From: Ted Davis (TDavis@messiah.edu)
Date: Mon Jan 27 2003 - 09:37:28 EST
I offer the following comments on the RAPID RESPONSE REPORT we all received
in our mailboxes this morning.
First, I haven't read Jonathan Ree's commentary in Harper's, but I am
guessing that the author is the same Jonathan Ree who wrote a very
interesting biography of Descartes, from a Marxist point of view (though
this is nearly invisible as I recall), some three decades ago. I think he
may now work for channel 4 (BBC).
Second, contrary to the report, Darwin never endorsed atheism. Indeed, he
declined to do so when a Marxist correspondent asked him to, and he clearly
thought of himself in the "agnostic" category in the last several years of
his life (he was definitely a theist of some type until at least the
mid-1840s, if not later). Furthermore, he admitted that evolution was not
necessarily atheistic, and granted the difficulty of understanding how (for
example) our own thoughts have any integrity if there is only accident
governing the universe. I agree with the implication of the report, that
Darwinism makes atheism easier to hold, but I strongly disagree that Darwin
was himself an atheist. I would also reject the view that Darwinism is
atheism, which is perhaps implied in the report.
I am tempted to add lots of comments on whether the ID program has a real
chance to alter the highly secular mindset of the modern academy in the
West, but this would take a very long time--more than I presently have--and
get me embroiled in a lengthy conversation that I would be unable to
continue. (I use listserves such as this one mainly to give and receive
information, not to conduct protracted arguments. I prefer to save my
arguments for traditional printed media.)
So, I'll confine my thoughts on this to the following, and let it go: with
Pascal, Dostoevsky, and Polkinghorne, I think that the interpretation of
nature is morally ambiguous. And it is becoming increasingly clear to me,
that the ID folks are committed to a "natural law" interepretation of the
universe. You do the math.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Mon Jan 27 2003 - 09:38:30 EST