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French author muses on why Darwinism never dies

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Flight From the Absolute: Cynical Observations on the Postmodern West. Volume II by [Gosselin, Paul]In an essay on Paul Gosselin ’s Flight from the Absolute: Cynical Observations on the Postmodern West, Volume II, we are told,

Over two and a half decades have passed since Phillip E. Johnson kick-started the intelligent design (ID) movement in America with the publication of his path-breaking book, Darwin on Trial (1991). In this book, he exposed the numerous flaws in Darwinian evolution and the near irrationality of those who continued to defend it in the face of mounting evidence against it. In the intervening years, two seemingly contradictory things have happened: the evidence against macro-evolution has continued to mount up; and the defenders of macro-evolution have gotten increasingly shrill and censorious, asserting more and more loudly the false claim that the evidence for Darwinism is overwhelming and

Quite right, and any number of other people have challenged Darwinism as well, from a variety of perspectives, eliciting only approved boilerplate in response. So it’s not actually about the ID guys, is it? It’s something else. Gosselin offers,

In Volume II, a stand-alone book that can be profitably read on its own, Gosselin zeroes in on the subject of evolution, presenting it as the origin myth of both modern and postmodern man and tracing its history and function as both an “ideologico-religious system” (118) and a “total and integrated scientific answer . . . for all aspects of reality” (217). By marshalling a vast yet carefully selected array of quotes from key writers on all sides of the evolution debate, Gosselin makes it clear that “the Darwinian revolution was more cultural and ideological than scientific” (84)…

It is in the interest of postmoderns, for whom absolute moral standards issuing from a creator God represents an obstacle to their own absolute self-expression (particularly in the realm of sexuality), to uphold the sacred aura that surrounds the Darwinian origins myth. That is why postmodern critics will question science’s role as ultimate arbiter of truth while leaving evolution itself unquestioned. Louis Markos, “The Aura of Science” at Touchstone

You can question pretty much anything but Darwinism. Markos details how much more difficult it is to dissent in the French environment Gosselin encounters in Canada than it would be in the United States, which may surprise some.

Hat tip: Heather Zeiger

See also: A Review Of Behe’s Darwin Devolves That Looks At What Behe Actually Says

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4 Replies to “French author muses on why Darwinism never dies

  1. 1
    vmahuna says:

    For “post-modern” read “Atheist”. Evolution is the Creation Myth of Atheists, and Darwin is their Prophet. No serious philosophy can exist without a Creation Myth (if you can’t explain how everything started, I ain’t gonna believe your guesses at where we’re going. Or Why.)
    So the Leftists are stuck. Evolution, much like Global Warming, is True because it MUST be True. Facts and Logic be damned.

  2. 2
    Bob O'H says:

    Oaul Gosselin is Canadian, and Markos appears to be American, so who’s the French author?

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    As a French Canadian (Protestant) critic and philosopher, Gosselin brings to the table direct experience of the far more intense resistance among the French to anyone who would be foolish and backward enough to question the truth of evolution.

    Among the many passages Gosselin quotes to substantiate this resistance, one of the most memorable is taken from an editorial in a 2003 issue of the French magazine Science & Avenir:

    Many mysteries in our understanding of life still remain. For example, it is not clear yet how species are formed. The functions of certain components of the living cell still remain unknown. In short, there’s still much to learn! But one thing is ruled out, that Darwinian theory should be abandoned. (51)

    Gosselin offers quote after quote and example after example of this kind of selective, willful blindness to the actual evidence regarding macro-evolution. The difference between American and French evolutionists is that the latter won’t engage or even acknowledge those who dispute their position. Their dogma must not and cannot be questioned. Indeed, as Gosselin shows, the French view American resistance to Darwin as inexplicable.

