The tragic death of thought
Published: 3 August 2010(GMT+10)
[The reader’s attention is drawn to each of the footnoted quotations as integral to the article. They reinforce the main points but are listed as footnotes to avoid spoiling the article’s flow—Ed.]
An awful silence filled the room. The young student visibly paled. Until this point he hadn’t realised that the ‘Fundamentals’ could never be questioned, even if they were still just theories.
“Does anyone else think the same as you Mr Kinsfield?”
“I can’t say.”
More silence hung over the court, like a black dull blanket intent on smothering this unimaginably treacherous thought. Apparently, this was a thought that didn’t even deserve the right to a reasonable response. So there wasn’t one.
“We do not entertain the notion of a God,” said the judge. “That was declared to be an absolute eons ago.1 The point of these hallowed halls of learning is to allow the greatness of human thought to captivate these simplistic explanations and illuminate them with the brilliance of human science and technology. You belong neither to this place nor this age.”
We take the side of science … in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. … we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door—Richard Lewontin
A silent encore of approval swept around the court.
“Your mind has succumbed to the superstitions of a past age and, as such, you belong with those of a simpler, more neurotic disposition.”
The young man desperately wanted to respond but he had been branded and he knew his words would count for nothing. Frustration and anger welled up within him. In one final bid to be heard, he squared on his interrogator.
“The whole theory of evolution is built on a chance happening, which we, as students, are expected to ‘believe’.2 When we do have a problem believing, you assure us that it’s only natural as the human mind is actually unable to fully grasp concepts like infinite time or space. Yet you dictate that God could not have created the earth. The rationale? If there actually is a God, then He too would have only come about by a selective evolutionary process over a humongous period of time. Dare I suggest that an infinite God would, by definition, belong to a realm of understanding that is way beyond the thought processes of man? Surely your dogmatism in this area is no more or less than a sort of ‘scientific blasphemy’!
…every single one of more than a trillion cells in the body contains about a thousand times as much precisely-coded digital information as my entire computer—Richard Dawkins
“You cannot explain to us where life comes from, nor can you give a scientific reason for where the encyclopedic information comes from in every cell.3 The expected proof of evolution from the fossil record has never materialised—instead we are given the explanation that intermediate stages have ‘disappeared’ because they failed to be preserved as fossils, and that is supposed to be acceptable?4 You add and subtract millions of years to make the facts fit your theory. But the truth of the matter is that you do this to mask the weaknesses in your own argument.
“And you succeed—the average Joe is not going to question you. Some excellent mathematicians don’t hold you in such high esteem, though, and have deemed all your chance happenings statistically impossible.5 You still don’t fully understand how the bee flies and you spin an exasperatingly ridiculous yarn about how the peacock got its tail.6
Dignity, hope and justice for all mankind is now just a faint memory, taken out and dusted off at concerts by phenomenally rich celebrities. You can keep your ‘brilliant illumination’, and while the spotlight is on, why don’t you have a good hard look at the damage you have done to the human spirit.”
Darwin’s theory offered a resolution to humanity’s perennial crisis of guilt. By proposing that each organism’s drive for self-containment actually benefited the species as a whole, Darwin found a convenient formula for expiating the accumulating guilt of an age when self-interest and personal aggrandizement ruled supreme—Jeremy Rifkin
His words clattered around the room, the atmosphere electric. But no-one was really listening. He was branded. He felt obliterated, rubbed out.
With a patronising gesture the learned professor signalled for the student to be taken away.
The members of the court sank back in their seats, thankful that they belonged to such a distinguished body of intellectuals—thankful that, unlike this hapless student, they had not entertained their doubts. Scientists had reached dizzy heights of acclaim on the back of evolutionary theory. Mankind looked to them to reveal the hidden secrets of the universe. Turning from old, worn out, primitive traditions which shackled the conscience, the ‘new man’, thanks to them, was at last at liberty to enjoy all the multifaceted hues of his nature.
They were the New Priests with a mandate to discover the keys to ‘eternal life’, which, as in all matters relating to survival, meant the inheritance of the rich, powerful and famous.7 This was hardly a position that they were going to abdicate due to some trifling inconsistencies in logic. The facts, given time, would stack up and they could relax—after all, there was plenty of time!
The young student was led away.
He had committed intellectual suicide.
Or had he?
- “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfil many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.” Prof. Richard Lewontin, a geneticist and one of the world’s leaders in promoting evolutionary biology; Billions and Billions of Demons, The New York Review, 9 January, 1997, p. 31. Return to text.
- “We can accept a certain amount of luck in our explanations, but not too much. The question is, how much? The immensity of geological time entitles us to postulate more improbable coincidences than a court of law would allow, but even so there are limits. Cumulative selection is the key to all our modern explanations of life. It strings a series of acceptable lucky events (random mutations) together in a nonrandom sequence so that, at the end of the sequence, the finished product carries the illusion of being very very lucky indeed, far too improbable to have come about by chance alone, even given a time span millions of time longer than the age of the universe so far. Cumulative selection is the key but it had to get started, and we cannot escape the need to postulate a single-step chance event in the origin of cumulative selection itself.” Prof. Richard Dawkins, former holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University; The Blind Watchmaker, W. W. Norton & Co., New York, 1986, p. 139. See also this response, <http://creation.com/a-response-to-richard-dawkins-the-blind-watchmaker>. Return to text.
