Did Darwin Kill God?

Did Darwin Kill God?

2009, Science  -   186 Comments
Ratings: 7.15/10 from 80 users.

Did Darwin Kill God?There are some who believe that Darwin's theory of evolution has weakened religion, fueled in part by Richard Dawkins' publishing phenomenon The God Delusion. Conor Cunningham argues that nothing could be further from the truth.

Cunningham is a firm believer in the theory of evolution, but he is also a Christian. He believes that the clash between Darwin and God has been hijacked by extremists - fundamentalist believers who reject evolution on one side, and fundamentalist atheists on the other. Cunningham attempts to overturn what he believes are widely held but mistaken assumptions in the debate between religion and evolution.

He travels to the Middle East where he shows that from the very outset, Christianity warned against literal readings of the biblical story of creation. In Britain, he reveals that, at the time, Darwin's theory of evolution was welcomed by the Anglican and Catholic Churches. Instead, he argues that the conflict between Darwin and God was manufactured by American creationists in the 20th century for reasons that had very little to do with science and religion and a great deal to do with politics and morality.

Finally, he comes face to face with some of the most eminent evolutionary biologists, geneticists and philosophers of our time to examine whether the very latest advances in evolutionary theory do in fact kill God.

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2 years ago

@paul caden
truee, if evolution was the actual way of how human came to be, the civilisation in the bronze age DEFINITELY wouldn't have
been able to write texts.

paul caden
4 years ago

It is impossible to observe science like evolution and also believe in bronze age texts written by bronze age uneducated goat herders

4 years ago

I hate to tell you this but you’re not a Christian, you’re a deist.

5 years ago

There is evolution on one side, and delusion on the other.

6 years ago

He simply made up a term Ultra-Darwinism for what he didn't agree with and repeatedly constructed one strawman after another and lo and behold shot everyone of them down. This is one of the stupidest take downs of rational thinking.

6 years ago

If I had those that lived from 4000 bc until Jesus death on the cross, in a court room I could prove there was a God with many of those thousands plus many as eye witnesses that seen and experienced Gods power, and I will include myself.

7 years ago

I think they should give Richard Dawkins a chance to say. I used to watch the debate of Richard Dawkins. They never claim they (or science) can explain everything. Conversely, they hold the point the do not know everything as a merit of honesty. I do not know the description of so-called ultra-darwinism comes from where. And the superfluous hint to "selfish gene" is really objective.

Harley Adams
8 years ago

I worship a dead man as well. George Carlin. I don't prey to George though. As he is now DEAD. George said the only truth in the Bible is that it's. ALL bulls*it. I was at a show and both seen and heard George say it. That's call CREDIBILITY. Another major component all religion lacks. George Bless.

8 years ago

The theory of evolution and Christianity could never coexist.
Christ quoted the creation story of Genesis as a real event that happened in a time in history, Matthew 19:1-11 and Mark 10:1-12.
Believe whatever you want, but if you think that the creation story in Genesis is not to be taken literary, then Jesus was a liar and consequently a sinner, and he won't be fit to be the savior of his people.

Kenneth Kelly
8 years ago

Sarwin did not kill the myth of Gog s. Darwin never intended to kill the myth. He was only presenting the truth as he saw it. The myth would dwindle to just an annoyance if the few were not getting very wealthy by keeping it seem to be alive. Religions are all about power and wealth.

9 years ago

God was clear. He is the alpha and the omega; the beginning and the end. He is creator and final judge. However whatever happens in between is evolution, and that makes for the many flavours or itineration of life. It makes everything unique.

God established the eternal order which makes us wonder how the laws that operate on galactic, planetary, social and biological levels expose the infinite cycle of life and death.

Scriptures were written to inhibit alteration of details, which tend to corrode as a story is passed from person to person or from one generation to the next. In fact Scriptures are revised periodically in the popular language version to enhance communication. Yet the accounts Scriptures contain are not immune from personal bias or limits of imagination of the witness giving testimony. The witness too is not exempt from the poor influences of the crude technology environment he is part of.

Even if the source code is pure and identical, human interpretation is still a diluting factor since individual thought process and experience vary. The human programs that process the source code are not identical, leaving sufficient room for mistakes and wrong interpretation.

