Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Darwin, God and the Human Species

Yesterday I went to Westminster Abbey for the lecture by Nick Spencer, of Theos, publicising his book on Darwin and God. On the whole his treatment of the subject was objective, based mainly on Darwin's extensive correspondence, much of which survives. He admits that Darwin lost his christian belief in a benevolent god, and that at the end of his life he was an admitted agnostic. Any god belief that he might have had would have been in a deistic creator who left the process of evolution to natural selection.

Nick Spencer objects to modern evolutionists going further than Darwin and arriving at an atheistic viewpoint, but much more knowledge of the nature of the universe and of life has emerged since 1882. In the question and answer session at the end he cited Simon Conway Morris, the Cambridge biologist who in Life's Solution claims that evolutionary convergence would "inevitably" lead to the evolution of some creature like the human species. This argument appeals to christians who see human beings as the pinnacle of creation, but it is also attractive to old-fashioned "progressive" humanists, like myself, who see the emergence of rationality as the spearhead of evolution.

I've said some more about my visit to Westminster Abbey in my personal blog the "Jeepyjay Diary".

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