Evolution and God

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Sky Pilot's picture


"a properly evolved society would be completely vegan and would care for the animals"

How are you coming along evolving a couple more stomachs to digest grass like cows do? Better get busy. A few thousand years will be here before you know it.

Sheldon's picture
Does your deity need a power

Does your deity need a power source? Special pleading then..

" stars existing is extremely unlikely in a ‘randomly configured’ universe"

Er look up at the sky, they already exist, you're claiming they can't in a universe like the one we see.....unless a deity using ,,magic intervenes, what objective evidence can you demonstrate for such a deity?

"a properly evolved society would be completely vegan and would care for the animals - we are still savages -"

What would that say about a deity that created parasitic organisms, debilitating and disfiguring diseases, and predatory species that eat their prey alive?

" a few 1000 more years of evolution should sort things out though "

You clearly don't understand evolution at all then, and a few thousand years is an irrelevantly small timescale in evolutionary terms anyway.

Cognostic's picture
@DAN: a properly evolved

@DAN: a properly evolved society would be completely vegan and would care for the animals.

Properly evolved? Now you are playing god with wild assertions and nothing factual at all to back them up. Life feeds on life. Just as you are food for the bacteria that will eventually consume you, we must consume life to live as well. What you eat really makes no difference at all as long as it was once living and as long as you are getting the nutrients you need.

Peurii's picture

What purpose would one have with intelligence and happiness? Maybe the "god" is playing interstellar Minecraft and it needs iron for a pickaxe. We can't know. It's "god", I'm sure it could find a way to extract the materials needed from this universe into another. How do we know that it's an inefficient way to create such materials? Like you said yourself, if the "god" is not omnipotent, that allows for a certain level of incompetence.

Is conciousness not also a property if our universe? Does it have meaning outside our universe? I'd say happiness and intelligence have no meaning outside the universe either. Intelligence is our way of furthering genes, like the epic claws are for the bears. And happiness, like taste, are evolutionary ques that we are doing things in the furtherance of our genes.

So we as humans are so competent, that we will connect all creatures that have the level of sentience capable of happiness into a matrix that creates happiness, but this "god" couldn't manage to do it? What is happiness anyway? Is it not our response to overcoming adversity in a world of suffering? If we would be connected to a matrix creating hedonistic pleasure, would we really be happy? This is the thing that puts me off with images of heaven too. A place of total happiness is not a place for humans. That would make life literally meaningless.

Devans99's picture


It’s interesting to place oneself in gods shoes - a vast intelligence I’d assume is especially prone to boredom - so a complex game of Minecraft can’t be ruled out - this huge mind would need huge quantities of information to satisfy it, hence the size of the universe. Information processing could be God’s form of happiness, his dopamine.

As far as creating heavy elements, I’m not a physicist but I’d guess stronger gravity would give bigger, higher pressure stars which fuse new elements much faster than our universe is doing. Also not spreading the elements out so much (less metric expansion of space from the Big Bang) would help with collecting elements.

I think consciousness is just a property of information arranged in the right way - it could exist outside this universe.

As far as the human race achieving utopia, it is possible and we are making exponential progress towards it. I think God might argue that evolution is substantially easier to implement than design and gives substantially more interesting and diverse life as a result.

I agree we will as a human race never attain full perfection and 100% happiness. On our own we are miserable, together we have clashes of interest, hence the impossibility of heaven. But with lots of time on our side we can get as close as possible...

David Killens's picture
There you go again, putting

There you go again, putting the cart before the horse. There is no "goal" or even a quota to produce heavy elements, they are a product of a process. Did you know that there is a planet composed of diamond? Literally one big rock, covered in graphite. Or that the production of gold requires two neutron stars colliding?

It appears you have this mental image of what the future will be, with humans "evolving" into some superior form. I have bad news for you, this human body is a seriously flawed template. For example, the brain and heart are on two different levels. The heart should not have to pump so hard to get blood to the brain. The mammalian birth process is inefficient, eggs deliver a much higher efficiency. There is a very long list, I have touched on just two.

I also strongly suggest you do some reading about cosmology, how planets and stars form. Your lack of knowledge is apparent. And ignorance leads to incorrect conclusions.

