by Denyse O'Leary
Here's a collection of quotations from textbooks, compiled by Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute, that clearly promote a no-design/purpose philosophy of life to students. Show the following to anyone who claims that it is way overblown and people are making a big fuss over nothing:
- "[E]volution works without either plan or purpose â€¦ Evolution is random and undirected."
(Biology, by Kenneth R. Miller & Joseph S. Levine (1st ed., Prentice Hall, 1991), pg. 658; (3rd ed., Prentice Hall, 1995), pg. 658; (4th ed., Prentice Hall, 1998), pg. 658; emphasis in original.)
- "By coupling undirected, purposeless variation to the blind, uncaring process of natural selection, Darwin made theological or spiritual explanations of the life processes superfluous." (Evolutionary Biology, by Douglas J. Futuyma (3rd ed., Sinauer Associates Inc., 1998), p. 5.)
- "Darwin knew that accepting his theory required believing in philosophical materialism, the conviction that matter is the stuff of all existence and that all mental and spiritual phenomena are its by-products. Darwinian evolution was not only purposeless but also heartless--a process in which the rigors of nature ruthlessly eliminate the unfit. Suddenly, humanity was reduced to just one more species in a world that cared nothing for us. The great human mind was no more than a mass of evolving neurons. Worst of all, there was no divine plan to guide us." (Biology: Discovering Life by Joseph S. Levine & Kenneth R. Miller (1st ed., D.C. Heath and Co., 1992), pg. 152; (2nd ed.. D.C. Heath and Co., 1994), p. 161; emphases in original.)
- "Adopting this view of the world means accepting not only the processes of evolution, but also the view that the living world is constantly evolving, and that evolutionary change occurs without any 'goals.' The idea that evolution is not directed towards a final goal state has been more difficult for many people to accept than the process of evolution itself."
( Life: The Science of Biology by William K. Purves, David Sadava, Gordon H. Orians, & H. Craig Keller, (6th ed., Sinauer; W.H. Freeman and Co., 2001), pg. 3.)
- "Of course, no species has 'chosen' a strategy. Rather, its ancestorsâ€”little by little, generation after generationâ€”merely wandered into a successful way of life through the action of random evolutionary forces â€¦. Once pointed in a certain direction, a line of evolution survives only if the cosmic dice continues to roll in its favor. â€¦ [J]ust by chance, a wonderful diversity of life has developed during the billions of years in which organisms have been evolving on earth."
(Biology by Burton S. Guttman (1st ed., McGraw Hill, 1999), pgs. 36-37.)
- "It is difficult to avoid the speculation that Darwin, as has been the case with others, found the implications of his theory difficult to confront. â€¦ The real difficulty in accepting Darwin's theory has always been that it seems to diminish our significance. Earlier, astronomy had made it clear that the earth is not the center of the solar universe, or even of our own solar system. Now the new biology asked us to accept the proposition that, like all other organisms, we too are the products of a random process that, as far as science can show, we are not created for any special purpose or as part of any universal design."
(Invitation to Biology , by Helena Curtis & N. Sue Barnes(3rd ed., Worth, 1981), pgs. 474-475.)
- "The advent of Darwinism posed even greater threats to religion by suggesting that biological relationship, including the origin of humans and of all species, could be explained by natural selection without the intervention of a god. Many felt that evolutionary randomness and uncertainty had replaced a deity having conscious, purposeful, human characteristics. The Darwinian view that evolution is a historical process and present-type organisms were not created spontaneously but formed in a succession of selective events that occurred in the past, contradicted the common religious view that there could be no design, biological or otherwise, without an intelligent designer. â€¦ The variability by which selection depends may be random, but adaptions are not; they arise because selection chooses and perfects only what is adaptive. In this scheme a god of design and purpose is not necessary. Neither religion nor science has irrevocably conquered. Religion has been bolstered by paternalistic social systems in which individuals depend on the beneficences of those more powerful than they are, as well as the comforting idea that humanity was created in the image of a god to rule over the world and its creatures. Religion provided emotional solace â€¦ Nevertheless, faith in religious dogma has been eroded by natural explanations of its mysteries, by a deep understanding of the sources of human emotional needs, and by the recognition that ethics and morality can change among different societies and that acceptance of such values need not depend on religion."
(Evolution by Monroe, W. Strickberger (3rd ed., Jones & Bartlett, 2000), pg. 70-71)
- "Some even saw in the record of horse evolution evidence for a progressive, guiding force, consistently pushing evolution to move in a single direction. We now know that such views are misguidedâ€¦" (Biology, by Peter H Raven & George B Johnson (6th ed., McGraw Hill, 2000), pg. 443.)
- "Nothing consciously chooses what is selected. Nature is not a conscious agent who chooses what will be selected. â€¦ There is no long term goal, for nothing is involved that could conceive of a goal."
( Evolution: An Introduction by Stephen C. Stearns & Rolf F. Hoeckstra, pg. 30 (2nd ed., Oxford University Press, 2005).)
Toronto-based Canadian journalist Denyse O'Leary (www.designorchance.com) is the author of the multiple award-winning By Design or by Chance? (Augsburg Fortress 2004), an overview of the intelligent design controversy. She was named CBA Canada's Recommended Author of the Year in 2005 and is co-author, with Montreal neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, of the forthcoming The Spiritual Brain (Harper 2007).
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