Surprise, surprise. Atheist activist Jerry Coyne tries to exploit the recent hurricane tragedy to score points for his atheist agenda:
This, of course, gives atheists the chance to once again note that natural evils don’t comport with most people’s idea of God.
The good rabbi, of course, doesn’t consider the more parsimonious alternative to the suffering of innocents: G-d doesn’t exist, and the suffering is simply what one expects when evolution creates creatures in an unstable world.
I find it highly ironic that an evolutionary biologist, writing on a blog that promotes his own book about evolution, would spread misinformation about evolution. How so?
Well, was there something inevitable about the evolution of creatures with the ability to experience suffering? Or could a planet exist where the only living creatures are single-celled organisms?
I would think that any evolutionary biologist would insist on the contingent nature of evolution, where “evolution creates creatures” that can experience suffering simply on the basis of luck. If that is the case, evolution does not lead us to expect suffering. That would only hold true if evolution also led us to expect the eventual appearance of creatures complex enough to experience suffering. Then again, maybe Coyne believes bacteria suffer when they are “attacked” by phages. But then he would be invoking some immensely subjective and weird notion of “suffering.” Bottom line – the evolutionary biologist is wrong when he insists that evolution leads us to expect suffering.
As for the theological angle, I think the argument is supposed to be this: If God exists, there should be no hurricanes. Hurricanes exist. Therefore God does not exist.
This type of thinking appeals to superficial thinkers. Coyne himself likes to ridicule “Sophisticated Theologians™”, but in reality, some of us rather unsophisticated types can see the folly in the atheist’s hurricane argument by using some rather unsophisticated Christian theology. For starters, the hurricane argument can just as well be rephrased as follows:
If God exists, Jesus should not have been crucified. Jesus was crucified. Therefore, God does not exist.
To the one-dimensional worldly mind, that would hold true. But let’s just say that doesn’t ring true for Christians.