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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, February 18, 2005

Darwin, Dogma and Doubt

The Nature Institute - Dogma and Doubt by R.H. Brady

When a theory becomes part of the common working knowledge of an entire community it becomes the context within which that community understands the world. Doubt comes to be regarded as something less than legitimate, and critics find themselves talking only to each other. The critic is, in a certain sense, self-exiled, for he or she is trying to question what the common language of the field takes for granted, and this linguistic hurdle is a difficult one to overcome. Yet for the critic, the task is merely one of clarification. The other side, however, must deal with a condition which may turn out, in the end, to be far more debilitating, i.e. belief...

At the moment, the critics of Darwinian theory are turning in rather profitable work for those interested in empirical investigation. They are clearing the ground for new questions, new investigations—questions which could not be heard in a dogmatic context because their area of inquiry was preempted by the Darwinian answer. While that answer was believed, there was nothing to inquire about. The critics are on their way to moving that answer back into the realm of theory, where it belongs. Once this has been done it will result in a certain freeing of inquiry... What is at stake is not the validity of the Darwinian theory itself, but of the approach to science that it has come to represent. The peculiar form of consensus the theory wields has produced a premature closure of inquiry in several branches of biology, and even if this is to be expected in 'normal science,' such a dogmatic approach does not appear healthy.

8:42:00 pm