Who’s denying whom?
Evolutionist bemoans anti-scientific forces Darwinism helped unleash
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Colin Wright has bad news for evolutionists. As a hard-line materialist, he spent years battling right-wing challenges like intelligent design. But Wright has recently trained his sights on what he considers a more disturbing form of evolution denialism, this one coming from the left. The focus of his alarm is what these deniers call the “spectrum” of sex.
The core belief, as Wright explained in a 2018 article for Quillette, is that the human brain is a blank slate. According to blank-slate theory, human babies start out with sex characteristics “assigned” to them, but their brains are infinitely malleable. If freed from social expectations and “constructions,” those individuals may forge a sexual identity at odds with their outward appearance. Some theorists have gone so far as to claim it’s unscientific to classify a person’s sex on the basis of anatomy.
Wright watched with increasing alarm as respectable outlets like Scientific American published editorials titled “Sex Redefined: The Idea of 2 Sexes Is Overly Simplistic.” Even Nature, the world’s oldest and most prestigious scientific journal, editorialized that sorting people as male or female according to anatomy “has no basis in science.” Arguments that would have been laughed off 30 or even 20 years ago now pose as “science” telling itself no one knows what sex even is.
Colin Wright isn’t having any of it. His website Reality’s Last Stand is a gauntlet thrown down to biologists and evolutionists who know better but are afraid to speak up amid the mass hysteria of trans ideology. In his field of behavioral ecology Wright can cite countless studies identifying biological sex as the most striking predictor of behavior. Humans are a more highly developed species, but still animals, he writes, and “we exhibit these classic sex-linked behavioral traits because we inherited them from our closest primate ancestors.” The ideologues are carving out an exception for humans, thereby “gerrymandering evolutionary biology to make humans special.”
But does dogmatic evolution gerrymander certain obvious indicators that humans are special?
Colin Wright quotes philosopher Daniel Dennett, who described evolution as a “universal acid” slowly eating through “just about every traditional concept, [leaving] in its wake a revolutionized worldview, with most of the landmarks still recognizable, but transformed in fundamental ways.” We can see how the acid has provided a rationale for dissolving the pillars of the Church, but it didn’t stop there. The traditional concepts of family structure and social order, even human responsibility and purpose, are dissolving before our eyes, leaving no moral compass for rebuilding—or even a reason to rebuild. The landmarks, contra Dennett, are not transforming but disappearing. It would be ironic if science ends up dissolving itself.
Social justice activists may be denying evolution, but materialistic evolution made its bed a long time ago, by denying humanity.
It can’t trace how mind evolves from mindlessness, or human consciousness from a conglomeration of chemicals. It can’t produce love or provide meaning, or convincingly explain why humans so desperately need both. It reduces everything to material elements, and labels as “science” what is actually scientism.
And it can’t erase the impulse to wonder, even in those who claim to believe it. Big Tree, a new children’s book by best-selling author-illustrator Brian Selznick, aims to “tell nature’s story from nature’s point of view.” But nature doesn’t have a point of view in the evolutionary perspective Selznick asserts. Popularizers like Richard Dawkins and the late Carl Sagan also praised the cold, mindless process of natural selection in gushy tones. Words like design and beauty and purpose creep into the most bloodless accounts of atheistic evolution. We can’t help ourselves; we’re human. We’re special. Either acknowledge that, and promote the traditional structures that have always helped humans thrive, or settle in for a parade of activist “deniers” hungry for a cause.
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