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Death is Evolution’s Engine of Progress

Nature is, as Tennyson lamented, red in tooth and claw, but Darwinism turned death and bloodshed into a virtue. It is evolution’s natural selection that makes way for the more fit by killing off the less fit. Natural selection did not, indeed it cannot, induce better mutations. But when by chance they luckily arise, then they propagate at the cost of the lesser designs. Spencer’s phrase “the survival of the fittest,” which Darwin adopted, is more optimistic sounding but no less telling. With evolution, death is the engine of progress. Or as Matt Ridley explained today, … Read more

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4 Responses to Death is Evolution’s Engine of Progress

  1. 1
    sagebrush gardener

    Max Planck thought that death is science’s engine of progress: “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”

    Or as it has been paraphrased, “Science advances one funeral at a time.”

  2. “Meantime let me say that the conclusion I have come to is this: the law of Christ is incompatible with the law of evolution as far as the law of evolution has worked hitherto. Nay, the two laws are at war with each other; the law of Christ can never prevail until the law of evolution is destroyed.” Sir Arthur Keith (1866 — 1955) Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons – Evolution and Ethics (1947) p.15 (Written shortly after the carnage of WWII)
    http://www.bearfabrique.org/Ev.....thics.html

  3. 3
    Kantian Naturalist

    Here’s the quote, in context:

    Something that is fragile, like a glass, can survive small shocks but not big ones. Something that is robust, like a rock, can survive both. But robust is only half way along the spectrum. There are things that are anti-fragile, meaning they actually improve when shocked, they feed on volatility. The restaurant sector is such a beast. So is the economy as a whole: It is precisely because of Joseph Schumpeter’s “creative destruction” that it innovates, progresses and becomes resilient. The policy implications are clear: Bailouts risk making the economy more fragile.

    Biological evolution, too, is anti-fragile. The death of unfit individuals is what causes a species to adapt and improve. The body is anti-fragile: Without stress it weakens. To build muscles, you must push them to the point of failure.

    Ridley’s point has nothing to do with eugenics or abortion, except in some free-associative fashion opaque to me. Ridley’s point is that biological evolution works along very similar lines to how the free market works.

  4. “Death is Evolution’s Engine of Progress”

    Exactly!

    But the problem is that this doesn’t fit with God’s Word.

    The Bible says that death is the last enemy. I Cor. 15:26.

    Now can anyone tell me why so many well intentioned Christians are so quick to agree that God used the cruel process of evolution to create life?!!

    If death really is an enemy that is to be destroyed, why would anyone want to accuse the Creator of using this “enemy”, this thing that is surely not good, as the main tool of creation? That, to me, implies they have a fairly low view of who God is, or at least a very skewed view of God. It is an insult to God and does not fit with what God Himself reveals about Himself to us in His Word.

    So, for me, this argument is a show stopper for theistic evolution. TEs, whether they realize it or not impugn the character of their Creator and God when they say that God used evolution to create everything.

    I think this is also a problem for many ID folk who believe in common descent or who believe that God guided the evolutionary process.

    No how you try and justify it, this idea just doesn’t fit the character of the God of the Bible.

    I have real problems with type of biblical interpretation because it ignores the clear teaching of the Bible at the expense of impugning the character of God! We’re more concerned about being accepted by secularists than guarding the glory of God. Accommodating the world’s views becomes more important than treasuring and guarding the Creator’s truth and honor.

    This is why Creationists have such a problem with theistic evolution.

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