Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I don't care about Darwin


I have one of these slapped on my car. I actually meant to get an "Evolve" fish, but close enough.

Does this make me a "Darwinist"? Let me explain why I'm not.
What is a Darwinist? One who accepts evolution as true? Wouldn't that make me also a Newtonian, an Einsteinien, and a Heisenburgitorb?

The implication is that we regard Charles Darwin as some sort of cult leader or sorts - that we only believe in evolution because Darwin says so. They're implying that it's dogmatic and doctrinal. The implication is that we're hypocrites because we bash on the religious for those behaviors, when we do it too!

Darwin, as a historical figure, receives a considerable amount of attack from people. When it comes to Christians, I think to some degree this originates from their own Christian beliefs - disprove the key historical figure (for them, Jesus Henry Christ), and the belief system crumbles. Disprove Darwin, show that he's a hoax or a racist, and "Darwinism" shall fall.

Science doesn't have that Achilles' heel. If it turned out that we found out that Darwin lied, that he made up his whole Galapagos Island trip, and fabricated the theory for the sake of a jolly good laugh, nothing would change.

The First Flight

Let me put it this way.

The Wright Brothers historically made the first sustained fixed-wing flight with their Wright Flier in 1905.

Let's say we find out that this was a hoax - the photographs, the video - everything. They created the hoax for the sake of fame.

Would all the airplanes flying around today suddenly drop to the Earth as soon as we found out that their flights were fake?

Of course not.

Whether it was a hoax or not, the general principles depicted within the hoax were correct. Since then, aeronautical engineers have continued to research and develop better understandings of flight.

The Wright Brothers' contribution to the whole of the theory of flight is maybe 0.1%, overall.

If Darwin's Theory was a Hoax

If, pray tell, Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" was indeed a hoax, would that mean that modern evolutionary theory would collapse?

Nope.

Similar to the Wright Brother's contribution to the theory of flight, Darwin's contribution to Evolutionary Theory is actually quite minimal. We've learned so much more at this point than Darwin could ever have dreamed of. He didn't even know about genetics.

It's not his theory anymore. It's the scientific community's. They picked up where Darwin left off and created the modern theory, which owes as much to Darwin, as the F-35 owes to the Wright Flyer.

Darwin didn't even invent evolution. His contribution, that was so controversial, was that he proposed a mechanism, for the already observed and accepted fact of evolution, that didn't require a god.

I don't accept evolution because of what Darwin said. I barely care about Darwin, despite my Darwin Fish (I didn't read the ad closely enough when I bought it). I accept evolutionary theory because of the evidence that backs it up.

No matter what tortures they have in store for Darwin's historicity, I'm afraid these modern planes are going to keep on soaring.

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