Let me lay some cards on the table, if only to provide a bit of context for what I want to say. I am a strong and unequivocal evolutionist who places Darwin at the very core of my philosophical mindset. My relationship to religion, on the other had, is …. complicated. I don’t think any of the standard categories unambiguously matches up with what I think and feel, and I’m somewhat okay with that. I just hope that these confessions serve to clarify rather than obstruct the conversation I hope to have.
As one of the old-time evolutionists in the bloggernacle, finding annoying posts, comments and statements by creationists has always been like shooting fish in a barrel. But like any other social movement which binds and blinds us, I had a difficult time seeing what might be stuck in my own eye. Of course, whether this “something” is a beam, a mote or something in between, is certainly a matter of perspective.
What bugs me most about the (religious) evolutionist is his universalist language. It is one thing to say that one cannot reject evolution without violating the widely accepted rules of Liberal Science. That seems to me like a pretty safe assertion. It is something else entirely to suggest that the only way to reject evolution is through ignorance, insanity or wickedness. That seems a little… far fetched, shall we say?
I think the source of the problem lies in the evolutionist’s inability to see a difference between these two assertions. For him, the rules of Liberal Science are not merely a contingent set of rules which belong to a particular way of approaching the world around us. No. For him, the rules of Liberal Science are the very rules of Rationality itself – not just contingently enforced by fellow members of the scientific community, but necessarily and universally binding due to the nature of Reality itself. In the evolutionist’s mind, to violate the widely accepted rules of Liberal Science just is to be ignorant, insane, wicked, or whatever suitable euphemism he chooses to use instead.
Consider the following:
I hate to read the whiney little complainers who do not bother to sample the richness of this feast. Those who slog forth their narrow vision of the cosmos and claim that evolution should be held under suspicion because it does not fit their small-minded interpretation, and stale reading, of past leaders…
And the most galling thing of all is they have never bothered to read a book on evolution (unless it is from Creationist clearing houses). Their entrenched ignorance of evolution is staggering…
They will wring their hands and grind their teeth and pull out their beards on evolution, but it will go on. But let me just offer some advice. Learn some of the wonders spilling from the pages of people studying this magnificent universe and its processes. It’s no threat to your faith, unless it is so shaky and built upon stacks of out of context quotes that it can’t stand face to face with the wonders of the given universe. I suspect this is actually the heart of the matter for these zealots…
So the whiners and wresters, the gospel anti-evolutionary hobbyists, bury their heads in the quotes, plug their ears and scream “I can’t hear you.” One thing they know is facts are dangerous to the shallow faith they’ve developed, so they don’t bother to learn anything about what they criticize. But their ignorance shows. Oh how it shows.
All three accusations are here: Any creationist must either be ignorant from not having read the right books, insane to the point of hand wringing, teeth grinding and beard pulling, or wicked such that they obviously have a weaker faith than the evolutionist has. Other euphemisms for this irrationality include small-minded, suspicious, entrenched, zealous, whiners and wresters, etc.
Of course all such rhetoric is meant only to distract us from the rather obvious question which is really at hand: Why should we allow the rules of Liberal Science to govern each and every aspect of our lives? Why is it that science – and only science! – gets to tell us what we are and where we come from? This is a difficult question which I do not propose to answer or even address here. I’m not really trying to remove that “something” which is stuck in the evolutionist’s eye – only to draw attention to that things existence.