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Ernst Haeckel  Judith Hooper  Fred Hoyle  Thomas Huxley  

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Cornelius Hunter   PhD in Biophysics  Web  Amazon  Blog

There is, to be sure, plenty of evidence supporting evolution, but there is plenty of evidence for all sorts of discarded theories. In fact, one can formulate arguments against evolution, often using the same evidence, that are more persuasive than the supporting arguments. But there is, as we shall see, a line of nonscientific -- metaphysical -- reasoning that is consistently used to support evolution. It uses scientific observations to argue against the possibility of divine creation. Such negative theology is metaphysical because it requires certain premises about the nature of God. A great irony reveals itself here: evolution, the theory that made God unnecessary, is itself supported by arguments containing premises about the nature of God. There is a profound yet subtle religious influence in the theory of evolution. Darwin as well as today's modern evolutionists appeal to these metaphysical arguments.    Darwin's God  (2001)  p.9-10

As Darwin put it: "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case." But this was hardly a concession. Darwin may sound generous here, allowing that his theory would "absolutely break down," but his requirement for such a failure is no less than impossible. For no one can show that an organ "could not possibly" have been formed in such a way. So in short order Darwin reduced what seemed to be a dilemma for his theory into a logical truism. Evolution was protected from criticism, and all that was needed to explain complexity was a clever thought experiment.

Darwin so lowered the requirements that anyone with a pen and a vivid imagination can now claim to have solved the problem of complexity.    Darwin's God  (2001)  p.75

It is perhaps one of the great ironies in religious thought that one can profess to be an agnostic, skeptic or even atheist regarding belief in God yet still hold strong opinions about God. Evolution may breed skepticism, but its adherents have continued to make religious proclamations. And those proclamations are really no different from those made by Darwin and his fellow Victorians.    Darwin's God  (2001)  p.150

Evolution is an organizing idea that inherently relies on ultimate truth claims -- claims that are outside of science. Evolution draws on several scientific disciplines, but evolution itself is not scientific. This it is not a matter of finding a better scientific explanation before evolution is dropped from science; rather, it is a matter of understanding the boundaries of science. When assumptions about God are made before the science begins, the result is not science, no matter how much science follows.    Darwin's God  (2001)  p.158

This, of course, is a classic example of the theological naturalism which is the heart of evolutionary thought. Design X must have arisen naturalistically because it would not have been designed. Such assumptions about design, and what counts as acceptable and unacceptable design, are metaphysical--they are above science. They do not derive from science, but rather drive the science, as we can see so vividly here in Coyne's example... In fact, evolution has no solid basis for even thinking these designs are necessarily poor. This is more religion making its way into the argument, as the assumption of poor design is itself a motif of evolutionary thought. When in doubt, evolutionists assume lack of function or poor design. It is not a scientific finding so much as a consequence of the belief that evolution is true.    Darwin's God  July 27 2009

The story behind the story is that Lawrence and Lee's cultural icon is itself now part of a new kind of anti intellectualism. The widespread popularity of Inherit the Wind and its cultural stereotypes is not a sign of healthy intellectual freedom triumphing over religious intolerance. Rather, it is an unfortunate sign of yet more ignorance and intolerance, as evolutionists are cast as benevolent and objective while skeptics are cast as narrow minded fundamentalists.    Darwin's God  October 10 2009

Unfortunately evolutionists do not tell history from an objective perspective, but from the viewpoint that evolution must be true. Therefore opposition must be caricatured as naïve or nefarious.    Darwin's God  Octover 7 2010

 

Aldous Huxley  (1894 – 1963)  Writer  Web  GBS  AV

I had motive for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves...For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political.     Ends and Means  p.270

 

Julian Huxley  (1887 – 1975)  Professor of Zoology  Web  GBS

The new conceptions of evolution and relativity are victories for science; but when the belief in miracles is abandoned in favour or natural law, or the theory of verbal inspiration and absolute rightness of the Bible dropped for one of progressive religious development, the majority of men, whether religious or no, still seem to look upon it as a defeat for religion. This comes solely from the part which dogmatism and false theories of revelation and authority have placed in the past history of religion.    What Dare I Think  (1931)  p.252

Eugenics, Dean Inge writes in one of his essays, is capable of becoming the most sacred ideal of the human race, as a race; one of the supreme religious duties. In this I entirely agree with him. Once the full implications of evolutionary biology are grasped, eugenics will inevitably become part of the religion of the future, or of whatever complex sentiments may in the future take the place of organized religion.    Man Stands Alone  (1941)  p.34

