Why Is Evolution So Widely Believed?

by Tim Barnett

A common question which often comes up after I give my talk on Evolution and Christianity is: “If there are so many good scientific arguments against evolution, why is it so widely believed?”

I recently came across an article by Dr. William Lane Craig where he responds to this exact question. In his brilliant response he make two key observations which I will highlight here.

First, Dr. Craig points outs that the mainstream acceptance of the theory of evolution is not for scientific reasons; it’s accepted for philosophically reasons. More specifically, a commitment to methodological naturalism. He says,

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“I think the short answer is that it’s the best naturalistic theory we’ve got. If, as a result of methodological naturalism, the pool of live explanatory options is limited to naturalistic hypotheses, then, at least until recently, the neo-Darwinian theory of biological evolution driven by the mechanisms of genetic mutation and natural selection was, as Alvin Plantinga puts it, the only game in town.” [Emphasis Mine]

Methodological naturalism simply means that scientists must assume philosophical naturalism–only nature causes exists–when doing science. Of course, this assumption immediately excludes all supernatural explanations a priori–before looking at the evidence. Therefore, for anyone holding to methodological naturalism, creationism and intelligent design are not on the table as possible explanations. Even if the all the scientific evidence pointed away from evolution and towards intelligent design, they would still need to cling to the theory of evolution because it’s the only possible naturalistic explanation…


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