Intelligent Design

What has disbelief in Darwinism cost American society?

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 Recently, we have been discussing the (probably true) claim that Americans are less likely than others to believe Darwinism. As I noted in earlier discussions, American society gives its citizens greater rights than many other societies do to disagree with the elite and the privileged. And what may be the consequences of that?:

“In the final episode of PBS’s television series, the narrator states that for decades after the 1925 Scopes trial “Darwin seemed to be locked out of America’s public schools.” When the Soviets launched Sputnik, the first man-made satellite, in 1957, according to the narrator, Darwin was restored to the curriculum and “long-neglected science programs were revived in America’s classrooms.” Yet during the supposedly benighted decades between 1925 and 1957, American schools produced more Nobel Prize winners than the rest of the world put together. And in physiology and medicine—the fields that should have been most stunted by a neglect of Darwinism—the U.S. produced fully twice as many Nobel laureates as all other countries combined. Obviously, biomedical science does just fine without Darwinism.”  (Getting the Facts Straight: A Viewer’s Guide to PBS’s Evolution (Seattle, WA: Discovery Institute Press, 2001), Chapter 7. Online April 2006 at www://www.reviewevolution.org/ )

The above is quoted from Jonathan Wells, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism, on which I have provided brief comments.

12 Replies to “What has disbelief in Darwinism cost American society?

  1. 1
    bFast says:

    Let me just pair this discussion with a post on LiveScience.com (http://www.livescience.com/hum....._rank.html) entitled, “U.S. Lags World in Grasp of Genetics and Acceptance of Evolution.” Note that the title of this article strongly implies a direct correlation between one’s grasp of genetics and one’s acceptance of evolution. The study goes on to report on the level of acceptance of evolution, and clearly pairs it with religious perspectives. However, despite the article’s title, it hardly makes the case that there is a correlation between understanding of genetics and acceptance of evolution.

  2. 2
    Charlie says:

    bFast,
    Sal also linked to Mike Gene’s post on the reliability of the statement on the supposed relative ignorance of the Americans on genetics.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....6#comments

  3. 3
    Mark Frank says:

    “American society gives its citizens greater rights than many other societies do to disagree with the elite and the privileged.”

    In what sense do the citizens of the UK, France, Iceland etc have less rights to disagree with the elite and the privileged than US citizens?

  4. 4
    tribune7 says:

    A better question might be what has Darwinism cost the French, British and German societies since they wholeheartedly embraced it at the end of the 19th century?

  5. 5
    P. Phillips says:

    Dear Denyse,

    Your post above either anticipated or responded to my thoughts and questions I posted earlier on UD today:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....hives/1434

    So, thank you. I’d like to mention two books, which I don’t know how the Christian Evangelicals will respond to. Personally, I do enjoy reading other perspectives, even if I don’t agree. However, I do dislike the scorn at best and venom at worst directed to “opponents”, and thus, while I respect the rights of Dennett and Dawkins to their beliefs, I do not in the least find their tone and attitude bolsters their credibility.

    The first book, which was quite courageous, I think, is Why the Jews Rejected Jesus by Discovery Institute Fellow Klinghoffer:

    http://www.davidklinghoffer.com/

    The second is by Richard Elliott Friedman, The Disapperance of God (sorry I don’t know how to italicize on this board):

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/produ.....2?n=283155

    Friedman believes that it is significant that at this moment in human history such amazing discoveries and instruments, such as the Hubble telescope, are available. He explores Nietzsche and Dostoevesky. The book was published in 1995; I have no idea how he would think about ID.

    He writes about Steven Weinberg and Steven Hawking and cites a work on Kabbalah published by Oxford University Press [Forman, ed., The Problem of Pure Consciousness: Mysticism and Philosophy) in his chapter Religion and Science.

    (Although I do not claim to have Madonna’s expertise on Kabbalah, perhaps Plasma Cosmology doesn’t contradict a God in whom the universe inheres.)

    Friedman writes “Hawking speaks of God’s creation as a thing that is somehow apart from God. But what Big Bang and Kaballah suggest is that may rather be *a* *part* of God…this is not simple pantheism…the deity has an independent existence from creation yet still inheres in it. The deity is not simply the sum of the parts of the universe. Rather the creation is something that takes place within God.”

    Alright, now what does the above have to do with ID, and the cost to American Society? I think what Friedman writes in his final chapter, Divine-Human reunion, is relevant:

    “On what else could we base morality if not on a God…The problem is that we need a reason to be moral…The ‘golden rule’ can still provide a fundamental starting point. We have already seen that this rule functions in Christianity and in rabbinic Judaism in various formulations…”

    He discusses the belief of Kabbalah that “morality is related to the very structure of the universe…Each new [scientific] discovery is potentially one that will utterly change our perception of the universe or our place in it.”

    He answers moral relativists with these words: “A world that is preparing to face such things cannot be a world of liars, thieves, cheats and bullies…I suggest that when we look our origin — and possibly our originator — in the face, we should not be th kind of persons who have ever kicked a cane.”

