Dispatches from the Creation Wars

War in the Pro-ID Camp

I’ve said many times that there are clearly problems between the Discovery Institute, the primary thinktank of the ID movement, and the Thomas More Law Center, the legal group defending the school board in Dover (and involved in the Gull Lake situation here in Michigan as well). Three DI fellows pulled out as expert witnesses from the trial, and even before that it was clear that the DI did not want the Dover case to go to trial. As I’ve explained before, they know that this case could be the legal end of ID in terms of access to public school science classrooms and they also know that the facts of this particular case are not in their favor. Well in a roundtable discussion that was aired on C-SPAN, those disagreements erupted into the open between the DI’s Mark Ryland and the TMLC’s Richard Thompson. I’ll post the relevant part of the transcript below the fold:

MODERATOR: I am curious about the Discovery Institute’s involvement in the Dover case, where originally they were slated three people, affiliated with the institute were slated to give depositions, and then obviously pulled out. There was some kind of dispute about legal strategy, perhaps. And I want you to address that, because I think there is some belief, at least expressed in various newspaper articles, that there was a concern by the Discovery Institute that if this issue is decided on science, that intelligent design would be ruled as religion and therefore would fall under the Establishment Cause and therefore would be banned from being taught in science classes.

So, for fear of that almost inevitability happening, the Discovery Institute repositioned itself for tactical reasons, to be against, for teaching the controversy perhaps in nonscientific settings. I just wanted you to respond.

MARK RYLAND (DI): Sure, I’d be happy to respond. Let me back up first and say: The Discovery Institute never set out to have a school board, schools, get into this issue. We’ve never encouraged people to do it, we’ve never promoted it. We have, unfortunately, gotten sucked into it, because we have a lot of expertise in the issue, that people are interested in.

When asked for our opinion, we always tell people: don’t teach intelligent design. There’s no curriculum developed for it, you’re teachers are likely to be hostile towards it, I mean there’s just all these good reasons why you should not to go down that path. If you want to do anything, you should teach the evidence for and against Darwin’s theory. Teach it dialectically.

And despite all the hoopla you’ve heard today, there is a great deal of — many, many problems with Darwin’s theory, in particular the power of natural selection and random variation to do the astounding things that are attributed to them. The new demonology, as one philosopher calls it, the selfish gene can do anything.

So that’s the background. And what’s happened in the foreground was, when it came to the Dover school district, we advised them not to institute the policy they advised. In fact, I personally went and met with them, and actually Richard was there the same day, and they didn’t listen to me, that’s fine, they can do what they want, I have no power and control over them. But from the start we just disagreed that this was a good place, a good time and place to have this battle — which is risky, in the sense that there’s a potential for rulings that this is somehow unconstitutional.

That’s basically from an institutional perspective what I can say and what I know. Now, individuals associated with the Discovery Institute were then, had got involved in, the possibility of becoming expert witnesses in the case. And I don’t, as far as I know there was no institutional decision made one way or the other, but I think it was the case that those individuals felt they had somewhat different legal interests being — it was often because they were both expert witnesses, but usually fact witnesses as well, about things like the history of the intelligent design movement. So they wanted to have their own lawyers involved with depositions, and I believe there was an argument, a disagreement about that. I think that was the reason why they decided not to participate.

MODERATOR: Ken, I wanted –

RICHARD THOMPSON (TMLC): I, I think I should respond…

Mod: You can respond, and then I wanted — that’s fine.

RICHARD THOMPSON (TMLC): …just because [something] the Thomas More Law Center. First of all, Stephen Meyer, who is he, he is you’re, is he the president?

MARK RYLAND (DI): He is the Director of the Center for Science and Culture.

RICHARD THOMPSON (TMLC): Okay, and David DeWolf is a Fellow of the Discovery Institute.

MARK RYLAND (DI): Right.

RICHARD THOMPSON (TMLC): They wrote a book, titled “Intelligent Design in Public School Science Curricula.” The conclusion of that book was that, um:

“Moreover, as the previous discussion demonstrates, school boards have the authority to permit, and even encourage, teaching about design theory as an alternative to Darwinian evolution — and this includes the use of textbooks such as Of Pandas and People that present evidence for the theory of intelligent design.”

…and I could go further. But, you had Discovery Institute people actually encouraging the teaching of intelligent design in public school systems. Now, whether they wanted the school boards to teach intelligent design or mention it, certainly when you start putting it in writing, that writing does have consequences.

