An article by Professor of Theology Tom Frame on “Questions Darwinism cannot answer” is an excellent example of the kind of muddled thinking religious believers tend to display when talking about evolution.
The first clue is the use of the word “Darwinism”, an epithet used almost exclusively by believers with a philosophical axe to grind. The intention is to portray evolution as just another religious belief.
The next clue is passages like this:
A dedicated Darwinian would welcome imperialism, genocide, mass deportation, ethnic cleansing, eugenics, euthanasia, forced sterilisations and infanticide.
Apart displaying his gross ignorance of what evolution means, Mr Frame is trying to paint atheism as an immoral position and, by an implied false dichotomy, promote religious belief as the noble alternative.
But all that’s just a sideshow. The real point of the article is summed up in these oh-so-wise words:
Such science is also inhibited from asking whether life has any meaning, as this would require stepping outside the processes that led its practitioners to the point of questioning. Evolution might account for the story of life's beginnings and progress, but it cannot explain its origin nor cast any light on its destiny.
I’ve got a news flash for you, Mr Frame. Religion, for all its pomp and imaginary circumstance, cannot explain any of these things either.
It’s trivial to observe that there’s more to the human experience than science, let alone evolution. But promoting religion as some kind of answer to these ill-defined questions is just smoke and mirrors.
Religion is not an answer. It’s a process of comforting ritual and invocation of myth and throwing meaningless feel-good words at the question to pretend you've answered it.
Real answers come from observation, from verification, from defining the questions carefully and gathering the evidence. None of these things have any place in religion.
And what’s all this about destiny?
Our destiny doesn’t come from without, as Mr Frame wants us to believe. It comes from within. We are its authors.
We can choose to take responsibility for our actions and set our own path, or we can abdicate that responsibility to an imaginary higher power.
We can strive to be an enlightened society that seeks to understand its place in the universe, or we can cling to ancient myths and the fleeting comforts they bring.
Guess which one I choose.