- “The computer on which I am writing these words has an information storage capacity of about 64 kilobytes (one byte is used to hold each character of text). The computer was consciously designed and deliberately manufactured. The brain with which you are understanding my words is in an array of some ten million kiloneurones. Many of these billions of nerve cells have each more than a thousand ‘electric wires’ connecting them to other neurones. Moreover at the molecular genetic level, every single one of more than a trillion cells in the body contains about a thousand times as much precisely-coded digital information as my entire computer.” Prof. Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, W. W. Norton & Co., New York, 1986, Preface, p. xvii. Return to text.
- “No doubt many organs exist of which we do not know the transitional grades, more especially if we look to much-isolated species, round which, according to my theory, there has been much extinction. Or again, if we look to an organ common to all the members of a large class, for in this latter case the organ must first have been formed at an extremely remote period, since which all the many members of the class have been developed; and in order to discover the early transitional grades through which the organ has passed, we should have to look to very ancient and ancestral forms long since become extinct.” Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species (6th edition), Everyman’s Library, 1928, p. 170. Return to text.
“ … there are about two thousand enzymes, and the chance of obtaining
them all in a random trial is … an outrageously small probability that could
not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup. If one is not
prejudiced either by social beliefs or scientific training into the conviction that
life originated on the earth [by chance, naturalistic processes], this simple calculation
wipes the idea entirely out of court.” Professors (and competent mathematicians)
Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe; Evolution from Space, 1981, p. 176.
Dr. H. B. Holroyd, mechanical engineer and retired head of the Department of Physics, Augustana College, Illinois, USA., independently came to similar conclusions: “The Darwinian error was caused by the failure to use necessary mathematics. … “Darwinism is physical and mathematical nonsense, and it is logical nonsense as well, for a sound thinker does not assume anything which must be deduced from his theory. Darwinism is, indeed, far more a blunder than a theory, and physical scientists should have shown this clearly and effectively decades ago.” Darwinism is Physical and Mathematical Nonsense, Creation Research Society Quaterly 9(1):5–13, 1972. Return to text.
- “For me the peacock’s fan has the unmistakable
stamp of positive feedback. It is clearly the product of some kind of uncontrolled,
unstable explosion that took place in evolutionary time. So thought Darwin in his
theory of sexual selection and so, explicitly, and in so many words, thought the
greatest of his successors, R.A. Fisher. After a short piece of reasoning he concluded
(in his book The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection): ‘ … plumage
developed in the male, and sexual preference for such development in the female,
must thus advance together, and so long as the process is unchecked by severe counter
selection, will advance with ever increasing speed. In the total absence of such
checks, it is easy to see that the speed of development will be proportional to
the development already attained, which will therefore increase with time exponentially,
or in geometric progression.’ ” Prof. Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker,
W. W. Norton & Co., New York, 1986, p. 199.
In contrast to this story, is the opinion of this expert engineer and biomimetics researcher (mimicking nature’s designs): "My favourite evidence is the peacock tail feather. It has beautiful iridescent colours produced by thin film interference. The feathers have layers of keratin with precision thickness comparable to the wavelengths of the individual colours of light. The feather barbs are also incredibly well aligned to produce mathematical patterns like ellipsoids and cardioids. The design of peacock feathers is so precise that engineers cannot replicate it. Yet the feathers seem to exist purely for decoration! I think that the peacock feather shows not only that there is a Creator but that the Creator is supremely wise and caring. I have no doubt that God wanted humans to enjoy the beauty of the peacock feather." Prof. Stuart Burgess; Expert Engineer Eschews “Evolutionary Design”, Creation 32(1):35–37, 2010. Return to text.
- “Darwin’s theory offered a resolution to humanity’s
perennial crisis of guilt. By proposing that each organism’s drive for self-containment
actually benefited the species as a whole, Darwin found a convenient formula for
expiating the accumulating guilt of an age when self-interest and personal aggrandizement
ruled supreme.” Jeremy Rifkin, socialist and critic of social Darwinism;
Viking Press, New York, 1983, p. 95. He also wrote (p. 89): “The bourgeoisie
was in need of a ‘proper’ justification for the new factory system with
its dehumanising process of division of labour. By claiming that a similar process
was at work in nature, Darwin provided an ideal rationale for those capitalists
hell-bent on holding the line against any fundamental challenge to the economic
hierarchy they managed and profited from.”
Jacques Barzan writes: “In every European country between 1870 and 1914 there was a war party demanding armaments, an individualist party demanding ruthless competition, an imperialist party demanding a free hand over backward peoples, a socialist party demanding the conquest of power, and a racialist party demanding internal purges against aliens—all of them, when appeals to greed and glory failed, or even before, invoked Spencer and Darwin which was to say science incarnate. … Race was biological, it was sociological; it was Darwinian.” Darwin, Marx, Wagner: Critique of a heritage (2nd edition), Doubleday, Garden City, New York, 1958, p. 94–95. Return to text.