The Other McCain

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Science, Progress, Consensus and Doubt: Darwinism and Reason in the Balance

Posted on | November 29, 2012 | 25 Comments

“My attitude toward progress has passed from antagonism to boredom. I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday.”
G.K. Chesteron, 1923

“God has given us plenty of evidence of who he is.”
Dr. Ben Carson, 2012

It seems that Rand Simberg doesn’t include Dr. Carson — a world-famous neurosurgeon — among those enlightened individuals “who are conversant with science and its methods.” Although Simberg defends Marco Rubio’s “I’m not a scientist” response to a question about the age of the earth, Simberg’s tone of snide condescension toward Christians was hard to overlook in the excerpt quoted at Instapundit:

“Now, in fact, I would prefer politicians who are conversant with science and its methods to those not, but even more I prefer politicians who are conversant with basic math, economics, and human nature, and have an aversion to wrecking the nation’s economy. And if they have to occasionally salute the sensibilities of people who believe that evolution is the work of the devil, I can live with that — particularly since we have a current president who does exactly the same thing, while flooring the accelerator toward the fiscal cliff.”

This “smarter than thou” gesture inspired a few Tweets last night:

Prejudice and stereotypes are not science, but the Darwinian cultists have benefitted by exploiting prejudice against Christians, as if skepticism toward evolutionary theory were synonymous with superstitious ignorance. This attitude annoys me for many reasons, including the fact that it empowers academic thuggery toward Christians:

World-renowned Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson is under fire from several biology professors at Emory University, where [he was] scheduled to give the commencement address [in May].
They wrote a letter to the school newspaper after learning Carson does not believe in evolution, calling it “deeply concerning  . . . That he equates the acceptance of evolution with a lack of ethics and morality.” . . .
“You have a theory in which you place your faith, and I have a theory in which I place my faith,” Carson said in a speech posted on YouTube. “I say you can believe what you want but I simply don’t have enough faith to believe what you believe. I’m a person of faith so I have to believe in God. You know that always gets them.”

If biologists can exclude from the scientific community anyone who doubts Darwinism — so that even an eminent physician like Dr. Carson cannot be permitted to criticize evolutionary theory — then the scientific consensus in favor of Darwinism has apparently become one of those “smelly little orthodoxies” that disgusted Orwell, and the biology faculty at Emory have deputized themselves as Thought Police.

Ideas Have Consequences, Richard Weaver famously warned us, and the questions William F. Buckley Jr. raised in God and Man at Yale have now been answered by events: The Left’s terrifying hegemony in academia does not result from a failure of conservatives to embrace “progress,” but from a failure of conservatives to resist trendy errors and defend ancient truths, and to do so persuasively.

More than 15 years have passed since I first read Phillip E. Johnson’s Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law and Education, a brilliant exposition of what the Darwinian domination of intellectual life means. Given that Johnson is a former professor of law at UC-Berkeley, he is not easily dismissed as an ignorant crank, and his arguments are as lucidly expressed as they are logically coherent.

In the aftermath of the recent election catastrophe, conservatives have been making lots of noise about “culture,” and it might behoove us to reacquaint ourselves with strong arguments for ancient truths, if only so that we might learn from imitating good examples.



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25 Responses to “Science, Progress, Consensus and Doubt: Darwinism and Reason in the Balance

  1. Adjoran
    November 29th, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

    It is not correct to label those who reject the silliness of the “young Earthers” as atheist, secularist, or even anti-Creationist.

    Your pathetic appeal to authority with Dr. Carson & Johnson notwithstanding, we have the right to expect our elected officials are intelligent enough to know dinosaurs did not trod the land within the last 6000 years. Mr. Buckley never to my knowledge defended such claptrap.

    To Rubio’s credit, he staked out the outline of a position that “it might mean ‘eras,'” but didn’t state it definitively. Yes, it was a “gotcha” question. That does not entitle one to an answer which equivocates on reality.

    Simberg criticizes the double standard media applies and even sympathizes with the political need to pander to the ill-informed constituencies. For which, you attack Simberg.