Peurii's picture

I'm not a physicist either, so you could be right on your claims that the system in place could be more efficient in generating heavy elements. But the same is true of your assertion. Couldn't this "god" have done a better job on the happiness department, if that is indeed it's goal? I mean he's done a pretty bad job seeing as suffering is everywhere in bilogical life.

I'm sorry, but you are making a lot of assumptions about the contents of the mind of "god'. Maybe the mind of "god" would be "happier" when there is no activity instead of information processing. If you listen to physicists today, most believe that eventually the whole universe is going cold and continues expanding eternally. So maybe our spec of an universe annoyed god, and he wanted it to be still, so it set about the big bang in order for it to be still again.

And does happiness really maximize information processing? Wouldn't strife and suffering maximize information processing in biological minds, as they try to find ways of staying alive? So maybe the point of our universe is suffering, and not happiness. Maybe this "god" is somewhere stroking it's mandibles looking at all the pain of ants getting squashed etc.

I hope that every sentient being would be happy too. But constant happiness makes happiness meaningless. I mean, our whole history has been a big pursuit of chasing happiness and leisure, and we have made great strides in all sorts of things, but are we really happier than the hunter-gatherers of 10k years ago?

Sheldon's picture
"At the rate human progress

"At the rate human progress is going we should evolve into some sort of near perfect utopian society is short order (on evolutionary timescales)"

You're conflating two entirely different processes that have nothing to do with each other.

Species evolution through natural selection is what makes it far more likely that those species and individuals that are most suited to their environment will reproduce their DNA.

Human societies evolve through human ideas, and social change can happen on a vastly shorter timescale than biological evolution. Social change can have negative as well as positive factors acting on it as well, so it's not a non stop positive progression. Nazism was a very quick sociopolitical change, brought about by multiple factors affecting Germany from around the globe. Including things outside of their direct control like the great depression brought on by the Wall St crash.

"So borrowing a maths term, evolution, in the limit, on this or any other planet, tends to utopia and universal happiness - in no way incompatible with a benevolent god."

Thats not mathematical and that's not species evolution, and that claim would also encompasses a benevolent deity with limitless choice using or at least allowing things like Nazism in its process. So no outcome from a plan by any deity involving the Holocaust (as one example) could rationally be claimed to indicate a benevolent deity.

Your thinking I'm afraid is very muddled.

If a perfectly benevolent deity existed and has limitless choice why need suffering occur at all?

Theodicy has plagued religious apologists for millennia so don't feel too bad. However do learn the difference between species evolution through natural selection and social change. They're two very different processes driven by entirely different mechanisms. Only one of them, species evolution, is truly an entirely insentient process, and therefore unaware of and indifferent to suffering.

Sapporo's picture
Evolution is not needed as

Evolution is not needed as evidence against the existence of a benevolent god.

The lack of evidence for god is adequate.

Peurii's picture
Yes, but that's boring. It's

Yes, but that's boring. It's much more interesting to cede the prime mover argument for the sake of fun and talk about the conjecture that comes after that.

Devans99's picture


Suffering of biological life is due to our early stage in evolution - as time goes by suffering reduces. We are better off now than we were 1000 years ago, 100 years, 10 years ago. Admittedly we have the odd blip like WW2 but on average things are improving continually.

Take the process forward - exponential progress - the singularity - and God’s choice of evolution will be proven correct in time. Anyhow, I don’t believe there was any option for creating life apart from evolution - seriously humans are too complex even for a God to design; the choice facing God was evolution or no life at all.

Re the expanding universe, it has a track record of not expanding in a predictable manner (cosmic inflation), so assumptions about its continued expansion are risky. Awesome amount of trouble to go to for a cold, dead universe. Maybe we get a Big Crunch or time wraps around to save us from the boring heat death? Can’t imagine a heat death universe is any use to anyone.

Agreed Suffering creates information but low quality information. Once you’ve heard one scream they all sound the same. People suffering don’t create art, culture, science, the sort of stuff that would interest a big brained deity. Also God creating the universe for the purpose of sadistic pleasure would make God evil and there are various arguments against this.


