Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Evolution Myths

Jim Endersby at Timesonline reviews two books on Charles Darwin and addresses some misconceptions that exist in the current discussion of evolution. H/T John Hawks

Evolution myths: Not only did Darwin fail to shatter a universal faith, the Origin’s appearance was actually greeted with enthusiasm by some churchmen. When the Revd Charles Kingsley (of Water Babies fame) wrote to thank Darwin for his complimentary copy of the Origin, he noted that although he’d not yet had time to read it, he had already “gradually learnt to see that it is just as noble a conception of Deity, to believe that he created primal forms capable of self development” as it was “to believe that He required a fresh act of intervention to supply the lacunas which he himself had made”.

Natural history was a popular pastime for country clergymen (the ministry, indeed, had been Darwin’s planned career, until the Beagle opportunity came along) and those, like Kingsley, who spent their spare time gathering seaweeds or butterflies, were primed to see the force of Darwin’s arguments.

It seemed that Darwin had done for beetles and pigeons what Newton had done for planets; replacing a hands-on deity (who seemed to be forever tinkering with the ill-designed machinery he’d made) with an exalted conception of a divine artificer who had devised natural laws so delicately balanced that they would run forever.

I have never understood creationists who believe there is product without process.