Home » Atheism, Darwinism, News » Nature broadcaster David Attenborough definitely renounces atheism? Thinks Darwinism is only a theory?

Nature broadcaster David Attenborough definitely renounces atheism? Thinks Darwinism is only a theory?

Here’s the Daily Mail’s take:

Speaking on Desert Island Discs, the 85-year-old naturalist told how recognising the possibility that God could exist meant he was an agnostic rather than an atheist.

As the Mail’s Ben Todd for points out, Attenborough has spoken out about this kind of thing over the years, but seemed more certain now that he isn’t am atheist.

A friend of Uncommon Descent forwards this link, saying,

Attenborough was a weekly voice into our homes through his nature TV programs. He was huge in my acceptance of evolutionary theory as a youth…

In “Evolutionist David Attenborough Says God May Exist” (The Christian Post, January 30, 2012), Matthew Cortina reports,

David Attenborough – British broadcaster, naturalist and evolution theorist – said on a BBC broadcast on Sunday that he is now agnostic and believes that faith in God does not preclude belief in evolution.

Attenborough, who has narrated dozens of nature films including the acclaimed BBC series “Life,” has said that belief in God and belief in evolution are not mutually exclusive.

Channelling Antony Flew who renounced atheism – after 50 years as a prominent spokesman, – because of design in the universe? See his book, “There IS a God.”

Deism didn’t preclude Flew assuming that evolution happened either, but it certainly precluded his believing in undirected evolution ( = Darwin’s mainstream evolution theory).

“People write to me that evolution is only a theory. Well, it is not a theory. Evolution is as solid a historical fact as you could conceive,” Attenborough told the BBC in 2009.

“What is a theory is whether natural selection is the mechanism and the only mechanism. That is a theory. But the historical reality that dinosaurs led to birds and mammals produced whales, that’s not theory,” he added.

Yes, and the real divide between the majority Darwinists teaching at universities today and the growing minority of alternative evolution theorists (including ID theorists) is precisely that point.

Here are some sourced things he has said over the years, on related topics. Stay tuned.

See also: Darwinist admits: Growing number of gene scientists unconvinced by Darwinism

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12 Responses to Nature broadcaster David Attenborough definitely renounces atheism? Thinks Darwinism is only a theory?

  1. Oh, for goodness’ sake.

    Of course evolution is a theory. David Attenborough isn’t saying anything controversial in that at all.

    And all he said was that he did not think that the theory of evolution was incompatible with belief in God.

    Which is not controversial either.

    And so he’s not ruling out the existence of God, therefore he doesn’t call himself an atheist.

    There is no story here at all.

  2. as to this comment from David Attenborough:

    That is a theory. But the historical reality that dinosaurs led to birds and mammals produced whales, that’s not theory,” he added.

    Perhaps he should check the facts of his theory more carefully?!?

    Fish & Dinosaur Evolution vs. The Actual Fossil Evidence – video with notes
    http://vimeo.com/30932397

    Bird Evolution vs. The Actual Fossil Evidence – video with notes
    http://vimeo.com/30926629

    Whale Evolution vs. The Actual Fossil Evidence – video with notes
    http://vimeo.com/30921402

    Whale Evolution Vs. Population Genetics – Richard Sternberg PhD. in Evolutionary Biology – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4165203

  3. I just checked the podcast.

    David Attenborough asks for an extract from Handel’s Messiah (“And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed”).

    Then the interviewer, Kirsty Young asks:

    KY: I said in the introduction that you had spent so much of your life exposing us to the wonders of the world, and I’m wondering where it leaves you, having seen these wonders. Do you think it’s some great complex cosmic accident, or are you “closer to the Lord” because of it?

    DA: [laughs] um… I don’t think that, ah, that an understanding and an acceptance of the four billion long history of life, I don’t think that that is in any way inconsistent with the belief [unclear] a supreme being, but I don’t think it’s, um, I’m not so confident to say that I’m an atheist, so I’d prefer to say I’m an agnostic.

    Punctuation and emphasis as indicated by tone of voice.