In fact, several of the members, including Steve Meyer, agreed to be expert witnesses, also prepared expert witness reports, then all at once decided that they weren’t going to become expert witnesses, at a time after the closure of the time we could add new expert witnesses. So it did have a strategic impact on the way we could present the case, cause they backed out, when the court no longer allowed us to add new expert witnesses, which we could have done.

Now, Stephen Meyer, you know, wanted his attorney there, we said because he was an officer of the Discovery Institute, he certainly could have his attorney there. But the other experts wanted to have attorneys, that they were going to consult with, as objections were made, and not with us. And no other expert that was in the Dover case, and I’m talking about the plaintiffs, had any attorney representing them.

So that caused us some concern about exactly where was the heart of the Discovery Institute. Was it really something of a tactical decision, was it this strategy that they’ve been using, in I guess Ohio and other places, where they’ve pushed school boards to go in with intelligent design, and as soon as there’s a controversy, they back off with a compromise. And I think what was victimized by this strategy was the Dover school board, because we could not present the expert testimony we thought we could present.

The guidebook that Thompson refers to, put out by the Discovery Institute, can be found here. Isn’t it interesting that someone on their side is pointing out the lie that the DI has never been in favor of teaching ID in science classrooms? The fact is that all of this is just their political strategy. Of course the DI wants ID taught in public school science classrooms, but they know that’s not gonna fly legally at this point, so they pretend not to – and in their usual fashion, they just pretend that all of the things they said in the past to the contrary were never said. So they’ve come up with this strategy to just demand that the “arguments against evolution” be taught. But as I’ve pointed out before, that’s all ID actually is, just arguments against evolution. There is no positive theory of ID, only a god of the gaps argument requiring that evolution fail as an explanation.

Comments

  1. #1 Ginger Yellow
    October 24, 2005

    The Wedge: “Once our research and writing have had time to mature, and the public prepared for the reception of design theory, we will move toward direct confrontation with the advocates of materialist science through challenge conferences in significant academic settings. We will also pursue possible legal assistance in response to resistance to the integration of design theory into public school science curricula.”

    Now even the creationists are calling the DI liars. This is getting funnier and funnier.

  2. #2 Matthew
    October 24, 2005

    I love C-SPAN. Not only will they air anything, but they’ll post it online for all to watc indefinitely.

  3. #3 raj
    October 24, 2005

    With the withdrawal of the DIers from the case, I wonder the extent to which the DI is concerned that, if their side loses the case, their participation in this case may be considered something like res judicata against them raising similar issues in other courts. It may be a long shot, but it might be one of their concerns.

  4. #4 Jeff Hebert
    October 24, 2005

    Has anyone bothered to craft a “Wedge Buster” plan? You don’t often get the other side’s playbook halfway through the game, it seems to make sense to take advantage of the opportunity to figure out your strategy ahead of time.

    Or is it in the super-secret Evilutionist Clubhouse under lock and key until the Vast Scientific Conspiracy decides it’s time to reveal our most guarded strategems?

  5. #5 Meta-jester
    October 24, 2005

    As Ryland mentions:
    “The new demonology, as one philosopher calls it, the selfish gene can do anything.”

    Unfortunately the selfish gene only explains why forms fail. It doesn’t explain genetic novelty. The source of genetic novelty is “random mutation.”
    Invoking chance is an admission that evolutionary biology can’t locate a cause.

    Not that I believe in ID, but evolutionary biology as it exists now cannot rule out an intelligent cause–or any cause for that matter–that precipitates the particular mutations that have generated the creatures of the world. Invoking chance only covers over ignorance with the fig leaf of statistics.

    Chance is the atheistic “god in the gaps.”

    More on the blindness of evolutionary science here: Intelligence Transcends Science

  6. #6 Ed Brayton
    October 24, 2005

    Meta-Jester wrote:

    Unfortunately the selfish gene only explains why forms fail. It doesn’t explain genetic novelty. The source of genetic novelty is “random mutation.” Invoking chance is an admission that evolutionary biology can’t locate a cause.

    As I explained in response to your last set of comments, you are making far too much out of the word “random”. In this context it only means “unpredictable”. We can’t predict where a mutation will occur and we can’t control it, thus we view it as random. We know that mutations are sometimes caused by copying errors, and sometimes by the insertion of outside DNA through ERVs, and several other things as well. Those are all “causes” of mutation, and there are many more. But we would still say that mutation is random because we can’t predict or control where and when they will occur.

