Christian Darwinism

He said it: Why doesn’t Christian Darwinist Francis Collins accept “evolutionary psychology” as ultimately explaining away religion?

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Here’s Warwick U’s Steve Fuller, author of Dissent over Descent (2008) on Francis Collins’s curious affection for C.S. Lewis and other thinkers who assumed the reality of the mind, while believing just about anything else that Darwinism throws through the mailbox:

Theistic evolutionists … Simply take what Collins calls “the existence of the moral law and the universal longing for God” as a feature of human nature that is entrenched enough to be self-validating. But is their dismissal anything more than an arbitrary theological intervention? If humans are indeed, as the Darwinists say, just on among many species, susceptible to the same general tendencies that can be studied in the some general terms, then findings derived from methods deemed appropriate to animals should apply to us as well. Collins’ own comprehensive but exclusive training in the hard sciences may explain why he believes in a God who communicates straightforwardly through the natural sciences but appears less willing to cooperate with the social sciences, including such biologically inflected fields as sociobiology and evolutionary psychology. Instead Collins finds intuition, anecdote, theology and sheer faith to be more reliable sources of evidence. Why God should have chosen not to rely on the usual standards of scientific rigour in these anthropocentric matters remains a mystery. “- pp. 104-105.

(Note: Fuller is an agnostic.) Comments?

One Reply to “He said it: Why doesn’t Christian Darwinist Francis Collins accept “evolutionary psychology” as ultimately explaining away religion?

  1. 1
    nullasalus says:

    I imagine one reply – or at least, the beginning of a reply – could be that humans are singular creatures compared to most other animals (if we’re going to regard humans as just one animal among others.) Even Jerry Coyne is forced to admit as much.

    On the flipside, I’m not sure “the usual standard of scientific rigor” can really be said to hold between, say.. physics and psychology. Evolutionary psychology is getting a reputation for being bunk, even among otherwise stalwart darwinists.

    But I think the real problem is that typically the sort of evolution TEs (certainly the Biologos brand) is nebulous enough that a question like this doesn’t have a chance. Do they really commit to Jerry Coyne’s Darwinism? He doesn’t think so, and they keep their position described in poetic terms.

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