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Are these people abusing the sacred name of Darwin?

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“Carnival of Evolution” here. Can be risky, of course.

They seem like convinced followers, but they are so over the top that in the age of Die, Selfish Gene, Die, it’s getting hard to tell.

See also: Richard Dawkins responds to “Die, Selfish Gene, Die”: Mere adversarial journalism But then E.O. Wilson labelled Dawkins himself a mere science journalist.

In C.S. Lewis’s day, Darwinian evolution could be seen as a grand tragedy; it more and more begins to seem like the intermission farce:

“I grew up believing in this Myth and I have felt — I still feel — its almost perfect grandeur,” observed Lewis rather wistfully. “Let no one say we are an unimaginative age: neither the Greeks nor the Norsemen ever invented a better story.” For Lewis, the problem with this “Myth” is not that it does not appeal to the imagination, but that it is all imagination and no logic. In fact, it contradicts the very foundation of the scientific worldview it claims to espouse.

The scientific method is premised on the idea that “rational inferences are valid,” but the Myth undercuts human reason by depicting it as “simply the unforeseen and unintended by-product of a mindless process at one stage of its endless and aimless becoming. The content of the Myth thus knocks from under me the only ground on which I could possibly believe the Myth to be true.” Darwin’s own gnawing doubt rears its head yet again: “If my own mind is a product of the irrational… how shall I trust my mind when it tells me about evolution?”

Lewis distinguished cosmic evolutionism from the “science” of evolution, and he initially attributed it to the distortions of popularizers and journalists rather than scientists themselves. However, Lewis’s distinction between evolution and evolutionism was somewhat artificial. The core of the modern scientific theory of biological evolution, after all, is Darwinism, and the core of Darwinism is the claim that evolution is an undirected material process that proceeds without either plan or foresight. Darwin himself defined natural selection as a substitute for intelligent design. In the end, then, cosmic evolutionism does not seem to be much of an extrapolation from the mainstream “scientific” theory of evolution. Indeed, the main features of what Lewis called evolutionism were baked into that scientific theory from the start.

Lewis eventually came to better understand just how intertwined evolution as a scientific theory was with what he had called evolutionism. Much of Lewis’s growing awareness was likely due to his 16-year correspondence with Bernard Acworth, a leader in Britain’s Evolution Protest Movement. Starting in the mid-1940s, Acworth began sending Lewis books and essays critical of Darwin’s theory, materials which Lewis read and retained for his private library.

Soon after coming into contact with Acworth, Lewis drew attention to a comment made by evolutionary zoologist David Watson that seemed to expose the dogmatism driving the beliefs of prominent evolutionary scientists. “Evolution,” declared Professor Watson, “…is accepted by zoologists not because it has been observed to occur or… can be proved by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.”114 Lewis drew this quote from an article written by two of Acworth’s colleagues in the Evolution Protest Movement. Lewis found Watson’s comment “disquieting.” Nevertheless, he still trusted that “[m]ost biologists have a more robust belief in evolution than Professor Watson.” Otherwise it “would mean that the sole ground for believing [evolution]… is not empirical but metaphysical — the dogma of an amateur metaphysician who finds ‘special creation’ incredible. But I do not think it has really come to that.”

By 1951, Lewis was not so sure.

He should not have been. His trust was misplaced. Science must now fight off hordes of Darwins new atheist trolls just to get anything done.

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