Evolution is a godless process

Jerry Coyne has a great post up today over at WEIT about the absolute absence of evidence of any sort of teleology in evolution. This apparently gets some believers up in arms because they want to believe that humans are the apex of evolution, that God put us here on purpose because otherwise life is pointless and they might as well jump off a bridge (must be depressing to be a believer). I recommend the full article here, but here are some quotes that jumped out at me:
As NCSE Executive Director Eugenie Scott recounts, the words “unsupervised” and “impersonal” led to pushback from the faithful:
As one Christian said to me, defining evolution as “unsupervised” and “impersonal” implied to many Americans that “God had nothing to do with it and life has no meaning.” Reflecting these public concerns, two distinguished theologians, Cornell’s Huston Smith and Notre Dame’s Alvin Plantinga, wrote a polite letter to NABT’s board of directors, asking it to delete the two words “unsupervised” and “impersonal”.
In my classes, however, I still characterize evolution and selection as processes lacking mind, purpose, or supervision.  Why? Because, as far as we can see, that’s the truth.  Evolution and selection operate precisely as you’d expect them to if they were not designed by, or steered by, a deity—especially one who is omnipotent and benevolent.  And, more important, the completely material nature of selection is of great historical and intellectual importance.  After all, Darwin’s greatest achievement was the explanation of organismal “design” by a completely naturalistic process, replacing the mindful, purposeful, and god-directed theory that preceded it.
Evolution and selection lack any sign of divine guidance.  Earlier teleological theories based on divine or spiritual guidance, such as orthogenesis, have fallen by the wayside.  Natural selection is a cruel and wasteful process.  99% of the species that ever lived went extinct without leaving descendants.  There is no sign that evolution always goes in a fixed direction.  Do primates always get bigger brains? There is some suggestion that orangutan populations evolved smaller ones.  Fleas lost their wings; tapeworms lost nearly everything when evolving a parasitic lifestyle.  There is no sign that the goal of evolution was Homo sapiens (if that were true, why the virtual extinction of Neandertals or the robust australopithecines)?

Here's the key phrase, to my mind: "Evolution and selection operate precisely as you’d expect them to if they were not designed by, or steered by, a deity". That is precisely the case with a great many things: the vast, cold, and empty universe; the mass suffering that has been intrinsic to nature long before humans arrived; the aimless wastefulness of evolution; the 190,000+ years of human existence which lacked any modern concept of a deity; and of course, the complete lack of religious homogeneity among geographically isolated cultures.

No matter how you slice it, the world is precisely as we'd expect it to be if God does not exist. Either God doesn't exist, or he's deliberately hidden himself with painstaking attention detail – in which case he might as well not exist anyway. 


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