Darwinism and intimidation

Is it possible that the only thing that keeps Darwinism going is the culture of intimidation that makes many afraid to question it? Has Darwinism succeeded socially, not scientifically?

I am no scientist but I would say what keeps it going is the success with the applications of the theory and the lack of new findings that call that theory into question. If I remember Kuhn correctly it will take new facts that do not fit the theory to call for the creation of a new theory.

I guess it depends on what you mean by “Darwinism”. It has a lot of different meanings to a lot of different people. If you are speaking of strict pan-adaptionism, then Darwinism was already abandoned in the 1960’s. If you mean the theory of evolution as it stands today, then it has stuck around because it explains the evidence, and the mountains of genetic evidence that continue to pour in on a daily basis. There is no need for intimidation because it is one of the most well supported theories in science. You might as well ask if germ theory and atomic theory have hung around because of intimidation against those that would question it.

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Is it possible that the only thing that keeps Earth Roundism going is the culture of intimidation that makes many afraid to question it? Has Earth Roundism succeeded socially, not scientifically? (hear that in a voice slowly fading to inaudible over a few centuries)

As for creationism versus evolution, the truth is the complete opposite. Creationism has succeeded socially not scientifically. There hasn’t been one shred of objective evidence to support creationism over the theory of evolution. So there is only the intimidation of family members until young adults investigate the evidence for themselves and find the truth – forcing them to choose between what God tells us in all the data from the earth and sky and the stubbornly silly interpretation of old texts, to choose between honesty and authoritarian religion, and to choose between intellectual integrity and family. What a sad sad situation to put people in – especially sad for the Bible, Christianity, and the family.

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I am interested in what you call a culture of intimidation with examples. If you want to see intimidation, make a slightly critical post on a AIG story. Admittedly, there is a little piling on that occurs by the participants here, it consists mostly of correction of errors and misunderstandings of fact. I have not heard of churches shunning parishioners because of YEC beliefs, and schools firing those who hold such beliefs except so seldom that it is newsworthy when it happens, such as happened with lab tech Mark Armitage.

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Is it possible that the only thing that keeps Christianity going is the culture of intimidation that makes many afraid to question it? Has Christianity succeeded socially, not logically or morally?

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I have never felt a culture of intimidation from the evolutionary biology side, even when I was a YEC. Now as a Christian in a YEC church, I definitely feel a culture of intimidation. I read publications that say I’m “dangerous”, a “compromiser”, “following the crowd”. People tell me that “real science doesn’t conflict with the Bible”, and their definition of “real science” specifically excludes evolution and the age of the earth. People tell me that the Bible and evolution are mutually exclusive, basically putting pressure on me to choose between the two. How can you choose between two things you believe to be true? It’s a false dichotomy. Evolution is called “silly”, and evolutionary ideas are mocked in Bible classes.

These things are done prior to people realizing I accept the evidence for evolutionary biology. Once they realize that, they do treat me with love and understanding, and we have had good conversations. But the culture is very anti-evolution, and it can certainly be intimidating.

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Have you stopped beating your wife?

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I agree with @boscopup. The clearest impressions I had from true teachers in college who excelled at evolution and understanding were by far and away more Christlike, understanding, compassionate and tolerant than the fearful, judgmental and reactionary pronouncements of Christians who didn’t know what evolution was. I was actually rather a nincompoop, as I asked them silly questions (in retrospect) about the age of the earth–and received only gracious consideration in return. Greg Boyd in “Benefit of the Doubt” experienced the same thing from his science teacher, who insisted that he be given all the time he needed to ask questions and challenge in the name of creationism–against the impatience of the other students.

My own experience affirmed that we don’t need to be afraid to ask good questions and learn the truth; after all, God is on the side of the truth. He doesn’t fear questioning.

Biologos is a great place to ask questions carefully and get good answers, without judgmentalism.

Thanks.

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I cannot know what your familiarity with the scientific academic community is, but the consensus around evolution comes from the weight of evidence, so no intimidation is necessary or manifest. As far as questioning goes, debate is as typical as not, but concerning particulars and not the general outline.

The thinking behind such a question as posed generally goes like this. Evolution is such a fairy tale. If there is so much going against it, how can it be taught at universities? It cannot be the facts, so it must be something else. Something ulterior - brainwashing, intimidation, promotion, conformity, humanism, maybe something to do with worldview, anything but persuasion by an honest appraisal of evidence. Maybe the professors just pretend to believe, but secretly, in the dark recesses of their hearts, they harbor doubts they hide from others.

