Darwin’s House of Cards – A Journalists Odyssey through the Darwin Debates by Tom Bethell
I’ve just finished reading this book, which I found extremely fascinating, although I confess I was glad to have read it on my Kindle, as it enabled me to quickly find the meaning to some of the technical terms and obscure words that are sometimes used.
Scientific progress from the time of Darwin is shown to put huge strain on the whole idea of natural selection, and Darwin’s ‘tree of life’.
I was particularly struck by quotes from C S Lewis, who in 1949, wrote to a friend saying ‘Evolution, etc.’ was the ‘assumed background’ of modern thought. Later he continued by saying, that as history unfolds; later generations are likely to look for a new model, or worldview. In short, the ‘model’ of a particular time, ‘reflects the psychology of an age almost as much as it reflects the state of that age’s knowledge’
The writer suggests that we are in such a transition period now and cites three or four changes worth noting.
- The loss of the idea of progress. In Darwin’s day progress seemed like an ‘all embracing’ fact. Darwin said ‘man in the distant future will be a far more perfect creature than he is now’. Few believe anything like that today; in fact mankind today is seen as the ruination of the planet. Climate change, extinction of species etc.
- Fertility rates have fallen below replacement levels right across the Western world. Food production out paces population growth and obesity exceeds hunger as a health risk.
- Faith in evolutionism has declined along with the new hostility to ‘Progress’. Philosopher and mathematician William A Dembski of the ‘Intelligent Design’ movement reports that the idea has grown internationally, and pressed western intellectuals to take seriously the claim that life and the cosmos are the products of intelligence.
- The digital revolution and the Internet are bringing change comparable to that of the printing press, in the fifteenth century. Information flow is being democratised, so criticism of Darwin’s theory of evolution now reaches many more people than it once did.
Whilst many scientists still reject this claim, Tom Bethell argues that their need to confront and refute it, suggests our mental environment is no longer stagnating in atheistic materialism that for so long has dominated Western intellectual life … with atheistic materialism now itself in question; Christianity is again on the table for discussion.
The book is available as a hardcopy or as a Kindle download. I would recommend it to all those interested in this important subject.