In other words Scriptures, no matter how accurate, is just a tool for Truth. Some will develop the skill to use this tool and advance in craft or career, while others may even get hurt. As history would show, Scriptures had been misused to pursue destruction from the time Israel became a nation to the rise of Hitler and even by modern religious cults. In fact, the Pharisees and Scribes used Scriptures to condemn Jesus, the Son of God.

God sent Jesus to be a solution to this problem. He is the Word made flesh. If God alone is good, then man must be made pure and holy to completely communicate what God via his prophets or witnesses in Scriptures want to relay to the rest of mankind. Jesus does not do away with Scriptures but leads men to Truth. In order to gain accurate knowledge of God, man must gain the Holy Spirit first.

9 years ago

have to comment on this cant help myself been staying silent too long .
Science is the search for truth . Same can be said for religion . However both truth are completely different and they set the tone for for those truths . Science is in your face constant attack to prove a theory right or wrong . Science deals in fact and fact alone . Religion on the other hand is way different . When religion is taken in its proper context it leads to a better understanding of the self . The truth of the self is what religion is about and not scientific fact . Its down to morals and how you would treat one another .

The problem is today with the extremists on both sides . They are both ignorant to the truth held within both subjects . Science doesnt give a damn about morality . The bible doesnt give a damn about facts concerning the working of life and the universe . The problem here is one side is claiming the others argument . Yes science and religion used to be closely involved .

The thing is one cant live without the other . In a morally just person science can be a powerful tool . In a morally corrupt persons hands it can be a ticking time bomb . THis is the flip side of both . Religion taken literally and science with good intent gone wrong .

I have to ask both sides to stop been so ignorant of each other . Tearing shreds out of each other is getting you guys nowhere so its about time you all just give it up .

DARWINISM is not a religion , It doesnt even exist . ( its a name given to the theory of evolution to give it a more religious feel to evolution )
Religion is not science , its a guide on how to live in pease with your fellow man . Even though a lot seem to ignore that these days .

10 years ago

he sure did not kill anyone..

10 years ago

People don't seem to understand that
science is the process of discovering and trying to understand God's
creation and the phenomenon we call evolution is a natural process
that God put in place, and we are by no means the finished product.
Having said that, NO human can know what god is exactly. That would
be like expecting bacteria to understand anything we know about
physics. Why do people right away refer to the bible when God is
mentioned? There are many religions not just Christian all of which
should NOT be used as a reference to explain the natural world. So
the bottom line is that science, religion and spirituality are all
different things and have no relation to each other.
It should be suffice that we have some vague sense of an omniscient being but that's it. So the whole debate of evolution vs God is just the
creation of pompous "know it all" people on both sides of
the argument. Religion can be and IS a tool to keep people uninformed
and unenlightened for the benefit of the few.

10 years ago

The theory of memes doesn't mean everything is a delusion. For a theologian this guy doesn't get distinctions. The lady he talked to about memes called viral memes "untrue" memes. What is wrong with true memes? Being true would help a meme replicate. Take two memes 1. gravity will pull one down if one steps off a cliff and 2. one will float if one steps off a cliff. The truth of 1 will cause it to replicate more successfully than the other.

Evolution is a meme, God is a meme, the theory of memes is a meme. Saying something is a meme is like saying it's an idea. True ideas get spread around, sometimes untrue ideas get spread around, but truth is a quality of ideas that helps them spread. The same holds with memes.

10 years ago

As much as the host and Ruse wanted Dennett to say "Darwin entails no God", he didn't say anything of the sort. If he had said that during the interview, you'd better believe the host would have used that clip. Dennett said there is no role for God in evolution. That doesn't entail no God, but it makes God a fifth wheel. It takes away a reason to believe in God.

Mark Jones
10 years ago

you seem to be confusing atheism with agnostic they are not the same. atheism makes a claim of knowledge. I remain agnostic concerning both claims for and against God, saying that neither side has convcing agurment, many times atheist like to claim they are agnostic like you are trying to do.

Mark Jones
10 years ago

i am not theist, I use to be atheist but find to hard to believe that atheism is remotely true.

Alec Sharratt
10 years ago

This guy also managed to get a quote mine in there to support his spurious argument, which seems to hinge on the fact that there are no real facts in the bible! Hence Evolution doesn't contradict it. That my friend is just an opinion.

Alec Sharratt
10 years ago

We need myths to convey complex truths!!! We need lies to convey truths! hmmmm.

