I was looking through the science books the other day at Barnes and Noble, and happened to notice a book that was clearly anti-Darwin. I dont’ remember the name of the book, or the author. My first impression was that here was another anti-evolution book, mistakenly misshelved in the science section. That kind of thing has happened before. I’ve seen books with titles likem Refuting Evolution in the science section of the library. Sure enough, the author turned out to be a religious Christian. But to my surprise he wasn’t a creationist in the way that turn is generally understood. He fully believed in evolution, but drew a sharp distinction between what he referred to as “Darwinism” and evolutionary theory in general. His claim was that Charles Darwin was a deeply anti-religious man from the very start, and that he deliberately tailored his particular theory of evolution as to exclude any role for a divine creator. This, he argued, is the chief reason why evolution is so commonly perceived as atheistic today. THis contrasts with what I’d read before regarding Darwin, that it was his discoveries during the Beagle voyage that eventually destroyed his faith.
I didn’t get a chance to read the whole book, just the first and last parts, so what I’m wondering is if there is any truth to the author’s central argument.
‘His claim was that Charles Darwin was a deeply anti-religious man from the very start, and that he deliberately tailored his particular theory of evolution as to exclude any role for a divine creator’
This is just totally false and or ignorant. It has been documented for 150 years now that Darwin started out training to be a clergyman. He wressled with the idea of a divine creator for many years both during and after the beagle voyage, trying to reconcile what he had learned and posited about nature. Darwin read and had great respect for William Paley as a matter of fact. This is a common claim by creationists concerning Darwin…oh and that he recanted his atheism on his death bed, which is also false.
It also would not matter what Darwin actually believed, for his idea of natural selection has been accepted as scientific fact for well over a hundred years now. There has not been another serious explanation even discussed concerning the diversity of life on this planet, so….regardless of philosophy, Darwin made one of, if not the greatest scientific discovery in human history.
Evolution of species through genetic mutation and natural selection, genetic drift, sexual selection etc., does refute that a monotheistic god spontaneously created all life forms on earth today in their current form.
But, technically evolutionary theory leaves open the possibilty of a deistic god(s)
Actually the argument is often misnamed. It is divine creation as explained in Genesis (or whatever your choice of dogma and superstition may be) vs theories of Abiogenesis (life assembling from nonlife)It is technically not evolution vs creationism, even though more often than not the debate is framed that way.
As has been pointed out many times, many evolutionary biologists are religious and even christian. The great Kenneth R Miller first comes to mind. His book ‘Finding Darwins God’ is outstanding, although I do not agree with everything Dr. Miller proposes.
I do think however that TTG was doing a little drive by here and trying to stir us up or something.
If Darwin’s hypothesis was engineered to exclude God, it is of remarkable circumstance that the science lying at the foundation of evolutionary biology is as inerrant in its predictions as it is a century and a half later. Theories built with ulterior motives rarely if ever end up being the foundation of *serious* scientific understanding centuries after their introduction.
Evolution precedes theistic evolution. God was put into the picture by the religious trying to incorporate Darwin’s discovery into their beliefs, not cut out by Darwin. There’s no reason for Darwin to have cut god out of the picture because god never belonged their in the first place; adding him only requires that much more to explain into a theory that makes sense without.
In short, the guy who wrote that book the OP mentioned is full of shit
It does sound like that author is full of shit. But I would like to know that central thesis of that book. Would it look something like this?
1) Darwin was an atheist and he used evolution as a vehicle for spreading his anti-theism
2) Therefore, God actually does exist.
I don’t know about anyone else, but when I watch Harris, Hitchens, Dawkins, and Dennett debate, I get progressively more annoyed by counterarguments that question science as source of morality. Even scientists in the “Beyond Belief” conference act as skeptics when considering a rational approach to morality. And they usually phrase it as an “alternative” to religion. But religion clearly does NOT act as a substantial source of morality, and to the extent that it does it is largely distorted.
I think what these skeptical scientists are really trying to say is that human beings are not by their nature rational, which I think is somewhat true. We all do things in our daily lives that an outside observer would consider irrational. But we certainly are capable of acting quite rationally in many situations, and in particular concerning situations that are of extreme importance. So I don’t like that they get away with that objection because our reason is really the best tool we have when dealing with most issues. It may not be perfect, but certainly a world guided completely by reason would be forced to face legitimate 21st century problems rather than this bronze aged mysticism.
As noted above, Darwin trained as a clergyman and certainly had no atheistic agenda.
He simply gathered evidence and thought hard on his magnificent theory.
If it happened to go against creation myths, well too bad, it wasn’t intentional.
He actually did most of his thinking in his spacious garden, and not, as some think,
in the Galapagos or on the Beagle.
Darwin and evolution are given way too much importance regarding our lives. It was pretty impressive when Darwin came up with, very daring indeed, and It’s fun to use it when arguing with creationists, build some business models and to explaining the sexual characteristics of peacocks, but then what?
We also have the law of demand and supply which has proved to be universal despite some real efforts to abolish it in the socialists countries; we also have the law of gravity. But so what? No one is making big fuss about them despite their universality and impact they have in our lives.
We should treat evolution the same; praise Darwin as we praise Adam Smith or Newton, but they need not to be worshiped and let them overwhelm our lives.
Evolution is not a theory anymore, I would say just a fact, but it does not do away with the need to have a creator who necessarily created the universe and with it its laws, and among them evolution and gravity and the laws of demand and supply.
Doesn’t this “demand and supply” somewhat contradict “ask and ye shall receive”?. I prefer the latter
Your comment doesn’t add much substance to this discussion. And your preference is an opinion which shouldn’t be of much interest to those who follow this thread.
Any way if you are interested in pointing out the power of prayer I agree with you. On the other hand if you are trying to understand the price trend of chickpeas, I disagree.
But in answering the question of this thread , Is Darwinism Anti-God? I say yes, but in the same extent the law of demand and supply or the law of gravity might be anti-god. With respect to religion, darwinism is irrelevant.
Yes, Darwin is as irrelevent to religion as religion is to Darwin. Personally I respect Darwin’s work and I have no respect for the work of religion. My comment had nothing to do with some “power of prayer” theory. “Ask and ye shall receive”, even though it may pop up in the bibble, is not interpreted by me as anything to do with praying. It is to do with human relationships. Asking rather than demanding. Christianity, Islam, etc is about making demands of others and adherence to a demanding god character.