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The importance of the fact that Darwinism is a story

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Here, Greg Conterio quotes thriller writer Joseph Bidinotto about the importance of “narrative” in selling a story:

One of the most valuable insights I discovered in recent years is how Narratives trump everything else — including what most of us would call concern for “practical results.”

Practical consequences are ALWAYS trumped by the advancement and protection of one’s core Narrative: the fairy tale that gives one’s life meaning, coherence, and moral justification.

This strikes me as true, and certainly true of the current scene around mechanisms of evolution. C.S. Lewis understood very well the power of Darwinian evolution as a story, a narrative.

It is the creation story of atheism, an explanation of how complex, specified information arose blindly from matter through small, successive, accidental changes.

In other words, no God but all magic. Anyone who has dealt with Darwin’s trolls will know how fervently this explanation is believed.

The explanation need not be true to nature, to the evidence, or even to reason or logic. It need only be Darwin’s familiar tale, oft, everywhere, and endlessly repeated from school days onward.

Most people who consider themselves thinkers will either have no further questions or else hesitate to air them. Such is the power of a controlling narrative, irrespective of fact. Then there are the pious, well meaning people who  rejoice to believe  it. Or something.

As a result, a claim about the mechanisms of evolution—specifically a claim that Darwinian evolution is the key creative force in life—can be never demonstrated, constantly contradicted, but still fervently believed. Because the story means so much to its believers. It props up so much.

Darwinism’s demise would leave too great a hole in many lives to be contemplated. So it never is. No matter what.

And what does the ID community have in response? Only evidence from nature for other means of evolution and lack of evidence for Darwinism. Oh yes, and information theory, showing why Darwinian evolution is, at best, unlikely anyway ( cf Being as Communion.

What’s more difficult is that our approach might not lead to a single, unifying explanation, of the sort that produces portentous TV docs, and incites third rate lecturers to ridicule, fail, or drive out students who doubt.

The ID community absolutely does not seek that, even if we could do it and it would help us.

All we really offer instead is the beginnings of a map. Somewhat like the sixteenth century cartographers offered Europeans the beginnings of maps of strange land masses that somehow stood in the way of the Pacific Ocean …

Then felt I like some watcher of the skies

When a new planet swims into his ken;

Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes

He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men

Look’d at each other with a wild surmise—

Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

See also: Shoutout to Tom English: How much of the animus you display against Marks and Dembski is scholarly? One hopes that further critical review of Marks and Dembski’s papers focuses on the issues at hand.

Note: Actually, it was Balboa who did that, but never mind.

O’Leary for News

24 Replies to “The importance of the fact that Darwinism is a story

  1. 1
    Axel says:

    Not a million mils from this subject, News:

    ‘…Skepticism is a plague on the universities, where I spend most of my time, and where most of my time there is spent fighting it. Today university students are led into or confirmed in their skepticism by my colleagues, often the very same professors who claim society is overflowing with obvious injustices. So why would these smart people be so unconcerned with such philosophical incoherence? To make sense of it you have to realize that the universities today in the main serve more as re-education camps than as universities. Skepticism might be untrue, but it is useful to the goal of convincing students to embrace a secular humanist perspective. Once you convince someone that there is no truth it is much easier to convince them of “your own truth,” i.e. ideology.

    … from this penetrating article in Crisis magazine, Why it is Hard to Find Truth in Academia:

    http://www.crisismagazine.com/.....n-acacemia

  2. 2
    mahuna says:

    This is simply too good to pass up. Christianity is also a fairy tale, and people who make that fairy tale the center of their lives are at least as hard to sway as the Darwinists. And on Skepticism: exactly which things are we permitted to be skeptical about (Evolution, global warming, Keynesian Economics…) and which things does it cause harm to be skeptical about? Is there a Board or Commission someplace that determines Good Skepticism and Bad Skepticism? I thought that one of the guiding principles for education beyond high school was “Question EVERYTHING”. And having questioned it, convince yourself of what is True by Inquiry. And of course the Inquiry may take a VERY long time.

