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Sunday, June 11, 2006

E.O. Wilson : Darwinism and reality

In case you think Susan Blackmore is over the top (and yes, she is), Brainyquote offers a number of quotes from Darwinist E.O. Wilson, which give you some idea what the modern Darwinist mindset comprises, when explained by a person with normal colored hair. Here are three, and do check out the rest:

If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.

So intelligence means nothing at all? Interesting ...

The brain and its satellite glands have now been probed to the point where no particular site remains that can reasonably be supposed to harbor a nonphysical mind.

Sounds like materialism is a stupid mistress as well as an ugly one. Wilson is simply wrong. Wait till The Spiritual Brain (San Francisco: Harper, 2007) comes out. Can't say more now.

The essence of humanity's spiritual dilemma is that we evolved genetically to accept one truth and discovered another. Is there a way to erase the dilemma, to resolve the contradictions between the transcendentalist and the empiricist world views?

Yes! The transcendentalist view is supported empirically. We didn't evolve genetically to accept any specific truth but rather to be receptive to truth in general - and we always seem to find the same truths, over time.

There are lots of fatuous Wilson quotes of this type and you can go to Brainyquote to read them if you like.

ID controversy arrives in Britain: Complete with all sorts of innuendo

A recent overview article in The Indendent tries hard to create an atmosphere of panic (May 18, 2006), but doesn't quite succeed. Regarding a school that discusses both creationism and ID,the journalist must concede,

But three successive Ofsted reports have judged the college, its staff and the pupils' behaviour "outstanding", and its results speak for themselves.

Barry Sheerman, chairman of the Education Select Committee, has visited Emmanuel. He says: "They do not teach creationism in science lessons, they discuss it in RE lessons. That's perfectly acceptable on any curriculum. I get impatient with my colleagues saying that schools are being sponsored by strange evangelical sects. It's a nonsense, especially in a country that has had religious groups in charge of successful schools for hundreds of years."

No controversy followed the United Learning Trust, a subsidiary of the United Church Schools Trust, as it established academies in some of the most deprived areas of the UK, including Lambeth, south London in 2004 and Manchester's Moss Side in 2003.

But no matter. We are supposed to feel sympathy with biologist Steve Jones who gives lectures with titles like "Why intelligent design is stupid" ... and is dismayed when others voice disagreement.

My own sense is that Darwinism is falling by its own weight, and no wonder.

Pygmies used to illustrate link between man and ape

Mustafa Akyol, a thoughtful Muslim active in the ID controversy, sends this note about a French film called Man to Man, described as "An epic about anthropologists who hunt and capture pygmies for study back in Europe, in an attempt to illustrate the link between man and ape."

Mustafa writes,

The film is really interesting: The pygmies are brought to England and some "scientists" examine them. Based on skull size and other features, they soon decide that this is a "sub-species" and a "missing link" between ape and man. They put these people in cages and a kind of zoo and present to the public by using the same "missing link" concept. At some point one of the pygmies become pregnant and one "scientist" decides to operate on her to reach take embryo while it is in its 3 or 4 months, in order to see the unborn stage of this "species". There are many interesting scenes like that.

Speaking as a small person, I am always intrigued by the assumption that small people might be a different species somehow. This came out in the controversy surrounding the recent find of Flores man (homo Florensiensis) of Indonesia 18 000 years ago, who was only a metre (39 inches) tall. Some insisted that Flores must be a different species, on account of small size. But I have seen perfectly formed women on the streets of Toronto who are less than 45 inches tall. Heaven knows, those ladies must get all their clothes made to order but, perhaps for that very reason, they almost always seem very well dressed .....
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Are you looking for one of the following stories?

A summary of recent opinion columns on the ID controversy

A summary of recent polls of US public opinion on the ID controversy

A summary of the Catholic Church's entry into the controversy, essentially on the side of ID.

O'Leary's intro to non-Darwinian agnostic philosopher David Stove ?

An ID Timeline: The ID folk seem always to win when they lose.

O’Leary’s comments on Francis Beckwith, a Dembski associate, being denied tenure at Baylor.

Why origin of life is such a difficult problem.
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