Darwin´s Theory of Evolution Essay

1866 Words 8 Pages
Evolution theory led to great advances in the understanding of human behaviour and has had considerable impact on the study of religion. This essay will first show its importance in new-atheist discourses to reshape religion as handling ontological claims about the world, which can then be investigated and dismissed on the basis of scientific evidence. Then it will discuss how evolution theory has also been used to explain the emergence of the religious phenomenon and its diffusion, as an adaptive trait favouring cooperation or as a parasite detrimental to human kind. The essay will finally discuss cognitive approaches to religion by assessing various hypotheses on how the human mind shaped religious beliefs.
Contrary to common
…show more content…
57). The seminal event of this change might be found in the clash between atheists and Christians during the Scopes trial (1925) in the United States. John Scopes was a young teacher charged with violating a state law banning the teaching of evolution. Despite the outcome unfavourable to Scopes, his lawyer Clarence Darrow achieved to portray ‘[religious] fundamentalists as uneducated and out of touch with modern ideas’ (Wolffe, 2013, p. 34). In new atheism, religious texts are approached as explanatory claims about the world, which can then be investigated as any scientific hypothesis and dismissed if proven wrong. For instance, in The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins defines the ‘God hypothesis’ as the claim that the ‘reality we inhabit (…) contains a supernatural agent who designed the universe and (…) intervenes in it with miracles’ and, through scientific argumentation, advocates the alternative view that ‘any creative intelligence, of sufficient complexity to design anything, comes into existence only as the end product of an extended process of gradual evolution’ (Dawkins cited in Tremlett, 2013a, pp. 63-64). Evolutionary theory has

Related Documents