DOGMATISM AND NATURAL SELECTION
Benjamin Wiker teaches science and theology at Franciscan University. His book Moral Darwinism: How We Became Hedonists gives a detailed account of Darwin's "theory of evolution" as a latter-day version of the materialist philosophy of the Greek thinker Epicurus and his Roman counterpart, Lucretius.
Darwin followed these two philosophers in writing in detail about such unscientific ideas as:
1 Nature is a system that regulates itself.
2 Among living creatures, there is a merciless struggle for life and this leads to evolution by means of natural selection.
3 It should be avoided to give a "teleological" (the idea that they came into being for a purpose) account of nature and living things.
What is striking is that these ideas are not scientific. Neither Epicurus nor Lucretius conducted scientific experiments or made observations; they just used logic completely in line with their own wishes. Moreover, their logic had an interesting starting point. Epicurus rejected the existence of a Creator, saying that it entailed belief in an afterlife, for which reason he felt himself circumscribed. He clearly stated that his whole philosophy developed from his unwillingness to accept this proposition. In other words, Epicurus chose atheism for his own psychological comfort and later, undertook to construct a worldview based on this choice. For this reason he endeavored to explain the order of the universe and the origins of life in terms of an atheist system and with this purpose in mind, adopted ideas that would later prove basic to evolution.
Benjamin Wiker gives this detailed interpretation of the relation between Epicurus and Darwin:
The first Darwinian was not Darwin, but a rather notorious Greek, Epicurus, born on the Island of Samos about 341 B.C. It was he who provided the philosophical underpinnings of Darwinism, because it was he who fashioned an entirely materialistic, [atheistic] cosmology, where the purposeless jostling of brute matter over infinite time yielded, by a series of fortunate accidents, not only the Earth, but all the myriad forms of life thereon. . . .
After stating that Epicurus fashioned the cosmology, not out of evidence but from his desire to abstract the world from the idea of a Creator, Wiker goes on to say:
...This common disdain for religion unites Epicureanism and modernity because we moderns [Darwinists] are the heirs of Epicurus. Through a long and winding path, a revived form of Epicurean materialism became the founding creed of modern scientific materialism-the very materialist cosmology that Darwin assumed in the Origin and that still grounds the materialist dismissal of design in nature.
Today, those motivated to stubbornly defend the theory of evolution are not on the side of science, but on the side of atheism. Like their precursor Epicurus, their attachment to atheism stems from the awareness that accepting the existence of Allah would clash with their own selfish desires.