Criticar Darwin é uma blasfêmia contra uma nova fé secular?

sábado, janeiro 15, 2011

It is now blasphemy to criticise Darwin

Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, co-author of What Darwin Got Wrong (reviewed in this issue of the spiked review of books), says Darwinism has become a new secular faith that you transgress at your peril.

by Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini

Some months ago an American philosopher explained to a highly sophisticated audience in Britain what, in his opinion, was wrong, indeed fatally wrong, with the standard neo-Darwinian theory of biological evolution. He made it crystal clear that his criticism was not inspired by creationism, intelligent design or any remotely religious motivation. A senior gentleman in the audience erupted, in indignation: ‘You should not say such things, you should not write such things! The creationists will treasure them and use them against science.’ The lecturer politely asked: ‘Even if they are true?’ To which the instant and vibrant retort was: ‘Especially if they are true!’ with emphasis on the ‘especially’.

This stunning exchange exemplifies the religious fervour with which some scholars and laypersons adhere to the Darwinian doctrine. It’s a secular religion, for sure, an atheistic banner under which the white knights of scientific rationality rally in their fight against the forces of darkness. There are countless manifestations of this unwholesome religious Darwinian fervour, more than can be listed here. It happened more than once to my co-author, Jerry Fodor, and myself, as we put the finishing touches to an essay entitled ‘What Darwin Got Wrong’ (now just published by Profile Books). We were asked if we were completely out of our minds. Some friends and colleagues did this in a protective mood, agreeing with what we say but anticipating (rightly it turns out) a volley of very unpleasant reactions.

Our secular critique of the neo-Darwinian doctrine is to be found in our book, What Darwin Got Wrong. It’s quite detailed, grounded in a host of recent discoveries in biology and on an analysis of what is wrong with some of the most central concepts of the Darwinian theory of evolution. It would be impossible to summarise it here. What I would rather like to examine is why this theory has exerted such an unshakeable grip, for so long, on the hearts and minds of so many scientists, teachers, science writers, museum curators and cultivated readers.

Let’s leave aside here the driving force of militant atheism (Fodor and I are also patented atheists) and examine what, in the very nature of the theory, makes it so irresistible.

First and foremost it combines in an original way (Darwin was indeed a genius) the two main kinds of explanations we appeal to in everyday life. One is a mechanical kind of explanation, covering the natural phenomena, involving masses, forces, chemical bonds, molecules and various other inanimate entities. The other kind, the animistic one, covers human affairs and involves means-and-ends, intentions, plans, beliefs and desires. Children have a tendency to exaggerate the power of the second, attributing desires and intentions even to various inanimate objects, such as toys, gadgets, computers and even clouds and winds.

“Darwin offered a mechanistic explanation for the apparent finalism of the life forms”


Read more here/Leia mais aqui: Spiked Review of Books


Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini is co-author with Jerry Fodor ofWhat Darwin Got Wrong, published by Profile Books. (Buy this book from Amazon(UK).)



A Nomenklatura científica, quando a questão é Darwin, é antropofágica e destruidora de carreiras acadêmicas. Eu sei do que estou falando. Poderia citar vários exemplos aqui de cientistas que questionam a robustez epistêmica da teoria geral da evolução através da seleção natural em bases estritamente científicas e são perseguidos, exilados para Gulags acadêmicos, não têm artigos publicados, escorraçados de seminários e conferências com palestras canceladas na última hora pelos atuais mandarins da Akademia.

E chamam isso de objetividade científica. Nada mais falso. Universidade é lugar de debates de ideias. Não querer debater Darwin e suas especulações transformistas é querer tapar o Sol com uma peneira totalmente furada. No contexto de justificação teórica, Darwin não fecha as contas desde 1859.