Posted by: Dan | February 10, 2008

Evolution Sunday 2008

This weekend happens to coincide with Charles Darwin’s 199th birthday, and some people back home in the States have in recent years begun an annual Darwin Day celebration on university campuses. Below the fold are some quotes and a YouTube video to celebrate.

“All appearances to the contrary, the only watchmaker in nature is the blind forces of physics, albeit deployed in a very special way. A true watchmaker has foresight: he designs his cogs and springs, and plans their interconnections, with a future purpose in his mind’s eye. Natural selection, the blind, unconscious automatic process which Darwin discovered, and which we now know is the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life, has no purpose in mind. It has no mind and no mind’s eye. It does not plan for the future. It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all. If it can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker.”
– Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker

“Seen in the light of evolution, biology is, perhaps, intellectually the most satisfying and inspiring science. Without that light it becomes a pile of sundry facts—some of them interesting or curious but making no meaningful picture as a whole.”
– Theodosius Dobzhansky, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”

“[A]nyone who writes about “Darwin’s theory of evolution” in the singular, without segregating the theories of gradual evolution, common descent, speciation, and the mechanism of natural selection, will be quite unable to discuss the subject competently. Most major theories of biology were, when first proposed, such composites. Their history and their impact cannot be understood unless the various components are separated and studied independently.”
– Ernst Mayr, The Growth of Biological Thought

“Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent.”
– Will Provine, “Evolution: Free will and punishment and meaning in life”


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