11 years ago

This guy is grasping to try to preserve his faith in the face of lack of evidence for it. He said that the meems of evolution and religion r on an equal level. this doesn't take into account the evidence for evolution and the lack of it for religion

11 years ago

darwin killed the easter bunny

11 years ago

I like the premise of this documentary as this is somewhat close to my line of thinking. When you look at sciences like particle physics, quantum theory, and even string theory, there are things that it seems science will never be able to answer. When you think about how math and physics breaks down at the instant of the big bang, there is something divine about it. However, this divinity, to me, does not translate into anything close to modern religion. If there is a 'God', it is so far beyond any kind of explanation that the language of religion can ever begin to describe. I do believe that you can take evolution as the fact that it really is but still believe in a spiritual existence far removed from the teachings of modern religion. But I do not believe, how the host says himself, that Jesus was God-incarnate and there has been some kind of supernatural intervention on earth. The sooner people stop humanizing the idea of God, believing that he has some kind of vested interested in how we behave, and us having to be subserviant to him or suffer the wrath of hell, the better we all will be.

My question to the host would be, 'why Christianity? Why not any of the hundreds of other religions people believe in?'

11 years ago

This film is pure nonsense. Atheist simply means that you do not believe in a god or gods. It is impossible to be a "'fundamentalist' atheist". You christians need to get over yourselves and stop psychotically imagining that people who don't believe the same thing as YOU are all somehow evil "extremists". Reason, both practically and by definition, can not be extremist. Atheists simply choose Logic and Reason over blind faith. Faith, by definition, is the opposite of Reason. The lack of Reason, by definition, is ignorance. If you say someone lacks Reason, you are saying they are stupid. Blind faith (the lack of reason), by definition, is simply ignorance.
Atheism = Reason
Faith = Lack of Reason

11 years ago

34:26..."The age of the earth, indeed the whole universe is about 6000 years".
And as the bible says 1000 years is but a day to god...

Such magnificent power... Perhaps not much of a visionary though.

I'll whip up a universe this week,then, on earth, I'll favour a nation over all the others, see how much genocide I can inspire them to commit. By the end of next week I'm sure it'll be entertaining..

So its been a whole week since the completion by his calender..

Lucky he doesn't have a boss, he's up for review.

11 years ago

There is no way that theists can prove that god(s) exist, and no way that atheists can prove that they don't. And it is outside the province of science to do anything with the question directly. All this guy is saying is that it is possible to believe in a god and in evolution too because they are not mutually exclusive as some would have you believe (god can chose any way he/she wants to run things, including allowing the ingredients for life to come into existence and then letting natural processes take over). Maybe a god began everything with the big bang, then stood back and allowed "mother nature" to take control. Maybe not. No one knows.

11 years ago

The infinite is immeasurable. As science has no utility in things that cannot be measured, it stands to reason that science as practiced today will never unearth its own Holy Grail: the TOE.

11 years ago

HOW REFRESHING to hear a moderate view in this stone throwing battle. Christian or moderate agnostic or dedicated astrophysicist, let's give homage to the voice that says life and the Cosmos in which it thrives is mysterious and dignified.
Frankly, science (and I have the upmost respect for the nobility of science) may inquire into the mechanisms of life's processes but it has no business in surmounting as to what the nature of life might be and will never explain the magic of life or the cosmos, for these questions of spirit are out of its ultra-disciplined realm. Science may lead us to awe and wonder, but it doesn't begin there.Science rather serves as a potent and magnificent tool to unravel mysteries about what is happening around us, overwhelmingly physically, but it is not the job of science to be subjective. Science is not subjective.
It seems to me that when atheists find themselves interpreting the root of human existence, they end up seeing man as an ugly, evil brute. Darwin himself was haunted by the only conclusions about man that he could draw. Self-loathing, cynicism, and acerbic sarcasm seem to be typical of people like Dawkins, Russel, Hawkings, and others. Einstein said people so afflicted may as well be dead. The horror of man, as the atheists and reductionists would have it, is built into us.In other words, we are a glum lot.
The churches and religions, with all their pomposity, arrogance, and paranoid superstitions have, on the other hand, inflicted centuries of pain and torment to the masses and have hypocritically held the lead banners into the senseless slaughter of innocent lives in wars to numerous to count. The devil can quote scripture all he likes but the church will never really own a single soul.
We seem to forget that ultimately to practice science without a spiritual life leads to horrifying depression, and that fanatical superstition based ludicrously on otherwise valuable scriptures leads man to demonize his fellow. It is my opinion that the universe gives us in just one tree a whole lifetime of miracles to ponder.

