The Disheartening Nihilism of Modern Science

By CHRISTIAN LEDFORD, Staff Writer

In 1859, Charles Darwin published On the Origins of Species, his magnum opus and the foundation of evolutionary biology, and changed the world. While many point to the publication of Origins as the point at which religion and science began to collide, it was merely a sign of the times; humanity’s descent into naturalism began earlier, in the Enlightenment of the 1700s in which scholars and scientists began to reject millennia-old Aristotelian and Biblical knowledge. Whereas, anachronistic thinkers like Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Pascal, and too many others to name were devoutly religious, this age of naturalism saw a departure from theism in efforts to explain the world around us, and the universe as a whole, outside of intelligent design and outside of God.

Today, after centuries of secular scientific thought on biology, geology, and cosmology, science has left religion behind. Those who express skepticism in unproven theories of modern science are looked down upon as unintelligent. Those who advocate belief in intelligent design or even (gasp) creationism are seen as worse than unintelligent; as mentally-unsound deniers and haters of knowledge. In the wake of this abandonment, we’ve seen a rise of something peculiar called New Atheism, contrasted with the deistic atheism of Enlightenment men like Voltaire. This atheism couples itself directly with modern science in militant anti-theism, dedicated literally to the eradication of religious faith. This movement heralds champions like Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens, men who’ve made it their lives’ purposes to angrily persuade the world that life has no purpose.

I’ve never understood atheism. I was admittedly raised in a devoutly Christian home and educated in church all my life, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve gone without my doubts and moments of existential crisis. However, every time I’ve lapsed in faith or doubted God, I’ve always come back to my core belief that there is a God who both created the universe and guides its fate. Nothing else makes sense. Atheism, coupled with theories like evolution and geological uniformitarianism, has always been an ideology of meaninglessness. Under Atheism, life, as well as every single other aspect of existence, is a combined result of chance, pure random, lucky chance.

It’s by pure chance that the planet we live on exists perfectly in our sun’s habitable zone, which allows liquid water, an utter necessity for life, to exist abundantly on Earth’s surface. It’s pure chance that our moon exists in the perfect location to secure Earth’s axial tilt and guarantee our necessary day-night cycle. It’s pure chance that life, something we haven’t observed anywhere in any form in the entire observable universe, exists on Earth at all. It’s pure chance that humans, intelligent life, exist and are capable of not only speech but species consciousness and advanced thought, things not seen in any other species. For all the talk of Earth as a privileged planet and humanity as a privileged species, there’s equally as much equating this all to nothing more than a roll of the interstellar dice. At a certain point, does it not make more sense to attribute our monumental existence to some intention, some design, rather than pure luck? As Thomas Aquinas eloquently said long ago in Summa Theologica, “Whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another…Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other [than]…God.”

However, it isn’t the scientific atheism’s reliance on chance that disturbs me, but rather the natural denotation of this ideology. Specifically, if our understanding of truth in the universe can rest only on nature and its laws (i.e. gravity, thermodynamics, etc.,) then what does this implicate for decidedly non-natural phenomena, most importantly morality? It means that there is no absolute moral truth; it means that existence, deep down at its core, has no purpose, and in a universe where there is no meaning, nothing can have a meaning, least of all our short, insignificant lives. As far as I’m concerned, this is the fundamental problem of atheism.

If there is no God, no absolute judge of right and wrong, no designer of our lives, no scribe of our purpose, then we’re all governed simply by nature, and, in natural governance, anything goes. Per the theory of evolution, the weak will suffer and the strong will survive, with no guilt or ethics required from either. Per atheism, in what position would we be in if we even attempted to ascribe some ethical judgement on the actions of either? What I’m saying here’s controversial; any self-respecting atheist would argue ethics developed as means to achieve communal unity to propel our species forward or that morality stems from our status as “social animals.” However, while perhaps making some sense on a base level, none of these attempts at explanation come close to explaining our uniquely-human species consciousness, instead only serving to promote tribalism. For example, a man in America may be implored to care for his neighbors or countrymen, but why should he care about those suffering in North Korea or Syria? A woman in Tokyo may care for her family, but why should she care if Congolese Africans starve to death? What evolutionary incentive is there in either case for compassion of the distant?

Finally: death, the great unifier. In atheistic science, death is nothingness; our deaths are but a slide into eternal oblivion, a complete failure to exist. In this sense, what hope does atheism have for children being blown apart in Aleppo? What hope is there for those forced into brutal, unending labor in Pyongyang? Under atheism, what hope is there for the downtrodden, brutalized, or broken? Their lives will not only be short but meaningless and insignificant as well.