  2. Quartermaster
    November 29th, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

    Adjoran, you’re revealing your own prejudices as well as your lack of knowledge on the assumptions that lie behind Darwinism and Paleontology. There are also legitimate appeals to authority, although RSM actually wasn’t making them.
    I must admit that you seemed a reasonable individual when i first started coming here. Your overall performance, however, is somewhat less than I expected. You have the right to your opinion, but your anti-scientific bent (and being pro-darwin is decidedly anti-scientific) marks you as something less than you would like think of yourself.

    “And evolution does not preclude divine origin.”
    Mr. McEnroe, this is true to a point. You have to define what you are talking about, however. You see, as I have posted here previously, there are two forms of evolution. One is a fact, the other is simply a product of Darwin’s overactive and fevered anti-God imagination. Darwinism is simply a fantasy that anti-God faction likes to shake at people when, like Adjoran, they want to try to make the others look like fools.
    I must point out, however, that there a re a goodly number of people that don’t accept Darwin’s fantasy and are not creationists. What Darwin purports to explain is not within the reach of science.

  3. K-Bob
    November 29th, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

    Doesn’t matter how the Earth began. The left only understands two eras: Bush and The Lightworker.

  4. Robin
    November 29th, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

    I don’t understand the problem. Science is God’s way of showing us how He did something. Just because science can explain how something happened, doesn’t mean it isn’t a miracle. When a three year old asks where babies come from, do you explain about fallopian tubes, sperm, and ovulation? No. You explain it in a way they can understand. When it comes to God, we are all toddlers, at best.

  5. Finrod Felagund
    November 29th, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

    The problem with discussing evolution is that there are two separate parts to evolution that get confusingly bundled together: microevolution and macroevolution.

    Microevolution is what Darwin wrote about in the Galapagos Islands: one species turning into many species because of variants that thrived. There is lots of evidence for this, it’s been observed in multiple places, and it makes a lot of sense.

    Macroevolution, on the other hand, is the single cell –> human race theory. This theory has holes in it large enough to drive a truck through, not least of which that this process should leave lots and lots of intermediate forms behind, which just have not been found.

    Atheist scientists love to use evidence of the former to beat up people who don’t believe in the latter, which is dishonest at best on their part.

  6. alanhenderson
    November 29th, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

    Bush and George Lucas?

    Yeah, I know who you mean. But Industrial Light and Magic – an era-pioneering phenomenon in its own right – was the first thing that “Lightworker” pops into my head.

    Isn’t “lightworker” a rough translation if Illuminatus?

  7. robertstacymccain
    November 29th, 2012 @ 7:10 pm

    What I am talking about, Adjoran, is not politics, but culture. That is to say, we find ourselves living a culture where atheists insult believers with the expectation that all “smart” people are laughing along at the joke. One consequence of this Culture of Disbelief is a politics in which the transparent failure of the Administration’s policies can be excused by the intelligentsia because at least he kept those Bible-thumping hillbillies out of power. You take no offense at Simberg’s purposeful insult to Christians because you are not a Christian, or because you share Simberg’s anti-Christian bias; either way, your silence has consequences, too.

  8. K-Bob
    November 29th, 2012 @ 7:40 pm

    Whoo-ee, I assumed it was related to the Bringer of Light, who was the fallen angel we call Satan today. But if you search on the term, you get some seriously screwed-up new-age stuff that makes you wonder if a lot of people aren’t pretty much 100% insane.

  9. Quartermaster
    November 29th, 2012 @ 7:40 pm

    Darwin actually conflated the two. Microevolution is a fact and is in no way inconsistent with Scripture. What Darwin was actually pushing, Macroevolution, is no more than his philosophical meanderings and have no basis in science. The concept of Macroevolution has been around since ancient Greece, and has advanced no further than it had then.

    What Macroevolution supposedly explains is not within the reach of the scientific method. That’s why the morons pushing it try to incoporate microevolution then point at it and say “Behold it is science,” when all they do is demonstrate their own idiocy instead of erudition.

  10. Quartermaster
    November 29th, 2012 @ 7:42 pm

    Adjoran has already demonstrated several times in comments here that he shares Simberg’s bias.

  11. Stogie Chomper
    November 29th, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

    I must point out, however, that there a re a goodly number of people that don’t accept Darwin’s fantasy and are not creationists.