Sieben Stern
11 years ago

without even watching the doc i can answer that question. Yes. Why yes he did. Once the mystery of how life diversified it lead the way to answering many other questions that were once in the realm of theology. If anything he displayed a brilliance that started the squeeze on the 'god of the gaps' that will, in short order, squeeze the deity to nothing.

11 years ago

@ epicurus "dont you think it is silly to hold something to be true that has no evidence and while doing so dismiss that which has tons of evidence?"
Mr Epicurus please tell me, where could I find these tons of evidence.

11 years ago

oh yeh

11 years ago

Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Alas;Whether Darwin finally knew the Living Truth or not/the Good Lord knows...John14:6(there's reverant fear&then the other kind need not apply2us)our Creator;the Father,Son and the Holy Spirit gave us our own free-will.Whether we choose not2believe,we still have made a choice.

11 years ago

If taking the littoral meaning of the bible only started in 1961 why was Darwin attacked by the church in his day.

11 years ago

"But not everyone does agree [with 'ultra-Darwinism'], and some of those who disagree, are the BEST SCIENTISTS IN THE WORLD."

[wipes tears]

Next up... Darwin's Daughter: Cholera or Cannibalised?

11 years ago

Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is fundamentally flawed and internally contradictory.

11 years ago

Yet another documentary with little science talk and tons of religious talk containing nothing.

Is it so hard to live a life with moral, godness without religion?

You religious ppl out there! Lilith got cast out from Eden by GOD cause she didn't obey Adam! Why don't you lot live after that today? Is it alright for you to change the religions containt as it pleases you? It was also alright to sell and buy slaves. Want me to give you a list of similiar texts?

Wake up! Be good to each other without needing a religion. WEAK!

11 years ago

I like the way how Cunningham understands and describes why atheists think the way they do, without attempts to lampoon them. He has strong beliefs but also an extremely open and intelligently scientific mind. His references to an unfathomably mysterious and omnipotent Creator are excellent.

12 years ago

A philosophical text that isn't supposed to be interpreted literally is useless. Worse than useless. That's exactly the sort of mindless drivel that has led to countless wars and other types of religious persecution over the centuries. Seems to me that if any god worthy of the title has something to say, he could do so clearly and unambiguously. And certainly he should be able to do so without blatantly contradicting himself as the Bible does time and again.

12 years ago

I thought it was a very interesting documentary. Unique in attempting to stay somewhat in the middle of the controversy. I also think Darwin has been often totally misunderstood. Mention Darwin to most Christians and you would think you had said something satanic! I liked the host too. Very pleasant speaker...sounded almost Irish....loved the way he said "Goawd"! LOL!

12 years ago

Darwin didnt kill God its american its freedom of belive duh plus i belive in God. Darwin is just useing science to help exlian how God created everything.

Sabin Russell
12 years ago

godless is awesome

12 years ago

Taking extreme positions saves a lot of cognitive effort. One can rely on a single source of information (be it the bible or the origin of the species) to find the truth rather than continually look for it.

Fundamentalists sacrifice the complexity of life to settle for a reductionist, or as Simon would say, "satisficing" explanation: it's all in
the bible, it's all in the genes...

Anyway, very good documentary. It really made me think.

12 years ago

It would seem that Cunningham is a little angry with the atheists that are 'strident' in their acceptance of evolution. The trouble is that religion has nothing to say about science except in indirect allegorical, mythological means. Cunningham's anger is somewhat disingenuous. He believes in a Christian god, why doesn't he believe in some other god as well. It's probably that he was raised in a religious home, and has not got the courage to let it go.

12 years ago

"What we were told" That's interesting. I'm sure geography differences and cultural differences may be the culprit but I never had any negative ideas fed to me that Darwinism destroys the idea of God or Christianity. I do know that christianity, and other monotheistic religions, have ridiculed, tortured and murdered some of the best minds that science ever had or ever could have had, namely during the reformation. That has made me a bit bitter but to say "What we were told" was that Darwinism leaves no place for god suggests that there was some kind of backlash from early Darwinism at least in England where it all began because here in the U.S. I did not experience that kind of negativity. Although not because of Darwinism, I found myself an atheist as I feel all the religions that we know has God all wrong. If there is a god I believe he would have set this universe in motion a long time ago and that or egocentrically scripted idea of god is corrupt and gives no truth to what god truly is.

