April 26, 2006 | David F. Coppedge

Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week:  Astrobiology Takes on I.D.

The Center for Astrobiology at the University of Boulder is hosting a symposium today entitled, “Fossils and Genes: Exploring the Evolution of Life.”  Douglas Futuyma (State University of New York) calls Evolution the “most important theory in biology.”  By his own admission, though, it is a theory filled with paradoxes:

Evolution is both a fact and a theory: the most comprehensive explanation of the features and diversity of living things.  It is the most important theory in biology, yet is surrounded by paradoxes.  Despite the simplicity of its central concepts, evolution has a long history of misunderstandings.  Despite its lack of moral or prescriptive content, evolution has been used to justify social policies that range from the admirable to the appalling.  Despite the increasingly important role evolutionary principles and knowledge play in human biology, evolution is rejected by more than half the American public.  Of all the biological disciplines, evolutionary biology has the most far-reaching philosophical implications and the most diverse applications to society.   (Emphasis added in all quotes.)

He is joined by Warren Allmon (Cornell), speaking on “Evolution, Intelligent Design, and the Uneven Search for a Consistent World View.” 

Darwin succeeded where others before him had failed in part because he offered the first truly scientific (i.e., purely materialistic and therefore testable) theory to explain the history of life.  He permanently changed the terms on which theories in biology would be acceptable as science.  Yet few of Darwin’s contemporaries or those who followed truly internalized Darwinism into a coherent and consistent world viewMaterialistic science is vastly more important to modern society than it was in Darwin’s time, yet scientists and non-scientists alike still struggle to fully reconcile materialistic science with their personal and social search for meaning in life.  On the one hand, proponents of intelligent design have declared their intention to overthrow “materialism and its cultural legacies”, which presumably would include not just Darwinism but also everything from agriculture to modern medicine [sic].  On the other, many mainstream scientists – both those who claim to be religious and those who do not – have attempted to reconcile their scientific pursuits with their non-scientific personal philosophies.  Can one simultaneously hold two mutually exclusive philosophies of reality – one materialistic and the other not?  If so, how?  And does doing so make one intellectually dishonest?  Is it possible to construct a logically consistent world view that fully accommodates meaningful religious belief with materialistic science?

Sounds like Allmon has quite a challenge before him – and so does Futuyma.

Notice several flaws, contradictions, and admissions in these abstracts.

  • Charlie Worship:  It is always Big D that is the figurehead of everything wonderful in science. 
  • Charlie Science:  Notice that Darwin was responsible for redefining science as materialism.  Before Darwin, creationism and design thinking was common and produced no conflict, but Darwin “permanently changed the terms on which theories in biology would be acceptable as science.”  Changing the terms of acceptability is not a matter of science, but a matter of philosophy about science.
  • Charlie Morals:  Darwinism knows no morals (as Futuyma admits), so it is illogical for him to find anything “admirable or appalling,” or for Allmon to talk about intellectual honesty and meaning.
  • Charlie Truth:  Futuyma and Allmon just shot themselves in the foot (see self-refuting fallacy).  As materialists, they pulled the rug out from under any validity to concepts of truth, while referring to “philosophies of reality.”
  • Charlie Logic:  Allmon asserted that attacks on evolution are attacks on agriculture and modern medicine (see non-sequitur).  Those disciplines were doing just fine before Charlie came along.
  • Charlie Control:  This Astrobiology symposium was only open to evolutionists.  This shows you not only which bed Astrobiology sleeps in, but how evolutionists rig the game to ridicule their opponents while keeping them out of hearing range.
  • Charlie Leadership:  If less than half the population accepts Darwinism, Futuyma should seriously consider the proposition that it would be good for him to get religion, because that apparently confers better fitness.  This would be a win-win situation.  Religion would lose an enemy, and he would necessarily undermine the fitness principle of Darwinism itself – thus burning the bridge behind him.  As a bonus, he might even win Pascal’s Wager.

The only question left is which of the two quotes is winner of the SEQOTW prize, or whether it’s a draw.

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