Ok…so the post title is a little misleading…those science nuts or people who are addicted to Wikipedia will rightly point out that Darwin’s birthday isn’t until February 12th…but I couldn’t resist this post today. I actually got the above link from PZ Myers at Pharyngula (my favorite blog on evolution and science). The editorial is written by Tom Frame who (if you follow the link) you will find is an academic (sort of…) and also a bishop. OK…so now we have his bent on things and why he might not like evolution so much. Of course, being that bishops are not in the habit (actually they are in a habit…just not in the convention) of supporting things that tend to diminish their supernatural superiority, the editorial is less than surprising. What is surprising (ok…not surprising, just disturbing) is the connections he draws between adherence to Darwinist rationality and a whole host of reprehensible things.
But as the 2006 Templeton Prize winner John Barrow (a scientist) remarked, religious conceptions of the universe "are not the whole truth, but this does not stop them being part of the truth".The problem I face is weariness with science-based dialogue partners like Richard Dawkins. It surprises me he is not chided for his innate scientific conservatism and metaphysical complacency. He won't take his depiction of Darwinism to logical conclusions. A dedicated Darwinian would welcome imperialism, genocide, mass deportation, ethnic cleansing, eugenics, euthanasia, forced sterilisations and infanticide. Publicly, he advocates none of them.
Of course anytime the phrase “metaphysical complacency” is used I perk up a bit because seriously…what is that? I’m actually a bit nervous…what if I’m metaphysically complacent and didn’t know it. Its enough to give a guy a complex. More accurately I would say that both dawkins and myself are not so much complacent as were are in metaphysical denial but I don’t think Rev. Frame would like that either. The point is that Darwin and Dawkins have said nothing about imperialism, genocide, mass deportation, ethnic cleansing or any of the others. Rather those are things we see as creations of people and not science. I guess the fundamental disconnect here is that he sees these things as being mechanisms for the “survival of the fittest.” He goes so far as to suppose that privately…dawkins or darwin might support these notions (side note…this is so absurd that it shouldn’t have been printed). Rather these things are far from being survival of the fittest because they have nothing to do with selecting the strongest in a population or more accurately the most likely to reproduce…they are subjective phenomena of the human condition. The good Rev. would also be smart to not use those particular examples as most of them, throughout history, have been engendered not by scientists but by theologians. Is it a surprise that our closest animal cousins (the chimpanzee) which has no knowledge of religion also doesn’t practice ethnic cleansing or eugenics? Damn, I was so close to not attacking religion and then it just comes up again. Ugh. Back to Darwin…seriously, there is nothing in the origin of species about us evolving to the point of killing each other. In fact, far from it…we have evolved lots of things that have made society possible and while individual surivival is always the primary importance…evolution is also capable of explaining why we have societies (collective surivival is easier than individual survival) and in fact it seems we are pretty much hard wired to have groups of people acting together in some fashion…its part of our biology. Killing each other…is not part of our biology, such a behavior is really anti-evolution and is pretty hard to evolve into for obvious (to me) reasons. So people, being pretty ingenious have found a way to have dominion over our surroundings and we have created great things with that dominion: societies, art and architecture, sporks, etc. and we have also created some very evil things that go against the laws of nature. What Rev. Frame should understand is that it isn’t darwin’s fault, or evolutions fault, that we have any of these things…its our fault as sentient beings who control what we do. Patrick OUT!!!
P.S. The templeton prize was characterized by Richard Dawkins as being given to "any scientist that is willing to say something nice about religion". The templeton foundation says its given the person who best exemplifies "trying various ways for discoveries and breakthroughs to expand human perceptions of divinity and to help in the acceleration of divine creativity."