Evolution as science versus religion was a later invention

"It is very interesting to notice how far later tradition has exaggerated the Victorian dispute and distorted our view of its nature. As James Moore has shown, it certainly did not appear at the time as raging between science and religion, but as cutting straight across both. Darwin's most serious opponents by far were the official scientific establishment of his day, and many of his supporters... were clergymen." -- Mary Midgley, Evolution as Religion, p. 12

5 comments:

  1. But this makes it harder to paint religious people as idiots. Are you sure?

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  2. Actually Bob, this makes it easier. What this is says is, a few scientists (at the top of the establishment) rejected Darwin and a few clergymen (not sure of their position) accepted him. And what happened? The scientific community booted the few scientists, and the religious community booted the few clergymen. So Science moved closer to the truth, and religion away from it.

    Both systems suffer from the internal resistance of establishments to change. Established scientists don't like new ideas that proves theirs wrong, established clergymen don't like new ideas which challenged their doctrine. But the scientific community overcame this resistance and accepted Darwin. The religious community overcame their own clergymen in favor of resistance and rejected Darwin.

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    Replies
    1. "Actually Bob, this makes it easier."

      Actually, Yosef, the fact that all of your history seems to be just made up off the top of your head makes it pretty easy to dismiss your comment.

      "What this is says is, a few scientists (at the top of the establishment) rejected Darwin and a few clergymen (not sure of their position) accepted him. "

      Reading comprehension: F. Midgley says nothing about HOW MANY scientists or clergy did or didn't reject Darwin. It says who some of his top supporters and critics were. Zero about total percentages.

      "And what happened? The scientific community booted the few scientists..."

      Say what?!! What scientists were "booted" for rejecting Darwin?! Lord Klevin? Can you name one, in fact? No, because this is history as "This is what I figger musta happened."

      "and the religious community booted the few clergymen"

      Again, can you name one clergyman "booted" for accepting Darwin?

      "The religious community overcame their own clergymen in favor of resistance and rejected Darwin."

      Perhaps you have never noticed this Yosef, but there is more than one religion in the world, and more than one "religious community." Out of all the religions of the world, very few make it a point of doctrine to reject Darwin. Those few are very vocal, so perhaps you think of them as "THE religious community," but I assure you that community only exists in your imagination.

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    2. To your last point, I would agree that I spoke with too much generalization. Yes, there is more than one religion in the world, and I had in mind the Christian Evangelical community of the US. I should have been clearer about that.

      As for the rest...
      Your quote says that the official scientific establishment rejected Darwin. By definition it seems to me that the official establishment in anything is just a few people. To refer to something as the official establishment is to refer to a select group within a system. If I say " the military establishment is for the action", it is safe to take it as meaning only a few people and not the totality of the military. Same with the official establishment of the scientific community.

      As for booting scientists and clergymen, I meant booting in terms of ideas, not in terms of people. How many in the scientific community, including the official establishment, now accept Darwin? Nearly all I would say. (Though for that matter, there are instance of scientists being either fired or openly attacked for rejecting evolution, but I did not mean booting in the physical sense so I will not try to use that as a defense). So the ideas of those who rejected Darwin were booted, and replaced with acceptance of Darwin. How many in the Evangelical community accept Darwin? Very few (and here I take my cue from discussions with Evangelical Christians, and the pronouncements of Evangelical Christians with large followings). So the ideas of the clergymen who accepted Darwin were booted, and the Evangelical community rejected Darwin.

      I have long ago internalized that if someone misunderstood me, it must be my fault. So let me try and say it differently. Certain scientists rejected Darwin at first. Certain clergymen accepted Darwin at first. Most scientists accept Darwin now. Most Christian Evangelicals reject Darwin now. So the scientific community overcame the the objections and ideas of the certain scientists which rejected Darwin. And the Christian Evangelical community overcame the support and ideas of the certain clergymen which accepted Darwin.

      So one system moved, over the resistance of the official establishment, toward truth. While another system, over the acceptance of some clergymen, away from truth.

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    3. "Your quote says that the official scientific establishment rejected Darwin."

      Reading comprehension: F.

      "By definition it seems to me that the official establishment in anything is just a few people."

      Logical thinking: F. The "official establishment" is always going to be MOST of the profession.

      "Certain scientists rejected Darwin at first. Certain clergymen accepted Darwin at first. Most scientists accept Darwin now. Most Christian Evangelicals reject Darwin now."

      Notice the blatant shift of categories there! Why not note that MOST religious clergy today accept Darwin just fine. Oh, right, because it would make it harder to make religious people look stupid.

      Bob 1 Yosef 0

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