Actually, my sister is a total dog

Imagine some guy describing how beautiful his sister is... Until he notices some fellow whom he does not want interested in his sister listening in. Suddenly the description changes completely: now she is just hideous.

We see something similar from the new atheists talking about evolution, don't we? It is a beautiful process, one that should fill us with mystery and awe, that contains all the wonder one should ever need out of life.

Unless one says, "Yes, and that is just the sort of marvelous process by which God brought about human beings." Then suddenly, evolution is described as mindless, and wasteful, and ugly, and obvious disproof of the existence of a supreme being.


  1. Evolution is like the EMH in that respect. It's as well proven as gravity, and the documented problems are "exactly what we'd expect to see," thus proving it even truer.

    (And haters, neither Gene nor I am saying that the theory of common descent is bunk, etc. We're talking about the rhetorical moves.)

  2. The theory is beautiful, and it is beautiful in no small part because it is "mindless"; it explains the illusion design. The nature it describes is often wasteful and ugly: red in tooth and claw.

    1. Ken takes the bait!

      And in any case, no: I have seen many, many people such as Dawkins tell us that the nature itself is beautiful and all inspiring.

    2. Note I carefully said "often". A frog releases a gazillion tadpoles, most of which end up eaten alive. But a few live on.

      But in any case you wrote " the new atheists talking about evolution". And the theory is beautiful in its simplicity, power, and applicability. So is the molecular theory and the organic chemistry that explains swamp gas. I can say that without finding swamp gas pleasing.

      You are conflating different things.
      As I note above the theory and nature are not the same.
      Dawkins can alos argue that nature if full of stuff to inspire awe and wonder and also full of stuff that prove gross imperfections.
      The Merchant of Venice has many fine bits; it's also anti-semitic. These are not contradictory assertions.

      (Siri awe ways gets that wrong).

    3. No, Ken I am not conflating anything. I understand the difference between saying that theory is beautiful and saying nature is beautiful 100%. I am noting that I have seen Dawkins and others go on about how awe-inspiring NATURE is on many occasions. Not just their theory about nature.


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