Home » Intelligent Design » Why I know Darwin doesn’t really matter: Too many people insist too frantically that he does

Why I know Darwin doesn’t really matter: Too many people insist too frantically that he does

In a recent book, Michael Shermer, who ” once aspired to Christian ministry, now is one of the most hostile critics of Christianity” (according to Touchstone Magazine‘s Russell D. Moore), holds forth as follows:

In a feature article in the Christian magazine Touchstone, [William] Dembski was even more direct: ‘Intelligent Design is just the Logos theory of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.’

Make no mistake about it. Creationists and their Intelligent Design brethern do not just want equal time, they want all the time they can get.

First, I find the title of Shermer’s book interesting. If Darwin really mattered, Shermer wouldn’t be writing a book insisting that he does.

I mean, who writes a book called “why better gas mileage matters” or “why preventing cancer matters”? Evident benefits prompt no defence.

And if Darwin is not an evident benefit, after all these years – as National Academy of Sciences member Phil Skell took the risk of pointing out recently in Science – well then he just isn’t.

Re Dembski’s quoted comment, tech guru George Gilder recently said much the same thing.

It’s not a question of sectarian religion. Either the universe is top down, as all traditional philosophies/religions/karmic traditions teach – in which case intelligence/information comes first.

Or it is bottom up, as Shermer and others hope – in which case time and chance somehow produce information and intelligence.

The latter is coming to seem less and less likely all the time, hence Shermer’s (and others’) frantic insistence that Darwin matters.

By the way, Touchstone is a great ecumenical Christian religion mag. It recently published an excellent summary of Catholic teachings on evolution – especially welcome because of the huge amount of misunderstanding/misrepresentation (who really knows which, in some cases?) regularly retailed on that subject.

The skinny: The Catholic Church does not and cannot support Darwinism. It actually never did, but so many American religion profs and journalists cannot believe that it doesn’t that they react by simply asserting that it does, or retailing the views of dissidents instead..

And yes, you can bet that  Dembski and friends want “all the time they can get.” Who doesn’t? Time is a finite resource, and we all want more of it.

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21 Responses to Why I know Darwin doesn’t really matter: Too many people insist too frantically that he does

  1. I clicked on the Amazon link to Shermer’s “Why Darwin Matters”, and was shown a list of books that I “might also be interested in”. Presumably, these are books that prospective “Darwin Matters” buyers have looked at on Amazon.

    Two of the selections are “Atheist Universe” and “The God Who Wasn’t There”. Darwinists may deny a link between atheism and NDE, but their shopping habits give them away!

  2. Denyse O’Leary insists:

    First, I find the title of Shermer’s book interesting. If Darwin really mattered, Shermer wouldn’t be writing a book insisting that he does.

    Let’s test that reasoning on a few other book titles taken from Amazon.com:

    Why Religion Matters
    Class Matters
    Why Gender Matters
    Science Matters
    Why Geography Matters
    Race Matters
    Why Sinatra Matters
    Culture Matters
    Why New Orleans Matters
    Democracy Matters
    Why Love Matters
    Children Matter
    Character Matters
    Your Work Matters to God
    Spirit Matters
    God is No Laughing Matter
    What Matters Most: The Power of Living Your Values
    Scripture Matters
    Thoughts Matter
    Your Mind Matters
    Life Matters
    Humility Matters
    Why Truth Matters
    Animals and Why They Matter
    Why Freedom Matters

    and quite appropriately for this blog:

    Design Matters

    Denyse, would you care to reconsider your statement?

  3. 3

    Denyse is right about the Roman Church naver accepting Darwinism. They also don’t deny evolution any more. The Catholic church has always been the friend of science even in Galileo’s day. For more than a half century the Pontifical Academy of Science has been in existence with Nobel laureates among its members.

    Unfortunately, like it or not, it is the Protestants who have been the most virulent opponents of evolution. Many still are. I look forward to the establishment of an Ecumenical Academy of Sciences. What do you think the chances are?

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  4. 4

    “Christians of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your Darwinism.”
    After Karl Marx

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  5. I see that being honest and calling a boneheaded mistake a boneheaded mistake gets deleted quick.

  6. And yes, I know being “banned” is to come. I just no longer care. You are just religious nuts with your knickers in a twist.

  7. From moderator Denyse: sophophile, you might want to take a look at the blog entry above. MikeFNQ, I delete comments that are merely rude. Imitate that example and your prophecy is certain to come true.

    Getting banned is a small price to pay, I am sure, for joining the worthy fellowship of the prophets.

  8. But it does point out that some Darwinist claims are mere materialist metaphysics pretending to be science,

    Exactly!

  9. 9

    They keep writing these books defending Darwinism while insisting that there is no controversy. LOL

    Dear National Science Foundation,

    I would like a grant of one billion dollars to show that intelligent design is so absurd that it is not even worth considering.