Clearly there will be temporary departures from the trend of human progress, world war 2 for example you pointed out. But I’m only claiming that society improves with time ON AVERAGE - that’s all we need for society to evolve into a most excellent form.

As to God allowing Nazi Germany to happen; God could not have stopped it. I read an estimate that there are 10^24 star systems in the universe, but there have only been 4 x 10^20 seconds elapsed since the Big Bang. So God has had only a fraction of a millisecond since the Big Bang to inspect each star system, not enough time to pay personal attention to each system.

Peurii's picture
We think we are better off

We think we are better off than our predecessors. Materially we are, of course, but when it comes to happiness, that is not so straight forward. Research says that feelings of happiness are closely linked to our expectations. So a poor serf in the middle ages could be as happy about his new spade, than a bank exec. about her new BMW.

If this "god" is more incompetent than humans in improving it's creation, I don't understand why insist on calling it god at all. Gods interfere with the world. If this one doesn't, it's an improvement for sure, but why bother with it? I still don't understand why we should assume it would be interested in us, or why such a creature would feel biological emotions like boredom. Or how we could ascertain that it likes art more than gore. By definition it is not human.

Maybe we do live in such a simulation run by some teenage alien, but at this point I'm unconvincet and apathetic to the simulator's existance.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Dan - Take the process

Dan - Take the process forward - exponential progress - the singularity - and God’s choice of evolution will be proven correct in time.

The notion that progress can and has been measured makes the needle on my skeptic alarm jump; the notion that it has been done and the best fit for the plot is an exponential makes my skeptic alarm explode.

David Killens's picture
@ Dan

@ Dan

"Clearly there will be temporary departures from the trend of human progress, world war 2 for example you pointed out. But I’m only claiming that society improves with time ON AVERAGE - that’s all we need for society to evolve into a most excellent form."

And what was that mechanism behind the improvement of the human race? It is the steady advancement of science, not magic evolution. Dentistry, medicine, drugs, all have improved the human condition, and they are the result of science.

You are attributing advancement to something else, a false conclusion.

Here is how we test your hypothesis. Name just one human condition that has improved. Then explain why. For example, we have less major wars because we have learned major wars are bad, and thus diplomacy has become more rational and effective. Life expectancy... medicine and hygiene.

There is no magic evolution as you describe, instead it is the steady advancement of science because of the hard work of many people.

So I have laid out why the human condition has improved. But you are making this wild jump to " that’s all we need for society to evolve into a most excellent form".

Please explain that mechanism.

TheBlindWatchmaker's picture
survival of the fittest is

survival of the fittest is essentially just what best adapts to its environment, nothing more really.

and the argument of the universe having been finely tuned is laughable.

Cognostic's picture
And how many times must that

And how many times must that be said before it sinks in. Twdeedle dee actually thinks he is making some points.

Devans99's picture


Happiness is linked to expectations - agreed. We can’t fix that but neither can god. We can still however make our lives increasingly comfortable in other ways.

Seeing things from God’s perspective helps us to understand the universe. ‘Great minds think alike’ the saying goes. My suspicion is all minds think alike. We all agree on right and wrong, maths and logic. I believe we can read enough of God’s mind to be able to speculate on some of the basic design principles he used for the universe.

But first we have to be sure we know the basics of God’s mind else our speculation will miss the mark. A key aspect of God’s mind is whether he is benevolent towards other intelligent life or not. If he is benevolent we can expect that to be reflected in the design of the universe.

Which brings me right back to the start of my argument - I argue evolution is benevolent - thus God is benevolent - thus we can expect the universe to be benevolent.

With a benevolent God we can even go so far as to allow the possibility of some sort of afterlife; not the traditional heaven/hell fairy tail but something more grounded in reality. Eternal Return and Quantum Immortality are two possibilities that come to mind.

Peurii's picture
I don't know what to say. I

I don't know what to say. I've tried to point out with my counter interpretations how your hunches are arbitrary, anthropocentric and at point dubiously teleological. I could just as easily claim that this god created the world to peep at people sitting on the toilet.

If you want to believe in your god, go ahead. Atleast it sounds like your god doesn't want you to kill anyone, so that's an improvement to most gods.

arakish's picture


...why would a kind god...

