Monday, February 20, 2006

Darwinism and Religion

Reported today:
ST. LOUIS, Missouri (Reuters) -- American scientists fighting back against creationism, intelligent design and other theories that seek to deny or downgrade the importance of evolution have recruited unlikely allies -- the clergy.
(Scientists enlist clergy in evolution battle)

I'm not surprised. Religion, not science, is generally the way that Darwinism was originally formulated by its promoters anyway, so they may as well run back to it. As a theologian one of Darwin's main arguments was negative theology based on empirical observations combined with his own views about God and what God would or would not do, or would or would not let happen. Darwinists are still fond of comparing their hypothetical goo with gravity, in fact that argument goes all the way back to 1888, yet somehow physicists are not engaging in negative theology in arguments of this sort: "God would not have let this object land here, and would you just look at that....some objects fall on people! Well, God wouldn't let things fall on people, so my theory of gravity must be true!" They're also not nearly as given to little stories about the historical past that they "imagine" only in order to claim that their own imagination can serve as evidence. Generally they do not claim that if you do not imagine things their way then you're not being natural, which is "scientific." And so on and on. Although it's said to be just like gravity by propagandists, the methods of physicists and biologists turn out to be quite different.

Aside from negative theology, here is the general form of the argument from their own imagination:
The only required premise is that "we know of a long series of gradations in complexity, each good for its possessor." Of course, what Darwin intends here is that we simply must be able to envision such a sequence. But one can always, by thought experiment, conjure up a set of potentially useful intermediates. Thus, while it is true that there is no “logical impossibility” to Darwin’s solution, we must also say that it is not falsifiable. How could a would-be critic show that no such sequence exists?
As Darwin put it: “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case.” But this was hardly a concession. Darwin may sound generous here, allowing that his theory would “absolutely break down,” but his requirement for such a failure is no less than impossible. For no one can show that an organ “could not possibly” have been formed in such a way. So in short order Darwin reduced what seemed to be a dilemma for his theory into a logical truism. Evolution was protected from criticism, and all that was needed to explain complexity was a clever thought experiment. [I.e. philosophy, not science.]
Darwin so lowered the requirements that anyone with a pen and a vivid imagination can now claim to have solved the problem of complexity. It is now common to see in the evolution literature vague explanations, relying on such dubious mechanisms as “chance” or “opportunism,” put forth as though they were solutions to the problem of complexity. These solutions simply do not support the often-made claims that complexity is not a problem for evolution. Along with short time windows and abruptness, the problem of complexity remains unresolved.
(Darwin's God: Evolution and the Problem of Evil
By Cornelius G. Hunter :75)

From the CNN article:
"It's time to recognize that science and religion should never be pitted against one another," American Association [of atheists] for the Advancement of Science President Gilbert Omenn told a news conference on Sunday.
I forget what the numbers were but as I recall that same organization is 80% atheist or some number that doesn't even match polls taken of most scientists. They say that science and religion should never be pitted against each other after Darwinists have pitted numerous theological and philosophical claims against traditional religion. Sometimes it is only the traditional religion in the Darwinists' own heads, e.g.
There was a time when rocks and soil were supposed to have been always rocks and soils; when soils were regarded as an original clothing made on purpose to hide the rocky nakedness of the new-born earth. God clothed the earth so, and there an end. Now we know that rocks rot down to soils; soils are carried down and deposited as sediments; and sediments reconsolidate as rocks.
It is not clear from which religious tradition he dredged up the notion of soil being regarded as original clothing for the earth, but in any case the argument does very little to support his argument against creation, simply because it is a particular religious view, of which there are many. This is far from the general argument against creation that Le Conte intended.
(Darwin's God: Evolution and the Problem of Evil
By Cornelius G. Hunter :87)

Darwinists are especially fond of claiming that people they disagree with have some religious motivation, indeed they'd apparently make such a motivation illegal and join with the Judiciary in trying to police people's motivations to see if they're "religious." Yet they seem to be mixing religion in with some of their own claims, now going to the clergy for support. My point is that they always have, the favorite illusion of half-wits is that they are not making theological and philosophical claims. Given that a missing half of wit/knowledge generates the illusion, the philosophic claims that they are making are often remarkably stupid and ignorant. E.g., "The Christian God would not let these parasites exist. Because looove or somethin'..." or from the article: "The God of religious faith is a god of love. He did not design me."

Note on the topic of religion and Darwinism that many religious people have accepted Darwinism or "evolution," although not in the design denying form that modern atheistic Darwinists have often written of. E.g.:
Finally Wright proposed that there was a special relationship between Calvinism and Darwinism. He spelled out five basic parallels in an essay entitled “Some Analogies between Calvinism and Darwinism.” Darwinian evolution, he pointed out, in no sense entailed the idea of inevitable progressive development—a point on which it closely paralleled the biblical doctrine of the fall and human depravity. Moreover, both Darwinism and Calvinism affirmed the specific unity of the human race and presumed a direct organic chain linking all humanity together by inheritance. The hereditary transmission of variations and of original sin seemed to Wright a particularly close correspondence. In the Calvinistic interplay of predestination and free agency he saw a mirror image of the Darwinian integration of chance and pattern in the evolutionary system. In addition, advocates of both philosophies were uneasy about a priori methods—Calvinists because of their fear of rampant rationalism, and Darwinians because of their self-imposed restriction to observable rather than ultimate facts. Lastly, the sovereignty of law throughout nature, whether in the history of creation or in the historical transmission of divine revelation, further served to lead Wright to the conclusion that Darwinism was “the Calvinistic interpretation of nature.”
As Wright’s involvements as a theologian increased, so too did his efforts as a geologist.
(Darwin's Forgotten Defenders: The Encounter Between Evangelical Theology and Evolutionary Thought
By David N. Livingstone :67)

The interesting thing about all the evangelicals who agreed with Darwinism and so on is that at about that same time the scandal of the evangelical mind came about, then most of the universities fell away from their Christian roots and so on. Perhaps there are patterns of thought inherent in Darwin's arguments that put the creation before the Creator.

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