Cosmology Culture Darwinism Intelligent Design

Martin Rees puts in a plug for Darwin

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We’ve talked about British astronomer Martin Rees before (here and here, for example). Here he is at Aeon:

Charles Darwin’s ideas, for example, have been culturally and philosophically resonant ever since they were first unveiled in 1859. Indeed, they’ve never provoked more vibrant debates than they do today. Darwin was perhaps the last scientist who could present his research in a way accessible to general readers; today, it’s hard to present original findings without a forbidding array of equations, or a specialised vocabulary. ‘On the Origin of Species’, which he described as ‘one long argument’ underpinning his theory, ranks highly as a work of literature. It changed our perception of human beings by revealing that we were an outcome of a grand evolutionary process that can be traced back to the beginning of life on Earth …

Today, it’s a real intellectual deprivation to be blind to the marvellous vision offered by Darwinism and by modern cosmology – the chain of emergent complexity leading from a ‘big bang’ to stars, planets, biospheres, and human brains able to ponder the wonder and the mystery of it all. Concepts such as these should be part of the public conversation. So too should some conception of the natural environment and the principles that govern the biosphere and climate. Science is the one culture that all humans can share: protons, proteins and Pythagoras’ theorem are the same the world over.

Martin Rees, “The good scientist” at Aeon

This is astonishing to read because Darwinism entrenched racism as a scientific concept (as opposed the chest-thumping by drunken oafs); it did pretty much the opposite of making us all one culture. And so much modern cosmology is hard to distinguish from a flight from reality.

It sounds like he really believes it. Well that might be the world as Martin Rees needs to see it.

14 Replies to “Martin Rees puts in a plug for Darwin

  1. 1
    BobRyan says:

    According to the article, Rees believes, “it’s a real intellectual deprivation to be blind to the marvellous vision offered by Darwinism.” That vision was the origin of eugenics and blatantly racist. Darwin’s second book, Descent of Man, makes it clear that he believed that humans did not evolve at the same time. He was part of the privileged race of man and believed the savage races, such as Africans and Australian aborigines, should be destroyed entirely by the privileged. His work led to National Socialism and the idea that race has some bearing on anything. Anyone who defends Darwin is defending his blatantly racist ideology.

  2. 2
    doubter says:

    Rees waxes lyrical as he enthuses over how inspiring Darwinism is. “Today, it’s a real intellectual deprivation to be blind to the marvellous vision offered by Darwinism and by modern cosmology”. What rot.

    Here’s another well known populariser of science, William Provine, on Darwinism. He gets a little more detailed on some of its real and inevitable implications. Still find the “wonder and mystery of it all” beautiful and inspiring?

    “Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear, and I must say that these are basically Darwin’s views. There are no gods, no purposeful forces of any kind, no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be completely dead. That’s just all—that’s gonna be the end of me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will for humans, either.”

    “Modern science directly implies that the world is organized strictly in accordance with mechanistic principles. There are no purposive principles whatsoever in nature. There are no gods and no designing forces that are rationally detectable… modern science implies too there are no inherent moral or ethical laws… free will, the freedom to make uncoerced unpredictable choices among alternative possible causes of action, simply does not exist… there is no ultimate meaning for humans.”

  3. 3
    News says:

    Yes, BobRyan at 1, it’s almost as if the Darwin some people admire isn’t the one that actually existed but a product of their imaginations. Have you noticed that? Thus they can wax lyrical without a sense of guilt.

  4. 4
    chuckdarwin says:

    Nothing more Christian than defaming the dead. Darwin was no more a racist than Lincoln. He and his family were staunch abolitionists. His father- in-law and other in-laws, the famous Wedgwood china and pottery manufacturers, manufactured a special china cameo portraying the cruelties of slavery which was distributed as part of the abolition movement in England.

    Intelligent design advocates and other outliers can throw all the self-righteous hissy-fits they want about Darwin, but when it all shakes out, Darwin will be remembered as the brilliant naturalist that he was and ID will just be another irrelevant piece of nonsense rotting on the scrap heap of history.

  5. 5
    goodusername says:

    BobRyan,

    Darwin’s second book, Descent of Man, makes it clear that he believed that humans did not evolve at the same time.

    I’m not sure what that means, but Darwin makes clear that all humans evolved from a common ancestor who was also human:

    “since he attained to the rank of manhood, he has diverged into distinct races” and “all the races agree in so many unimportant details of structure and in so many mental peculiarities, that these can be accounted for only through inheritance from a common progenitor; and a progenitor thus characterised would probably have deserved to rank as man.” pg388 Vol2

    He was part of the privileged race of man and believed the savage races, such as Africans and Australian aborigines, should be destroyed entirely by the privileged.