All of that is a fantasy. There is in no way shape or form some groundswell on campus broadly questioning Darwin or the established scientific model of the universe or any such thing. This is settled science for the vast majority, including fellow Christians in science research or resource geology. Further, the adoption of mainstream science is embraced freely, it is the weight of evidence, not coercion, which is at the base of the consensus. Science is derived from evidence and not from worldview.

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…supplanted by the neutral theory of evolution and population genetics. That is widely unknown among creationists of several varieties. Have the former made their way into current high school and undergraduate biology textbooks?

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In my 1995 evolutionary capstone course, it was not at all close to Darwinism simpliciter–that was the biggest thing that struck us at the beginning, with Gould providing the text and some of the most convincing evidence for evolution (in my mind at the time) being genetic–with typing of mitochondrial RNA that was similar to prokaryotes and, I recall, some discussions of pseudogenes. These were actually more exensively discussed in my cell and molecular and genetics courses in 1994. It’s also the time that I accepted evolution as a possibility (in a concordist sense, though that has changed for me as well).

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Exactly.

I suspect most ID/creationists know they can’t argue against the science, so they try to cast theories as -isms in order to fight them on ideological and philosophical grounds. This is why we see so many arguments against evolution talking about nihilism and/or eugenics. A quick glance over at Evolution News & Views bears this out in spades.

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There are creationists who openly admit that there is a lot of evidence supporting the theory of evolution. Todd Wood is a Young Earth Creationists that I have a lot of respect for because he honestly addresses the evidence and his own worldview.

Apologies for the long quote, but I couldn’t find a way to trim it down.

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No.


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Without the contrast with science this doesn’t work very well…

Logic and morality are not one-way streets. So Christianity succeeds logically and morally just as well as anything else has. But such are mixed bags to be sure. As some people have used Christianity or atheism it is not logical or moral at all. But others have used them both logically and morally just fine. So… if it is supposed to be some kind of final solution or panacea then neither Christianity nor atheism are it.

The only purpose of that post was to provide the writer of the original post with a mirror to see how ugly his words actually were. Of course it “doesn’t work very well.” The OP was laughable.

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What do you mean by “Darwinism”? Seriously. That question needs to be asked. You might take a look at the Wikipedia article “Darwinism” to see just how ambiguous and vague that word is. Then could you re-cast your question using something more precise that the ambiguous, almost non-scientific word “Darwinism”, please?

That is, focus of the content of the concept you are addressing (survival of the fittest? something genetic? some sociological idea which borrows the label?) and avoid the slippery, almost meaningless label “Darwinism”.

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You are right, David. My impression is that Darwinism is used primarily to create a negative image by association. It really does not describe modern evolutionary thought, and adding the “ism” to a word tends to mean it is a belief system. I admit that both sides of the debate are guilty of casting aspersions as the use of creationism and fundamentalism can be used negatively as well.

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Indeed it does. It’s the language of evolution denial. Anytime you see “Darwinism” or “neo-Darwinism” as synonyms for evolution, you don’t even have to wonder where the author is going. The terms are so anachronistic that I would compare it to using the term “Negro” as a substitute for “black” or “African-American” in a 2019 essay about race. It’s offensive and 50 years behind the times.

Here’s a fun fact. The Discovery Institute promotes that high schools should “teach the controversy” about evolution. The organization’s science education policy would make @Paul_Allen1 happy. It says “evolution should be taught as a scientific theory that is open to critical scrutiny, not as a sacred dogma that can’t be questioned.”

“Discovery Institute believes that a curriculum that aims to provide students with an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of neo-Darwinian and chemical evolutionary theories …”

Notice the “neo-Darwinian” terminology. Now, here’s where the fun begins. In almost all states, the progression in high school science is biology-chemistry-physics, mainly because the sciences are limited by the math curriculum. (High school chemistry and physics require Algebra I as prerequisites.)

In middle school science, students have learned the basics of Mendelian inheritance, natural selection, environment and ecology. Are they ready to discuss the “strengths and weaknesses of neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory”? Obviously not. They are in 9th grade; they barely grasp the Darwinian component, let alone the “neo-” or neutral drift or anything beyond that point. Worse, is a student who hasn’t even taken high school chemistry ready to evaluate the finer points of “chemical evolutionary theory”? The answer should be obvious to everyone except the Discovery Institute.

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