Last year’s Family Guy episode titled “Big Bang Theory” (no relation to the show of the same name) left me scratching my head. In the story, Brian and Stewie end up outside the space-time continuum after some mishaps with Stewie’s time machine. After successfully getting back to reality, Stewie determines that the energy he created to free them must have been the cause of the Big Bang, concluding that he must have been put there by the universe to create it. While this plot could just be attributed to a difference in writers, it still seems unusual coming from series creator and outspoken atheist Seth McFarlane’s creations. Assuming an intelligence creating the universe is closely theistic, and since no sympathetic depiction of theism ever slips through on Family Guy, this leads me to believe it’s merely the result of a recent trend in atheism.
As much as the New Atheists are opposed to creationism or intelligent design, it’s fascinating how much they seem to believe in an intelligence behind the universe while rejecting an intelligent designer. Atheist leaders like Sam Harris argue that religion is a vestigial product of evolution that is no longer beneficial to society, which is a value-judgment ironically counter to evolutionary theory. His followers persistently tell theists to “evolve”, and their definition of evolution is a one-track ascent of man which conveniently leads to their ideology as the ultimate end. For starters, the entire concept of telling someone to “evolve” out of their own volition is completely unscientific, the equivalent of telling a leopard to change its spots. Every individual organism would already be at the height of its evolution, after all, and nothing it does can change that. Next, evolutionarily speaking, one organism is not “more” or “less” evolved than another; concepts of regression or progression are value judgments that only have meaning to man. The term “de-evolution” is a misnomer, nature is indifferent to which organisms or ideologies ought to reproduce, survival of the fittest is merely the result of the thinning of the herd.
While completely in line with evolutionary theory, these facts are difficult for the New Atheist to swallow. Just as Sam Harris is seemingly incapable of understanding that science can only tell us how the world is, not how it ought to be, so his followers generally perceive expressing these facts as moralizing. For instance, atheists generally respond by being insulted when I factually explain to them that the birth-rate of liberals is insufficient to replace the current generation, and that conservatives will marginalize them by virtue of reproducing more frequently. Mathematically, the side that discourages abortion and promotes heterosexual marriage for procreation has a natural advantage over the side that has non-procreative sex and abortions; this is indisputable scientific fact. Ironically, the ones destined to prevail generally don’t even believe in evolution, whereas the ideology that does will find themselves the lesser suited for survival. The scientific solution is for liberals to simply start having more children, yet almost reluctantly they always seem to argue that the conservatives ought to change their beliefs or have fewer offspring. In other words, they respond to morally neutral facts with moral judgments. However, they don’t see their recommendations for what they really are–social engineering or selective breeding–they see their ideology as the destined course of human development, presupposing intelligence behind evolution, as if godless nature favors the atheist. It is an audacious value judgment to assume one’s own ideology is more “evolved” than another, especially when it really has no evolutionary adantages over competing ideas.
Evolutionarily, Islam is the memeplex most suited to dominate the world. Allowing up to four sexually submissive wives per husband with no legal abortions and starting to conceive very early in life, its birth rate is automatically enabled to be quadruple that of the most sexually active fertile couple. Its hostile suppression of homosexuality ensures no attrition lost to same-sex intercourse, and the few gays executed under sharia law are more than offset by the millions pressured to marry and produce more anti-gay progeny for fear of their life. Furthermore, Islam punishes dissenters and apostates with the death penalty and forbids other religions from proselytizing, ultimately ensuring 100% homogenization. This is just statistical and scientific fact, I am not celebrating the memetic superiority of Islam. The New Atheists, however, usually cannot understand my describing how the world is in comparison to how it ought to be. Stating such facts is not bragging about Islam, nor is it suggesting that one should convert to the religion best positioned for world domination.
As a Christian, I can acknowledge the Islamic practices that give that religion an unfair advantage and also denounce them. The scientific solution, after all, would be for non-Muslims to start taking more than four wives and likewise punishing gays and dissenters severely, but that would not be the moral solution. Christianity may not be at a reproductive advantage over Islam, but I can still believe it is a morally superior ideology that should not be compromised, and must nonetheless succeed against overwhelming odds. It is not how the world is by nature, but it is, in my belief, how the world ought to be, and that gives me the moral ground to spread and promote faith in Christ. The atheists usually agree with me that Islam taking over the world would be a bad thing, although they’re at a loss to explain why. The New Atheist, after all, has no authority, moral or otherwise, to defend why their reproductively inferior ideology should persevere over Islam or Christianity. They may think of themselves as more intellectual, ethical, social, etc. than theists, but no law says nature must favor these qualities. Sometimes stronger organisms survive over smarter ones, but if whatever survives is the product of evolution then who are we to say that gorillas ought to triumph over leopards? Why should nature favor atheists? Or why should humans survive, for that matter? The very people who believe in evolution could, ironically, die out completely and whoever remained would still be the product of evolution. The atheists who presumptuously think of themselves as the peak of evolutionary development cannot justify their own survival unless they assume some underlying intelligence behind evolution.
The simple value judgments that atheists make about the world, themselves, and others indicates that they don’t genuinely subscribe to their soulless ideology as strictly as they might claim. Their belief that the world ought to be improving as a natural process is an assumption of intelligent design. If atheists were to truly divorce their enlightenment fundamentalism from its theistic roots, their idea of how the world ought to be would be drastically different, but it would not be a tenable worldview. Any worldview must rely on value judgments, after all, which are entirely outside of the domain of science. Atheistic materialism is a failed philosophy, because philosophy is immaterial. As much as they may want to keep Intelligent Design out of science classes, the atheist would be unable to relate to the world without an assumed intelligent order behind it all, whether they acknowledge that as God or not.