidence in all the various fields of study that can be presented (Astronomy, Biology, physics, information theory, etc.), one is tempted to say the people who state there's no evidence of God are simply lying. But if the charge is not true, that's a type of ad hominem fallacy (which I cover further below) which should be avoided. Even when it is true, making such a charge drags you down into the nasty business of mud slinging and name calling, a place a Christian definitely doesn't want to be. It's much better to demonstrate this is very a misguided attack on reason, for reason cannot tolerate the duplicity, deception or ignorance inherent in the claim of "no evidence." Thus the better approach is to reveal the duplicity, deception or ignorance of the one making such a claim via a few deftly placed questions.
The first, and most important question to ask when challenged with the "no evidence" objection is "what kind of evidence are you willing to accept?" This is especially important if the allegation is made that there is no "verifiable" evidence. When such a statement is made, it typically means there is no evidence you can produce that will meet the unbeliever's standard for “verifiable.” This is an illicit shifting of the burden of proof. Regardless of whether they include "verifiable" or not, once you require them to specify what kind of evidence they will accept, you have immediately placed them on the horns of a tri-lemma. What options do they have for a response? They can state either:
1. There is no evidence that can
If they answer with #1, (there's nothing you can show them that will persuade them that God exists), you expose that they, like atheist evangelist Richard Dawkins have already made up their minds and are not looking for evidence, and in fact cannot be convinced. They may want to argue, or disparage creationists, or have other like intentions, but their underlying motive is not a true search for evidence. The sooner you get that on the table the better, so you can stop wasting your time.
If they answer with #2, (I don't know what evidence I'll accept) the question to the challenger becomes, "how can you know what I will present is evidence or not, and what basis would you have for rejecting it if you don't know what type of evidence is in fact evidence?" For the "I'll let you know what I'll accept" response, ask "what assurance can you give me that the evidence I give you will be treated as evidence, and not dismissed without serious consideration, since you can't tell me what you consider as evidence?" From these the evidence-denier can either expose themselves as really being in camp 1, (nothing will convince them, and they have no intention of treating any evidence you provide fairly), or they can move to camp 3, stating some particular, usually spectacular evidence that would convince them.
If they respond with #3 - some type of supernatural event is required, follow with, why would that be evidence of God? Again, they can only expose themselves as really being in camp 1 - a miracle wouldn't really convince them (as the resurrection doesn't convince some people per Jesus' parable - Luke 16.30-31). Alternately they can specify what kind of miracle would be persuasive, and thus verify that miracles are indeed a type of evidence for God. Since God has already done all types of miracles, no doubt whatever type of miracle is suggested, a similar miracle recorded in the Bible can be referenced.
Notice at this point you have already defeated the objection. You've either identified their objection is a smoke screen, and they're not really looking for evidence; or you've them moved from there is no evidence, to them identifying what evidence they would accept, to having a reason to examine the bible for evidence of those miracles. If their request is at all reasonable and not irrational (like the request for God to produce a square circle which is logically impossible so is an invalid request to begin with), then you (perhaps with the help of a search engine) will be able to find some type of examples.
Once they show their true colors on whether or not they're really looking for evidence of God you will likely run into the next objection.
A sobering thought for anyone who considers it seriously.
Duane Caldwell | posted