‘Induction over the history of science suggests that the best theories we have today will prove more or less untrue at the latest by tomorrow afternoon.’ Fodor, J. ‘Why Pigs don’t have wings,’ London Review of Books, 18th Oct 2007


Friday, 15 May 2009

Did Darwin Kill God ? Disappointing debate at Westminster Abbey

This event, organised by Theos, and held in Westminster Abbey seems to have failed to live up to expectations, even though 800 people attended. Reading some of the commentaries suggests the debate was a bit of a non-event. But then with all the panellists committed Darwinists that is hardly surprising.

The panel consisted of Lord Robert Winston - a Jew of unknown description, Professor Steve Jones – who likes to be identified as a 'non-theist', Dr Denis Alexander - a Christian theistic evolutionist from the Faraday Institute, and Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell – who is apparently an agnostic.

The debate was supposedly part of Theos’ project on Darwin and Religion, but the panel was disappointingly unrepresentative of the British public, 51% of whom are sceptical of Darwinism according to Theos’ own recent survey.

Paul Woolley suggests that one lesson that came out of the debate is that it demonstrates that it is possible to ‘disagree without being disagreeable.’ He accuses some atheist’ books of being ‘devoid of grace, humility and courtesy.’ A fair point, but there would appear to be a little amnesia in this statement concerning comments in a postscrtipt in Denis Alexander's recent book.

Let’s be frank. While having a superficial respectability, the shape of this debate revealed a desire to exclude the views of a large section of the population who are in fact sceptical of Darwin’s claims. Very convenient instead to pretend they are not important or their views don't matter. I would hope that the next time Theos decide to organise an event they remember to include intelligent design supporters and those who are honestly sceptical of evolution. There are many of us have long called for respectful dialogue along these lines.

Further reading:

Theos comment -
http://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/Did_Darwin_kill_God.aspx?ArticleID=3105&PageID=14&RefPageID=5

Justin Thacker’s comment -
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2009/may/13/darwin-evolution-religion-science

Paul Woolley’s comment -
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/paul_woolley/blog/2009/05/13/did_darwin_kill_god
Andrew Sibley

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