    Well said. I once believed in Darwin’s theory without question, until I read more about it in later life. Then I could see the gaping holes in the theory. I don’t necessarily believe in the creationist theory, i.e. that God said “poof!” and all the animals suddenly appeared. However, the existence of life in all its myriad forms is truly miraculous and I haven’t a clue as to how life did appear on this planet. I am pretty sure it wasn’t as Darwin described in his macroevolution model. It just seems too far-fetched. Something is going on here that is beyond our human understanding.

  12. Stogie Chomper
    November 29th, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

    I agree with RSM that evolutionists tend to be insultingly arrogant and dismissive of those who do not accept Darwin’s theory as fact. On the other hand, I agree with Adjoran’s first sentence above, though I wouldn’t use the term “silliness” to describe the young earth theory. I too believe that the earth is billions of years old, though I don’t begrudge anyone a different conclusion.

  13. Freddie Sykes
    November 29th, 2012 @ 8:50 pm

    The scientific method is based on making a theory to explain observations, developing experiments to test the theory, reviewing results to see how they support the theory and then repeating the entire process. Theories that do not lend themselves to experimentation such as evolution, plate tectonics, man made global climate change or cosmology may be true and certainly are fascinating but cannot be said to be based on the scientific method. These untestable theories have more in common with Plato, a pretty smart guy, then modern science.

  14. WJJ Hoge
    November 29th, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

    Science is about how. Theology is about why. Religion is our acting out of our beliefs in the real world.

    If one really believes that God is Who He says He is, then one should take everything that He has said seriously. Of course, that would include the specific things He has made known in the Scriptures, but it should also include what is implied by the fingerprints He has left behind on His creation.

    Truth is truth—wherever it is learned. If what one believes about Theology does not square with what one believes about Science, then one is wrong about at least one of them.

    The more I learn, the more I find that what I thought I knew was wrong.

  15. DaveO
    November 29th, 2012 @ 9:11 pm

    The most common argument for Evolution: “The Theory of Evolution is fact!”
    Best show on TV that regularly skewers Evolution: “Ancient Aliens.” Though in truth they skewer all religions.

  16. Bob Belvedere
    November 29th, 2012 @ 9:29 pm

    Stacy wrote: …it might behoove us to reacquaint ourselves with strong arguments for ancient truths, if only so that we might learn from imitating good examples.

    Using anyone of Stacy’s Amazon links on this page, go there and search for ‘Russell Kirk’. He’ll reacquaint you and entertain you with his wonderful prose and dry wit.

  17. JPK
    November 29th, 2012 @ 10:50 pm

    Check out: “Get Answers” delivers clear and plain Biblical perspective and scientific proofs. Awesome.

  18. JPK
    November 29th, 2012 @ 11:38 pm

    Start with “Dinosaurs.” From any point of view, this is fascinating stuff.

  19. alanhenderson
    November 30th, 2012 @ 6:34 am

    Speaking of light-bringing and George Lucas, take a look at the 2008 inauguration poster – am I the only one who sees twin Sith light sabers?

  20. K-Bob
    November 30th, 2012 @ 7:13 am

    It’s Darth Fib!

  21. Rob Crawford
    November 30th, 2012 @ 10:19 am

    You’re taking insult where none was offered.

  22. Rob Crawford
    November 30th, 2012 @ 10:20 am

    Macroevolution has been demonstrated.

    Don’t blame other people for your inability to comprehend a Creator large enough to encompass it.

  23. Rob Crawford
    November 30th, 2012 @ 10:21 am

    If you consider “Ancient Aliens” to be anything but a pacifier for potheads, you have a problem.

  24. Rob Crawford
    November 30th, 2012 @ 10:23 am

    Simberg made no “purposeful insult”; you’re the one who is taking insult.

    Perhaps — and I’ll be savaged for saying this — you should practice a little Christian humility and good-faith and NOT take offense at what was, over all, a defense?

  25. Quartermaster
    November 30th, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

    That’s hogwash. Macroevolution has never been demonstrated because it can not be. It’s not a matter of God being “big enough.” It is a matter of it being within the reach of science and it is not. Period.