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Friday, February 23, 2007

Evolutionary biology: Better off without Darwin?

You'd have to pay for this Chronicle of Higher Education article that addresses the question of whether ditching Darwinism would help evolutionary biologists deal with the unwashed hordes:
In his controversial book, The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins insisted that scientists should work to dispel the idea that God exists. Without religion, Mr. Dawkins has said, the conflict between scientists' beliefs about evolution and the fundamentalist religious belief that a supernatural intelligence created all life would vanish. Now an evolutionary biologist has proposed a different tack. In a meeting last weekend in San Francisco, he suggested scientists might win the argument by ditching Darwin.
Mr. Kutschera, a professor of plant physiology and evolutionary biology at the University of Kassel in Germany, said scientists should emphasize that evolution is a fully formed field of biological study "built up by generations of non-dogmatic scientists." Terms like
Darwinism can make evolutionary biology seem like an ideology, rather than a focus of empirical work, he said.

Basically, the controversy was never about Darwin's theory as such, of course, but about the use of Darwin's theory to preach a materialist origin of life and the mind. It is one thing to say that Dawin'sc oncept of natural selection explains which squirrels will survive the winter - another to say that it completely explains life, the universe, and all that.

Materialists, faced with growing dissent worldwide, now want to spin materialism through some sort of "God-talk" that addresses, in the words of one participant, the "dethronement of humans" (read: the dethronement of intelligence) and makes it all seem quite normal and true. The scary part is that they will undoubtedly get a taxpayer-funded budget for that. It won't work, of course, but it will cost you.

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