Saturday, November 14, 2020

McGrath goes wrong

In a Gresham College Lecture I watched recently: "Darwin, Evolution and God..." Alister McGrath claimed that Darwin did not renounce Christian faith. Notwithstanding he was at best a nominal Anglican, perhaps there was not much 'faith' to renounce.

[I came to the lecture via an article by Rod Lampard on Caldron Pool.]

But that aside, the claim is dispelled by these quotes from the Descent of Man

Page 386 of my edition of Descent:
"He who is not content to look, like a savage, at the phenomena of nature as disconnected, cannot any longer believe that man is the work of a separate act of creation."
and page 395:
"I am aware that the assumed instinctive belief in God has been used by many persons as an argument for His existence. But this is a rash argument, as we should thus be compelled to believe in the existence of many cruel and malignant spirits, possessing only a little more power than man; for the belief in them is far more general than of a beneficent Deity. The idea of a universal and beneficent Creator of the universe does not seem to arise in the mind of man, until he has been elevated by long continued culture."

There was one comment from an irreligionist who claimed that McGrath was confused. My reply to that comment was:

Maybe the problem is that he tries to combine two worldviews into one:

1. modern darwinian evolution and its story that material is all there is and everything has only a material cause (including ideas, including the idea of 'grand theory evolution') and is therefore of no real ontological significance, and

2. Christian theism and its story that mind is the fundamental reality, indeed, self-existent minds in relationship, and these are causal of everything else, including material all of which therefore has real ontological significance.

Another comment trotted out the usual materialist bloviation about science and religion. I commented:

Not an attack on science. Modern science emerged from the crucible of belief in the very ideas you mock. It is to attack the materialist mythology that drives GTE (grand theory evolution). Of course mainstream peer reviewed journals won't publish their work, peer review acts as a block to any threats to the underlying metaphysical materialism that lies of the heart of modern science.

Read Kuhn for some more on this. Thus Behe and the information theorists have no chance of getting published with their logical criticisms and attract instead a stream of irrational and tendentious invective. None of this is surprising as any successful attack on metaphysical materialism will block humanities' relentless mission to retreat from its creator, avoiding the risk of repentance and relationship with him.

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