Scientific American has published a review of several new books on Charles Darwin and Darwinism in its latest issue. The review is by Jonathan Weiner, author of The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time. Weiner’s review will get your attention, mostly because of its over-the-top adulation of Darwin.
Consider these paragraphs:
And there’s the style in which Darwin worked toward his theory of the origin of species. He didn’t gather a thousand and one facts and then invent a theory to explain them–which was the scientific style that had been urged on the world by the prophet of science Francis Bacon. Instead the young Darwin made a leap of imagination and then worked for decades to find out if his idea really held up. David Dobbs talks about Darwin’s revolutionary style of doing science in Reef Madness, a book about Darwin’s coral reef theory. (Dobbs’s book is a gem; the title is its only flaw.) Darwin’s leap of imagination is a feat that an artist can appreciate. He had a powerful vision of the way things are, of the way things go, and then he wrote a shelf of great books that convinced his readers of his vision. As Dobbs writes, “It was a move toward the power of story.” Watson and Crick worked the same way in their discovery of the double helix: first the leap of intuition, then the tests.
Finally, of course, there is the power of the story itself. Darwin was born in the static world of scripture, and he left us a turbulent world of perpetual change. Ever since Darwin, we live in a world of stories. The story of that change will be told forever. We’ll never get tired of reading and rereading it. First Darwin journeys alone from surmise to sunrise. Then the truth dawns on us all.
So, Darwin liberated humanity from “the static world of scripture” and led the human race into the light, “from surmise to sunrise?” The truth that dawns on me is the fact that this scientist seems to be letting his adultation of Darwin get in the way of anything even close to scientific detachment. This is like a hymn to Darwin, written to be sung by the great chorus of modern secular scientism. Does this not tell us a great deal about the importance of Darwinian theory to the modern secular mind?