Sunday, 18 January 2009

150 Years Of Darwin

"Are you seriously expecting me to believe that we came from fish?" bellowed the large, Irish Bishop.
"You seriously expect me to believe that we were created from dust?" I replied at yet another discussion of the perplexing question, how did we get here?
Charles Darwin's 'Origin of Species' is 150 years old this year and is arguably the most important book ever published. It halted the relentless march of the Church which had managed for centuries to push unopposed its ideals of God, heaven and hell to subjugate the masses and justify its wars. What Darwin did was cut away the legs of the Church from beneath it and deliver the body blow that sent it into decline.
Despite the best efforts of the Church to ridicule and then reinterpret the religious texts to try and accommodate evolution into its doctrine, Darwin's theory has become the accepted theory of how we became what we are today.
There are still sceptics, such as the Irish Bishop in the opening sentence and i dare say this view is shared by many still ensnared in a Church system that clings to its inexplicably outdated view and ignores the already overwhelming body of evolutionary evidence to preach Creationism to its rapidly dwindling congregation.
Darwin's realisation that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors is cited by Atheists as proof that God doesn't exist and the idea that man was created by a God who guides all 7bn of us, deciding who lives and dies and answering our prayers is laughable and childish. Man created God in his own image is a common mantra although Darwin described himself an agnostic but there is a secondary argument from Darwin's discovery that is overlooked in the main debate concerning the rush to dismiss God although i believe that it should share equal importance.
What Darwinism proves is that essentially all human beings descended from a shared ancestor and are all equal regardless of race, colour, religion or culture and a lesson that would make the World a happier place to live for all of us if we took it on-board.

9 comments:

Cody Bones said...

"What Darwinism proves is that essentially all human beings descended from a shared ancestor and are all equal regardless of race, colour, religion or culture and a lesson that would make the World a happier place to live for all of us if we took it on-board."


Regardless, my cross the street neighbor is still a Prat.

Lucy said...

I have had a few of those also Cody, maybe some people are just further along the evolutionary path than others.

Annie said...

'hey, you-get outta the gene pool!'

iMuslim said...

"Darwin's realisation that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors is cited by Atheists as proof that God doesn't exist"

I still don't get that. Evolution doesn't disprove the concept of God; it just forces us to reconsider His exact methods of creating life.

"What Darwinism proves is that essentially all human beings descended from a shared ancestor and are all equal regardless of race, colour, religion or culture and a lesson that would make the World a happier place to live for all of us if we took it on-board."

Many belief systems, including Darwinism, state that humans descended from a common ancestor.

In the case of the Abrahamic faiths, it happens to be two shared ancestors: Adam and Eve.

O people! Verily your Lord is one and your father is one. All of you belong to one ancestry of Adam, and Adam was created out of clay. There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab and for a non-Arab over an Arab; or for white over the black or for the black over the white except in piety. ‘Verily the noblest among you is he who is the most pious’.

A quote from the last sermon of the Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him, which he gave in the year 631 C.E. Quite a while before Darwin, and the Civil Rights movement.

iMuslim said...

*But I agree with your sentiment, Lucy. If we lived these lessons, as often as we quoted them, the world would indeed be a happier place.

Cheezy said...

I agree with most of your post, Lucy. Particularly about how important a book it was, and remains.

However, even as an atheist myself - and a big fan of Darwin - I must say that I agree with iMuslim too.

Darwin was certainly another nail in the coffin of biblical literalism (and all that laughable bollocks about man being created in God's image, as well as the world being just a few thousand years old) but I don't think that accepting evolution as fact (which most sensible people do) precludes any kind of belief in a personal God, Allah, Buddha, or Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Personally I don't buy it, but I wouldn't tell a religious person that evolution is 'proof' that their big guy (or girl) upstairs doesn't exist.

PS: For those of you in London, I've heard that the 'Darwin's Big Idea' exhibition, at the Natural History Museum, is a must see.

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/whats-on/darwin/index.html

It closes in April. Might catch you there!

Lucy said...

My take on it is that for centuries the church said that man were direct desecendants of Adam and Eve with the former made from dust and Eve from one of Adams ribs. The animals he made at some other time. This view went unopossed until Darwin piped up and said hang about Churchy folk, look at this, we are all from the same line and people went so the whole Adam & Eve story is bunk and so went large swathes of what the Church had been preaching as the truth.
Evidence since continues to destroy the myth that God made the earth and everything on it and with God out of the equation, so goes heaven and hell and the whole God story unravels faster than a cheap knitted jumper.

Don said...

Evolutionary theory certainly undercuts much of the power of organized religion.

Ironically, evolutionary theory also explains the existence of organized religion, and its ongoing importance and relevance.

The idea that we all came from the same source is in every great religion. The idea that this means we should get along is ridiculous. Extended families don't get along. Especially in a Darwinian context, wherein my tribe's survival depends on gaining resources at the expense of yours, no matter that we are all descended from Noah or someone.

Funny, the great religions teach we are all brothers and should cherish one another, but then the minute we don't buy into their faith story they kill us.

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