    More importantly, evolutionary biology doesn’t need to know what causes mutations. All we need to know is that they occur and are a source of genetic variation, and those things we know to be true because we can observe them easily. Let’s say that experimental evidence shows that a particular type of mutation is caused by the presence of a particular chemical in the birth environment. Would that change the validity of evolution at all? No. Let’s say that, instead, we find out that the prevalance of mutations goes up significantly in the presence of certain radioisotopes, or under certain physical conditions. Would that then change the validity of evolutionary theory? Of course not. There are many sources of variation, and mutation is one of them, regardless of what specifically causes mutations to occur. For the purposes of evolutionary biology, all we need to know is that they do occur.

    You’re right that we can’t “rule out intelligent cause”. For all we know, God may be causing the mutations. We can neither prove nor disprove that proposition. But for the purposes of evolutionary biology, it simply doesn’t matter. The theory of evolution – the theory that modern life forms are derived from a common ancestor via descent with modification – is true, regardless of whether mutations are caused probabilistic quantum phenomena, by God, or by invisible pink leprauchans in bolo hats.

  7. #7 Pieter B
    October 24, 2005

    invisible pink leprauchans in bolo hats

    Or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, blessed be His Noodly Appendage. http://www.venganza.org/

  8. #8 raj
    October 25, 2005

    I wonder…

    Has anyone considered that one reason that the DI has apprently largely pulled out of the suit in Dover because they fear that a decision against them would be used as “res judicata” (that which has been decided) against them in other suits that they may enter into in the country?

  9. #9 raj
    October 25, 2005

    I wonder…

    Has anyone considered that one reason that the DI has apprently largely pulled out of the suit in Dover because they fear that a decision against them would be used as “res judicata” (that which has been decided) against them in other suits that they may enter into in the country?

  10. #10 Brian Wenhold
    October 25, 2005

    Did you really say there was a ‘Thinktank’ for the ID movement? That’s rich :-P

  11. #11 Ginger Yellow
    October 25, 2005

    “invisible pink leprauchans in bolo hats”

    Do these leprechauns have colourless green ideas?

  12. #12 Meta-jester
    October 25, 2005

    Dear Ed (Brayton),

    My apologies: I missed your previous comments in the other thread. I’m now in the process of commenting on them in that space.

    Thanks for admitting that your science can’t know. But it’s really not science without trying to understand the universe, that is, discovering causes. “Chance” is an admission that we haven’t succeeded (at least so far), which is fine, as long as it’s clear we’re not content with this lack of understanding.

    I beg your pardon for my bluntness, but I don’t know how else to say it: your attitude that ‘if we don’t know it, it doesn’t matter’ is all too characteristic of the anti-rational cynicism that passes for education these days. This self-satisfaction is what makes “science” look like an ersatz religion, convinced of having The Truth, instead of a method of inquiry humbly searching for truth.

    MJ

  13. #13 KeithB
    October 25, 2005

    Meta Jester:
    Whether a particular atom in a sample of radioactive material decays or not is also “random” and “chance.” Does that mean that we do not understand nuclear physics? No, but we can deal with the decays in the aggregate and call it a half-life. Meanwhile, the “Theory of Everything” might get us to the point where we *can* predict when a decay will occur.

    While the causes of mutations are important and should be studied, we can look at mutations in the aggregate and talk about mutation rates, which are directly analogous to half-life. And use this information to do practical, good, useful biology which is what counts.

  14. #14 Ed Brayton
    October 25, 2005

    Meta-Jester wrote:

    Thanks for admitting that your science can’t know.

    I didn’t say science can’t know what causes mutations. We do in fact know what causes mutations in many respects. We know that many mutations are the result of copying errors during cellular reproduction, for instance. But we don’t know all there is to know, certainly, and we cannot predict or control where and when they will happen. Thus, we refer to them as “random”. That doesn’t mean we can’t know, it just means we don’t know.

    But it’s really not science without trying to understand the universe, that is, discovering causes.

    Gee, ya think? No one said that we shouldn’t try to understand the full range of causes for mutations. I certainly didn’t say that. What I said – and you failed to respond to – is that the root causes of mutation are not terribly relevant to the question of whether evolutionary theory is valid. Your argument is rather absurd. It’s like claiming that a gym teacher can’t blow up a basketball with air unless he understands how oxygen mixes with other gasses to form the air around us. For the purposes of what he does, it simply isn’t relevant.

