Atheism Darwinism

Atheists, agnostics on design of life: Philosopher Roger Scruton forgotten?

Spread the love

Forgotten, that is, in this current discussion of atheist/agnostic sympathizers with ID?

Scruton seems to be of no fixed religious views, has a great aversion to the “new atheists” (based on the sharp contrast between their street thug culture and the civilized atheism of his youth), and has written thus about their “artistic Darwinism”:

Over the last two decades, however, Darwinism has invaded the field of the humanities, in a way that Darwin himself would scarcely have predicted. Doubt and hesitation have given way to certainty, interpretation has been subsumed into explanation, and the whole realm of aesthetic experience and literary judgement has been brought to heel as an “adaptation,” a part of human biology which exists because of the benefit that it confers on our genes. No need now to puzzle over the meaning of music or the nature of beauty in art. The meaning of art and music reside in what they do for our genes. Once we see that these features of the human condition are “adaptations,” acquired perhaps many thousands of years ago, during the time of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, we will be able to explain them. We will know what art and music essentially are by discovering what they do.- “Only Adapt: Can science explain art, music and literature?” (Big Questions Online, December 9, 2010)

Problem is,

… the whole “adaptation” approach to human phenomena is topsy-turvy. It involves a mechanical application, case by case, of the theory of natural selection, as supplemented by modern genetics. It tells us that, if a trait is widespread across our species, then it has been “selected for.” But this means only that the trait is not maladaptive, that it is not something that would disappear under evolutionary pressure. And that is a trivial observation. Everything that exists could be said to be not dysfunctional. That tells us nothing about how the thing in question came to exist.

(Literary Darwinism is even more ridiculous than this stuff, in my view, but your mileage may vary.)

Re design, Scruton has written this (2007):

Nor is it surprising that decent, sceptical people should regard last-ditch attempts to retain the belief in God’s temporal concern for us (such as the theory of ‘intelligent design’), as testifying merely to the miraculous ability to believe in the miraculous.

about ID, which implies that he has not given himself the trouble of reading any serious books on the subject, like The Nature of Nature . Still, I would certainly put him in the same class as common sense philosopher Jerry Fodor: Someone who specializes professionally in the use of reason – and thus can’t stomach today’s Darwinism, which is the only alternative usually offered to design.

3 Replies to “Atheists, agnostics on design of life: Philosopher Roger Scruton forgotten?

  1. 1
    uoflcard says:

    I personally welcome the “genetic fitness of beauty” and Literary Darwinism. This is just Darwinists finally taking their world view to its ends, which are clearly ridiculous. It will only serve to turn off fence-sitters (or even moderate materialists). Only the hardcore believers can not see this stuff for the stinking pile that it is.

    Michaelangelo’s talent was naturally selected thousands of years earlier in the bush of eastern Africa…This is what you must believe if you believe Darwinism is true.

  2. 2
  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Beautiful book Mung. One of my favorite books I’ve ever read.

    —-

    There Is More – Inspirational Poem
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4102086/

Leave a Reply