Friday, August 26, 2005

What Is Darwinian Fundamentalism?

In its broadest meaning, Darwinian Fundamentalism refers to any expression or support of macroevolutionary theory that evinces characteristics of religious fundamentalism, such as narrow-mindedness, intolerance, anti-intellectualism, obscurantism, or dogmatism.

Stephen Jay Gould, a prominent proponent of evolution, used the term “Darwinian Fundamentalism” before me, and a post about his usage, with link, is here. The definition above is how the term is used on this blog, but this would include the Gould sense.

A discussion of the meaning of the word "fundamentalism" can be found here.

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Some of the more common examples of Darwinian Fundamentalism are:

* Acceptance of and devotion to macroevolutionary theory on the basis of a rigid, a priori philosophical commitment to Materialism, and not on the basis of scientific evidence. A good example this philosophical perspective can be found here, and a longer discussion here.

* Intolerance of people who question macroevolutionary theory, and support for public policy that involves teaching only the evidence that supports it and banning any scientific evidence that would tend to disprove it. This also includes those who assert that there is no scientific evidence that would tend to disprove any aspect of macroevolutionary theory. Examples of this can be found here and here.

* Anti-intellectualism and obscurantism reflected in misrepresenting the scientific evidence relevant to macroevolutionary theory, misrepresenting the position of those who challenge any aspect of macroevolutionary theory, questioning their motives or focusing on their religious beliefs as opposed to attempting to refute their arguments on the merits. This has its most common expression in ad hominem arguments and straw man arguments. Examples of this are simply everywhere. One example, discussed in a previous post, is a drop in the ocean.


At October 29, 2005 5:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does this qualify as another example of Darwinian fundamentalism?

This is an excerpt from the following web site, which contains "An Open Letter Concerning Religion and Science". Its goal is to get 10,000 signatures from the clergy. The current count is just over 9000.

"We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris."

At February 11, 2006 1:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could alwats come up with a better scientific theory to explain things. Please note the words better, scientific and theory.


At February 27, 2006 1:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why in the world would anyone care what the average clergyman thinks about the matter? What expertise do they have in it?

Worse still, most clergy today are educated under the influences of "higher criticism" which basically doesn't even believe the bible anyway. And even though higher criticism has oft been refuted to death ad infinitum, ad bordum it still manages to be the erroneous viewpoint of a large number of clergy.

The whole basis of the petition is in a spurious definition of what Intelligent Design is in the first place! So go figure huh.

Completely irrelavent petition imo.


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