  3. 3
    cantor says:

    2 mahuna October 16, 2014 at 7:48 am

    This is simply too good to pass up. Christianity is also a fairy tale…

    What do you mean by “Christianity” in this context? i.e. what exactly are you claiming is a “fairy tale”?

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    yes do tell mahuna, what do you mean exactly and what is your evidence?

  5. 5
    Axel says:

    ‘Is there a Board or Commission someplace that determines Good Skepticism and Bad Skepticism?’

    The simple unadorned truth is, it is ‘common sense!!!!!

    Only a twerp would swallow that laughably sententious piffle, mahuna.

    I expect you’ve had a tertiary education, which kind of tempers the humour somewhat. If you are British, how do you know the US exists? You’ve been there? How do you know it wasn’t all a show just to deceive you? And the reality is that it was really Uzbekistan, (any …stan, but Ollie’s pal).

  6. 6
    Axel says:

    That ‘Board or Commission’ question of yours cited above, reminds me a little of that daftly pompous saying to the effect that the person objects to what someone is saying, but he’d fight to death for his right to express it!

    Come back Hitler, Pinochet, Milton Friedman! All is forgiven.

  7. 7
    JDH says:

    Mahuna @2 – A serious question. In what way is Christianity a fairy tale? Is that a conclusion you arrived at by real investigation of the evidence, or something you have been told?

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    Mahuna, Could you kindly answer the challenge here, here, here, here and here, on pain of standing exposed in dismissive sophomoric sloganeering talking-point hyperskepticism and linked wishful thinking. Remember, to insistently speak with disregard to duties of care to truth or fairness, in hopes of profiting by what is said or suggested being thought to be truthful or well-warranted is to fail at first epistemic and moral duties. KF

  9. 9
    tintinnid says:

    The universe created in six days, god telling some dude to kill his son as a test of faith, another dude being swallowed whole by a big fish, an 800 year old dude building a big boat to hold a pair of every animal on earth, burning bushes, pillars of salt, parting of the sea, a virgin birth, etc.

    C.S. Lewis has nothing on whoever wrote those stories.

  10. 10
    Mapou says:

    tintin:

    The universe created in six days, god telling some dude to kill his son as a test of faith, another dude being swallowed whole by a big fish, an 800 year old dude building a big boat to hold a pair of every animal on earth, burning bushes, pillars of salt, parting of the sea, a virgin birth, etc.

    You sound like you attended Sunday Bible school and you hated it. Why should we help you carry that stupid chip on your shoulders? You’re a typical atheist. UD is about the detection of design. This is not the “I hate Christianity” club. Grow up.

    PS. I would ban your stupid arse, if I were in charge.

  11. 11
    Mapou says:

    tintin:

    The universe created in six days, god telling some dude to kill his son as a test of faith, another dude being swallowed whole by a big fish, an 800 year old dude building a big boat to hold a pair of every animal on earth, burning bushes, pillars of salt, parting of the sea, a virgin birth, etc.

    You sound like you attended Sunday Bible school and you hated it. Why should we help you carry that stupid chip on your shoulders? You’re a typical dumb atheist. UD is about the detection of design. This is not the “I hate Christianity” club. Grow up.

    PS. I would ban your stupid arse if I were in charge.

  12. 12
    tintinnid says:

    Louis, I have been banned several times. Obviously you just want UD to be an echo chamber where people don’t disagree with you. Good luck with that. I have never been as abusive and rude as you, yet you never get banned. Why do you think that is?

  13. 13
    Mapou says:

    You are more than abusive by continually attacking Christianity on a site about intelligent design. You bring out your stupid personal interpretation of the Bible as proof that ID is wrong. It is insulting. We don’t need people like you.

  14. 14
    tintinnid says:

    Louis: “You are more than abusive by continually attacking Christianity on a site about intelligent design. “

    I am confused. I have been repeatedly told that ID is not religiously based. In fact, I was banned once for suggesting this. So, which is it? Is ID science or religion?

