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Student 23's picture

Worshipping cranes

It's hard to question that Charles Darwin was indeed a product and a force of late-19th-century philosphy, but he is not the end-all-and-be-all. Dennett may have raised a few good points and asked a few good questions, but I still refuse to believe that evolution is the key to the meaning of life. Darwinian evolution, even the modern synthesis, can't, by its nature, explain some of the complex behavior that defines what it means to be human. How does the algorithm of natural selection produce art, literature, music, emotion?

By insisting that the "skyhooks" of religion are no longer valid in any pursuit, Dennet has offered up himself in place of the Strawman that fundamentalist Creationism is so fond of arguing. He even uses the word "Darwinism" and "Darwinist," the enemy's choice descriptors for evolutionary theory and its proponents, as if the science itself were a dogma.

Perhaps I'm just one of those that Dennett portrays as "the forces of containment," "the champions of the pre-Darwinian tradition", those that hold back scientific progress. I'm not a religious fundamentalist, nor a creationist by any means, but I am what seems to be a dying breed: an optimist.

I'm still tempted to read the rest of this book, though. Go ahead, Dennett-- maybe you can still convince me.


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