(“Darwin Day” is Feb. 12 – I was bummed to find out I had missed it)
What could be more interesting than the creation-evolution debate?
As a very young child, one of the main things I wanted to know about was how science and the Bible fit together. “What about the dinosaurs dad?” (an elephant?)
The powers that be inform us that anyone who believes in something like young earth creationism is a complete and total moron (evidently people like Leonard Brand, Ben Carson, Terry Hamblin [Wikipedia article here], Andrew McIntosh, John C. Sanford, Raymond Damadian, Stephen Lloyd and Todd Wood for instance). These days, saying you believe this a good way to socially assassinate yourself when it comes to intellectual respectability*.
It seems another way to do this – not as much of course – is simply to question evolution period, as Ben Steyn argued in the 2008 movie Expelled. Besides the revealing Dawkins-aliens moment, the highlight of the movie had to be the agnostic and secular Jew David Berlinski, the mathematician-physicist turned harsh Darwin-critic. His effortless takedown of neo-Darwinian thought was compelling and his brash confidence admittedly entertaining (see the You Tube clip below for Berlinski on Darwinian evolution). Berlinski has nothing but contempt for what he sees as the intellectually facile system that is called the neo-Darwinian synthesis – a “Scientific Scandal” if there ever was one, he says.
I would say that Berlinski is well worth reading (if not for the sheer entertainment). And recently, our library ordered a book of his essays The Deniable Darwin.
As one can see by looking at Berlinski’s various books as held by OCLC WorldCat libraries, many of his peers in academia evidently did not judge this book to be one of his better moments.
One might be forgiven for thinking the articulate anti-Darwinian thoughts of a highly educated, scientific mind the stature of Berlinskis’ might actually be of interest to people.
Certainly, there is an interest in semi-popularized books about evolution.
All this said, as one can see from the first chart above his 2008 book lampooning atheism did a bit better. In it, he said of Darwinism:
“We have no idea how life emerged, and cannot with assurance say that it did. We cannot reconcile our understanding of the human mind with any trivial theory about the manner in which the brain functions. Beyond the trivial, we have no other theories. (bold mine, p. xiii, see also 156-165).
And in this excellent interview on Issues ETC., Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute talks about Berlinski as well as four other prominent, non-religious scientists scientists who have dared to question the Darwinian orthodoxy*: Jerry Fodor, Lynn Margulis (both opponents of intelligent design), Thomas Nagel (in his book pictured below: “the defenders of intelligent design deserve our gratitude”), and Steve Fuller (an agnostic who defends intelligent design). He also mentioned the late Philip Skell.
Luskin reinforces what should be the obvious notion that science is not the impartial search for truth, but is also governed by important sociological and political factors (and spiritual of course) as well.
It also seems to me that Luskin has been very careful with his examples. I noted several months ago his Discovery Institute colleague Paul Neslon was rightfully skewered (it seemed to me) by a couple prominent atheist-Darwinists, Jerry Coyne and P.Z. Myers, for being careless about representing people’s views.
This topic is always interesting to me. I wish I had more time to read these books!
*That said, here is a link to a recent debate between two prominent young earth creationists (YEC) and two old earth creationists (OEC).
**The article the interview is based on is found in this issue (Issue 2, 2013) of the Christian Research Journal: Are There Nonreligious Skeptics of Darwinian Evolution and Proponents of Intelligent Design?