    Descent of Man pg96 Vol1:

    “As man advances in civilization, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social instincts and sympathies to all members of the same nation, though personally unknown to him. This point being once reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending to the men of all nations and races.”

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla”
    – Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 1874, p. 178

    What Your Biology Teacher Didn’t Tell You About Charles Darwin – Phil Moore / April 19, 2017
    Excerpt: ,,, the British thinker who justified genocide.,,,
    The full title of his seminal 1859 book was On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. He followed up more explicitly in The Descent of Man, where he spelled out his racial theory:
    “The Western nations of Europe . . . now so immeasurably surpass their former savage progenitors [that they] stand at the summit of civilization. . . . The civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races through the world.”
    – C. Darwin,,,
    Christian reformers had spent decades in the early 19th century teaching Britain to view non-European races as their equals before God. In a matter of years, Darwin swept not only God off the table, but also the value of people of every race with him.
    Enabling Genocide
    Victorian Britain was too willing to accept Darwinian evolution as its gospel of overseas expansion. Darwin is still celebrated on the back of the British £10 note for his discovery of many new species on his visit to Australia; what’s been forgotten, though, is his contemptible attitude—due to his beliefs about natural selection—toward the Aborigines he found there. When The Melbourne Review used Darwin’s teachings to justify the genocide of indigenous Australians in 1876, he didn’t try and stop them. When the Australian newspaper argued that “the inexorable law of natural selection [justifies] exterminating the inferior Australian and Maori races”—that “the world is better for it” since failure to do so would be “promoting the non-survival of the fittest, protecting the propagation of the imprudent, the diseased, the defective, and the criminal”—it was Christian missionaries who raised an outcry on behalf of this forgotten genocide. Darwin simply commented, “I do not know of a more striking instance of the comparative rate of increase of a civilized over a savage race.”,,,
    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/what-your-biology-teacher-didnt-tell-you-about-charles-darwin

    In fact the ‘pseudo-scientific racism’ that Darwinism engendered was so insidious, and obvious, that Darwinism can be traced back as a primary root cause for the NAZI holocaust:

    From Darwin to Hitler – Richard Weikart – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_5EwYpLD6A

    The Role Of Darwinism In Nazi Racial Thought – Richard Weikart – October 2013
    Excerpt: The historical evidence is overwhelming that human evolution was an integral part of Nazi racial ideology.
    http://www.csustan.edu/history.....hought.pdf

    Darwin’s impact—the bloodstained legacy of evolution by Raymond Hall
    https://answersingenesis.org/charles-darwin/racism/darwins-impact-the-bloodstained-legacy-of-evolution/

  7. 7
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77 @ 6

    In fact the ‘pseudo-scientific racism’ that Darwinism engendered was so insidious, and obvious, that Darwinism can be traced back as a primary root cause for the NAZI holocaust:

    Nonsense! If you want a much deeper and stronger root for the Holocaust, try reading Christian Reformer Martin Luther’s anti-Semitic rant On The Jews And Their Lies. Or look up a list of the various atrocities, pogroms and massacres perpetrated against the Jews throughout Christian Europe for centuries.

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky, if you are going to judge, then judge with a fair balance. When Martin Luther promoted bigotry against the Jews, he did so against Christian principles, whereas when the Nazis committed genocide, not only against Jews, but anyone they deemed inferior, then they were acting completely in accord with Darwinian ideology.

    Galatians 3:28
    There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

    Darwinists, since they have rejected God, simply have no way to ground equality among all men:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
    – The Declaration of Independence

    Words & Dirt – Quotes 10-21-2015 – by Miles Raymer
    Excerpt: Let us try to translate the most famous line of the American Declaration of Independence into biological terms:
    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
    According to the science of biology, people were not ‘created’. They have evolved. And they certainly did not evolve to be ‘equal’. The idea of equality is inextricably intertwined with the idea of creation. The Americans got the idea of equality from Christianity, which argues that every person has a divinely created soul, and that all souls are equal before God. However, if we do not believe in the Christian myths about God, creation and souls, what does it mean that all people are ‘equal’? Evolution is based on difference, not on equality. Every person carries a somewhat different genetic code, and is exposed from birth to different environmental influences. This leads to the development of different qualities that carry with them different chances of survival. ‘Created equal’ should therefore be translated into ‘evolved differently’.,,,
    So here is that line from the American Declaration of Independence translated into biological terms:
    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men evolved differently, that they are born with certain mutable characteristics, and that among these are life and the pursuit of pleasure.
    http://www.words-and-dirt.com/.....0-21-2015/

