Tuesday, March 5, 2019

That dammed eye...

That dammed eye─the human eye!
─G. Hardin

"LUCIEN CUÉNOT, the great French biologist, reserved a central place for his reflections on the eye in his book on finality in biology. If one considers, he wrote, the most specific interconnections involved in the structure of the eye which can be vitiated "by the smallest deviation, the idea of a finalist direction is born invincible.... It is not daring to believe that the eye is made for seeing." These two statements enclose Cuénot's expression of philosophical despair. Its cause is his seeing an irresolvable conflict between the finalist direction, which "amounts to explaining the obscure by the more obscure" and the impossibility "to forgo a guideline in the train of [biological] events." Despair or not, he at least registered the difference between two different perspectives. 

"Clearly, as long as a guideline leads somewhere, it means goal-directedness, the very concept which the Darwinian biologist cannot justify on the basis of his method, a method of sheer mechanism. The Darwinian biologist also finds, to continue with Cuénot, "that each type of eye from the most rudimentary to the most developed is complete in itself.... When one examines an animal, one does not hesitate for a moment to identify the eyes." Then the question, "How could one assign to chance variations the recurring origin of such complexes with multiple interconnections?", [Cuénot] becomes an expression of despair about that method. The despair can indeed become so annoying as to make the Darwinian biologist explode: "That dammed eye─the human eye!"[Garrett Hardin]

"Such a reaction makes sense only if it betrays at least a tacit admission on the part of the Darwinian biologist that natural selection is not  a wholly satisfactory explanation of the formation of the eye."

~Stanley L. Jaki: The Purpose Of It All, Chap. 3─Pattern Versus Design.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The purposes of Darwinism

THE PUBLICATION of his [Charles Darwin's] early Notebooks removed any doubt about some markedly non-scientific motivation at work in him when he jotted down his first ideas on evolution, within a year or two after he stepped ashore from the 'Beagle.' In those Notebooks there is no trace of the one who a few years earlier lectured, with references to the Bible, the officers of the 'Beagle' on the evil of swearing and cursing. Rather, the Notebooks contain more than one gibe, revealing in their crudeness, at a theistic outlook on existence in general and on human nature in particular.

Darwin felt antagonistic to the doctrine of creation in a far deeper sense than the special creation of every species. His real target was the primeval creation. No wonder that he felt ashamed for having "truckled to public opinion" by speaking, in the conclusion of the "Origin," of the evolutionary process as ultimately due to the Creator. In stating, around the centenary celebration of that book, that "Darwinism removed the whole idea of God as the creator of organisms from the sphere of rational discussion," Julian Huxley tried to strike at primeval creation by aiming first at the special creation of each and every species.

Darwin's remark in those Notebooks that "if all men were dead, then monkeys may make men," reveals his thorough conviction that man's origin and therefore his end too were exclusively animal. The same conviction was coupled with a contempt for anything spiritual in the following remark: "Origin of Man now proved—Metaphysics must flourish—He who understands baboon would do more towards metaphysics than Locke. . . . Our [simian] descent then is the origin of our evil passions!—The Devil under the form of Baboon is our grandfather." This remark was no less no less pitiful as far as reasoning went than the question: "Why is thought, being a secretion of brain, more wonderful than gravity, a property of matter?" This and similar utterances of Darwin, among them his call for an "evolutionary" conquest of that citadel of theism which is the mind, point at some primitive instincts at work for some patently non-scientific purposes.

Clearly, if Darwin had been just a scientist, how could he feel an overriding urge to conquer that citadel for a purpose which had to do more with crude materialism than with science?

~Stanley L. Jaki: The Purpose of it All, Chap. 2—Purposeless Evolution.

Friday, January 11, 2019



Tuesday, November 20, 2018

"Science encourages legitimate human curiosity"

"SCIENCE encourages legitimate human curiosity to know the universe and to admire and contemplate it's beauty and goodness. In this way we enter into communion with God himself, who looked upon what he created and saw that it was very good."

