Darwinism — Religion?26 July, 2008
Today, I saw a T-shirt which was bizarre on a couple of levels. The boy wearing it was in the 10 to 12 year old range. The shirt itself was a home made one colour tie-die. The text was iron-on letters. On the front:
Darwinism is a Religion
and on the back:
You have to believe impossible things.
You cannot question.
It makes you kill people.
At first I thought that this was anti-theist satire. Then I noticed his younger sister’s shirt:
God’s Athlete: Every Point, Every Race, Every Win Is For the Glory of the One True God!!!!!
With a shirt like that, I figured I was observing a deeply disturbed religious family.
The anti-evolution shirt intrigued me. The idea that the theory of evolution is a religion is absurd. Selective evolution does not tell us how to eat. It does not tell us how to live. It does not tell us how to achieve everlasting salvation. It does not have ‘one true book, infallible and eternal.’
But on the back, the three statements make me wonder about the perception of religion by the parents (or whoever created that strange shirt).
‘You have to believe impossible things.’ Like people walking on water? Parting the Red Sea? Light and dark created before the sun and stars? The theory of evolution does not have us ‘believe’ anything. It is based upon evidence. The theory itself is the best available explanation for the reality we see before us now, while still explaining the fossil evidence.
‘You cannot question.’ Bullshit! The theory of evolution is based 100% upon questioning. The questioning continues. Uniformitarianism or punctuated equilibrium? Catastrophism or non-catastrophism? Warm-blooded dinosaurs, cold-blooded dinosaurs, or something in between? If I want to look into something in which questioning is verboten I will look to organized religion — Judaism, Christianity, Islam. In the big three, questioning can lead to death (or death threats).
‘It makes you kill people.’ What the Fuck? How does a naturalistic explanation for the incredible diversity of life on earth lead one to killing people? Survival of the fittest? That’s a piss-poor condensation of the theory of evolution. Maybe the old absurdity that Godlessness leads to killing? Ask the people of Carcassone about that. Or the Jews of Mainz. Or the men, women and children of Jerusalem.
I think the shirt has it backwards. ‘Darwinism’ is NOT a religion because it does not require belief in impossible things, it is built upon questions, and it does not, anywhere, in any way, require us, or even ask us, to kill those with different beliefs. Christianity, on the other hand, is a religion because is does require belief in impossible things, it is built upon received wisdom, and (in the Old Testament) commands the death of unbelievers, witches, and numerous other human beings.
I did not talk to the family, or ask about the shirt. I was in uniform and, well, it would have been more than just a little bit inappropriate.