Ask an Atheist with Sam Mulvey

Man Files Lawsuit Against Evolution Claiming It Promotes Atheism, Which Is A Religion Now

Yeah that’s a long title, but so is this ridiculous debate the religious keep trying to perpetuate involving Creationism, evolution, religion and atheism.  This story is from a religious site – fair warning – but I’ve copied the contents of the story in its entirety here so if you’re opposed to vising those kinds of sites, you don’t have to:

MEDIA ADVISORY, Jan. 27, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ — Tom Ritter, who taught physics and chemistry for over a decade, has filed a federal lawsuit against The Blue Mountain School District in the Middle District of Pennsylvania (13:11 – CV – 116), where he resides. This same district that rendered the infamous Kitzmiller decision in 2005. The argument presented in full:

Yeah, because the people of the Dover area just LOVED being the epicenter of the last controversy.  I have an idea – why don’t we let the school district alone so it can, I don’t know, focus on teaching and stuff.  But, I suppose that’s not really fair.  I mean, this guy obviously thinks he’s on to something, so let’s look at what he has to say:

Evolution is Unscientific


“The theory of evolution by cumulative natural selection is the only theory we know of that is in principle capable of explaining the existence of organized complexity.” — Richard Dawkins, famous Atheist

Biology studies organisms. It can also explain how organisms got that way, but studying organisms does not require explaining how they got that way, and the theory of evolution is bad science.

Poorly written argument is poorly written.  Dude should have just kept going – and the theory of evolution is bad science and I hate it and it sucks.  I think the reason this is so frustrating to me is that evolution ISN’T bad science.  Darwin posited his theory something like 150 years ago and since then, people have been testing and revising it as new information becomes available.  What this guy should realize having been a teacher with a scientific background is that the field of scientific inquiry and discovery is extremely competitive and there is a lot of attention, funding, fame, and respect to be had if someone is able to find a fatal flaw in theories as concrete as evolution.  And it hasn’t happened yet.  It may happen in the future – science after all is the search of knowledge via the practice of elimination – but it hasn’t happened yet.  So saying evolution is bad science sounds to me like someone saying science is bad.

Evolutionists cannot demonstrate that three critical points are even possible, let alone that they actually happened:

(1) No one has demonstrated that life can be created from non-life.  (Reports of artificial DNA do not alter this fact. Life is still required.)

Evolution doesn’t attempt to explain the origins of life.  Claiming that evolution is flawed because it doesn’t explain something it was never intended to explain is a pretty poor argument.

(2) No one has demonstrated that a new “sexual species” can be created. (Since the definition of species is contested, for these purposes it is defined as an organism that can breed with its own kind and produce fertile offspring, but cannot breed with its ancestors.)

I don’t really understand what he’s trying to say here, but fairly recently I remember hearing about an “observed evolution” of a new species of  finches.  This observation was possible because of the rapidity in which finches develop – because of their short life spans and subsequent volume of generations in a short period of time.  So is he saying that if humans can’t observe speciation from start to finish the theory of evolution is flawed or is he trying to say that because humans haven’t evolved into a new “sexual species” evolution is flawed?  Or is he saying something else entirely?

(3) Evolutionists theorize the human brain evolved from lower forms. Over 50 years into the age of computers, machines can crunch numbers far better and faster than humans, recognize and use language and tools, and beat us in chess. Yet science has yet to build even a rudimentary computer that can contemplate its own existence, the hallmark of the human brain. (Contemplating your existence is best understood as imagining what will remain after your death.) And no animal, no matter how “intelligent,” can do this either.

So – because humans can’t build a computer that exhibits specific characteristics of human consciousness as defined by this man, the human brain couldn’t have evolved?  And the assumption that animals lack the ability to contemplate their own existence is strange as well.  How does he know?  What about elephants who mourn their dead or chimpanzees who exhibit mourning behaviors when their family members – especially parents or children – die?  How can that not be indicative of at least some kind of primitive value for life and awareness of the finality of death?  This man seems to be willfully ignoring a whole heck of a lot of information in order to prove his point.