    “Chance” is an admission that we haven’t succeeded (at least so far), which is fine, as long as it’s clear we’re not content with this lack of understanding.

    You’re using “chance” and “random” interchangably and they don’t mean the same thing. We use the term “random” in regard to mutations because, as I said, we cannot predict or control where and when they will occur. “Chance” implies instead that they are not subject to any laws of physics, and that is not the same thing as random in this context. In fact, mutations surely do follow the laws of physics, but we do not yet have a full understanding of how those laws operate at the quantum level, which is the level at which mutations occur. Someday we may have that understanding, or perhaps we won’t. But either way, it has little relevance for the validity of evolutionary theory. As long as mutations do occur and provide variation within a population, evolution is on solid ground.

    I beg your pardon for my bluntness, but I don’t know how else to say it: your attitude that ‘if we don’t know it, it doesn’t matter’ is all too characteristic of the anti-rational cynicism that passes for education these days. This self-satisfaction is what makes “science” look like an ersatz religion, convinced of having The Truth, instead of a method of inquiry humbly searching for truth.

    I won’t beg your pardon for being equally blunt because, frankly, I couldn’t care less, but you’re so full of shit that your eyes must be brown. You’re doing nothing but attacking a straw man. I didn’t say “if we don’t know it, it doesn’t matter”. I said that it doesn’t matter for this very specific purpose, and it doesn’t. You haven’t even attempted to deny my reasoning, nor can you, so instead you’re creating a ridiculous caricature of my position so it’s easy to vanquish. I have little tolerance for such behavior. I think research on the root causes of mutations is very important; it’s just not important for understanding the validity of evolutionary theory, which is valid regardless of what may cause the mutations.

  15. #15 JY
    October 25, 2005

    Just to jump in with respect to mutations – I think it is true that we do understand the relevant interactions at the quantum level (quantum electrodynamics being the relevant theory which governs interactions at the ‘chemical’ level) but the chemical interactions involved in mutation are extremely complex making modeling even ‘simple’ DNA/RNA/protien interactions quite a complex exercise. So there are two basic reasons why mutations can be treated as random: complexity of underlying interactions (the same reason we can treat the roll of a pair of dice as random) and quantum uncertainty (which is well understood).

  16. #16 oolong
    October 25, 2005

    Ed

    I think you’re wasting your keystrokes. I argued with this guy briefly on his blog. He claims to have a Ph.D from Columbia in physics, which I more and more tend to disbelieve. His use of the terms “chance” and “random” are very superficial and the equivocations he falls into when he uses the terms are what one would expect from the layman — hardly what one would expect from a physicist.

    Oolong

  17. #17 Meta-jester
    October 26, 2005

    Ed,

    I’m not arguing against the validity of evolutionary theory. That claim is your strawman.

    Yesterday, I was actually pleasantly surprised by the reasonableness (I thought) you were demonstrating. I can’t help beginning to think I was sorely mistaken.

    MJ

    P.S. Is there some particular reason you haven’t allowed through my response to your comments on the other thread? MJ

  18. #18 Meta-jester
    October 26, 2005

    You may recall that Einstein’s beef with the conventional Copenhagen interpretation was that it denied (or at least claimed to) causality. In other words, it failed to explain (or even look for) a cause of individual quantum events.

    As far as QED in particular is concerned, it was no less than Richard Feynman (one of the architects of that theory, and one of the brightest scientific minds in the latter half of last century) who said, “I think it’s safe to say that no one understands quantum mechanics.” To claim we comprehend things based on QED is like saying that merely reproducing human speech (like a tape recorder) is understanding it: the formalism of quantum mechanics describes what happens, but makes no claim to explain it.

    MJ

  19. #19 KeithB
    October 26, 2005

    AS far as QED goes, it does not matter whether *we* understand it, it matters whether *the model* “understands” it, and the model works very well.

    And I think that Feynman meant “intuitively grasps” there, not understand in the sense of knowing.

  20. #20 Meta-jester
    October 26, 2005

    So we can understand without knowing? If understand doesn’t mean knowing, what does it mean?

