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The Darwinist is in the business of ridding the universe of “purpose” and “meaning” and “value.”

Flagellum

From James Barham’s article on pop science claims about genetic determinism, at The Best Schools (December 23, 2011):

The other reason gene talk is so great is because genes are just a bunch of inert chemicals—hence their issuance of orders to the other cell constituents is allegedly strictly mechanical and deterministic. (How chemicals issue orders is a question I could get thrown into jail for asking in some parts of this country, so I won’t ask it.) Therefore, gene talk can be counted on to make us sound like we are mere wind-up toys or puppets.

And this is the real take-home message of all Darwinian thinking. The Darwinist—in his reflective moments, at least, when he is not just crunching numbers—is in the business, above all, of ridding the universe of those pesky properties that some of us still call by the quaint names of “purpose” and “meaning” and “value.” That is what all the hullabaloo over evolution is really about.

Why do I sneer at these ideas? How can I be so sure I am not a mere gene puppet?

This is a large subject, and I must content myself with only three pieces of evidence for now. Two of them are contained in Wade’s own article.

More.

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3 Responses to The Darwinist is in the business of ridding the universe of “purpose” and “meaning” and “value.”

  1. What numbers do Darwinists crunch? Their position doesn’t have any math (and no population genetics does not rely of Darwinism nor NDE).

  2. The Darwinist is in the business of ridding the universe of “purpose” and “meaning” and “value.”

    Dear News,

    This is what, au fond, Darwinism has always been about. It was never about science; it was the long-awaited creation story of the religion of materialism, which absolves true believers of any sense of ultimate accountability, guilt, or any notion of moral absolutes. If one is just a machine, determined and driven by his genes and biochemistry, he can say to himself: “There’s probably no god, now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” (This from the infamous atheist bus campaign.)

    Never mind the fact that the universal creative power of the Darwinian mechanism requires blind faith in the clearly miraculous, and is being systematically undermined by legitimate scientific investigation, or that the evidence of the fossil record consistently and persuasively testifies to discontinuity and saltation, in contradiction to Darwinian prediction.

    In response to the first challenge Darwinists make up fantastic, unsupported, logically and mathematically absurd stories like co-option, and in the second case they suggest that the theory is just fine, but the evidence is in error.

    In no other area of scientific investigation would such tactics and propositions be acceptable.

    It should be obvious that there is purpose, meaning, and value. These concepts are essential to human existence, without which suicide would be the only rational option. But Darwinists do not take this option: They derive their purpose, meaning, and value from their religion of materialism, and trying to convert others to their cause.

    What all this means is, if Darwinism is not true, the true believer must radically change his entire worldview. This is not easy. I know from personal experience.

    But in the end, it was more than worth it.

  3. jbarham:

    On one interpretation, Wade is saying nothing remarkable.

    Quite. But jbarham is not content to leave it at that.

    The Darwinist—in his reflective moments, at least, when he is not just crunching numbers—is in the business, above all, of ridding the universe of those pesky properties that some of us still call by the quaint names of “purpose” and “meaning” and “value.” That is what all the hullabaloo over evolution is really about.

    Yet there is nothing in the cited Nicholas Wade article that remotely resembles this charge.

    Quite frankly, jbarham is just making stuff up, and using what he has made up as a basis for attacking science.

    According to Wade, and the study he is reporting on, strict genetic control of social behavior in primates is an empirical fact.

    That’s more making stuff up. The closest Wade comes is when he says “The Oxford survey confirms that the structure of human society, too, is likely to have a genetic basis, since humans are in the primate family, said Bernard Chapais, an expert on human social evolution at the University of Montreal.” But “likely to have a genetic basis” is far weaker than “strict genetic control of social behavior in primates is an empirical fact.”

    jbarham goes on to say:

    The worst thing about the sort of journalism that Wade and others practice is not just that it is uncritical, but that it is downright uniformed.

    That criticism seems to apply far more aptly to what jbarham writes that to what Nicholas Wade writes.

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