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New Book: Ben Wiker’s “Life and Lies of Charles Darwin”

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A friend writes to draw attention to Ben Wiker’s new “very balanced” biography of Darwin, which argues that he “deliberately set out to create a ‘godless’ science and that the theory preceded his collection of evidence.”

Don’t be put off by the title, “The Life and Lies of Charles Darwin.” As I will describe in an upcoming review of a different book, the ol’ Brit toff told lots of stretchers during his career and deliberately misled people on many occasions. If the recent ridiculous hagiography around Darwin has accomplished anything, it has forced people who know the facts to make them public.

Wiker, in my friend’s view, argues rather convincingly that the divorce of science and theism dates to Darwin.

Yes, absolutely. That is precisely what makes “theistic evolution” so stupid. The whole point of Darwin’s theory was to get rid of theism, as stories like this clearly show.

Theistic scientists are reduced to mumbling that they believe “in their hearts” that there must be a God somewhere out there, but they are not allowed to use any evidence in support of that view. They should just holler from their guts about Jesus or whatever.

My friend also expects a cascade of rote negative votes from Darwinist trolls and combox morons against Wiker’s book, people who are their own best demonstration of why their belief system doesn’t promote human civilization, only animal rights – which makes a lot of sense if we are the animals, right?

Meanwhile, Mike Flannery, whose book, Alfred Russel Wallace’s theory of Intelligent Evolution I shall shortly review, also wrote, to say,

That Darwin deliberately set out to establish a materialistic metaphysic supported by some biological speculations is clearly supported from Darwin’s early university years and his notebooks, a point which I have already argued in my book. That Darwin clearly did not follow the evidence, as he claimed in his autobiographical boilerplate (largely a promotional effort instigated by Francis, his son), is also very true. I was able to read portions of Wilker’s book in Amazon and have ordered a copy. I do indeed look forward to reading his entire assessment. This could be the most completely honest and frank analysis of Darwin yet; it certainly appears as though he’s asked the right questions of this Victorian paterfamilias.

Of course Darwin did not follow the evidence. He knew what conclusion his culture compelled him to come to, and he obliged, as soon as he had cobbled together a theory. It’s high time someone started asking the right questions.

Also just up at The Post-Darwinist:

DNA analysis means the death of taxonomy (discovering new species in the field)?

New Book: Hindu entry into intelligent design stakes – Nature’s IQ

New Book: Ben Wiker’s Life and Lies of Charles Darwin

Speaking: Five Critical Things You Must
Do With New Media

Human evolution: More on the Ida? I dunno … files

Darwinism and academic culture: Not another one for the Expelled files … ?

I can agree with that, Nnoel. Most historians I talk to, reliigous or not, have told me that religion is not a very good explanation for most violence in history, though; the good amount of reading I did myself didn't contradict this idea. It's possible I'm wrong. But why you do you quote the definition of ad hominem? Does the author claim somewhere that his book, based on Darwin's flaws, proves Darwin's scientific ideas wrong? Where are the premises? PhilosophyFan
lol, from wikipedia... "An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: "argument to the man", "argument against the man") consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the source making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim. " whatever his beliefs, his science has stood the test of time. @4 : O'Leary "They were, of course, gentlemen and ladies all the same, in those days. Atheism was not associated with disgusting behaviour." That is stated like it IS NOW associated with disgusting behavior, and while I could try to show how religion has caused the most suffering, maybe we can just agree that if PEOPLE want an excuse to be bad, they'll be bad with whatever excuse you give them, which has been (but not always) religion in the past, and present. Nnoel
Guys, just stop it. Please stop it. This is meant to be DARWIN's year. Stop tearing him down with all your histories and truths. LEAVE DARWIN ALONE!!! *sob*sob* (^^) Avonwatches
Just some drive-by comments here, then must run: I haven't read Wiker's "Life and Lies", so won't comment on that further - this was just a new book notice. Perhaps the publisher will be good enough to send me a copy, in which case ... Re Victorian England - serious atheism, agnosticism, and religious doubt were very much a part of the intellectual culture of the day. I learned that while studying Victorian literature at university. It was explicitly pointed out by our prof (and evident from our studies in any event). The reason that the era became later associated with exceptional piety was that, for the most part, the atheism was an elite affair which did not so much affect the large lower middle and working class. In a class-based society, it is quite easy for different currents to be running in polar opposite directions. But the classes that had money and power were very much affected by the trend to materialist atheism. They were, of course, gentlemen and ladies all the same, in those days. Atheism was not associated with disgusting behaviour. Having read Wiker's Ten Worst Books, I somehow doubt he would think that Darwinism correlates directly with criminal activity - except in a prison, perhaps, where "survival of the fittest" takes on special meaning in the Angels' range. But then, a guy probably IS a criminal if he is doing time in a federal pen in Canada. So whatever point of view he happens to have correlates with being a criminal - if you see what I mean. O'Leary
I wonder how critics of Intelligent Design will perceive this book. It always surprises me how people on different sides read into things. For instance, Allen MacNeill, who I consider to be pretty intelligent, somehow read into Wiker's Moral Darwinism the idea that Wiker claims belief in Darwinism directly correlates with criminal activity, when it seemed pretty clear to me he meant something MUCH more subtle than that. PhilosophyFan
Mrs. O'Leary, Which part of Darwin's culture compelled his attack on Christianity? I didn't realize Victorian Britain was such a hotbed of anti-Christian thought. It is no wonder that the publication of Origin of Species cause no shock or outrage in such a climate, just a lot of smarmy handshakes and backpatting. Nakashima
I have lately read Morley's Life of Voltaire and he insists strongly that direct attacks on Christianity (even when written with the wonderful force and vigor of Voltaire) produce little permanent effect: real good seems only to follow the slow and silent side attacks. ~ Charles Darwin Although I am a keen advocate of freedom of opinion in all questions, it seems to me (rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against Christianity and Theism hardly have any effect on the public; and that freedom of thought will best be promoted by that gradual enlightening of human understanding which follows the progress of science. I have therefore always avoided writing about religion and have confined myself to science. Possibly I have been too strongly influenced by the thought of the concern it might cause some members of my family, if in any way I lent my support to direct attacks on religion. ~ Charles Darwin bevets

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