    In French media, one encounters increasing shock and disbelief regarding the challenges to the theory of evolution in the public arena that occur in the United States. Here we have a nation at the forefront of technological development and whose scientific elites often win Nobel prizes. This raises a question for the French: How is it then that Americans could even imagine challenging a basic achievement of science, that is to say, the theory of evolution? From the French perspective, in fact, there is no point in wasting time analyzing the arguments of the debate. The unpleasant effort of grasping the debate can easily be avoided because the explanation for Americans’ skepticism regarding evolution is quite obvious: Americans are “religious.” (75)

    Why is it that the French are even more hostile toward, and dismissive of, critics of Darwin than Americans? Gosselin theorizes that the greater “penchant for centralization and doctrinaire ‘groupthink’/pensée unique among the French is a cultural legacy of the Catholic system, which was dominant for centuries in France and left a deep mark in the French subconscious, molding the State-Ideology relationship in an integrated and strongly hierarchical fashion” (76).

    Though one might be tempted to write off Gosselin’s critique as stemming from Protestant bias, he does back up his thesis by pointing to an important fact of history: the Enlightenment in France, while it attacked the Catholic system as a whole, was more than happy to maintain “a highly centralized society” (76). That commitment to a centralized control of ideology in the otherwise “liberal” France continues today and is strongly evident in both French and British Canada.

    Let us hope and pray that we who live south of Canada and west of France do not succumb to the same insidious groupthink that would replace both biblical morality and true science with ideological conformity and censorship.?

    Of related note:

    Solzhenitsyn Mourned Bastille Day. So Should All Christians.
    The French Revolution invented radical nationalism and socialism, and launched the first modern genocide, aimed at Christians.

    How atheism led to horrors of French Revolution 01/10/2016
    Bill Federer remembers words of wisdom from 19th century Yale president Timothy Dwight IV
    Excerpt: On July 4, 1798, Timothy Dwight gave an address in New Haven titled “The Duty of Americans at the Present Crisis.” In this address, he explained how Voltaire’s atheism inspired the French Revolution and it’s Reign of Terror, 1793-1794, where 40,000 people were beheaded and 300,000 were butchered in the Vendée:
    “About the year 1728, Voltaire, so celebrated for his wit and brilliancy and not less distinguished for his hatred of Christianity and his abandonment of principle, formed a systematical design to destroy Christianity and to introduce in its stead a general diffusion of irreligion and atheism.”

    Excerpt: The concept of “the Dark Ages” is central to several key elements in New Atheist Bad History. One of the primary myths most beloved by many New Atheists is the one whereby Christianity violently suppressed ancient Greco-Roman learning, destroyed an ancient intellectual culture based on pure reason and retarded a nascent scientific and technological revolution, thus plunging Europe into a one thousand year “dark age” which was only relieved by the glorious dawn of “the Renaissance”. Like most New Atheist Bad History, it’s a commonly held and popularly believed set of ideas that has its origin in polemicists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries but which has been rejected by more recent historians. But its New Atheist adherents don’t like to hear that last part and get very agitated when they do.,,,,,
    Concluding paragraph
    It should be clear by now that value-laden terms like “dark ages” and “Renaissance” belong to a period of dusty historiography that modern scholarship has long since outgrown.

    Quote of Note:

    “Thus we cannot currently identify a single common ancestor for the gene repertoire of any organism.,,, Overall, it is now thought that there are no two genes that have a similar history along the phylogenic tree.,,,Therefore the representation of the evolutionary pathway as a tree leading to a single common ancestor on the basis of the analysis of one or more genes provides an incorrect representation of the stability and hierarchy of evolution. Finally, genome analyses have revealed that a very high proportion of genes are likely to be newly created,,, and that some genes are only found in one organism (named ORFans). These genes do not belong to any phylogenic tree and represent new genetic creations.”
    – Didier Raoult – has been referred to as ‘Most Productive and Influential Microbiologist in France’

  4. 4
    Seversky says:

    By marshalling a vast yet carefully selected array of quotes from key writers on all sides of the evolution debate, Gosselin makes it clear that “the Darwinian revolution was more cultural and ideological than scientific”

    In other words, he’s a quote-miner.

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