Theo Hobson

Darwin teaches us the humility of the agnostic

Darwin teaches us the humility of the agnostic
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You'd think Darwin created the world all by himself with a few test-tubes, the amount of attention he's getting. I'm not denying he's a brill biologist, but there's more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in his theory.

And the discussion about science and religion that surrounds him is just bo-oring. No religious believer intelligent enough to get air-time disagrees with evolution (or does Anne Atkins?), so what happens is this. Atheists strongly imply that his theory, which is the best thing in human history, strongly implies atheism. Christians queue up to say how keen they are about the tree-of-life stuff, and to point out that the Bearded One was an agnostic but not an atheist.

That's it – again and again. There's nothing for these two camps to say to each other, except 'what a clever theory'. The only thing to say of a science vs religion nature is this: 'Dawkins: look at your hero and learn some humility'. Darwin exemplifies the humility of the agnostic and exposes the arrogance of the atheist. Atheism involves scorn for religious belief. The atheist presumes that religion is something he has fully understood, seen through, and that humanity would be better off if everyone could do likewise. In other words, atheism is a question of attitude rather than philosophy. As is agnosticism: the agnostic doesn't believe in any form of religion, but recoils from the atheist's will to disparage it all. He accepts he's out of his depth here. It is not just stubborn creationists who can learn from Darwin in his bicentenary year.