25 May 2013

Science, philosophy, and selling bad cars

One of my fellow Centurions, Regis Nicoll has written an excellent little piece over at Breakpoint.  The article begins, "On the floor of the Darwinian exchange, traders bark, 'Evolution is fact, Fact, FACT!' But it’s a fact that has proven to be a hard sell.

"After 150 years of scientific 'evidence,' decades of inculcation in public education, and a raft of books, like The Dragons of Eden, The Selfish Gene, and The Blind Watchmaker, only 16 percent of Americans believe that humans developed from an unsupervised process of variation and natural selection. Belief that God had some part in the process has held steady over the last 30 years, at around 80 percent."

Nicoll discusses the consternation that these evolutionary evangelists have that it is not just us dumb Americans who believe this, but even some scientifically-minded individuals who just cannot reject that pesky problem of "apparent" design.  One way they have responded is by switching tacks; they have started talking instead about how our death anxiety contributes to our continued belief in a higher power and how we must find meaning by "looking around".  Our scientists are becoming philosophers and bad ones at that.  (Does anyone remember the recent proclamation from Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow that "philosophy is dead?"). They have become car salesmen--if you can't sell them on the car, sell them on the image--then maybe people will buy in. 

No comments: