Is Darwinism a religion?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by birch, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Darwinism triggered a variety of intellectual shifts / worldviews and movements. Including making contributions to an eventual philosophy of biology.[1]

    "Darwinism" has been slash can be a part of their labels in some instances. But the scientific meaning isn't a cultural system or a specific subset of the latter (i.e., religion).[2]

    Due to additions and modifications since Darwin's basic, general tenets (the modern synthesis), it's perhaps best conceived as a regulated endeavor subject to extended refinement / development.

    Joel Hanes: "Darwinism is not a simple theory that is either true or false but is rather a highly complex research program that is being continuously modified and improved. This was true before the [modern evolutionary] synthesis, and it continues to be true after the synthesis." --What is Darwinism?

    - - - - - -
    • [1] Ernst Mayr: [...] no biologist has been responsible for more—and for more drastic—modifications of the average person’s worldview than Charles Darwin. Darwin’s accomplishments were so many and so diverse that it is useful to distinguish three fields to which he made major contributions: evolutionary biology; the philosophy of science; and the modern zeitgeist. [...] Darwinism is now almost unanimously accepted by knowledgeable evolutionists. In addition, it has become the basic component of the new philosophy of biology. [...] I do not claim that Darwin was single-handedly responsible for all the intellectual developments in this period. Much of it, like the refutation of French mathematician and physicist Pierre-Simon Laplace’s determinism, was “in the air.” But Darwin in most cases either had priority or promoted the new views most vigorously. --Darwin's Influence on Modern Thought
    • [2] John S. Wilkins: Metaphysical systems come in three main flavors: philosophical systems [...]; ideologies , which are usually political, moral or other practical philosophical systems; and religions which in their theologies attempt to create comprehensive philosophical structures. [...] Since science is not a system of thought deduced from first principles (as are traditional metaphysical systems), and that it deals precisely with objective experience, science is not, nor is any theory of science, a true metaphysical system. [...]

      [Michael] Ruse also describes what he calls "metaphysical Darwinism" [Ruse 1992] (as opposed to "scientific Darwinism") which is indeed a metaphysical system akin to a worldview, and which has expressed itself in numerous extra-scientific philosophies, including Spencer's, Teilhard's, and Haeckel's, or even the quasi-mystical views of Julian Huxley. These must be considered separate to the scientific theory, and are often in contradiction to the actual scientific models.

      Other than this, the "metaphysic" of evolution by selection is primarily a research-guiding mindset that has been extraordinarily fruitful where no others have been [Hull 1989]. However, as a metaphysic, evolutionary theory is fairly poverty-stricken. This is what should be true of a scientific theory; for the number of conclusions beyond the empirical evidence that can be conjectured is unlimited. Any theory that committed itself to a metaphysical conclusion as a logical inference would be almost certainly false.

      Those who need Cosmic Meaning need not fear that any version of evolutionary theory prohibits it; although neither does nor can it support it. Those evolutionists who have either argued in favour of Cosmic Meaning on the basis of evolutionary theory, or have argued that there can be no Cosmic Meaning because things evolve, are both wrong. The conclusions do not follow from the premises, simply because 'is' does not imply 'ought'.
      --Evolution and Philosophy: Is evolution just another religion? ... 1997
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  3. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

    Try anthropomorphism

    not antromophisum

    My bad

    My dyslexia

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  5. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    I agree with a lot of this, especially sharing your dislike of the term "darwinist". This terms implies a school of thought, as if it is one among many.

    In the science context that makes little sense, since Darwin's basic idea of species changing due to natural selection has no serious challenger in modern science. There is no rival "anti-darwinist" theory.

    However, Darwin's ideas have been taken and applied to other spheres, notably social and economic - and thus ultimately political - ones. If I hear someone use the term "darwinist", I tend to assume they will be talking politics or economics, and it will be something to do with the virtues of competition. In this context is a school of thought, I suppose. However it is not one I belong to, partly because I don't think society is merely a natural environment in which impersonal processes rule, and partly because natural selection is about superior adaptation, not a competitive process - save in the sense that more offspring can be expected from the better adapted organism. The organism does not see this as competition of course.
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.

Share This Page