Darwinism defined


#1

DARWINISM: the opinion that human beings are the product of a chance, materialistic, non-teleological evolutionary process; and a chance process generally applied to the evolution of the entire cosmos as a whole.

Note: **“Darwinism and the theory of Evolution are by no means equivalent conceptions.” **The Catholic Encyclopedia

The Catholic Church does not have a serious philosophical problem with evolution, but disagrees with Darwinism as the means by which evolution happened.

So “The Church’s quarrel with many scientists who call themselves evolutionists is not about evolution itself …” but rather about the philosophical materialism and non-teleological thought which is the basis of Darwinism.

Any and all comments welcomed, but I think I made a good definition based on my understanding of the differences between Evolution and Darwinism.


#2

Don’t listen to Dawkins or Dennet’s interpretation of Darwin, here is Darwin himself:

Charles Darwin in his Voyage of the Beagle Diary on 24 September 1836, displays clearly his acceptance of intelligent design in nature and its Divine inference. He writes: “Amongst the scenes which are deeply impressed on my mind, none exceed in sublimity the [Brazilian] primeval forests…[for they] are temples filled with the varied productions of the God of Nature. No one can stand unmoved in these solitudes, without feeling that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body.” (Barlow 1986: 388)

Although Darwin rejected the God of Christianity, he remained a firm believer in both the reflection of intelligent design in nature and the existence of the Creator. During this formative two-year period in the late 1830s, he drafted a theory on the origin of life that did not require dramatic Divine interventions, and based his model entirely on providential natural laws. His evolutionary model included humanity, and it even declared God’s glory, as excerpts from Darwin’s notebooks reveal:

“Astronomers might formerly have said that God ordered each planet to move in its particular destiny – In the same manner God orders each animal with certain form in certain country. But how much more simple and sublime power [to] let attraction act according to certain law; such are inevitable consequences; let animals be created, then by the fixed laws of generation…Man in his arrogance thinks himself a great work worthy of the interposition of a deity, more humble and I believe truer to consider him created from animals.” (De Beer 1960: 101, 106)

According to Darwin, not recognizing God’s “sublime power” and the “inevitable consequences” of “his magnificent laws” of evolution was to “profane” the Creator. In sum, Darwinian evolutionary processes, as first conceived, reflect intelligent design and offer a natural revelation of God.

In 1859, On the Origin of Species was published, and it included seven unapologetic and positive references to the “Creator” (Darwin 1859: 186, 188, 189, 413 twice, 435, 488).

“Authors of the highest eminence seem to be fully satisfied with the view that each species has been independently created. To my mind it accords better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the Creator, that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes like those determining the birth and death of the individual.” (Darwin 1859: 488).

Darwin also implies the revelatory character of biological evolution. The famed last sentence in the Origin of Species states: “There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone on cycling according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” (Darwin 1859: 490). Interestingly, the theology in this sentence is even more specific in the second edition in 1860 up until the sixth and last in 1872. Darwin adds “by the Creator” after the words “originally breathed.” (Peckham 1959: 759). In the Darwinian vision of 1859, the evolution of life declared a world with “grandeur,” and the “most beautiful and most wonderful” living forms proclaimed the work of the Creator’s hands.

From Darwin’s own autobiography:

“Another source of conviction in the existence of God, connected with the reason and not with the feelings, impresses me as having much more weight. This follows from the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wondrous universe, including man with his capacity of looking backwards and far into futurity, as a result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist.” (Barlow 1958: 92-93).

That is, in 1876, late in his life, Darwin felt pressed to look for a “First Cause with an intelligent mind,” and he even argued that it was fitting to be called a “Theist” when thinking in this manner.

SOURCES HERE

Charles Darwin and Intelligent Design

I really like this Denis Lamoureux. Here is his main page:

ualberta.ca/~dlamoure/


#3

Here is the definition of Darwinism provided by Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education:

MK = Mike Kinsley
PJ = Phillip E. Johnson
ES = Eugenie Scott

ES: Now hearing Phil define evolution is a little bit like having Madalyn Murray O’Hair define Christianity. Let me define evolution the way scientists define evolution, the way we’re going to use it on our side of the table. Evolution is used two ways: one, is a bigger idea, that the present is different from the past, that the universe has had a history, that stars, galaxies, the planet earth, plants and animals on it have changed through time.

Biological evolution is a subset of the idea of change through time, saying that living things, plants and animals, have shared common ancestors, and have descended with modification from those ancestors.

