Fancisco J. Ayala is an esteemed evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Irvine, who was dubbed the “Renaissance Man of Evolutionary Biology” by the New York Times. Ayala is not only former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), but he helped found, chair, and organize the AAAS Dialogues on Science, Ethics, and Religion. He’s widely acclaimed by the Darwinian scientific community as a guru on science and religion. So what does Ayala say about evolutionary biology and religion? In May, 2007 Ayala published an article in the prestigious journal Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences USA entitled “Darwin’s greatest discovery: Design without designer,” explaining that “evolution conveys chance and necessity jointly enmeshed in the stuff of life; randomness and determinism interlocked in a natural process…” In case you think that leaves room for God-guided evolution, Ayala states, “In evolution, there is no entity or person who is selecting adaptive combinations.” In fact, Ayala believes that it was “Darwin’s greatest accomplishment” to remove “a Creator” from biology:
It was Darwin’s greatest accomplishment to show that the complex organization and functionality of living beings can be explained as the result of a natural process–natural selection–without any need to resort to a Creator or other external agent.
(Francisco J. Ayala, “Darwin’s greatest discovery: Design without designer,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Vol. 104:8567–8573 (May 15, 2007).)
Just to make sure you aren’t bringing any kind of purpose or teleology into evolution, Ayala explains that an evolutionary account “does not necessitate recourse to a preordained plan, whether imprinted from the beginning or through successive interventions by an omniscient and almighty Designer.” Ayala isn’t saying that this “preordained plan” might exist, for he is adamant in saying that “Biological evolution … is not the outcome of preconceived design.” Ayala concludes that Darwin completed a “conceptual revolution” that “is nothing if not a fundamental vision that has forever changed how mankind perceives itself and its place in the universe.”
All this was published in the prestigious journal of perhaps the top scientific body of the entire world, by one of the top science-religion gurus in the Darwinian scientific community.