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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Peeking through the Forrest to look at the trees ...

Christian Darwinists are fond of reassuring us all that Christianity and Darwinism are a natural fit. They don’t seem to have taught the chant to everyone yet. Old Earth creationist Stephen E. Jones has noted,
Barbara Forrest, has explored what she believes are the religious implications of neo-Darwinism and astronomy in her article, “The Possibility of Meaning in Human Evolution,” Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science 35.4 (Dec 2000), 861-889. She writes (p. 862, notes omitted):

We have established scientifically some disquieting facts: (1) human beings have evolved from nonhuman life forms, meaning that (2) at one time we did not exist, and that (3) according to paleontological and astronomical evidence, at some time in the future we shall cease to exist. Furthermore, from a scientific standpoint, there is no discernible reason that we had to evolve in the first place, and there is no guarantee that we shall continue to evolve successfully; more hominid species have become extinct than have survived. The price of such knowledge has been the gnawing question of whether human existence has genuine meaning if it was constructed with cranes rather than supported by skyhooks, as Daniel Dennett says.

The problem of meaning is easily resolved for those who embrace a preconstructed system of meaning such as religion. However, religion cannot help us find meaning in any honest sense unless it can assimilate the truth about where human beings have come from, and the only real knowledge we have about where we came from we have acquired through science.
It’s convenient for Forrest - who has been accused of making her living by bashing design principles without understanding them - that no religion other than Darwinism would thrive by assimilating the “truth” that she imagines to be established “scientifically.” Actually, Dennett, whom she mentions, doesn’t seem sure that the human mind really exists, a position which ends the problem altogether, I guess.

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