~Pope John Paul II: Discourse to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences," Sept. 26, 1986.

"Troubles gathering below the horizon"

"UNDOUBTEDLY, the history of the Church shows some splendid phases. One of them was the phase running from about 1860 to 1960. It was a phase of unusual cohesion in the Church. Just before it got under way Newman could already register that "never was the whole body of the faithful so united to each other and to their head. Never was their a time when there was less error, heresy, and schismatical perverseness among them." But in the same breath he also saw troubles gathering "below the horizon." In fact during the last twenty-five years of his life, he repeatedly voiced his apprehension about a very trying phase to come in Church history."

~Stanley L. Jaki: "Peter's Chair: A Professional Chair?" in The Gist of Catholicism and Other Essays.

"The essential mark of tyranny"

"MEN DO NOT rebel against the old; rather they rebel against the new. They turn upon something when they find that it has them in a trap. They do not revolt against something that has been unpopular. They revolt (and very rightly) against something that has been popular. They hated Charles I. because they had loved Elizabeth. They killed Louis XVI. because they had been killed for Louis XIV. In fact, this is probably what is meant by that seemingly meaningless phrase, the fickleness of the mob. It probably means that the mob is quicker than other people in discovering that man has walked into a man-trap. England went mad with joy for the English Monarchy, because the Armada had not conquered England. And then England suddenly went mad with rage because it discovered that (during that exciting interlude) the English Monarchy had conquered England. We had escaped the snare of Philip; we walked into the snare of Elizabeth; we broke out of the snare of Charles I.

"This is the essential mark of tyranny: that it is always new. Tyranny always enters by the unguarded gate. The tyrant is always shy and unobtrusive. The tyrant is always a traitor. He has always come there on the pretence that he was protecting something which the people really wanted protected -- religion, or public justice, or patriotic. Men staring at the Armada did not watch the King; so they strengthened the King. Later when they watched the King they unconsciously strengthened the aristocracy. Again, when they attacked the aristocracy, they did not watch the big merchants who were attacking it -- and who wanted watching. All tyrannies are new tyrannies. There are no such things really as old tyrannies; there are hardly any such things as old superstitions.

"For instance, the decorous Victorian woman is hardly as old as Victoria; she is much newer than Sophia Weston, or Portia, or Rosalind. You do not know a tyranny until it is on top of you; until it has you in a trap. The tyrant is not present until he is omnipresent. There is one moral to these evident facts of history. When you look for tyrants, do not look for them among the obvious types that have oppressed men in the past -- the king, the priest, or the soldier. If you do you are merely looking at the Spanish Armada while England is being turned into a despotism behind your back. Monarchy was once a popular organ; yet it was turned against the people. Remember that newspapers are popular organs that may be turned against the people. Whatever the new tyrant is, he will not wear the exact uniform of the old tyrant. The new tyrant may wear any uniform; he may wear the beard of Dorie or the skirts of Mrs. Eddy. But if you ask me, I think it most likely that the new tyrant will wear the uniform of an ordinary prison official announcing that the sentence of 7845 had better be prolonged."

~G.K. Chesterton: "A Theory of Tyrants." In 'The Daily News,' June 13, 1908.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

"Be sure that the longer you live..."

"FOR only the truly virtuous could understand Newman about a paradoxical feature of spiritual life, which he set forth in the sermon on "Shrinking from Christ's Coming." The more one prayed to see Christ and longed for His coming, the more one felt one's uncleanness and became apprehensive about that coming. Moreover, clean in one sense never become: "If by 'clean,' you mean free from that infection of nature, the least drop of which is sufficient to dishonour all your services, clean you never will be till you have paid the debt of sin, and lose that body which Adam has begotten." And now Newman lifted a bit of the veil of that drama: "Be sure that the longer you live, and the holier you become, you will only perceive that misery more clearly.""

~Stanley L. Jaki: Newman's Challenge, Ch. 2--A Gentleman and Original Sin.

Newman's Challenge

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