Evolution Against Science

[G]iven the vexed relations between politics and science in the 20th century, a Darwinist with the courage of his convictions would now declare the leading tendencies in the medical and physical sciences “counter-evolutionary” and call for a scaling back in their funding and significance before they contribute to the extinction of our species.

Clearly we have hit upon a paradox. Hardcore Darwinists are right that their version of biological evolution requires no belief in the kind of deity endorsed by the Abrahamic religions. However, it is unlikely that human societies would have devoted the time, effort and material resources needed to make that point in all its empirical detail, had they not also believed in the capacity of science to transcend species boundaries and acquire a comprehensive grasp of nature. Yet from a strict Darwinian standpoint, such a belief is unsustainable and perhaps ultimately lethal.

More generally, atheism has not figured as a force in the history of science not because it has been suppressed but because whenever it has been expressed, it has not encouraged the pursuit of science. The general metaphysical idea underlying Darwinism – that a morally indifferent nature selects from among a variety of organic possibilities – has many secular and religious precedents across the world. In each case, it has led to an ethic of equanimity and even resignation, certainly not a drive to remake the planet, if not the universe, to our own purposes. Yet, so far we have got pretty far on that drive. The longer we continue successfully, the stronger the evidence that at least human life cannot be fully explained in Darwinian terms.

The Darwinian Delusion
STEVE FULLER
August 2008

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