Monday, February 23, 2009

Note to Evolution Enthusiasts

Do you understand why devout religious people see Darwinian evolution as a threat to their faith? It's not because it is. It's because people like this guy think and say that it is. When the only time you see a baseball bat is when you're getting smashed in the face with it, you're probably not going to want to play ball.

Money quote:

It's true that spiritual beliefs of one form or another are universal, almost as defining of humanity as language is. But the universality of language and the fact that bits of the human brain are clearly specialised to do language suggest that our genes give us language-learning brains. Is the same true of religion?
Most people in the public don't have the philosophical training to understand why what this guy is saying ranks with "let's have a character named Jar-Jar" as one of the stupidest ideas ever to make a gentle plopping sound as it fell onto a soft head. Of course we're hard-wired to have certain kinds of experiences. But that cannnot ipso facto invalidate the truth of those experiences. His comparison to language is particularly infelicitous, since language is the means by which we get each other to recognize what is good and true. That we're hard-wired for language just makes it better, not worse, for religion.

Darwinian biologists need to grab their philosophical Louisville Slugger and bat this guy around for a while.