We’ve got another troll in the comments — she wouldn’t necessarily be a troll, except for the dead giveaway of asking the same question a dozen times and running away from any answer any of the non-troll commenters might give. The question is, “Does evolution imply atheism?”, and I’m going to have to disagree with most of the people who have already answered it by giving a conditional yes.
First, let’s clear up the incoherence of the question. I understand it as, “Does understanding science [it’s not just biologists who exhibit this phenomenon!] lead to an abandonment of religious beliefs?”, and that’s the question to which I think an affirmative is the correct answer. It ought to; scientific thinking is corrosive to religious belief. However, it is a messier answer than just a “yes” or “no” can properly address, because most people don’t accept a religion for rational reasons, because people are obdurate animals who don’t easily change preconceptions, and because people have different religious backgrounds that can shape their response to science. Here’s why I think that a general yes is the best answer, though.
First, there is the easy case of individuals coming from a fundamentalist background that hysterically asserts a whole barrage of counterfactual claims: that the earth is less than 10,000 years old, that there is an afterlife in which you will be afflicted with hellfire if you don’t obey their particular and peculiar dogma, that there is a god who cares about your penis and who will take requests for miraculous intervention, etc. Science smashes that kind of faith. I know many people who have left such religions specifically because a little dose of scientific knowledge exposes the fact that their preachers have been lying to them for years. There is a good reason that St Augustine cautioned against the common, standard practice of the biblical literalists:
Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.
Augustine isn’t concerned about the validity of science, of course — he’s concerned that saying materially and obviously false things about the natural world will lead to souls being lost to Christianity. And he’s right. All it takes is knocking out a few of the props holding up religious belief, and the whole house of cards can come tumbling down, with much attendant trauma. The people I know who have experienced the most anguish about evolution and leaving the church come from this kind of background, where the threats to apostates are the most dire and the claims about the world most absurd.
But what of more moderate religious belief? Is that also eroded by science? That’s been my personal experience. I did not come out of a fundamentalist background at all — to the contrary, the church of my youth was relatively liberal about science, and never said a negative word about evolution (or any word, for that matter). Yet at the same time, they made a whole series of strange claims that they insisted were the very foundation of their special religious belief: the divinity of Jesus, the trinity, salvation, original sin, etc. Thinking scientifically means that you question assumptions and that you ask epistemological questions and you try to rationally justify the acceptance of ideas, and that’s the antithesis of religious thinking. If you apply scientific reasoning to even that moderate version of religion, it crumbles — there is simply no evidence for any of their claims.
Of course, some people avoid that problem by simply never thinking scientifically about their beliefs. That’s an easy out, because most beliefs aren’t the product of rational thought, anyway…but it’s a cheat, and it doesn’t negate the idea that science is in conflict with religion.
Does science lead inevitably to atheism? No, because individuals can choose to not think scientifically, but also because what it really does is simply destroy the underpinnings of organized religion — the body of dogma that represents assailable claims of fact. That still leaves a few alternatives, with some refuge left untouched in agnosticism and a kind of mushy deism. Of course, to most people who object to godlessness anyway, those are functionally equivalent to atheism.