    Is it not human minds that understand, not inanimate formalisms? Does a quadratic equation understand projectile motion? Does a mathematician’s understanding of the equation equal an understanding of projectile motion?
    As Hawking so wisely asked (in a different context), “What puts the fire in the equations?”

    Other scientists derived the equations for special relativity before Einstein, but they couldn’t justify them with physics. For this reason Einstein is rightly lauded as the discoverer of relativity.

    P.S. Ed, could I beg your indulgence in asking where you found the transcript for the show?

  21. #21 Ginger Yellow
    October 26, 2005

    “”Chance” is an admission that we haven’t succeeded (at least so far”

    “This self-satisfaction is what makes “science” look like an ersatz religion, convinced of having The Truth”

    Are you enjoying that cognitive dissonance? It would make my head hurt.

  22. #22 Michael "Sotek" Ralston
    October 26, 2005

    “I’m not arguing for ID, I just think evolution is meaningless”.

    “We don’t want ID taught, we just want the controversy taught!”

    I see some strong similarities, “Meta-Jester”. Don’t you?

  23. #23 Ed Brayton
    October 26, 2005

    Meta-Jester wrote:

    I’m not arguing against the validity of evolutionary theory. That claim is your strawman.

    Of course you are. You keep trying to make this completely irrelevant point that “Invoking chance is an admission that evolutionary biology can’t locate a cause” of genetic variation. But as I’ve explained three times now, evolutionary biology doesn’t need to know the cause of genetic variation in order to know that evolutionary theory is true, any more than a geologist needs to know how precisely hydrogen bonds with oxygen to form water in order to explain a given formation as having been deposited as water-borne sediments. Your criticism is completely irrelevant, it criticizes a theory for not explaining something it neither needs or intends to explain.

    P.S. Is there some particular reason you haven’t allowed through my response to your comments on the other thread?

    I didn’t realize anything was blocked. I don’t moderate my comments here so I don’t get informed when the software blocks a comment. I’ll put them through now.

  24. #24 KeithB
    October 26, 2005

    Well, it is a semantic thing, but a child “knows” about projectile motion when he learns to catch the ball. She “understands” when she learns about gravity and Newton’s Laws. Relativity is a much bigger leap because the intuition derived from the world must be forgotten and retrained – or you have to just depend on the math.

    I think a case could be made that our models could “know” more than the modeler’s – weather simulation may be a case in point.

  25. #25 Meta-jester
    October 26, 2005

    Your criticism is completely irrelevant, it criticizes a theory for not explaining something it neither needs or intends to explain.

    Ed,

    Please. I’m not questioning the validity of evolutionary theory, nor am I criticizing the science of the theory. As I said in my original post,

    Now, I’m not faulting Darwinists for invoking chance, as it is almost certainly impossible to say why a particular cosmic ray struck a particular codon in the DNA of a particular sparrow’s germ-line cell to make the species mutate in a special adaptive way. Such are the limits of modern science.

    As I also point out there and amplify in the succeeding post, my point is merely to show that the Big Showdown of “evolution vs. ID” is for very low cultural stakes, and is largely a waste of time.

    Darwinism says nothing about the cause of the mutations (and intends to say nothing), so why should people dispute it?

    That’s all I’m saying: that evolution is not a complete explanation and that we wouldn’t expect it to be. It has a definite area of validity. This area has very little overlap with the wider human culture.

    If you want to lynch me for questioning the (speaking hyperbolically) omnipotence of the theory, fine. I don’t think it’s omnipotent nor do I stand in quasi-religious awe of it; I respect it for what it is: a valid scientific theory. But just realize that that’s all I’m criticizing: the claim that evolution somehow replaces religion or can even claim to replace religion. I’m not questioning the theory itself.

    I would have thought you would be pleased to see the controversy diffused and the silliness of the whole thing put in perspective. But instead I get a hypersensitive response as if people expect a faith-based extrapolation of the theory beyond science to be backed by science.

    Even if you believe the theory has religious implications, ask yourself what’s most important: teaching correct science in schools or making your cultural point.
    If you’re going to assert that evolution’s validity somehow extends outside of science so that it can somehow replace religion, well good luck selling that to the public.

    MJ

    P.S. Ed, any trouble with that other comment of mine that didn’t post? After I submitted, the thing told me that it was holding it back as if I’d never posted here before. I tried resubmitting a couple time and it said the same each time.

