In his foray into biology, Aczel says the theory of evolution is flawed. In particular, he points out that it does not explain altruistic behavior with no apparent survival benefit to the genes of the do-gooder. He cites a recent example of a Mount Everest climbing expedition in which an Israeli climber was well on his way to the top when he discovered a fallen Turkish climber who had lost his face mask and oxygen supply. At the cost of his own fingers and toes to frostbite, and sacrificing the glory of reaching the summit, the Israeli stopped and saved the life of the Turkish fellow. Why did he do it? “Human decency and goodness,” Aczel writes, with the implication that such qualities come from religion and spirituality. (In another chapter, he explains how a code of morality developed in early religions.)
Lightman just says that and doesn’t launch into a diatribe against Aczel for the sin of Darwin doubt. It’s like he thinks you can discuss evolution intelligently.
Recall that we live in a time when this stuff is commonplace: “Moderator for science mag [Nautilus] article on how DNA studies shake tree of life bans discussion of ‘whether evolution is true.’” The point of her mag’s article was that Darwin’s Tree of Life is matchwood. So the mag runs an article like that and then bans discussion of what it might mean? Yup.
Are times changing? Do people no longer need to make ritual obeisance before Darwin, just to record some fact or make some point or other? Wow.