Now notice in this definition, I talked about what happened. I didn’t talk about “who done it,” and I didn’t talk about “how.” Because those are separate issues. Scientists are very much united on what happened. Evolution happened – to modify a bumper sticker. But how it happened is something that we argue about a lot in science – how important is natural selection, how important are other mechanisms. “Who done it” is something that as scientists we can’t comment on as scientists. We can put on our philosopher’s hat and comment as individuals, but as scientists we can’t deal with ultimate cause. So I think we have to be very clear about what we mean by evolution, what they mean by evolution is some sort of a metaphysical system that we do not recognize.

MK: Thank you Ms. Scott. You have five minutes to question Ms. Scott, Professor.

PJ: Yes, do you say that Darwinian evolution does not have a profound religious implication of discouraging belief that there is an intelligent Creator who brought about our existence for a purpose?

ES: I think that to some people, yes. Natural selection –“Darwinism” is evolution through natural selection – does cause problems. If your theology requires you to interpret the Bible literally, six 24-hour days, 10000 years ago, and so forth, you’re going to have a problem –

PJ: But only for biblical literalists. Not for the proposition that I asked about, which is that a Creator brought about our existence for a purpose.

ES: I don’t think so, in the broader sense. Because, for example, there was a survey done not too long ago, of American men and women of science. And one of the questions that they asked was something on the order of – Evolution occurred – human beings were – human beings evolved, but God directed the process. 40% of scientists agreed with that, which is the same as the general public. So clearly the idea of evolution can’t be totally –

PJ: Well – we don’t know whether they were evolutionary biologists, do we? They weren’t – we aren’t talking about Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Lewontin, in that poll, are we?

ES: There are evolutionary biologists who have made something of a philosophical statement out of evolution. You and I both agree with that. But I think you have to be careful about not tarring all evolutionary biologists with that brush.


So what can we conclude: Darwinism is descent with modification by natural selection. I guess I was right. Nothing about philosophy, nothing about metaphysics, nothing about metaphysical “materialism” or philosophical “naturalism” in the definition used by the biggest defender of evolution in the country: Eugenie Scott of the NCSE, who is herself an atheist or agnostic.

BTW, Biologist Kenneth R. Miller of Brown University and author of Finding Darwin’s God: A Scientist’s Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution has called himself an “orthodox Darwinist and an orthodox Catholic.” What you gonna do? Throw him out of the Church too? :stuck_out_tongue:

No, your definition of “Darwinism” is very inadequate.

The Firing Line Creation Evolution Debate

Phil P


#4

*"Evolution ***– **variation, selection and amplification – *can substitute fordesign. *This is a, if not the, central message of the Darwinian doctrine. Biologists have followed it for a long time; chemists recently adapted to it in their practical pursuits; and cosmologists are invoking evolutionary aspects in their thinking on a grand scale. The latter are confronted with the “design versus selection” dichotomy in their area in a very remarkable way. Gradually, they came to appreciate that the necessary conditions for evolution of complex life in the universe are dependent on a number of remarkable coincidences between the values of various fundamental physical constants. Our universe appears as if these constants had been tuned towards the evolution of conscious observers. "It is remarkable how the aspect of the apparent tuning of physical constants even extends into the detailistic world of chemistry; this becomes evident when one looks at the central chemical interaction in molecular biology – the Watson-Crick base-pairing. [font=Times New Roman]"The existence of Watson-Crick base-pairing is crucially dependent on the position of the chemical equilibrium between tautomeric forms of the nucleobases. If the average bond energy of the carbonyl double bond relative to the bond energies of the carbon-nitrogen and carbon-carbon double bond were less by only just about a few kcal per mole, the nucleobases would exist as the phenol-tautomers. Watson-Crick pairing and, therefore, the kind of life we know, would not exist. [/font][font=Times New Roman][font=Times New Roman]“The dichotomy “design versus selection” penetrates the whole of natural science, and, to many, refers to aspects that go far beyond. It is this dichotomy that is underlying the creationist’s crusade against Darwinism in America and elsewhere. Today, experimental chemists can experience in their work the superiority of evolutionary strategies in their searching for [font=Times New Roman]solutions, as compared to finding them by design. Whenever a situation such as this arises, it may be that it is the science that is not advanced enough, but more often it is the immense diversity of states, structures, patterns and relationships that overwhelms the designer and incapacitates his strategy. Basically, the experimentalist’s credo is design, it is the ideal which he cannot help aiming at and striving for. . The physicist Richard Feynman is known to have written on his blackboard at Caltech: “What I cannot create, I do not understand”. Humans are said to do natural science for the sake of understanding. But do we perhaps want to understand in order to be able to make, to create? It seems fortunate that among the sciences there are some truly pure ones, like, e.g., astronomy and cosmology. The technologies which people imagine springing from them exist only in science fiction. Remarkably enough, there are scientists who ask: for how long?” [/font][/font][/font][font=Times New Roman][font=Times New Roman][font=Times New Roman][font=Times New Roman]DESIGN VERSUS SELECTION IN CHEMISTRY AND BEYOND by ALBERT ESCHENMOSER, [font=Times New Roman] Design *Versus *Selection in Chemistry and Beyond, [font=Times New Roman]Address of the Holy Father John Paul II on the Occasion of the Jubilee Plenary Session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences… [font=Arial,Helvetica][size=1] Part II vatican.mondosearch.com/img/pdf.gif[/size][/font][/font]