    I was actually explaining the reasons I put Gould and Dawkins in the same anti-religious category. MJ

  26. #26 Ed Brayton
    October 26, 2005

    Meta-Jester writes:

    If you want to lynch me for questioning the (speaking hyperbolically) omnipotence of the theory, fine. I don’t think it’s omnipotent nor do I stand in quasi-religious awe of it; I respect it for what it is: a valid scientific theory. But just realize that that’s all I’m criticizing: the claim that evolution somehow replaces religion or can even claim to replace religion. I’m not questioning the theory itself.

    But who exactly are you arguing with here? Certainly not with me. Who claims that evolution somehow replaces religion? Even Dawkins doesn’t go that far, he merely argues that evolution made it possible to be a fulfilled atheist because it provided an explanation for a vexing problem that had previously been explained only with regard to divine action. I just think you’re beating up a straw man. No one takes the position that you’re criticizing, least of all me. I make this argument all the time, that evolution is a scientific theory and ONLY a scientific theory. It says only that modern life forms are derived from a common ancestor through descent with modification. It doesn’t say anything at all about God, or about religion, or anything else. I don’t care that people infer from evolution some support for their theistic or atheistic views, but those inferences are not part of evolution itself, never have been and never will be.

    But who on earth takes the position you claim? Even Daniel Dennett, who argues that natural selection is a “universal acid” that solves almost any problem, still limits those statements to biological contexts. He certainly doesn’t claim that evolution replaces religion.

  27. #27 Meta-jester
    October 27, 2005

    Ed,

    I’m not blaming you personally for anything. Please don’t take my comments for that. You’ve demonstated yourself to be a very reasonable interlocutor on this subject (from whom, I might add, I have learned a lot) and someone to whom I certainly wouldn’t claim to be opposed diametrically–to be “the enemy,” as it were. Even though I may not agree with you 100% on this issue, I have genuine respect for the integrity of your position.

    But I do think it’s pretty evident that, first of all, atheism is a replacement for religion. For example, notice that one can’t consistently hold to both at once. Secondly, insofar as the main support that many atheists use to justify their beliefs is evolution, I think you’ll agree it’s not too much of a stretch to say that it’s “evolution” that is taking the place of religion–at least in these people’s minds.

    This replacement is graphically true in my now-tiresome example of the “Darwin” amphibians: they quite literally (and by intention) sit in the place on some Darwinists’ cars that the Christian fish occupy on the cars of some Christian believers.

    Let me reiterate the main thrust of all my comments here: evolutionary science says nothing whatsoever about religion or Providence one way or another (and never claims to). Those who claim evolution to occupy truly the place of religion are clearly mistaken. Nevertheless they still make the claim, perhaps not in word, but definitely in action.

    These miseducated people (on both “sides” of the issue) need to be disabused of this erroneous idea. I think we can both agree on that.

    MJ

  28. #28 Dave S.
    October 27, 2005

    Secondly, insofar as the main support that many atheists use to justify their beliefs is evolution, I think you’ll agree it’s not too much of a stretch to say that it’s “evolution” that is taking the place of religion–at least in these people’s minds.

    I wish I knew what people you’re talking about.

    Evolution is a scientific theory that explains the development of life. It’s accepted by atheists and theists alike. Just like any other scientific theory you’d care to name.

    I haven’t met any atheists who use evolution as their main support to justify that belief, since as I just said, many thiests also happily accept that theory.

    Sounds like you’re just making up their position for them, and then criticising that. Total straw-man mentality.

  29. #29 oolong
    October 27, 2005

    I was an agnostic (not an atheist) long before I understood evolution. And I take the fact that I accept evolution to give no support to my agnosticism. Would ID/Creationism disprove (or push me our of) my agnosticism? Yes. But that doesn’t mean that evolution and non-religion have any real link. It is absolutely consistent to hold to evolution and theism. I grew up Catholic. Everyone I grew up with was devoutly religious, and at the same time believed in evolution. So I’m not sure what your beef is there. Even if many evolution-believers were atheists, so what? What does one have to do with the other? If atheists are using evolution to “support their beliefs” then they are morons. Plain and simple. It’s not the fault of a scientific theory that idiots use it to support their beliefs. At the same time, it’s not the fault of that same scientific theory that others use it incorrectly to suggest that it is non-religious. In fact, perhaps it is the incorrectness of the religious community in demanding that evolution = lucifer worship that drives so many atheists to cling to it as an argument for their atheism!