A science-based appreciation of the unimaginable size and age of the universe, taken together with compelling evidence for the relatively recent appearance of humans (Homo sapiens from their metazoan, vertebrate, tetrapod, mammalian, and primate ancestors) cannot help but impact our thinking as to our significance in the grand scheme of things (assuming that there is such a, possibly ineffable, plan)(1). The demonstrably random processes of mutation and the generally ruthless logic by which organisms survive, reproduce, and evolve, can lead even the most optimistic to question whether existence has any real meaning.
Consider, as an example, the potential implications of the progress being made in terms of computer-based artificial intelligence, together with advances in our understanding of the molecular and cellular connection networks that underlie human consciousness and self-consciousness. It is a small step to conclude, implicitly or explicitly, that humans (and all other organisms with a nervous system) are “just” wet machines that can (and perhaps should) be controlled and manipulated. The premise, the “self-evident truth”, that humans should be valued in and of themselves, and that their rights should be respected (2) is eroded by the ability of machines to perform what were previously thought to be exclusively human behaviors.
Mike Klymkowsky, “Is it possible to teach evolutionary biology “sensitively”?” at Bioliteracy
What Klymkowsky takes to be demonstrable fact is mostly a series of naturalist statements of belief in the first paragraph and flatly contradicted by mathematical facts in the second. No wonder people don’t want this stuff in the schools.
Why not address the way Darwinism is out of sync with the facts before we worry about teaching it “sensitively”?
See also: Educator proposes a more humane way to teach evolution. In 2008, Reiss ended up resigning from a Royal Society post because of an earlier effort to make Darwinism sound reasonable.
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