darwin: we may all be netted together

Darwin. His theories have already made one profound change in man’s ideas about himself and his world. An now with genetics we are entering phase two…

…The furor created by the publication of The Origin of Species was not due simply to the fact that it contradicted the literal word of the first chapter of Genesis. Many Christians had already reconciled themselves, for example, to interpreting the seven days allotted to the Creation in an allegorical sense. Religious doubt, that characteristic Victorian malaise, with its crop of social and spiritual catastrophes, of “dangerous” books and clerical resignations, had become almost a commonplace of the intellectual scene since the first impact of the new German criticism in the 1830′s.

—I am at a conference in Dubai on science, religion and modernity, and the best question to come up was “should we clone Neanderthals?” Let’s assume the kind of technical progress which would make this look like a possibly ethical thing to do: the failure rate with mammalian cloning has been so high that it really would be rather dodgy to inflict the process on a human being. But for the sake of argument assume a reliable technology and a sufficiency of DNA to work with. —Read More:http://www.templeton-cambridge.org/fellows/great_issues_section.php?issue=2

The Origin owed its notoriety primarily to two things. First, it destryed at one blow the central tradition of rational Protestant religious apologetics- Natural Theology. All the beautiful and ingenious contrivances in nature, which Natural Theology had explained as the benevolent design of an Almighty Clockmaker, Darwin’s theory explained by the operation of natural selection: the struggle for life, preserving random hereditary variations.

—But it was another encyclical that earned Pius XII a chapter in the annals of the history of science. “Humani Generis” (Of the Human Race) laid out the Catholic Church’s accommodation with Darwinian evolution—provided Christians believed the individual soul was not the product of purely material forces, but a direct creation by God. —Read More:http://www.templeton-cambridge.org/fellows/great_issues_section.php?issue=2

Second, the Origin became notorious for something it did not say, though anyone who read it intelligently could not fail to be aware of the implication: that man was first cousin to-not descended from, though this was an error often made- the ape and the orangutan. As Darwin had written in his notebook, “animals may partake from our common origin in one ancestor…we may be all netted together.”

Darwin only completed this aspect of his work in his later books- The Descent of Man (1871) and The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872)- but the public seized on it at once. Darwinism was “the monkey theory,” though monkeys are mentioned in the Origin no more frequently than other species. This was, however, the crux of the great Oxford debate in 1860 between T.H. Huxley and Bishop Wilberforce, at which Huxley made the famous retort, in response to the bishop’s gibe, that he would prefer to have an ape for a grandfather than a man “possessed of great means and influence” who used his influence to bring an important scientific discussion into ridicule. ( to be continued)…

—The $27 million Creation Museum opened its doors in northern Kentucky on Monday. Hundreds of people came to the opening of the museum, which promotes the Biblical story of creation over evolutionary science.
Protesters outside the museum criticized it for trying to replace science with fiction.
Twenty-five years ago, Ken Ham says, he felt a calling to build a museum to promote creationism.
A quarter-century and $27 million later, The Creation Museum has opened in Petersburg, Ky., just outside Cincinnati.
The displays offer the creationists’ view of how the world came to be, which differs sharply from the teachings of science.
Ham, a native Australian, breaks down the differences for Steve Inskeep:
“There is a conflict if you try to add evolution to the Bible and take Genesis as literal history,” he says. “For instance, the Bible teaches man was made from dust in [the book of] Genesis … whereas evolution would teach that man came from some ape-like ancestor. —Read More:http://www.templeton-cambridge.org/fellows/great_issues_section.php?issue=2

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