Why is it necessary for anyone to prove that animals contemplate their own death for the evolution of the human brain to be possible anyway?  That seems like a very specific (and currently untestable) criteria to demand.

Ask anyone who espouses evolution if these three points are not true.

See above.

The thing is – I’m not a biologist.  I have some education in science, but nothing extensive, and I was able to respond to these arguments without so much as a head scratch.  Heck, if I’m wrong please let me know – I’m not in a position to try to act as any kind of authority on this stuff.  But the specific arguments this guy is presenting are not new and have been fully addressed in both informal and formal settings many times.  I’m not advocating any kind of “you don’t get it, just shut up and let the scientists do science” attitude by any means since science encourages questions.  In fact, I would say questioning is one of the best practices to get into the habit of.  However, when you ask a question, receive a response and then just arbitrarily decide that explanation isn’t good enough and continue to press the question as if it hasn’t been addressed – you’re no longer asking a question.  You’re making a statement in the form of a question.

If evolution is unscientific, why teach it? Because no Creator means no God. In other words, evolution taught without a possible alternative is Atheism.

That isn’t true.  Science doesn’t concern itself with the questions of spirituality because those questions are supernatural in nature.  Science deals with the natural world and repeatable, verifiable data.  Anything outside that realm is simply not any of science’s concern.  It’s not like Darwin proposed this theory as a means to stick it to religion – he proposed his theory because he made observations about the natural world and drew conclusions from those observations.  And those conclusions happened to have withstood the test of far more intense and intelligent scrutiny than anything being suggested here, which is why it’s not a hypothesis, but a scientific theory.  A scientific theory is not the same thing as, say, someone having a theory about where she left her car keys.  To perpetuate the attitude of “just a theory” – which is the same sentiment that this whole ridiculous lawsuit smacks of to me – is a perpetuation of scientific illiteracy.

Now Atheism rests on an article of faith (A strong belief that cannot be proven but is nonetheless believed).

Therefore Atheism is a religion.

It doesn’t take any faith whatsoever NOT to believe in something.  Does someone who doesn’t believe in fairies have faith?  What about a person who rejects the Greek pantheon?  This particular argument is critically logically flawed.

And it is illegal to teach religion in the public schools.

(I am not defending creationism or intelligent design. But evolution has not proven its case, and until it does, saying it is the only explanation for present life is Atheism.)

Nothing in science is ever proven with 100% certainty.  You can’t re-define science and then claim evolution doesn’t meet the criteria.  I mean, you can, but don’t expect anyone with critical thinking skills to take you seriously.

And a lawsuit?  Really?  Way to put an additional burden on a school district during a time when, around the country, schools are feeling the pinch of the financial crunch more and more to the peril of students’ educations.

I don’t know if this is serious or not, but it’s ridiculous and hopefully it’ll be thrown out for the poorly thought out farce it is.

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This guy is a total idiot. I can’t believe someone with a science background could come up with such a flawed argument.. and a lawsuit? REALLY?

the thing that gets me the most is the whole Atheism is a religion thing.. that’s just total BS.


I chuckled at first when I saw the title for this one but that went to shock and then to total head shaking disbelief.

This kind of ignorance makes me worry about the future of the kids that teachers like this guy educate.


Many, many religious people, including the Pope himself, know evolution is true and will admit it publicly. That’s the only response needed.


I think what he’s saying about a “sexual species” is that the evolution of bacteria and viruses, which we can observe, is not good enough evidence for him. He probably hasn’t heard of the finches.

And to add to Jeff’s comment, I went to a Catholic school where I was taught that God was responsible for evolution. To fight against teaching evolution is just harmful to students.

