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Posted by A. Souza on June 19, 2003 13:51:37 UTC

Hi Harv,

It's nice to see some intelligent post amid all the quackery this forum has turned into. I'm short of internet funds but I'd like to make two quick comments on your post.

" My only criticism, and it is a slight one, is that it communicated a sense of meaninglessness to human existence, and I am strongly against that portrayal of evolutionary theory "

Do you remember our old fight about evolution? Well, you just got to the crux of it. If you recall, I don't oppose the facts of evolutionary theory, the only thing I oppose is the "randomness" thing, and I believe I do so from a strong philosophical position. I actually think my position is actually stronger than what you expressed in your post. Let me explain:

" This is what is wrong with evolutionary teaching, and I don't think evolutionary biology fully understands that they will never 'sell' evolution to the public under such educational approaches "

I'm convinced your diagnosis is wrong. To use a loose metaphor, you are saying that the doctor shouldn't tell the patient that he is ill because the patient doesn't want to hear it. But the fact is that the patient is not ill at all, it's actually the doctor that got his facts all wrong. The patient doesn't really want to hear that he is ill, not because that makes him feel uncomfortable, but simply because he knows his health better than his doctor does, and knows that his doctor is mistaken.

To cut a long story short, the whole problem with standard Darwinian evolutionary teaching is that it teaches absolutely nothing. The whole point of evolutionary theory is to prove that life is pointless. Since people naturally expect a theory of life to explain what the point of life is, evolution miserably fails the average man's criteria and becomes just a pastime for atheists, nihilists, and other irrational animals.

I have said this too many times and will only say it once more. Anything can be seen as meaningless, anything can be seen as random. If a person refuses to acknowledge the fact that the Chinese speak a seemingly incomprehensible language, he can always maintain that the Chinese people only speak gibberish, and no argument, no matter how powerful, can prove him wrong. Likewise, if someone insists on maintaining that life is the result of a string of meaningless accidents, on the sole basis of their inability to find meaning to it, then that person will remain stuck in an intellectual circle, out of which no rational argument can help them break free.

This is in fact the essence of the faith of the average man, his sensible understanding that explanations must accomodate fact rather than deny them. But we live in a strange age, in which a few blind men full of pride feel justified in mocking the humble ones who dare open their eyes, as if the fact that seeing requires a conscious effort proves that the images are unreal.

Now my funds are really, really exhausted. See you some other time.



(PS: I just finished reading "Orthodoxy", by G. K. Chesterton, out of which a few weeks ago I took a quote about madmen. It turned out to be the most wonderful book I ever read on the subject of science and religion. If you haven't read it yet, make sure you do. I think you'll be as delighted as I was)

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