[left][font=Times New Roman] [/left]
[/font][/font][/font][/font][/font][/font]


#5

Kevin << but rather about the philosophical materialism and non-teleological thought which is the basis of Darwinism. >>

BTW, I am very interested where Darwin taught this “philosophical materialism and non-teleological thought.”

I’ll give you a few days to read through Origin of Species. :smiley:

Quoting Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennet, or Richard Lewontin doesn’t count. You’ll need to quote Charles Darwin himself for this philosophical materialism and non-teleological thought.

Phil P


#6

[quote=PhilVaz]Kevin << but rather about the philosophical materialism and non-teleological thought which is the basis of Darwinism. >>

BTW, I am very interested where Darwin taught this “philosophical materialism and non-teleological thought.”

I’ll give you a few days to read through Origin of Species. :smiley:

Quoting Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennet, or Richard Lewontin doesn’t count. You’ll need to quote Charles Darwin himself for this philosophical materialism and non-teleological thought.

Phil P
[/quote]

Hi Phil,

And I’ll give you a few days to read THE DESCENT OF MAN, which you seem to be reluctant to quote:

infidels.org/library/historical/charles_darwin/descent_of_man/index.shtml

Also, the non-teleological thought is implicit within both THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES and THE DESCENT OF MAN. :tiphat:


#7

“… are temples filled with the varied productions of the God of Nature.” (Pantheism)

“Although Darwin rejected the God of Christianity, …” ('nuff said).

Hi Phil,

Thank you for this example of *Ignoratio Elenchi *thereby substantiating the Catholic Church’s distinction between Darwinism and Evolution.


#8

<< Hi Phil, Thank you for this example of Ignoratio Elenchi thereby substantiating the Catholic Church’s distinction >>

Well not quite. I never said Darwin was a Christian (although early in life he was and considered becoming a minister), I said he acknowledged a Creator, and accepted a form of “intelligent design” through natural laws set up by that Creator. Which is different btw than the “interventionist” type of Intelligent Design creationism being promoted today by Phillip E. Johnson and others.

In one post in another thread you said Darwin was a total atheist. Now we got that straight.

I’ll check out Darwin’s Descent of Man, I haven’t read that.

Phil P


#9

[quote=PhilVaz]<< Hi Phil, Thank you for this example of Ignoratio Elenchi thereby substantiating the Catholic Church’s distinction >>

Well not quite. I never said Darwin was a Christian (although early in life he was and considered becoming a minister), I said he acknowledged a Creator, and accepted a form of “intelligent design” through natural laws set up by that Creator. Which is different btw than the “interventionist” type of Intelligent Design creationism being promoted today by Phillip E. Johnson and others.

In one post in another thread you said Darwin was a total atheist. Now we got that straight.

I’ll check out Darwin’s Descent of Man, I haven’t read that.

Phil P
[/quote]

Hello Phil,

Curious thing you wrote about Chuck Darwin not being a Christian, he was never a Catholic if that’s what you meant.

Charles Darwin started out as a very good Christian in theology school, then progressed to a full blown atheist which is practically stated in THE DESCENT OF MAN.

As far as the Vatican is concerned, Darwin’s belief in an intelligent design by natural laws set up by some non-Christian entity places Chuck Darwin squarely into both pantheism and atheism since the Vatican does not recognize any Creator except that found in the Catholic bible, meaning Darwin has no God.

Again, I admire Darwin as a scientist (though the term was not used while he sailed on the BEAGLE, Capt. FitzRoy referred to young Darwin as “philosopher”) and I admire Darwin’s keen powers of observation and logical deduction, but I draw the line on the dismissal of a ‘Christian’ God being the originator and impetus of life on earth. That is the opinion against Darwinism in brief.


#10

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.