Review of Darwin’s Pious Idea

Here is a good review of Conor Cunningham’s book, Darwin’s Pious Idea by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

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1 Response to Review of Darwin’s Pious Idea

  1. Burk Braun says:

    Hi, Darrell-

    “… like others, he notes that the spread of speculation about memes is possibly the best evidence for the truth of a thesis about the viral diffusion of baseless notions” … wow, talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

    Rowan is correct in taking the gene-centrism of Dawkins to task. But beyond that, it is a mishmash of bad ideas.

    “If matter is 'mind-less,' how is it that mind is produced? The mere appearance of this alien element during the evolutionary story is as unlikely and unattractive a model as the crude interventionism of the religious creationist.”

    The point is that mind is not alien at all- it is a gradual development from the primitive minds of worms and insects to those with farther-reaching modelling and feeling capabilities. Rowan blithely makes a straw man for a bon mot. His metric of “unlikely” is uninformed, while his metric of “unattractive” gives the game away.. he is in an intellectual environment of narcissistic theology.

    “… then the reality of the universe as we know it is suffused with the possibility of mind. Matter itself is pregnant with meanings, we might say – in the sense that the complexification of matter over the ages ends up in the phenomenon of consciousness.”

    Pure gibberish.

    If matter were mindful, then why all the difficulty and complexity involved in making brains? Why all the neurons going back and forth, why all the convoluted chemistry, electricity, and anatomy? It would hardly make much sense. And then the fact that without a few seconds of oxygen, it all goes dark.. what a lot of work and effort and straining for something we could have had from putting a couple of rocks together!

    Mind all the way down is yet another theo-mantra as empty as all the previous ones. There is plenty of mystery in the universe without making stuff up.

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