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Scientific Challenges to the
Existence of God
Charles Darwin and John Stuart Mill…read more

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· Darwin read Hume's writing around the time he
developed his Theory of Evolution.
· He published his work in 1859 in a book entitled
`On the Origin of Species' and in many ways,
Darwin was offering scientific evidence in support
of Hume's arguments.
· Using a posteriori argument, Darwin looked at the
world around him and reasoned why things were
as they were.
· His conclusions challenged many of the widely
held beliefs about God and humanity.
· Darwin was agnostic.…read more

Slide 3

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Theory of Natural Selection
· Darwin noticed that most plants and animals
change as they adapt to their surroundings,
and those that didn't adapt didn't usually
· Those that did went on to breed and pass on
those adaptations to lower generations,
allowing them to also survive to breed.
· (Hume had previously suggested that objects
in our natural world appear so well-designed
because those that aren't, don't survive.)…read more

Slide 4

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Darwin produced evidence to show that this
was true and that the changes had happened
slowly, over many generations.
· The intricate `designs' we see in the world
around us can actually be explained by
evolution rather than a designer.
· It is simply survival of the fittest, only those
who are able to survive go on the breed and
pass on changes.
· It needs no external designer.…read more

Slide 5

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`. . . The old argument of design in nature, as
given by Paley, which formerly seemed to me
to me so conclusive, fails, now that the law of
natural selection has been discovered. We can
no longer argue that, for instance, the
beautiful hinge of a bivalve shell must have
been made by an intelligent being, like the
hinge of a door by a man. There seems to be
no more design in the variability of organic
beings and in the action of natural selection,
than in the course which the wind blows.'
· Darwin was aware that he had challenged the
Teleological argument.…read more

Slide 6

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His theory of evolution by natural selection
suggests that humans are rising in the animal
kingdom as they develop rational thought.
· This contrasts the account in Genesis of
humans beginning as perfect and falling to sin.…read more

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