    Sincerely,

    Prof. Charles Darwin

  10. #9 LOL!!

  11. “Class Matters
    Why Gender Matters
    Science Matters
    Why Geography Matters
    Race Matters
    Why Sinatra Matters
    Culture Matters
    Why New Orleans Matters
    Democracy Matters
    Why Love Matters
    Children Matter
    Character Matters
    Your Work Matters to God
    Spirit Matters
    God is No Laughing Matter
    What Matters Most: The Power of Living Your Values
    Scripture Matters
    Thoughts Matter
    Your Mind Matters
    Life Matters
    Humility Matters
    Why Truth Matters
    Animals and Why They Matter
    Why Freedom Matters”

    It seems to me there are two possible explanations for these titles:

    The authors of these books believe that lots of people doubt that “animals matter”, so they’ve written these books to persuade them that they do matter.

    The other interpretation is that most of us believe that “animals matter”, but we don’t understand why and she’s helping us understand ourselves.

    You’ve taken position #2. Denyse has apparently taken position #1.

    Sophophile, “Would you care to reconsider your statement?”

  12. “Well, as I said, if someone has to write a book about why a guy matters, he doesn’t, or not much.”

    Darwin matters because he was a great scientist who revolutionized our thinking about the origins of biological diversity. It’s hardly relevant if a book about someone or something contains the word “matters.” Authors usually write books if the topic matters to them. People usually read books if the topic matters to them.

    The Darwin exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History was packed every time I went, and it had to be extended several times. It will soon be traveling to other museums around the country.

    I might add that I don’t agree with Michael Schermer on everything. (After all, I’m a believer.) But then, why do we have to see everything in black and white? And come to think of it, the exhibit included videotapes of religious scientists speaking about their faith.

  13. Karen,

    And come to think of it, the exhibit included videotapes of religious scientists speaking about their faith.

    Really? Did it have videos from scientists like, Dr Russ Humpreys, or Dr Jonathan Safarti, or even Dr John Morris speaking about their faith?

  14. (90 They keep writing these books defending Darwinism while insisting that there is no controversy.

    I agree that the pose taken is somewhat silly.

    There might not be a real scientific controversy, but there is a real, and very interesting, cultural controversy.

    What’s at stake here concerns the metaphysical implications of Darwinism, and the ethical and political consequences of those implications. These are not scientific questions, but they are extremely important ones, nevertheless.

    I’ve tried several times to present this thought — “cultural, not scientific!” — over in Pharyngula, but they didn’t want to hear it. I’ve come over here hoping that I’ll find a more sympathetic ear.

  15. Really? Did it have videos from scientists like, Dr Russ Humpreys, or Dr Jonathan Safarti, or even Dr John Morris speaking about their faith?

    No. But you knew that already. The video, “Scientists on Faith,” only included video testimonies from scientists who find no contradiction between their religious faith and their acceptance of the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution. It’s got Ken Miller, Francisco Ayala, Francis Collins — you know, the usual suspects.

    The video itself can be viewed at
    http://www.amnh.org/exhibition.....ponses.php

  16. 16

    For sheer thrills on the internet there is only one thing that beats being banned. That is being invited back in again!

    I love it so!

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A, Davison

  17. “Really? Did it have videos from scientists like, Dr Russ Humpreys, or Dr Jonathan Safarti, or even Dr John Morris speaking about their faith?”

    No, why would it? This is the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan we’re talking about. The video showed mainstream scientists of faith. The point they were making is that you don’t have to choose between science and religion. Sometimes I’ll go into the city to worship at the beautiful St Thomas Church on 5th Avenue (with the boys choir) and go afterwards to the museum. Apostles and Fossils!

    Check it out: http://www.saintthomaschurch.org/

  18. Sophophile

    Please note that:

    1. When a boneheaded mistake is made by a contributor it is considered rude to point it out;
    2. Using humour to do so is very bad form. You shall not take the mickey, no matter how boneheaded a mistake a person makes;
    3. The perpetrator of a boneheaded mistake shall not admit their boneheaded mistake, but simply hope that it gets lost in the mists of blogspace; and
    4. You shall not catalog the boneheaded mistakes of contributors for use at a later time, even if it is to illustrate the very point you are making – that the desperate need to attack the “evil that is Darwinism” clouds the judgement of people who should know better than to post such boneheaded mistakes. Backing such arguments up with examples and proving your case is not allowed.

    MickeyFNQ

  19. “They keep writing these books defending Darwinism while insisting that there is no controversy.”

    I guess there is a meta-contraversy about there being a contraversy.

  20. I guess there is a meta-contraversy about there being a contraversy.

    That’s how it seems to me, too — and this is fueled by a reluctance or even refusal, on both sides, to distinguish between scientific issues and cultural issues.

  21. “I guess there is a meta-contraversy about there being a contraversy.”

    Maybe I’ll write a book about why dictionaries still matter.

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