A Critique of Darwinian Evolution Using Thomistic Causation

Many critiques of Darwinian evolution focus on the scientific evidence supporting the theory. While there is utility in such critiques, there is a need for a more philosophical and metaphysical approach. Darwinism makes several claims that cannot be validated using the empirical scientific method. Consider the fact that the primary Darwinian claim – that life arose from non-life – can never be observed. Thus, Darwinism must be evaluated philosophically.
This paper will argue that Darwinian evolution, as a theory that seeks to provide an explanation for the existence and multiplicity of life, is metaphysically impossible due to the principles of Thomistic causation as they build upon Aristotle’s four types of causes. By the end of the paper, one will see that Darwinism fails to provide a sufficient reason for life and that the historical Christian belief – that life and its diversity are a direct product of God’s creating power – is philosophically preferred.
The thesis will be defended in six sections. The first two sections will give an overview of Darwinian theory and Thomistic causation. The third section will critique Darwinism according to efficient and final causality, paying special attention to immanent causality. The fourth section will show that Darwinism contradicts the principle of proportionate causality. The fifth section will critique Darwinism according to formal and material causes. The paper will conclude with an articulation of the historic Christian position and how it is consistent with Thomistic metaphysics.

Keywords: Darwinism, Evolution, Thomistic Causation, Final Causality, Formal Causality, Principle of Proportionate Causality, Metaphysics, Science.

4 thoughts on “A Critique of Darwinian Evolution Using Thomistic Causation”

  1. Philosophical Theology
    This paper seems to fit more neatly within an EPS setting, but perhaps it is relevant to theological anthropology. It makes me nervous to have an analysis by a thinker who lived centuries previous to him. Often thinkers in different eras are addressing different situations. However, it could make a contribution to this important discussion.


Leave a Comment