Saturday, August 30, 2014
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I Get Spanked by Creationists for Accepting Reality and being a "Darwinist"

Creationist Website Disputes Column on HItler and Darwin.

I Get Spanked by Creationists for Accepting Reality and being a "Darwinist"

Why is it that to creationists label everyone who accepts current biology as a “Darwinist”? It's as if scientific knowelged equates to some kind of political ideology. We don’t call physicists “Einsteinists” or astronomers “Hubbleites”. In this critique of my last column, Richard Weikart asserts that if I accept evolution, I must also accept that I can’t criticize Hitler. This is published on a site called "Evolution News and Views" which looks suspiciously like a creationist/intelligent design website.

She concludes her article by asking, "If our lives really did hinge on countless accidents, couldn't that notion make life ever more precious?" Again, she is smuggling ideas into her argument that are fundamentally incompatible with her worldview. "Precious" implies that something has value, meaning, and significance; indeed it means that something has more value than other things. However, a naturalistic understanding of Darwinism cannot sustain the notion that life is precious, because everything, not just life, is the product of chance and would be equally valuable, making life no more precious than anything else in the cosmos. A lump of coal or a dung heap is every bit as much the product of countless accidents as you are. Does that make them precious? Many Darwinists today, such as Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne, reject the idea that human life is special and has any meaning or purpose.

I'm not sure Coyne or Dawkins ever said anything like that. Weikart gives no references there. As Scott Gilbert so eloquently put it in this follow-up post, we endow life with meaning and purpose. 

My view is that our exploration of the universe tells us that we are the products of natural processes and chance. How can we progress in science if we throw out every finding that makes us struggle? Weikart seems to think we can decide what aspects of reality to accept.

On the other hand maybe "it should be up to the American People to Decide What's True," as stated by a host on the Daily Show last night in a spoof of anti-science rhetoric. Republican strategist Noelle Nickpour called this common sense, though she might be kidding.  

About this blog
Faye Flam - writer
In pursuit of her stories, writer Faye Flam has weathered storms in Greenland, gotten frost nip at the South Pole, and floated weightless aboard NASA’s zero-g plane. She has a degree in geophysics from the California Institute of Technology and started her writing career with the Economist. She later took on the particle physics and cosmology beat at Science Magazine before coming to the Inquirer in 1995. Her previous science column, “Carnal Knowledge,” ran from 2005 to 2008. Her new column and blog, Planet of the Apes, explores the topic of evolution and runs here and in the Inquirer’s health section each Monday. Email Faye at fflam@phillynews.com. Reach Planet of the at fflam@phillynews.com.

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