"Darwin showed that material causes are a sufficient
explanation not only for physical phenomena, as Descartes and Newton had
shown, but also for biological phenomena with all their seeming evidence
of design and purpose. By coupling undirected, purposeless variation to
the blind, uncaring process of natural selection, Darwin made theological
or spiritual explanations of the life processes superfluous. Together with
Marx's materialistic theory of history and society and Freud's attribution
of human behavior to influences over which we have little control, Darwin's
theory of evolution was a crucial plank in the platform of mechanism and
materialism --- of much of science, in short --- that has since been the
stage of most Western thought."
- Futuyma, D. J.
Sinauer Associates Inc., 1986, Sunderland, MA, p. 2
Lynn Margulis says that history will ultimately judge neo-Darwinism as "a minor twentieth-century religious sect within the sprawling religious persuasion of Anglo-Saxon biology."
- Michael Behe
Darwin's Black Box (1996), page 26
Reference given is to: Science Vol. 252, 19 April 1991, pp. 379-381
Which references: American Zoologist, 30:861-875 (1990)
Michael Ruse, professor of zoology and philosophy, University
of Guelph; transcript of the speech given at the 1993 meeting of the American
Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS] February 13/93 at which
he assures his audience, "I'm no less an evolutionist now that I ever
was." Ruse nevertheless explained that he had given fresh consideration
to Phillip Johnson's thesis that Ruse himself, as "an evolutionist,
is metaphysically based at some level just as much as ...some creationist...And
to a certain extent, I must confess, in the ten years since I performed,
or I appeared, in the creationism trial in Arkansas, I must say that I've
been coming to this kind of position myself.....I mean I realize that when
one is dealing with people, say, at the school level, or these sorts of
things, certain sorts of arguments are appropriate. But those of us who
are academics, or for other reasons pulling back and trying to think about
these things, I think that we should recognize, both historically and perhaps
philosophically, certainly that the science side has certain metaphysical
assumptions built into doing science, which---it may not be a good thing
to admit in a court of law---but I think that in honesty that we should
recognize, and that we should be thinking about some of these sorts of things."
"...And certainly, there's no doubt about it, that in the past, and
I think also in the present, for many evolutionists, evolution has functioned
as something with elements which are, let us say, akin to being a secular
religion ... And it seems to me very clear that at some very basic level,
evolution as a scientific theory makes a commitment to a kind of naturalism,
namely, that at some level one is going to exclude miracles and these sorts
of things come what may."
- Ruse, Michael
AAAS Symposium: "The New Antievolutionism," February 13, 1993,
National Center for Science Education, P.O. Box 9477, Berkeley, CA 94709
Note: At the 1981 creationism trial [McLean vs. Arkansas] Federal Judge
William Overton ruled that Arkansas' "Balanced Treatment Act"
was unconsitutional. Ruse had testified that creation-science is not science
at all. Invoking the fact/faith dichotomy, Ruse claimed that Darwinism was
scientific because establishing its validity required no philosophical assumptions.
All other views, he claimed, required such assumptions and were therefore
unscientific. His testimony became the centrepiece of Judge Overton's ruling.
"The point, however, is that the doctrine of evolution
has swept the world, not on the strength of its scientific merits, but precisely
in its capacity as a Gnostic myth. It affirms, in effect, that living beings
created themselves, which is, in essence, a metaphysical claim.... Thus,
in the final analysis, evolutionism is in truth a metaphysical doctrine
decked out in scientific garb."
- Smith, Wolfgang
Teilhardism and the New Religion
Tan Books and Publishers, 1988, Rockford, Illinois, p. 242.
"Ultimately the Darwinian theory of evolution is
no more nor less than the great cosmogenic myth of the twentieth century.
Like the Genesis based cosmology which it replaced, and like the creation
myths of ancient man, it satisfies the same deep psychological need for
an all embracing explanation for the origin of the world which has-motivated
all the cosmogenic myth makers of the past, from the shamans of primitive
peoples to the ideologues of the medieval church. The truth is that despite
the prestige of evolutionary theory and the tremendous intellectual effort
directed towards reducing living systems to the confines of Darwinian thought,
nature refuses to be imprisoned. In the final analysis we still know very
little about how new forms of life arise. The "mystery of mysteries"
- the origin of new beings on earth - is still largely as enigmatic as when
Darwin set sail on the Beagle."
- Denton, Michael
Evolution: A Theory in Crisis
Burnett Books, 1985, p.358
"Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are
against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle
between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in
spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite
of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and
life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated
just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.
It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us
to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary,
that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to
create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce
material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying
to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot
allow a Divine Foot in the door."
- Lewontin, Richard
"Billions and Billions of Demons"
New York Review of Books
January 9, 1997, p. 28
"Darwin’s work is most important and suits my purpose in that it provides a basis in natural science for the historical class struggle."
Letters: Marx-Engels Correspondence, vol. 2, p. 126
"...evolution works without either plan or purpose."
- Miller and Levine
Prentice Hall, 1995, p. 658
"Man is the result of a purposeless and natural process that did
not have him in mind."
- Simpson, George Gaylord
The Meaning of Evolution, revised edition
New Haven: Yale University Press, 1967, p. 345.