jottings from tertius

views of the world from my worldview window

"If there was no God, there would be no atheists." G.K. Chesterton


SITES OF NOTE

Tektonics Apologetics Ministry
blogs4God
The Adarwinist reader
Bede's Library: the Alliance of Faith and Reason
A Christian Thinktank
Doxa:Christian theology and apologetics
He Lives
Mike Gene Teleologic
Errant Skeptics Research Institute
Stephen Jones' CreationEvolutionDesign
Touchstone: a journal of mere Christianity: mere comments
The Secularist Critique: Deconstructing secularism
Ex-atheist.com: I Wasn't Born Again Yesterday
imago veritatis by Alan Myatt
Solid Rock Ministries
The Internet Monk: a webjournal by Michael Spencer
The Sydney Line: the website of Keith Windschuttle
Miranda Devine's writings in the Sydney Morning Herald
David Horowitz frontpage magazine
Thoughts of a 21st century Christian Philosopher
one-eighty
Steven Lovell's philosophical themes from C.S.Lewis
Peter S. Williams Christian philosophy and apologetics
Shandon L. Guthrie
Clayton Cramer's Blog
Andrew Bolt columns
Ann Coulter columns




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"These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own." G.K.Chesterton


"You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion." G.K.Chesterton


"As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that."C. S. Lewis

"I blog, therefore I am." Anon


Friday, October 01, 2004

Darwinism as the fear of God

 
"The incubus of evolutionism hangs as such a dead weight on the scientific mind that even the best efforts to consider its revision encounter levels of resistance out of all proportion to their content. No one dares to attempt the removal of the ideological carcass from fear of the consequences of universal disapproval."

It is always a warning indicator when a scientific theory plays a greater role outside its field of application than within it. Fascinating as Darwin's account of The Origin of Species(1859) was, its real contribution lay beyond the explicit reference of the study. More important than understanding the stratification of the emergence of species, and even than the evolutionary mechanism propounded to explain the emergence, was the function of Darwin's theory in constituting a worldview. It was welcomed and repulsed for the exact same reason. Darwin had shown how creation could dispense with a creator. A world of chance developments could, over a sufficiently long period of time, evolve into a world of order. It was not the suggestion that men were descended from apes that was the most shattering realization, but that everything had originated through the survival of the best adapted random mutations. The most compelling natural indication of a supreme intelligence-the argument from design-had been decisively undermined. With such large theological reverberations, it was no wonder that Darwin's theory of biological evolution should receive scant attention on its own merits. It is a situation that prevails virtually up to the present.

Darwinian evolutionism functions to such an extent as the overarching worldview of modernity that even its subjection to scientific analysis is treated with deep misgivings. Everyone is more comfortable if its examination is reduced to the stylized opposition between evolution and creationism. That way, no one has to pay serious attention to the minor consideration that neither of them can be taken seriously as scientific theories. They cannot be disproved because the theories are designed to accommodate all contrary or missing evidence against them. This would be no more than a harmless intellectual idiosyncrasy if it did not have such disastrous consequences for science. Like counterfeit, the problem is that bad science drives out the good. Even today it is virtually impossible for conscientious biologists to admit that the evidence for evolution is extraordinarily thin. We simply have little tangible proof that one species evolves into another. As Darwin recognized, the fossil record, which is ultimately the only conclusive indication, is the weakest source of support. We have neither experience nor evidence of intermediate forms. It is clear that different species emerged and disappeared at different times, just as it is clear that chemical and genetic continuities are present across species. But the incubus of evolutionism hangs as such a dead weight on the scientific mind that even the best efforts to consider its revision encounter levels of resistance out of all proportion to their content. No one dares to attempt the removal of the ideological carcass from fear of the consequences of universal disapproval. More often than not, the voices of dissent come from outside the biological communiry. One wonders what force holds such regressive formalism in place. The only suggestion is that the anti-theological significance of evolutionism as a worldview continues to outweigh its scientific value. By calling into question the Darwinian universe, we would at the same time be restoring the openness to the transcendent creator. It is in other words the fear of God that prevents the biological community from too openly discarding a theory they have long ceased to honor in practice.

David Walsh The Third Millennium: Reflections on Faith and Reason. Georgetown University Press, 1999.

9:04:00 am