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Darwinism Versus Reality: The Painful Divorce

I wanted to highlight what Josh Youngkin said yesterday in his very perceptive comments about the Jodi Arias verdict. Darwinian materialists like Jerry Coyne end up asserting there's no free will, therefore no such thing as moral responsibility. A murderer may be locked up for everyone else's safety, but not because we're correct to seek to impose retribution. We have no moral right to do so.

As Josh says, this casts the human being who murders as a fundamentally blameless animal, like a man-eating tiger. We would cage or even shoot such a tiger, but we could not blame it for acting as it does.

Profoundly, I thought, Josh's article suggests how remote from human experience a guy like Coyne must travel if he wants to carry his Darwinian materialism to its seemingly logical conclusions.

As Thomas Nagel reminds us in Mind & Cosmos, the entity that we all know most intimately -- our own consciousness -- is that which most powerfully argues against a materialist understanding of reality. We know our conscious experience is not a material thing. So how did a purely material process like Darwinian evolution produce it? There's an obvious contradiction in terms there. Darwinism forces believers to deny their experience of being alive and conscious.

So too with the tiger. As Josh says, we may not know what it's like to be a tiger, but we can be pretty sure it's very little like being you or me. A worldview that demands that we equate a human with a tiger has cut itself totally free from the reality we know best. It tells us to believe what we know most surely not to be true.