Sunday, January 10, 2010

Darwin & Meaning

Ross Doubthat wonders what all the fuss is about Darwin's bicentennial last year. I'm not sure what his own worldviews may be, but his tone seems generally dismissive of the degree of jubilation surrounding the occasion. For him, today's Darwinism is

"at once an unchallenged scientific paradigm and a wildly contentious theory of everything; a Church militant warring against creationists and fundamentalists and a debating society of squabbling professors; a touchstone for the literary intelligentsia and a source of secularist kitsch."

As a conservative, one wonders whether Doubthat isn't simply miffed that Darwinism has always been a nasty thorn in the side of the anthropocentric religiosity that buttresses his philosophy.

Personally, I find Darwin's synthesis of evolutionary theories profoundly spiritual, something I have difficulty finding elsewhere. Where in the past spirituality took for granted that the world was unknowable, modern man doesn't have this luxury.

Traditional forms thus seem like narcissistic self-involvement, or fantastical religious dogma. If the answer to the question "What is the meaning of life?" is "To continue asking the question", then Darwin has opened for a us a profound insight into not only where that road leads, but from where it comes.
(img: The 'Evolution' of Darwin - Peter Bond)

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