Evolution, from cosmic star-dust to human society, is a comprehensive and continuous process. It transforms the world-stuff, if I may use a term which includes the potentialities of mind as well as those of matter. It is creative, in the sense that during the process new and more complex levels of of organization are progressively attained, and new possibilities are thus opened up to the universal world-stuff.    Evolution: The Modern Synthesis  (1947)  p.131

Medieval theology urged men to think of human life in the light of eternity -- sub specie aeternitatis: I am attempting to rethink it sub specie evolutionis -- in the light of evolution.    Evolution in Action  (1953)  p.152   

What is more, the geneticist knows that with appropriate methods, such a result could be achieved over a measurable series of generations. Admittedly, this could not happen without somewhat radical changes in customs and laws and outlook; but this does not mean that it is impossible. Once the fact is grasped that we men are the agents of further evolution, and that there can be no action higher or more noble than raising the inherent possibilities of life, ways and means will somehow be found for overcoming any resistances that stand in the way of that realization.    Evolution in Action  (1953)  p.174

The concept of evolution was soon extended into other than biological fields. Inorganic subjects such as the life-histories of stars and the formation of the chemical elements on the one hand, and on the other hand subjects like linguistics, social anthropology, and comparative law an religion, began to be studied for an evolutionary angle, until today we are enabled to see evolution as a universal and all pervading process.    What is Science?  (1955)  p.272

Furthermore, with the adoption of the evolutionary approach in non-biological fields, from cosmology to human affairs, we are beginning to realize that biological evolution is only one aspect of evolution in general. Evolution in the extended sense can be defined as a directional and essentially irreversible process occurring in time, which in its course gives rise to an increase of variety and an increasingly high level of organization, in its products. Our present knowledge indeed forces us to the view that the whole of reality is evolution -- a single process of self-transformation.    What is Science  (1955)  p.278

Assuredly the concept of man as instrument and agent of the evolutionary process will become the dominant integrator of all ideas about human destiny, and will set the pattern of our general attitude to life.    New Bottles for New Wine  (1957)  pp.58-9

Finally, the concept of evolutionary humanism has helped me to see how, in principle at least, science and religion can be reconciled. It has show me outlets for ideas and sentiments which can legitimately be called religious, but which otherwise would have remained frustrated or untapped. And it has indicated how vital a contribution science can make to religious progress.    New Bottles for New Wine  (1957)  p.312

Darwinism removed the whole idea of God as the creator of organisms form the sphere of rational discussion. Darwin pointed out that no supernatural designer was needed; since natural selection could account for any known form of life, there was no room for a supernatural agency in its evolution.    Issues in Evolution  (1960)  p.45

In the evolutionary pattern of thought there is no longer either need or room for the supernatural. The earth was not created: it evolved. So did all the animals and plants that inhabit it, including our human selves, mind and soul as well as brain and body. So did religion.    Essays of a Humanist  (1964)  p.78

Finally, the evolutionary vision is enabling us to discern, however incompletely, the lineaments of the new religion that we can be sure will arise to serve the needs of the coming era. Just as stomachs are bodily organs concerned with digestion, and involving the biochemical activity of special juices, so are religions psychosocial organs concerned with the problems of human destiny, and involving the emotion of sacredness and the sense of right and wrong. Religion of some sort is probably necessary.    Essays of a Humanist  (1964)  p.87

 

Thomas Huxley  (1825 – 1895)  Chair of natural history at the School of Mines  Web  GBS

The question of questions for mankind -- the problem which underlies all others, and is more deeply interesting than any other -- is the ascertainment of the place which Man occupies in nature and of his relations to the universe of things.    Man's Place in Nature  (1863)  p.71

If Suarez has rightly stated Catholic doctrine, then is evolution utter heresy. And such I believe it to be. In addition to the truth of the doctrine of evolution, indeed, one of its greatest merits in my eyes, is the fact that it occupies a position of complete and irreconcilable antagonism to that vigorous and consistent enemy of the highest intellectual, moral, and social life of mankind – the Catholic Church.     More Criticisms of Darwin  (1873)  p.25

