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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Coffee!! Marxists celebrate Darwin, denounce design - and line up all afternoon for sausages, unless they are Party members, in which case ...

Oh, wait. The Marxists who sponsor this site probably live in an oppressive capitalist state where one can just go buy sausages on the way home from work. Beef, pork, turkey, veggie, stuff I couldn't even name ...

Anyhow, in this year of all years when tax burdens celebrate Darwin, Marxists pile in. A friend points me to this:
November marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. This book revolutionised thinking about the living world because for the first time it provided an explanation for the evolution of species, something that was long suspected by scientists. Darwin's simple idea  change by natural selection  is arguably the single most important foundation-stone upon which all modern biology is based. The Origin of Species was a triumph of the materialist world outlook, even if Darwin himself didn't quite put it that way, and for that reason its publication was celebrated by Marx and Engels.

For the first time, Darwin gave a coherent and consistent explanation for evolution. Moreover, it was based on chance and random developments in the natural environment and not in the slightest on any cosmic purpose. There was no place in Origin, in other words, for God.

- John Pickard, "Darwin's Science vs 'Intelligent Design'" (24 November 2009)
If I were invited to one of their Marxfests, I would auction off bricks from the Berlin Wall.

Proceeds to "open society" causes only, not to Marxism.

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New at Access Research Network: On Darwin's Philosophical Imperative

British physicist David Tyler writes (15 December 2009):
Ulrich Kutschera is a German biologist and Darwin scholar who has reached the conclusion that Darwin's 1859 treatise conveys a "philosophical imperative". By this is meant the strict separation of "scientific fact and theories from religious dogmas". Kutschera rejects the claims of some that "evolutionary theory and Bible-based myths are compatible". From an ID perspective, Kutschera's essay warrants a critical analysis because there are points of agreement and major areas of disagreement.

Let us start with the central claim that Darwin "strictly" separated scientific facts and theorising from religion. It is fair to say this was his stated approach - but did he achieve it? Darwin presented himself as working in the Baconian tradition, but how did he implement induction? In his writings, he makes frequent references to the religious concept of creation. Characteristic of his reasoning is that a Creator could not be responsible for the world portrayed in On the Origin of Species. Repeatedly, theological reasons are provided to support Darwin's conclusion. ID authors have drawn attention to this style of argument: notably Nelson (1998) and Hunter (2001).

Once it is acknowledged that theological arguments can be used in scientific discourse to reject design and advance evolution, then it follows that responses to these arguments which affirm design are also, in principle, legitimate within science. This is not, of course, what Kutschera and his colleagues want. Significantly, Darwin advocates never interact with ID authors about these matters.

Continuing with the core theme of Kutschera's paper, Darwin's metaphysical stance is described as philosophical naturalism. This means that only natural causes are admitted within science (although exceptions are permitted for archaeological science and forensic science where evidences of intelligent design are always of great interest). ID advocates have generally agreed with Kutschera regarding Darwin's philosophical naturalism, but not with the way he has reached this conclusion.

For more, go here.


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