    As well, according to Darwin, women were considered to be biologically and intellectually inferior to men,

    Women were biologically and intellectually inferior to men, according to Darwin. The intelligence gap that Darwinists believed existed between males and females was not minor, but of a level that caused some evolutionists to classify the sexes as two distinct psychological species, males as Homo frontalis and females as Homo parietalis. In The Descent of Man, Darwin argued –
    “The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shown by man’s attaining to a higher eminence in whatever he takes up, than can a woman—whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands.”
    In The Origin of Species, natural selection was developed along-side of sexual selection. Males were like animal breeders, shaping women to their liking by sexual selection on the one hand along with the recognition men were exposed to far greater selective pressures than women, especially in war and competition for mates, food, and clothing on the other hand. From Darwin’s perspective, males have evolved further than females from a Darwinian perspective.
    As Jerry Bergman explains, “Natural selection would consequently operate far more actively on males, producing male superiority in virtually all skill areas.”
    http://www.darwinthenandnow.co.....of-terror/

  9. 9
    jawa says:

    BA77,
    Well said.
    Thanks.

  10. 10
    Belfast says:

    @Chuck Darwin.
    If you do not know the difference between abolitionist, a person against the conception of slavery, and a racist, perhaps you might reflect on the fact the Abraham Lincoln regarded blacks as inferior to whites, as did the commanders in the Northern cause like General Sherman.
    Darwin’s family and his colleagues, Huxley especially, were against slavery, but were all for white superiority.

  11. 11
    BobRyan says:

    Chuck Darwin @ 4 states, “ID will just be another irrelevant piece of nonsense rotting on the scrap heap of history.”

    The nonsense is fully on your side. Only through intelligent design do you have a beginning of the universe, be it Big Bang or whatever happens to come along to replace Big Bang in the future. From the very start of the universe, the laws of physics and mathematical equations have existed. The laws of physics and math show an order to the universe. You cannot get order from chaos, but that’s what you must argue without intelligent design. You have no origin of life. Without intelligent design, there is not even a rough hypothesis as to how life started. You cannot get life from no-life, since you cannot get something from nothing. Without intelligent design, man has no free will, which means the Nazis, Imperial Japanese, Soviets, etc., were simply acting out of predeterminism. Without intelligent design, man is nothing more than an animal with no more responsibility to our fellow man than fellow animals.

  12. 12
    BobRyan says:

    goodusername @ 5

    Rather than parrot what others have said, take a good look at BA77’s responses to both you and Seversky.

    While you ponder things, when has macro-evolution been witnessed and when have the results been replicated? Since neither has ever happened, how can it be a valid theory? To move from hypothesis to theory, something must be witnessed and replicated. Why should the scientific method be suspended for your delusion?

  13. 13
    goodusername says:

    BobRyan,

    The only person I’m parroting is Darwin and Descent of Man, because the discussion is Darwin, and I’ve actually read Descent of Man and many of his other works.

    I’m not sure what quotes by BA77 you want me to look at. The first quote is Darwin predicting that the genocides going on would continue – but there’s a difference between what one believes is likely to happen, and what one wants to happen. And Darwin’s prediction was based on what he witnessed first-hand when he visited South America, Africa, Australia, and Tasmania – almost every place the Beagle landed he saw genocide in action, and he deplored such action in his writings. And while he believed that it was almost certain that such genocides would continue (based on what had been happening for centuries), as the quote I shared shows, it wasn’t necessarily inevitable.

    Here’s the second quote:
    “The Western nations of Europe . . . now so immeasurably surpass their former savage progenitors [that they] stand at the summit of civilization. . . . The civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races through the world.”

    Let’s take a closer look at the second quote and see what was left out:

    “The western nations of Europe, who now so immeasurably surpass their former savage progenitors, and stand at the summit of civilisation, owe little or none of their superiority to direct inheritance from the old Greeks, though they owe much to the written works of that wonderful people.”

    In other words, the reason for our “superiority” in civilization is due to culture inheritance – such as books – and owes “little or none” to biological inheritance. Darwin argued that archaeology has shown that Western and Northern Europeans were “savages” just mere centuries ago – a change far too fast to attribute to biology, and so the “rise” is civilization was due to culture. And he argues that modern “savages” can likewise “rise” in civilization if we educate them (and don’t kill them first).
    You’ll find that BA77 often leaves out the most interesting parts of quotes.

  14. 14
    ET says:

    Charles Darwin will be remembered as a desperate fool who couldn’t even figure out how to test his own ideas. He might have been OK with studying barnacles, but that is about it.

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