Where did you come up with this big pile of horse hoowhee. Read this: https://unpleasantgod.ffrf.org/#/ And ALL of its links (each word).

At the rate human progress is going we should evolve into some sort of near perfect utopian society in short order (on evolutionary timescales).

Can you please provide hypotheses for this? Obviously, you do not understand Evolution. It is a slow process taking at least thousands of years, if not millions. On the timescale of Evolution, we won't reach a utopian society, ever. And if we do, then it is at least another 10 to 100 million years down the road. And that is just an educated guess...

So borrowing a maths term, evolution, in the limit, on this or any other planet, tends to utopia and universal happiness...

Need more input. Hypotheses, please.

...in no way incompatible with a benevolent god.

Again read this: https://unpleasantgod.ffrf.org/#/ Additionally, read that Bible of yours. And I mean REALLY read it. Don't just Cherry Pick. Use critical thinking and rationality when reading it.

Personally I think god is a pragmatist with limited powers; creation using pure random brute force of evolution is achievable and was always his plan.

Need more input. Please provide evidence. And remember: If it cannot be verified or falsified, it ain't evidence.

Creation using design is much more difficult and probably requires some sort of omnipotent god of the style of the major religions.

Desgin? Yeah right. One statement on design. Look between your legs. What is up with that? An entertainment console and a sewage system?

Now I am off to read the other replies. I may have just reiterated some.


arakish's picture
Okay, read the thread.

Okay, read the thread.

I think I know where your pragmatist gods are: they are Tin-Man's Great Cosmic Bunnies who keep producing multiple universes every time they drop a pellet.


Devans99's picture


Look at the improvements to society over the last 2000 years: Democracy, division of labour, industrialisation, computers, the internet. We’ve made huge strides in timescales very short by evolutionary standards. As Ray Kurzweil says, we are heading exponentially towards a technological singularity. Utopia is within grasp.

BTW I am not a Christian.

Peurii's picture
This is called the whiggish

This is called the whiggish interpretation of history, where the future is thought to inevitably lead to a better state of things politically, scientifically and materially. This is not necessrily the case.

arakish's picture


First, let me officially welcome you to AR.

and, >-P

That is what I was going to say. Cheater. ;-)


Peurii's picture
@arakish Thanks!


Sheldon's picture
That's because political and

That's because political and social change are nothing to do with species evolution. The main driving force behind social change has been the industrial revolution, just take a look at countries where this rapid change didn't occur.

"Utopia is within grasp."

Hmm, we have an exponentially increasing population, and finite resources, I'm not that optimistic.

Devans99's picture
You have me banged to rights;

You have me banged to rights; liberal through and through.

History shows a pattern of 2 steps forward, 1 step back: we continue to make progress despite occasional missteps. So on average, over any sufficiently long period, we are progressing.

arakish's picture
Dan: History shows a pattern

Dan: History shows a pattern of 2 steps forward, 1 step back

Actually, as long as religion continues to keep the choke hold it has, it is more like 2 steps forward, 1.99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999 steps back.


Sapporo's picture
It seems that in the past,

It seems that in the past, sceptics of religion questioned the infinite power of gods in order to demonstrate they don't exist.

Now I see theists limiting the power of gods in order to demonstrate they exist.

Devans99's picture
Omnipotent is just a silly

Omnipotent is just a silly assumption to make about God.

The fault lies with our ancestors: they had a very limited understanding of the world around them so they assigned supernatural powers to god to explain the universe.

Well nowadays we know the universe follows rules and we don’t believe in magic anymore.

So for substainive discussions of God, we should limit his proposed powers to non-supernatural only. If we allow supernatural explanations we end up discussing magic and don’t get too far.

arakish's picture


So for substainive discussions of God, we should limit his proposed powers to non-supernatural only.


No evidence = no existence.

There is absolutely NO EVIDENCE of any form of deity, natural or supernatural.

Thus, no evidence = no existence.

Please provide hard empirical evidence. If it cannot be verified or falsified, it is not evidence. Otherwise, your preposterous claim is summarily dismissed.



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