Clix (????)
12 years ago

Gotta love the Foxnsque title! Mr. Murdoch must be tickled by how well he has infiltrated our collective psyche.

12 years ago

I have to say it is strange that they did not bring up the most important point about evolution which is human evolution. This guy clams to believe in evolution AND the existence of god at the same, this to me is absurd. The bible to many believers is the word of god but this comes to great scrutiny in the eye of science e.g. genesis tells us that birds where created on the 4th day before land animals (on the 5th day)which is extremely wrong as birds evolved from land animals so to believe in evolution is to believe that the first chapter of genesis which is the word of god to be false. So if the verse in genesis which tells us that birds came before land animals is false whats stopping anything else within the bible to be false?second of all this guy tells himself what he wants to hear. He tells himself that the contradiction within chapter 2 of genesis has a philosophical meaning and is meant to be there, which is nonsense. this contradiction in genesis is a f*** up in plain sight. he doesn't see this because he simply doesn't want to. to make my point he only makes a rather poor excuse to explain the many contradictions within the bible he doesn't see it as a f*** up because the bible is the word of god and apparently god doesn't f*** up but man does. explained to me by countless Christians god gave man knowledge to write the bible. did god tell them to make a contradiction within the first 3 pages of the bible? i do not see how that would go as an argument towards the authenticity of the bible.If this Christian in the film cannot disprove it and actually has to change the way people read genesis to create a lasting merit for the bible than in effect evolution proves that there is no god because as much as science disproves god, man makes up excuses for how it can fit in with the bible and it wont last much longer science will close the gap.look i could write a book about this subject but seriously research it yourselves do not rely on the bible to give you the answers. quote of the day "isn't it enough to see the garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom if it too?" Douglas Adams

12 years ago

a few points on the first 10 minutes. Evolution is not Darwin's theory or idea. The idea is ancient and Darwin's grandfather had written extensively on the subject. What Darwin did is postulate natural selection and descent with modification as the driving mechanisms of evolution. (Making everyone else go, 'Of course' its common sense).
There is NO controversy about the existence of these things. We know evolution, natural selection, and descent with modification, all occur continuously.

People are capable of beveling anything. Many believe, as this man does. The issue of god does not center around beyond the complete lack of need for one. And if there is a god, it only begs the question, "where did god come from then?"
so, it answers nothing. teaches to accept biblical teahings as g od's word (when clearly they are men's words in 'holy' books.

Look up where the word 'holy' comes from sometime. It is ALL very primitive and it is past time we move beyond it. Religion is a form of tribalism. It is not that god may not exist. It may. But we sure as heck aren;t going to find it in ANY man made religion. Our brains are a subsequent part of this process. How can it hope to grasp the whole of something so much larger than itself? it cannot. Explore yourself. Do not interfere in the display of consciousnesses. This, is spirituality

The bible does not mention any age of the earth. People who add up the generations since Adam, are simply clueless and deluding themselves. It does say the world is flat. it is okay to kill, conquer, rape, torture, enslave. What a loving god! (how can people believe this stuff?? They pick and choose.

If there is a god find it in the love in your heart and in your compassion for all fellow sentient beings. NOT, in bibles and korans -which are so full of contradictions and outdated morality that anyone could justify just about any act using one of those books. (And they do).

The 'we are god' idea is called pantheism. (read Spinoza) We are not god because god would be the generating principle and processes. but we, if god exists are all equally part. A speck of dust is no less part of creation than any other part. In fact, our forms are all identical. (conglomerations of particles into matter) it is really only as to function that we vary a bit.

12 years ago

This is one of my favourite docs on the subject,and I recommend it to all Angry Athiests and Wacky Creationists.(and Tyler,thats NOT a Cadillac,you goofball.It's a 1958 Chevrolet Corvette in cherry condition)

12 years ago

joe,Keep your shirt on,man.nobody is insulting you or attacking your empirical ivory tower, so chill. angry statements like that typify the ridiculous animosity and woefully OBTUSE hostility on both sides of what has become a slugfest of intolerance and ego.That's not very evolved behaviour,now,IS IT? and incidentally,WE ARE GOD.So act like it

12 years ago

Thank you Mr. Cunningham for summing up the beliefs of so many religious.