A couple of months ago, I picked up the out-of-print "Philosophy of Religion" by Venerable Fulton Sheen. Unlike his more popular works, it is written for an academic audience and requires more effort to read. One point that stuck out to me was his lengthy and lucid explanation for why Evolution without God involves a contradiction.
I will attempt to summarize:
- Evolution describes the slow realization of a greater order from a lesser order.
- This realization of a greater order from a lesser order is either intrinsic or extrinsic to the universe.
- If it is extrinsic to the universe, then it must be from some transcendent being in whom is the perfection of all that is in the universe.
- If it is intrinsic to the universe, then that law of evolution must have been put in place by some transcendent being in whom is the perfection of order.
- This transcendent being, in whom is the perfection of being and the perfection of order, is who we call God.
This is only one of the arguments. He works his way through psychology, biology, physics, mathematics, and other sciences that have - at one time or another - each attempted to declare itself the supreme science and to reinterpret the other sciences based on its discoveries. With each, he demonstrates where they are lacking and uses Thomistic philosophy to fill in the gaps.
His explanations also reminded me of the repeated explanation: "Because of evolution" from scientists in response to questions about different phenomena in their fields. More and more, I'm led to believe that such a response is the equivalent of saying "I don't know." Evolution describes how but doesn't tell you why. To paraphrase Fulton Sheen: It is the equivalent of talking about the factual correlation of nuts and bolts of a machine, but not the reason for their correlation.