JN Hudson

I’d like to address some of his points myself… “Evolution is Unscientific” If evolutionary theory is so unscientific the why is it that none of his points, not a single one, addresses any of the evidence that eovlutionary theory is based on? A science teacher no less,someone you would expect to be a least a little bit familiar with how science works. “Biology studies organisms. It can also explain how organisms got that way, but studying organisms does not require explaining how they got that way, and the theory of evolution is bad science.” Is that even an argument? All… Read more »


I am a high school math teacher and whenever I hear a story like this I want to punch someone in the throat. In a conversation with some of my students (after watching a Carl Sagan video about evolution (it was Carl Sagan Day)) some stated normal uneducated objections to evolution, “How come there are still monkeys then?” I calmly explained that we did not come from monkeys but that we shared a common ancestor. Blank looks. “Do you guys actually think that your science teacher stood in front of you for x number of weeks during the unit on… Read more »

Hank Fox

The people who say “Science is a religion!” apparently have no idea they’re basically saying “The stuff you believe is every bit as crazy and baseless as the stuff we believe.”


While I think this teacher is a complete idiot and should be stripped of his credentials for demonstrable ineptitude and the lawsuit is ridiculous to the nth degree, I think it might be time to have atheism legally defined as NOT a religion. At least then when the religious claim that it’s a religion there will be legal precedent to declare that a baseless accusation. It will also serve to show that evolution isn’t a doctrine of atheism since A) atheism isn’t a religion and B)evolution is solid science and requires no faith. And it will once again humiliate another… Read more »

The man is not just stubbornly stupid, he is knowingly lying. But that should be no surprise. His religion was founded upon lies and has been lying from then until now. Why change what has been working?

It is irritating to see something to abysmally ignorant that it insults the intelligence of any rational individual. What he’s say in effect, “I think you’re so stupid you’ll believe anything, no matter how outrageous or obviously untrue.” Sadly, he is right in many cases. People are willfully ignorant and determined to stay that way.


Many atheists reject evolution as well, as it cannot be tested. It is in the end just speculation of what could have happened a long time ago, on the same level as creationism. Keep that in mind. No one alive has experienced what happened thousands of years ago, so we can never teach evolution as fact, it will only remain a theory. After all, it cannot be a tested/repeated science.


I always love it when theists claim that atheism is a religion that requires faith. Firstly because you can just tell they mean it with a tone of denigration, not realising that they are also denigrating their own position. Secondly you get many religious nuts who claim that the whole first amendment bit means you have freedom of religion, but you must have a religion – being an atheist isn’t allowed. Well if you’re going to accuse atheism of being a religion then you have to accept that it is OK even by your own twisted understanding of the first… Read more »

Phil E. Drifter

G*ddamn religitards!

Keith Pinster

Joseph – Please, please, please OPEN A BOOK. Not only is evolution observable, it has been observed within written history. Where do you think dog breeds come from? We’ve observed evolution in both the plant and animal realms. Evolution is also “observed” in biological structures, such as the fact that snakes still have hip joins and every once in a while, we see a human with a tail. The THEORY of Evolution isn’t there to talk you into “believing” in Evolution. It is there to explain the FACT of Evolution. You might, also, want to look up terms before you… Read more »


So on his second point
(2) No one has demonstrated that a new “sexual species” can be created. (Since the definition of species is contested, for these purposes it is defined as an organism that can breed with its own kind and produce fertile offspring, but cannot breed with its ancestors.)

There have been experiments that have created organic material from inorganic given time this could create life.


im kind of pissed at all the people on this website and anyone who says evolution and god exist together, if you people want to honestly tell me that one day and one night is not 24 hours, then i am scared about what you were taught in school. and for another thing, if science should be questioned, then how come so many credited people who happen to say the word intelligent design are fired, and all their credentials are lost.Also explain how a giraffe is possible in evolution.For a giraffes neck to grow, it needs to develop a stronger… Read more »


also on the part of god and evolution existed together, if you believe in the bible then please tell me how genises 22- the lord made a woman out of the rib he took from man, goes with evolution, if evolution is the change of species, not one from the rib of another.

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