    Podcast is here still:

    http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/pod.....-1200a.mp3

  4. “What is a theory is whether natural selection is the mechanism and the only mechanism. That is a theory. But the historical reality that dinosaurs led to birds and mammals produced whales, that’s not theory,” he added.

    What about the continued discovery of modern bird species existing alongside dinosaurs; like Parrots, Owls, Penguins, Sand Pipers, Loons, Ducks, Flamingos, Cormorants, Albatross’.

    How does this fit into evolutionary theory?

    I’m referring to EVOLUTION: THE GRAND EXPERIMENT, Living Fossils (Episode 2)
    Has anyone watched this film, fascinating stuff..

  5. Yes, it’s not exactly the grand renouncement that News would have us believe is it? From what I can gather he has either been an agnostic all along, and certainly not a “New Atheist”.

    Sorry to say it, but as usual with “News”, the headlines doesn’t match the content of the piece. Again. But gotta keep up the quota!

  6. 6
    Christian-apologetics.org

    What do you think of these quotes from the Christian Post article then Elizabeth?

    “I don’t think he said there might be God,” Silverman told The Christian Post. “I think what he’s saying is that people who believe in God can also believe in the scientific fact of evolution.

    Does science ever give us facts that are 100% factual? Examples?

    “People write to me that evolution is only a theory. Well, it is not a theory. Evolution is as solid a historical fact as you could conceive,” Attenborough told the BBC in 2009.

    Assuming Attenborough means molecules-to-man evolution, and not micro-evolution, would you agree that evolution is as solid a historical fact as you could conceive? Could it become more solid, or is the evidence just so overwhelming that it could not become more so?

  7. If origin issues are based on the merits and these merits can be recognized by everyone then why does it matter a few famous entertainment people in foreign countries think??
    For us and for them great ideas and conclusions about nature should be unrelated to votes.
    It should be on the evidence.
    No one votes about plumbing concepts.
    Origin issues must be a different thing after all.

  8. News’s idea of ‘journalistic integrity’ is to put question marks after assertions she can’t support:

    Nature broadcaster David Attenborough definitely renounces atheism? Thinks Darwinism is only a theory?

  9. Well, my impression was that David Attenborough started to say, in that clip, that while acceptance of evolution over billions of years was not inconsistent with a supreme being, he didn’t think it was very likely, then he stopped himself and said, well he wasn’t actually an atheist [big emphasis], he’d call himself an agnostic. The impression he left on me was that while he didn’t think God was impossible (and therefore would say he was a definite atheist), he didn’t actually find the notion compelling.

    But you asked about the Christian Post quotes: No, I don’t think science is ever 100% factual. In fact, I have the somewhat idiosyncratic view that “facts” are merely “models” at a lower level of analysis – that it’s models all the way down. But in terms of the relativity of wrong, I think that the broad evolutionary narrative is extraordinarily well supported, as is common descent via a branching tree that has its roots about 3 and a half billion years ago.

  10. 10
    Christian-apologetics.org

    Elizabeth,

    I note also in Attenborough’s comments that he said:

    “People write to me that evolution is only a theory. Well, it is not a theory. Evolution is as solid a historical fact as you could conceive,” Attenborough told the BBC in 2009.”

    I guess you would then also agree that Attenborough, if he did indeed say those exact words, appears to misunderstand science.

    I think I am with you on this one — I agree that science is models all the way down and never provides 100% certainly.

    So, if evolution is more than a theory, but less than a fact, then what exactly is Attenborough saying about evolution? What is there that goes beyond theory but falls short of fact?

  11. Of course evolution is a theory.

    Not according to the way we define “theory”- geez you have proven that it can’t even muster a testable hypothesis.

    So we have a “theory” that is too vague to even be called a “theory”, and to top it off it can’t even be tested.

  12. ROMANS
    24 Therefore God, in keeping with the desires of their hearts,
    gave them up to uncleanness,
    that their bodies might be dishonored among them,
    25 even those who exchanged the truth of God for the lie
    and venerated and rendered sacred service to the creation rather than the One who created,
    who is blessed forever. Amen.

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