D.S. Wilson is on a quest to ‘rescue’ Social Darwinism and restore the term to respectability. Although this is now old news, I still think it is worth taking some time to discuss the implications and potential unintended consequences of this agenda.
So another month, another Centre for Inquiry event and another series of four reviews on the talks provided.
This time the theme for the four lectures was ‘Science and Religion‘- a topic close to my heart, and the speakers were Dr. Jack Cohen– a reproductive biologist, Simon Singh– a popular science writer (and the defendant in an important upcoming courtcase), Stephen Law– a philosopher and provost of the London Centre for Inquiry and Dr. Raj Persaud– a psychiatrist who frequently appears on TV (and has recently been embroiled in some scandal). Baroness Mary Warnock an influential philosopher pulled out at the last minute so unfortunately her talk on ‘religion as humanism’ was missing, which was a shame as it sounded interesting.
This post will be covering the talk of the first speaker Professor Jack Cohen titled ‘The Evidence for Evolution’.
As Darwin’s post humous 200th birthday draws closer the Vatican has presented an early Birthday present to old Charles by finally producing a very clear statement voicing the Catholic Church’s official disdain for intelligent design and official support for evolution. Intelligent design is the latest pseudo-scientific designer dress worn by that frumpy old matron creationism, and just like creationism, it’s claims have been refuted by the scientific community in exhaustive detail (for one such example take a lookthrough the material here).
Some ambiguous comments by Pope Benedict (aka Darth Ratzinger) in previous years had fueled speculation and the hopes of anti-evolution groups that the new pope might eventually come out publicly and announce a favourable position on intelligent design. Now, with the unequivocal statements made yesterday, by the organisers of an upcoming (and papal backed) evolution and religion conference, it’s clear that such hopes were in vain. Here’s a particularly telling quote from the original Times article on the story:
“…at first it had even been proposed to ban Intelligent Design from the event, as “poor theology and poor science”. [Later it was decided that] Intelligent Design would be discussed at the fringes of the conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University, but merely as a “cultural phenomenon”, rather than a scientific or theological issue, organisers said.”
Poor theology and poor science is right and it’s nice to see the Catholic Church actually taking an official progressive view on this issue.
Happy Birthday Charles!