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Jonathan Wells: Wilson’s book on Darwin is flawed but he is right on a key point

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Readers may recall A. N. Wilson’s book, Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker. Jonathan Wells reviews it at Washington Times. He notes the historical errors but says,

Mistakes in historical details, however, are not what infuriated Darwin’s defenders. The problem is Mr. Wilson’s irreverent attitude toward Darwin’s theory of evolution. Mr. Wilson points out that there is a difference between minor changes within existing species (“microevolution”) and the origin of new species, organs, and body plans (“macroevolution”). (One hostile reviewer claimed that this distinction is merely “a strategy of the modern creationists,” but it actually originated with evolutionary biologist Yuri Filipchenko soon after 1900.)

So Darwinian evolution is not so much a scientific theory as it is a secular creation myth. According to Mr. Wilson, “Darwinism, as is shown by the current state of debate, is resistant to argument because it is resistant to fact. The worship of Darwin as a man, the attribution to him of insights and discoveries which were either part of the common scientific store of knowledge or were the discoveries of others, this is all necessary to bolster the religion of Darwinism.”

Mr. Wilson’s book is not flawless, but on this point he’s right.
More.

And that is the reason that no fact base makes any dent in Darwinism, any more that it makes a dent in astrology or voodoo.

Note: Jonathan Wells is the author of Zombie Science.

See also: Science historian: AN Wilson’s Darwin biography contains a baseless charge, factual errors (science historian Michael Flannery)

A. N. Wilson on Darwin in the London Times

High dudgeon over A. N. Wilson’s new book on Darwin Like we said, plenty of time for Darwinians to beat their iron rice bowls into hatchets.

and

A.N. Wilson on Darwinism and Christianity

8 Replies to “Jonathan Wells: Wilson’s book on Darwin is flawed but he is right on a key point

  1. 1
    J-Mac says:

    “…evolution is not so much a scientific theory as it is a secular creation myth…”

    This is one of the best quotes I have read at UD.

    My question is: “Why”?

    Why do people create and like alternative creation myths?
    Why do people, like scientists, who see the truth first hand, create alternative realities?
    Is it a cover up? Or are they forced to do what they do or else…no funding… no job… no nothing…?

  2. 2
    Nonlin.org says:

    See also Kingdom of Speech [Tom Wolfe]

    Why do people create and like alternative creation myths?
    Why do people, like scientists, who see the truth first hand, create alternative realities?

    Because it’s human nature to try to understand even the unknowable. Their mistake is not grasping that religion is actually the basis of science: http://nonlin.org/philosophy-religion-and-science/
    They’re also very illogical and inconsistent in their belief.

  3. 3
    Seversky says:

    So Darwinian evolution is not so much a scientific theory as it is a secular creation myth.

    Wells must be too busy plotting how to destroy Darwinism to have noticed the theory is not about creationism or the origins of life the Universe and everything

    “Darwinism, as is shown by the current state of debate, is resistant to argument because it is resistant to fact. The worship of Darwin as a man, the attribution to him of insights and discoveries which were either part of the common scientific store of knowledge or were the discoveries of others, this is all necessary to bolster the religion of Darwinism.”

    Giving the man the respect that is his due as a major figure in the history of science is not worship. What probably irks Wilson is that Darwin will still be respected long after Lilliputian chatterati like himself are gone and forgotten

    Mr. Wilson’s book is not flawless…

    So it would appear.

    …but on this point he’s right.

    Not even close.

  4. 4
    ET says:

    There isn’t any scientific theory of evolution and there never has been. And Mr Wilson is right- evolutionism is resistant to fact and the way evolutionism relies on faith it is a religion.

  5. 5
    asauber says:

    Once the word ‘evolution’ is introduced into a discussion, you might as well, go watch Netflix.

    Andrew

  6. 6
    J-Mac says:

    “An atheist before Darwin could have said, following Hume: ‘I have no explanation for complex biological design. All I know is that God isn’t a good explanation, so we must wait and hope that somebody comes up with a better one.’ I can’t help feeling that such a position, though logically sound, would have left one feeling pretty unsatisfied, and that although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”- Richard Dawkins

    I would personally change one sentence in this quote to make the atheistic faith clearer:

    All I want to believe is that God isn’t a good explanation.

    Why should atheists really deceive themselves what their belief system is really all about?

    The question that interests me the most is WHY?

  7. 7
    Seversky says:

    J-Mac @ 6

    I would personally change one sentence in this quote to make the atheistic faith clearer:

    All I want to believe is that God isn’t a good explanation.

    Why should atheists really deceive themselves what their belief system is really all about?

    The question that interests me the most is WHY?

    It’s a good question.

    I was raised as a Christian. For the first roughly fifteen years of my life I accepted the existence of God without question. He was as certain as gravity or the Sun.

    Then I slowly became interested in science, in the power of human reason to construct testable explanations of how things work. Many of my fictional heroes, like Sherlock Holmes or Mr Spock or Professor Quatermass represented the scientific approach to solving problems.

    This didn’t immediately displace my religious belief but I began look on them in the way that I thought science would approach them. I became aware of the inconsistencies and contradictions in the Bible and Christian doctrine. It was nothing original. I soon learned that many great scholars and theologians had got there a long time before I had and delved much more deeply into them. But, even though they had constructed some clever arguments, I didn’t feel that they had discovered anything sufficient to compel me to believe again. It would have been comforting to have returned to that unquestioning certainty but I just couldn’t do it.

    So I find myself roughly in the same position as Bertrand Russell. Technically, I have to say that I am agnostic. I don’t know there is a God but I can’t say there isn’t either. That said, I go about my daily life on the assumption that there isn’t a God so, for all practical purposes, I am atheist.

    You asked the question ‘why’. I would ask in return why Christians seem to ignore or are at least uninterested in the scriptural and doctrinal problems that led me to doubt. I have my own views about the answer but it would be interesting to hear other positions.

  8. 8
    ET says:

    Seversky:

    Then I slowly became interested in science, in the power of human reason to construct testable explanations of how things work. Many of my fictional heroes, like Sherlock Holmes or Mr Spock or Professor Quatermass represented the scientific approach to solving problems.

    And yet your new position doesn’t have any science to support it

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