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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Stephen Jay Gould: A tragedy of failed convictions?

Here's Michael Flannery on Stephen Jay Gould's attempt to diss Alfred Russel Wallace, Darwin's co-discoverer of natural selection.

There was a lot of such dissing as far back as the 1860s, when it first became clear that Wallace was not a materialist atheist. As Flannery recounts, Gould joined in, in this case.

Gould was an interesting character because, while gifted, he never seems to have had the courage of his convictions. Apparently, he didn't believe Darwinism was true; he made that clear early in his career. Trouble was, as Alvin Plantinga has pointed out, if you are a materialist atheist, that really is the only game in town. It is the only game even if it doesn't make any sense and its failure is the "trade secret of paleontology."

Gould also tried to diminish the reputation of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, claiming quirkily that he had co-operated in the Piltdown Man fraud. Now, Some of us think that there is lots wrong with Teilhard's theology, but it seems unlikely to me - and to many - that he would have participated knowingly in such an obvious fraud.

The reality is that Darwinism has been a shambles for so long that a fraud that could have been detected by a high school student went undetected for decades - because Darwinists and other materialist atheists need to believe in it so badly.

Medieval hawkers of relics* - I am so glad you are at rest, wherever you are, for your own sake. You would otherwise be sick with envy at today's gullibility. It's quite true, as a European king once quipped, that there was enough wood from the True Cross floating around Europe at one time to float a navy - but no one saw all the wood together at one time. One can't say the same for the Piltdown fake.

* For the record, there can be true relics. The key question is what authenticators call "provenance." It's the same principle as the title to your house, if you own one. You want to trace it back to when the house was built, and make sure the title was in every case transferred legally. In the same way, we would not be surprised if a women's religious order carefully kept the habit of a nun who was later declared a saint (and the order had in fact been lobbying the Vatican for that very outcome for decades, starting shortly after her death). But if the supposed habit just shows up all of a sudden all by itself on E-bay...

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