Causes And Canards

August 6, 2006 | By | Reply More

I saw a phrase today that made me think–The Darwinist Cause.

Now, I’m sure I’ve seen it or heard it before, but it’s one of those taglines opponents to certain worldviews use to instigate absurd debates (which turn out not to be debates but drubbing sessions wherein they hope to pound you with fervant and well-turned catch phrases, till, bleeding at the thesaurus, you cave in before their empty erudition), so I pretty much just filter them out as utter non sequiturs.

But today I thought–no, they really think this is just a battle. 

So I wondered how that must work.  By implication, we who think Darwin was correct (as opposed to , you know, right) in his description of evolutionary process have decided that this is a truth in need of champions.  Because, on some level, as we all know, all ideas are equal, those with the most champions win.  So we have adopted this Cause as our own in opposition to a different perspective, which has its own champions.

This permits us, of course, to cheat.  We can tell lies about our enemies.  We can make up evidence.  We can plant fake fossils in obscures places on the off chance a “real” paleontologist will stumble on them and hail them as new proof that our cause is just.  We can hold demonstrations against speakers for Their Side to prevent universities and such from allowing them to spew their noxious venom upon audiences who, we know, are too stupid not to recognize the lies behind them.

Sounds a little absurd, doesn’t it?  It would, if the anti-Darwinists didn’t engage in pretty much exactly that kind of behavior.

Because they have a Cause and the Cause predetermines what can be regarded as truth.  They live it and breathe it.  They know they must fight this fight for their Cause is just and from the numbers in their ranks they gain validation and the will to carry on to crush those who would take away their–

Their what?

Add a long list of received wisdom handed down as fact over the past millennia in the form of religion and mysticism and the assertion that to believe Darwin means you may not–CANNOT–believe anything else, and that way lies madness and hell.

Does our Cause demand that?  Let’s see…no, apparently we can go on and believe in god or the tooth fairy as symbols all we like.  We can use the precepts and rituals of religion as personal metaphors and cathartic techniques all we like. 

Wait now…it seems that there are any number of other things we can do if we like that many of the deniers of Darwin would have us not do.  We can consider Other Ideas about the nature of reality and history which yield richer pictures of the cosmos in which we live.  Other Ideas which seem to contradict certain predigested versions that effectively explain nothing.

So maybe they’re right.  Maybe their is a Darwinist Cause.  Where can I join up?

Because as movements go, this one seems to have a great program.  It requires me to read widely, expand my circle of acquaintances to include people whose ideas I might find disturbing, and look at the world as a process.  It requires me to hold truth as the highest ethic.  And I don’t have to stop anyone from speaking–in fact, it’s a rule that I don’t, I have to give them their time and opportunity, and I have to take what they say seriously enough to understand it before discarding the parts of it that don’t make sense or are outright lies.  In those circmstances, I have to help them understand the flaw in their own argument.

Which means I have to make myself into a pretty well informed, sharp individual.  Hey, I like that!  I always wanted to be smart!  And here’s a Cause that requires it.  In fact, rewards it!

What’s that?  There’s no recruiting office?  Okay, where do they meet?  Where do they hold the rallies?  Don’t I need an ID to get in?  What?  Anyone can have a meeting, hold a rally…?

Oh.  There’s no…what’s the word?  Church?  Hmm.  How about hymns?  No?  What’s the liturgy?  No liturgy.  Catechism?  Haven’t got one of those either.  Then…

The library?  Oh.  Okay.  And which book?  Any one I want?


But there’s one more question I have concerning this so-called Cause.  When we win–you know, when the Other Guys crawl back in their holes and admit defeat–what then?  What’s our prize?

What constitutes winning?


We get to ask more questions.

I like it.


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Category: American Culture, Communication, Culture, Current Events, Education, Evolution, History, Language, Religion, Science, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Mark is a writer and musician living in the St. Louis area. He hit puberty at the peak of the Sixties and came of age just as it was all coming to a close with the end of the Vietnam War. He was annoyed when bellbottoms went out of style, but he got over it.

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