    I understand that C.S. Lewis, whom I admire deeply, was and is an influence on Dr. Dembski. Then I believe he will recall in his work The Abolition of Man his thoughts on The Way:

    http://www.brothersjudd.com/in.....ook_id/242

    Lewis wrote, which I’ve copied from above:

    This thing which I have called for convenience the Tao, and which others may call Natural Law or
    Traditional Morality or the First Principles of Practical Reason or the First Platitudes, is not one
    among a series of possible systems of value. It is the sole source of all value judgments. If it is
    rejected, all value is rejected. If any value is retained, it is retained. The effort to refute it and raise
    a new system of value in its place is self-contradictory. There never has been, and never will be,
    a radically new judgment of value in the history of the world. What purport to be new systems of
    (as they now call them) ‘ideologies,’ all consist of fragments of the Tao itself, arbitrarily wrenched
    from their context in the whole and then swollen to madness in their isolation, yet still owing to the
    Tao and to it alone such validity as they possess. If my duty to my parents is a superstition, then so
    is my duty to posterity. If justice is a superstition, then so is my duty to my country or my race. if
    the pursuit of scientific knowledge is a real value, then so is conjugal fidelity. The rebellion of
    new ideologies against the Tao is a rebellion of the branches against the tree: if the rebels could
    succeed they would find that they had destroyed themselves. The human mind has no more power
    of inventing a new value than of imagining a new primary colour, or, indeed, of creating a new sun
    and a new sky for it to move in.

    # # # #

    Unfortunately, our time seems more and more to reflect That Hideous Strength!

    I think perhaps ID has an important place; but I wonder if Dr. Dembski’s answer to MySpace.com may “evolve”, if you pardon the word, or perhaps change by design, changes to a forum for young people of faith, perhaps all faiths, to discuss with mutual respect these higher things.

    Unfortunately, how many young people truly have an interest in such things and not American Idol, for instance? Probably more than the mainstream media would have us think…

    My best wishes for your success. Also, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science is another worthwile book, as is the Dalia Lama’s quest for truth in The Universe in a Single Atom. As you see, my nature is to explore wisdom in whatever form, even if I find that I disagree. I respect all those who are on the quest.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/produ.....8;n=283155

    Good evening, everyone, and take care.

  6. 6
    jwrennie says:

    So what you are saying, and what can clearly be seen from this trend all those years ago when Darwinism was neglected, is at the time, the nobel prize picking committee was run by fundamentalist christians advancing their theocratic agenda and trying to send us all back to the dark ages !

    Now we know the truth. Fortunately all those anti-science fundamentalists have been purged from the ranks and idelogical purity restored.

    Jason

  7. 7
    leebowman says:

    One of Denyse’s concerns (The ID Report, 8/12/06) is that some churches accept evolution (common descent), and of course, we know that the ‘worldly church’ does.

    ” … what about these clergymen who sold their flocks a theory that made them a little lower than the animals (not the angels)? Isn’t there certain to be an accounting?

    Perhaps. After all, not only was man made a little lower than the angels (and in some translations ‘a little lower than God’), you crowned him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of thy hands.” Whoa!

    We do need to get busy. Although the evangelical approach to honoring the creator is primarily Biblical, the ID modality is empirical, and when accomplished will complete the mission to bring honor to the creator through recognition of His works, thus helping to refute a materialist worldview that has ensnared many.

  8. 8
    sophophile says:

    “Yet during the supposedly benighted decades between 1925 and 1957, American schools produced more Nobel Prize winners than the rest of the world put together. And in physiology and medicine—the fields that should have been most stunted by a neglect of Darwinism—the U.S. produced fully twice as many Nobel laureates as all other countries combined. Obviously, biomedical science does just fine without Darwinism.”

    The obvious fallacy here is that we have no idea how many Nobel laureates would have been produced during those years if evolution had been stressed in American schools.

    Furthermore, we have no information on how many of those Nobel laureates remained unexposed to evolutionary theory throughout high school, college, grad school, and their professional careers. The fact that some of our schools were “benighted” during those years doesn’t mean they all were.

  9. 9
    JGuy says:

    Jason (jwrennie),
    You said:
    “So what you are saying, and what can clearly be seen from this trend all those years ago when Darwinism was neglected, is at the time, the nobel prize picking committee was run by fundamentalist christians advancing their theocratic agenda and trying to send us all back to the dark ages !”

    JGuy response:
    * The Nobel committe is an international committe (not American). The prize started and is still held in Stockholm Sweden. No further comment. Reference – ” The Nobel Prize is an international award administered by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden.” – http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/

    You also said:
    “Now we know the truth. Fortunately all those anti-science fundamentalists have been purged from the ranks and idelogical purity restored.”

    JGuy response:
    * What societal faction is the we, and whose ideaology is it that “ideaological purity” exists?
    Anyway, as for your case that idealogical purity now exists in the Nobel prize awards – That is simply not true. Case in point: the scientist, Professor Raymond Damadian, who invensted MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) technology did not receive the “prize” for this invention. The controversy stems completely around his young earth and creationist beliefs. Even [i]Science[/i] magazine said this is probably why he did not receve the Nobel for it over his “peers”.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Damadian

  10. 10
    russ says:

    “So what you are saying, and what can clearly be seen from this trend all those years ago when Darwinism was neglected, is at the time, the nobel prize picking committee was run by fundamentalist christians advancing their theocratic agenda and trying to send us all back to the dark ages !”

    Nobel Prize prize committees are drawn from the Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. I don’t think fundamentalist Christians were running Swedish science during the 20th century. Or are you being facetious and I just didn’t get the joke?

  11. 11
    jwrennie says:

    Sorry. It was a joke. I guess I should have put 😛 at the end

    I figured the comment was so completely over the top, that it would be redundant. I guess the concern is that it was not sufficently over the top, which means there coule be people out there thinking like I suggested. Yikes !

    Jason

  12. 12
    Carlos says:

    And in physiology and medicine—the fields that should have been most stunted by a neglect of Darwinism—the U.S. produced fully twice as many Nobel laureates as all other countries combined. Obviously, biomedical science does just fine without Darwinism.”

    Unfortunately, this is a non sequitur.

    From the fact that “the average American” is less likely to believe in evolution than do those in other countries, it doesn’t follow that the Nobel Prize winners themselves were less likely to do so. Maybe American Nobel Prize winners are simply less representative of the beliefs of their fellow citizens? Who knows?

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