  15. 15
    Mapou says:

    tinhead:

    I am confused

    I know but I don’t give a rat’s behind. Go talk to your shrink.

  16. 16
    tintinnid says:

    Louis, ID strategy #2, the quote mine. Thank you for the example.

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    T: It seems your main activity is the classic trifecta fallacy: red herrings, led away to strawmen, soaked in ad hominems and set alight to try to cloud, poison, polarise and confuse the atmosphere. Such behaviour is trollish and of no redeeming value. I suggest to you take time out to calm down, read the weak argument correctives and adjust your ways. And, the design inference on signs such as FSCO/I (I safely assume you know just what that means) is an inductive, empirical investigation of the world around us. That you are forced to try to set up a creationist strawman instead . . . a desperate distraction if there ever was one . . . speaks volumes on the ideological intensity and want of substance on merits of that ideology. A priori evolutionary materialism or one of its fellow travellers dressed up in a lab coat. KF

  18. 18
    tintinnid says:

    K, all I was doing was responding to questions. It is not my fault that Louis decides to attack.

    How come when I behave like Louis I am banned for being a troll?

    I am not arguing that UD does not have the right to ban whoever they like. But please do not pretend that it is for behaviour, or rudeness, or offensive language. I have never done any of this. Louis has, but he continues to have posting privileges. Is this possibly because he supports ID and I don’t? [rhetorical question alert]

  19. 19
    Dionisio says:

    tintinnid

    all I was doing was responding to questions

    What about the questions you have not answered in this thread?

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-519640

  20. 20
    Dionisio says:

    17 kairosfocus

    Well said.

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    T: More turnabout accusations and dodging of responsibility similar to a rebellious teen ager. Please, do better. KF

  22. 22
    Dionisio says:

    KF

    T just left several questions unanswered in another thread:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-519640

    By now most lurkers should have figured out what’s going on here.
    🙂

  23. 23
    bornagain77 says:

    tintinnid,,,

    So your evidence for your materialistic/atheistic worldview is the fact that you don’t believe the YEC interpretation of the Bible???? Welcome to the club, not everyone, including Dembski, Meyer and Behe,, accepts YEC. ,,,

    Dr. Hugh Ross appeared on Fox News with Lauren Green to discuss Science and the Book of Genesis. (Long Days vs. 24 hour Days)
    http://video.foxnews.com/v/363...../#sp=show-

    Nor did the discoverers of the Cosmic Background Radiation themselves accept a YEC interpretation.

    The best data we have [concerning the Big Bang] are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the bible as a whole.
    Dr. Arno Penzias, Nobel Laureate in Physics – co-discoverer of the Cosmic Background Radiation – as stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978

    “Certainly there was something that set it all off,,, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match Genesis”
    Robert Wilson – Nobel laureate – co-discover Cosmic Background Radiation

    “Now we see how the astronomical evidence supports the biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.”
    Robert Jastrow – Founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute – Pg.15 ‘God and the Astronomers’

  24. 24
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover tintinnid, in order to provide evidence for your materialistic worldview you actually have to provide evidence that materialism is true, instead of just bashing Theism because you don’t like it! ,,, And on that score you are found severely wanting,,,

    “[while a number of philosophical ideas] may be logically consistent with present quantum mechanics, …materialism is not.”
    Eugene Wigner
    Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism – video playlist
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL1mr9ZTZb3TViAqtowpvZy5PZpn-MoSK_&v=4C5pq7W5yRM

    Why Quantum Theory Does Not Support Materialism – By Bruce L Gordon:
    Excerpt: Because quantum theory is thought to provide the bedrock for our scientific understanding of physical reality, it is to this theory that the materialist inevitably appeals in support of his worldview. But having fled to science in search of a safe haven for his doctrines, the materialist instead finds that quantum theory in fact dissolves and defeats his materialist understanding of the world.
    http://www.4truth.net/fourtrut.....8589952939

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