Friday, January 27, 2006

Re: Darwin and Modern Thought

Here is a copy of a message I sent today, in response to a request for me to contribute as a "religious intellectual" (alongside other "religious intellectuals"and leading evolutionary figures) a paragraph to an article on "Darwin's influence on modern thought" to a major (although less well-known) scientific journal. The author of the journal article gave me permission to post this to my blog, on the condition that I link this post to the article when it is published (although I am not sure the full article will be webbed publicly).

----- Original Message -----
From: Stephen E. Jones
To: ...
Sent: Friday, January 27, 2006 2:27 PM
Subject: Re: Darwin and Modern Thought

Dr ....

Thank you for your invitation to comment as a "religious intellectual" on Darwin's influence on modern thought (in the context of the late Ernst Mayr's article of the same name), to be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal ... . Here is my one paragraph contribution, plus references:

In his 1999 Crafoord prize speech, "Darwin's Influence on Modern Thought,"[1] the late Ernst Mayr said, "... Darwinism rejects all supernatural phenomena and causations. ... Eliminating God from science ... produced a powerful intellectual and spiritual revolution, the effects of which have lasted to this day." As a Christian biologist, I draw a distinction between Darwin's (and Darwinists like Mayr's) scientific evidence and their personal naturalistic philosophy. I therefore agree with Cardinal Christoph Schönborn[2] that, "Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true" (and in fact I accept that it is true), "but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense - an unguided, unplanned process ... is not." The flip side of what Mayr said is that if Christianity[3] is in fact true, then the modern Darwinian theory of evolution, to the extent that it depends on Christianity being false (e.g. the assumption that all mutations in the history of life have been unguided because there is nothing that could do the guiding[4]), is itself false, and Darwin's influence on modern thought has been to lead it astray from that aspect of the truth.

[1] Mayr, E., "Darwin's Influence on Modern Thought," Scientific American, Vol. 283, No. 1, July 2000, pp.67-71, p.69.

[2] Schönborn, C., "Finding Design in Nature," The New York Times, July 7, 2005.

[3] That is C.S. Lewis' historic, orthodox, supernatural, "`mere' Christianity ... the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times." (Lewis, C.S., "Mere Christianity," [1952], Fount: London, 1997, reprint,

[4] Dawkins, R., "The Blind Watchmaker," Norton: New York, 1986, p.312.

Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biol.)

Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol).
"Problems of Evolution"

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