And looking back through the prodigious vista of the past, I find no record of the commencement of life, and therefore I am devoid of any means of forming a definite conclusion as to the conditions of its appearance. Belief, in the scientific sense of the word, is a serious matter, and needs strong foundations. To say, therefore, in the admitted absence of evidence, that I have any belief as to the mode in which the existing forms of life have originated, would be using words in a wrong sense. But expectation is permissible where belief is not; and if it were given me to look beyond the abyss of geologically recorded time to the still more remote period when the earth was passing through physical and chemical conditions, which it can no more see again than a man can recall his infancy, I should expect to be a witness of the evolution of living protoplasm from not living matter. I should expect to see it appear under forms of great simplicity, endowed, like existing fungi, with the power of determining the formation of new protoplasm from such matters as ammonium carbonates, oxalates and tartrates, alkaline and earthy phosphates, and water, without the aid of light. That is the expectation to which analogical reasoning leads me; but I beg you once more to recollect that I have no right to call my opinion anything but an act of philosophical faith.    Critiques and Addresses  (1873)  pp.238-9

May your shadow never be less, and may all your enemies, unbelieving dogs who resist the Prophet of Evolution, be defiled by the sitting of jackasses upon their grandmother’s graves!    Letter to Ernst Haeckel  December 28 1874

Thirty years ago, criticism of “Moses” was held by most respectable people to be deadly sin; now it has sunk to the rank of a mere peccadillo; at least, if it stops short of the history of Abraham. Destroy the foundation of most forms of dogmatic Christianity contained in the second chapter of Genesis, if you will; the new ecclesiasticism undertakes to underpin the superstructure and make it, at any rate to the eye, as firm as ever: but let him be anathema who applies exactly the same canons of criticism to the opening chapters of “Matthew” or of “Luke.” School-children may be told that the world was by no means made in six days, and that implicit belief in the story of Noah’s Ark is permissible only, as a matter of business, to their toy-makers; but they are to hold for the certainest of truths, to be doubted only at peril of their salvation, that their Galilean fellow-child Jesus, nineteen centuries ago, had no human father.    Science And Christian Tradition  (1893)  p.xi

Further, it is affirmed that the New Testament presupposes the historical exactness of the Old Testament; that the points of contact of “sacred” and “profane” history are innumerable; and that the demonstrations of the falsity of the Hebrew records, especially in regard to those narratives which are assumed to be true in the New Testament, would be fatal to Christian theology.    Science And Hebrew Tradition  (1897)  pp.206-7

My utmost ingenuity does not enable me to discover a flaw in the argument thus briefly summarised. I am fairly at a loss to comprehend how any one, for a moment, can doubt that Christian theology must stand or fall with the historical trustworthiness of the Jewish Scriptures. The very conception of the Messiah, or Christ, is inextricably interwoven with Jewish history; the identification of Jesus of Nazareth with that Messiah rests upon the interpretation of passages of the Hebrew Scriptures which have no evidential value unless they possess the historical character assigned to them.     Science And Hebrew Tradition  (1897)  p.207

I confess I soon lose my way when I try to follow those who walk delicately among “types” and allegories. A certain passion for clearness forces me to ask , bluntly, whether the writer means to say that Jesus did not believe the stories in question, or that he did? When Jesus spoke, as of a matter of fact, that “the Flood came and destroyed them all,” did he believe that the Deluge really took place, or not? It seems to me that, as the narrative mentions Noah’s wife, and his son’s wives, that is good scriptural warranty for the statement that the antediluvians married and were given in marriage; and I would have thought that their eating and drinking might be assumed by the firmest believer in the literal truth of the story. Moreover, I venture to ask what sort of value, as an illustration of God’s methods of dealing with sin has an account of an event that never happened? If no Flood swept the careless people away, how is the warning of more worth than the cry of “Wolf” when there is no wolf? If Jonah’s there days’ residence in the whale is not an “admitted reality,” how could it “warrant belief” in the ”coming resurrection?” If lots wife was not turned into a pillar of salt, the bidding those who turn back from the narrow path to “remember” it is, morally, about on a level with telling a naughty child that a bogy is coming to fetch it away. Suppose that a Conservative orator warns his hearers to beware of great political and social changes, lest they end, as in France, in the dominations of a Robespierre; what becomes, not only of his argument, but of his veracity, if he, personally, does not believe that Robespierre existed and did the deeds attributed to him?    Science And Hebrew Tradition  (1897)  p.232-3

No rational man, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average negro is the equal, still less the superior, of the white man. And if this be true, it is simply incredible that, when all his disabilities are removed, and our prognathous relative has a fair field and no favour, as well as no oppressor, he will be able to compete successfully with his bigger-brained and smaller-jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried out by thoughts and not by bites.    Lectures and Lay Sermons  (1926)  p.115 

It remains that I should put before you what I understand to be the third phase of geological speculation -- namely, EVOLUTIONISM.     Discourses  ( 2004)  p.181

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