In the end, there is no hope for man in detached atheistic science; therein lies only meaninglessness and despair. For all their vast knowledge, scientists like Richard Dawkins miss the painfully obvious, the fact that humanity needs truth and purpose, things that come only from one place: God.

  • Mark Moore

    If God brings us all that truth and purpose why is the Bible so error prone and contradictory. Google: Chart of Biblical Contradictions to get hundreds of errors and contradictions.

    Give me the nihilism that brought us medical science. The same nihilism that cured hundreds of diseases instead of praying to the same imaginary god century after century while people died by the millions and burned witches.

    Next time you get ill, turn up your nose to all that nihilism and have your ambulance drop you off at the nearest church to be prayed over with all that truth and purpose.

    • Vito Donofrio

      Wrong version of the bible.
      Scripture is what’s interpreted and placed into bibles, there is zero errors in scripture and it’s prophecies. Only interpretation errors by man either caused by an agenda or errors of their own .

  • Brian Westley

    In atheistic science, death is nothingness; our deaths are but a slide into eternal oblivion, a complete failure to exist. In this sense, what hope does atheism have for children being blown apart in Aleppo?

    Argument by consequences is a fallacy; you can’t argue that something isn’t true just because you don’t like the implications. If it makes you feel better to pretend that children blown apart in Aleppo are now existing in some heavenly afterlife, maybe that makes you feel better, but I think that attitude makes it more likely to justify blowing children apart in the first place.

    the fact that humanity needs truth and purpose, things that come only from one place: God.

    All too many people know who their god wants killed, and are utterly convinced that it’s the truth.

  • Orion Jones

    “At a certain point, does it not make more sense to attribute our monumental existence to some intention, some design, rather than pure luck?”

    No it doesn’t make more sense – it makes less sense. You’re just invoking more luck to explain the luck you’re already have trouble explaining.

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  • Vito Donofrio

    One word scientifically proves creation, “biogenesis”, so there is really far more scientific proof that supports creation then any other way of exsistance. Even the atheist Darwin ended up believing in creation do to the lack of the “missing link” to prove otherwise. One of the oldest human fossils ever found, Supposed millions of years old, is no different then we are today.. remember Lucy? A scientific recreation of a skull that backed evolution theory? Later found to be made into a skull from a chip of bone no larger then a quarter, by who? Someone that was biased to evolution. (Fake news) so all u brainiacs remember, the devil is the greatest deceiver…

    • Brian Westley

      One word scientifically proves creation, “biogenesis”

      Uh, no.

      Even the atheist Darwin ended up believing in creation do to the lack of the “missing link” to prove otherwise.

      Wrong again.

      One of the oldest human fossils ever found, Supposed millions of years old, is no different then we are today.. remember Lucy?

      Lucy (Australopithecus) differs from modern humans in many ways — her cranial capacity was about 375 to 500 cc, compared to modern human women of 1130 cc; she had a conical rib cage like modern chimps and gorillas. Her arms hanging at her sides nearly extended to her knees.

      • Vito Donofrio

        Lucy was reconstructed by the people that wanted to propel the belief of the evolutionary theory. Unfortunately they didn’t tell anyone the skull of Lucy was actually a chip of bone no bigger then the size of a quarter before they reconstructed it! So think again!

        • Brian Westley

          No, Lucy was reconstructed by actual scientists.

      • Vito Donofrio

        It also is not the oldest human fossil, the oldest is the iceman found at the top of a mountain, no difference then us today, also carbon dating can only go back 5000 years, the rest is a assumption to fit there theory, nothing more.

        • Brian Westley

          Wrong, but thanks for playing. What consolation prize does he get, Vanna?

          It’s the home version of “I Don’t Know How Carbon Dating Works!”

    • Orion Jones

      “One word scientifically proves creation, ‘biogenesis'”

      That’s akin to the ancients’ argument: Lightning doesn’t happen all on its own,… therefore Thor.

      “Even the atheist Darwin ended up believing in creation do to the lack of the ‘missing link’ to prove otherwise.”

      Really? Do you have any evidence for that claim?

      “One of the oldest human fossils ever found, Supposed millions of years old, is no different then we are today.. remember Lucy?”

      Now you’re just outright lying.

      “the devil is the greatest deceiver…”

      …but you’re running him a close second.

    • Apostaste

      You sir are a dirty liar

  • SirCake

    You don’t have to be an atheist to see both the truth and the beauty of evolution. The evidence is overewhelming, if you only take the time to look at it. Science works.

  • Tom Moore

    Ethics, Creativity and Morality are responses to the problem of survival and proliferation in nature, the most absolute authority that exists.

  • Apostaste

    What an ignorant, idiotic, hypocritical fallacy parade. “I’ve never understood atheism.” is the only honest line in this entire rant. You also dont understand science, philosophy, honesty, logic or rationality.