RE: RE: RE: Response on Creation ans Scince
by Lew - written 28/07/2010 13:34:05
You seem to have misunderstood that Darwinian evolution - by natural selection - does not have anything to say about the origin of life. It "starts in the middle" to use Daniel Dennett's phrase. I would highly recommend his book "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" to you, because as a practising philosopher, he has the best grasp of the subject and is a most accessible writer for lay people.
Now, Darwin himself had no knowledge of genetics, the discovery of which emerged only in the 20th Century. But the even genetics, which is a hugely more sophisticated type of science than the observations Darwin spent his entire life making, concurs with Darwinian principles.
Evolution - as per Darwinism - IS observable. Read up on its having been observed to the human good in the case of E Coli for instance. It has also recently been identified in relatively recent human history in the case of ancient Chines having developed tolerance to alcohol by means of a genetic mutation.
The simple fact is that Darwinism stands. Strong and tall. And it stands in science, whose method is not about setting up monoliths, but is intrinsically self-correcting, because actually and essentially, the scientific method is about DISproving things, not holding them up in spite of contrary evidence, such as what religion does. Annoyingly.
Now as to the origin of life and the universe, for that you should not be attacking Darwinism, but a whole, and equally massive, different discipline: physics.
Now physics has become so sophisticated that the scales involved need their own language. We cannot adequately express using common-or-garden English the very, very big nor the very, very small. But for a good treatment of our subject, see Paul Davies' "God and the New Physics". You might be comforted to know that this book was written in the early 1980s, before some people's hands were forced in this debate about science and religion in the past ten years, and the gloves came off. Paul Davies is in fact a believer.
In your response to Willie, you've trotted out some sort of garbled version of the cosmological argument - the of the First Cause or the Unmoved Mover. This idea was Aristotle's - it's very clever but it's very, very old. We have come a long way. It was rediscovered toward the end of the Dark Ages - known as such because of the paucity of intellectual activity which Christianity's dominance foisted upon Europe - by Thomas Aquinas, thanks to Arab (Muslim) scholars.
It was Aquinas who rescued Christianity and to an extent, European philosophy, by tacking Aristotle's argument for the existence of God onto Christianity. Although Aristotle came up with two numbers of gods - I think - he said there were either 37 or 45 gods, but posited both. This reflects both his cultural bias, ancient Greece having been polytheistic, and also why we should be wary of the argument.
The Cosmological Argument has long been disproven. It hasn't stood since Hume. It has been savaged in the past century by Bertrand Russell. It is now a lame argument. See Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy and also Why I am Not a Christian for details. Or for an accessible contemporary treatment of it, see the Hume specialist Simon Blackburn.
Now to Willie. The same point is just as applicable to you as it is to the religious people: If you don't know what you're talking about, stop talking. Do not chuck some nonsense about "circumstantial evidence" into the maw out of the top of your head. It does not get us anywhere and you're basically being as bad as them.
David, I look forward to your response. I'll have a read at your contribution on the place of reason but unfortunately probably won't have time to respond today.
I see you're also on the Council of Reference. Is there any chance of a Caleb response to my other postings?
Willie, I did not say that Divine revelation disproves the theory of evolution, though it certainly contradicts it. Your argument from circumstantial evidence overlooks the uniquness of the beginning of things. For there to be a beginning, there has to be something that never otherwise happens - that something should arise from nothing. In other words, for there to be a beginning at all, something must have taken place that has never been known to take place since. This puts the beginning outside the observable laws of the continuation of things since the beginning.
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