So Long Darwin Bicentennial
Even some Darwinians are growing weary of Darwin hoopla. The Darwin Bicentennial and Origin of Species 150th Anniversary celebrations have come and gone, but Darwin is just as contentious and controversial as ever. Historians may remember not just the pro-Darwin celebrations of 2009, but the strong internet and media presence of Darwin skeptics.
On the pro-Darwin side, Science magazine wrapped up its year-long blog Origins announcing its last post. “Of course, Science’s interest in origins and all things evolutionary continues,” wrote bloggers Elisabeth Pennisi, Elisabeth Culotta and John Travis. “For although 2009’s evolutionary parties are ending, the science behind them continues to serve as the firm foundation of modern biology as well as a rich source of new research.” Nature’s feature Darwin 200 appears to be winding down, too. Other December entries by Science Origins included reports of a Darwin Festival on Cambridge and a Darwin-themed string quartet. All the posts were pulled into the page www.sciencemag.org/darwin, where the only mention of skepticism of Darwinism included scare headlines about creationists influencing school boards. “Eugenie Scott Toils in Defense of Evolution,” encouraged one headline. The complete works of Darwin were posted online by the Cambridge University Library. Corresponding with the Darwin hype were strident anti-religious attacks by the “new atheists” like Richard Dawkins, who not only portrays all religion as silly if not evil, but in the same breath proclaims Darwinian evolution as the “greatest show on earth.”
The anti-Darwin side capitalized on the Darwin Bicentennial with strong initiatives of their own. Three films were released: The Voyage that Shook the World by CMI, God of Wonders by Eternal Films, and Darwin’s Dilemma by Illustra Media. The latter was scheduled to be shown in the California Science Center on Oct. 25 but the sponsor’s contract was dropped unexpectedly and they sued (see 12/30/2009). Calvary Chapel hosted a Darwin Was Wrong conference. ICR held several “Demand the Evidence” conferences. The Discovery Institute’s blog Evolution News & Views was very active all year, as was I.D. leader William Dembski’s blog, Uncommon Descent. Stephen Meyer’s book Signature in the Cell was among many new books highlighting flaws in evolutionary theory and making a case for intelligent design. Here at Creation-Evolution Headlines, we reported 170 news stories with commentary related to Darwin and his theory of evolution – an average of 14 per month.
Around America and Europe debates were held, panel discussions presented various views, and a great deal of ink was spilt about the hirsute guru of biology. It would be hard to think of any other scientist or thinker who gets the attention Darwin gets. The 50-year interval celebrations of 1909, 1959, and 2009 have become increasingly boisterous and vociferous. Like it or not, the ghost of Charles Darwin is not leaving the culture any time soon. And whether the pro-Darwinists like it or not, his skeptics are advancing and increasing their influence – especially with alternative media and world-wide internet access giving them platforms they lacked to counter the mainstream media 50 and 100 years ago.
This has actually been a great year for the Darwin skeptics. Sure, the Darwin Party hacks stride about as pompous as ever, but they seem to be making more furtive glances from side to side. Eugenie Scott and Michael Shermer try unsuccessfully to shush the radical atheists from their harsh rhetoric, knowing it is politically expedient to present a gentle Darwin who can be piteous to religious people. After all, they just don’t understand “science” (the Darwin Thought Collective, that is).
Their targets, however, are marching about with confidence, scholarship, charm, and scientific ammunition, increasing in numbers. People are seeing through the ridicule and fear mongering by the Darwinists and realizing that most of the skeptics are sharp, smart people who are making good scientific and philosophical points. Then just when E. Scott and her propagandists were poised to repeat their talking points about the Rules of Science, Climategate threw another curve ball into the game late in the year, showing that the Consensus of the Academic Community can be just as doggedly perverse as politicians (11/26/2009). What a story – one of the biggest hyped consensuses of modern times was shown to be underlain by shenanigans, secret dealing, evidence-tampering and marginalization of opponents, while their big Copenhagen political gala was slowed down by one of the biggest snows in their history, casting doubt on the claims about global warming. The parallels to the Darwin Consensus were not lost by the critics.
09/30/2009). They’ve gorged on their booze and croissants, sung their silly songs, worn their silly T-shirts, chanted their silly mantras (and hate speeches against their critics), watched their silly dancers and worshipped their bearded buddha. Our readers have chuckled at all the Stupid Evolution Quotes. Party’s over. Now it’s time to get serious and shout, The buddha is naked.
By the way, don’t forget: 2009 was also the International Year of Astronomy (400th anniversary of Galileo’s use of the telescope), and the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln.