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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Darwinism and popular culture: Remembering Malcolm Muggeridge

Evolution Deceit, an interesting Turkish creationist book, is good at assembling and clearly explaining the arguments against Darwinism that you can be pretty sure the average lay person will not hear from conventional TV nature programs.

It does, however, get some Western intellectual history wrong. This example attracted my attention, of course:

Quoting British journalist and broadcaster Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990),
I myself am convinced that the theory of evolution, especially the extent to which it's been applied, will be one of the great jokes in the history books in the future. Posterity will marvel that so very flimsy and dubious an hypothesis could be accepted with the incredible credulity that it has. - Deceit, p. 164, The End of Christendom (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980, sp. 43.)
He is identified there as an atheist.

Now, I knew Muggeridge at that time, and he had slowly been making his way back to Christianity since the early 1970s (indeed, in the words of the ancient Protestant curse, he "died a Roman Catholic").

"Evolution," in the popular "hey, we just evolved, that's all," sense was one of the many ideas Muggs had begun to forswear - indeed, to abjure because he had witnessed first hand the cultural vulgarity it underwrites.

For example "evolution" supposedly explains why women kill their kids and also why they don't - making the two decisions appear of equal moral value. "Evolution" explains why men are unfaithful, and also why they are not.

Presumably, Muggs picked up the same sense I later did - that evo psycho sounds far too much like the afternoon soaps to be taken seriously as science.

But - far more perceptive than many ponderous, publicly funded pundits we are saddled with here in Canada - Muggs also saw that the form in which the public consumes the idea of "evolution" - and always will do so - is basically permission to indulge in bad behaviour because it is supposedly "natural."

After all, Mr. Ooga! Ooga! did those things, and who can argue with him? Especially if he never existed.

Gee. I'd as soon get into a row with the Red Ettin of Ireland. The Ettin had, we are told, three heads - he was a classical evolutionary psychologist, I suppose - one says yes, one says no, and one says "Give us more money."

By the way, while I am here, let me remember another Brit journalist and commentator, Gordon Rattray Taylor, who also foreswore Darwinism - in the last year of his life.

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:

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