Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Evolution as Religion
Today in my epistemology class, Dr. Mark Coppenger gave us a handout with a great quote from Richard Lewontin. Lewontin is a Harvard evolutionist and colleague of well-known evolutionary defender Stephen Jay Gould. Here is the quote:

We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.

It originally appeared in a 1997 piece for the New York Review of Books, and has been cited by Phillip E. Johnson (for example, he quoted it in "The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism," First Things [November 1997]: 22-25). Revealing quote, isn't it?
 
posted at 2:30 PM  
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