Response to critics: Evolution, Darwin, God and the need for civility

Some proponents of Darwinism apparently fail to realize that ad hominem attacks are not an acceptable substitute for a cogent argument. Photo: NASA

MOSCOW, September 13, 2011 – My dear critics,

My recent post which questioned Darwinism sparked – to put it mildly – heated discussion. Your comments showed not only how passionately you feel about the subject, but also how ungentle you can be with those who raise questions about the theory’s viability.

In the effort to make your point, many of you failed to realize that insults and ad hominem attacks are not an acceptable substitute for a cogent argument. The fact that the ad hominem fallacy was committed by those who claim reason and logic as their guiding principles is as startling as it is revealing.

Perusing the comments section, one almost gets the impression that readers chose to engage in a contest of who can insult better. What’s more, your contempt was not only directed at myself, but also at those who expressed some degree of agreement with the article’s point, even if they did so only in qualified terms.

Let us just say 'no' to anger and bitterness. Let's agree to be civil even though we may disagree about the great questions of life. (Image Guyon Moree)

Let us just say ‘no’ to anger and bitterness. Let’s agree to be civil even though we may disagree about the great questions of life. (Image Guyon Moree)

May I offer a suggestion: If disparage you must, please at least identify yourself by your real name. Do not hide behind some silly handle. I put my name under what I wrote. Why don’t you do the same?

The discussion forum is moderated and one can only imagine what kind of comments did not make it through the propriety controls. At any rate, this inflammatory and often irrational reaction by those who claim to be in possession of truth certainly does not convey confidence in the strength of their position.

The reactions offered so far makes one think that proponents of Darwinism have a problem, for if they really could answer the issue convincingly, why do they feel compelled to vilify and insult? Why don’t they calmly present rebuttals and let the force of truth sweep away all error.

In any event, your reaction is counter-productive. We should use opportunities like this to learn from each other, preferably in a spirit of love. No one has a monopoly on wisdom, and there is much we simply don’t know. This applies to both sides of the design/evolution divide.

To a great degree, I can identify with your worldview. I grew up in a secular family under a regime where atheism was the only permitted religion. Like most of you, I, too, had unquestioningly accepted the theory of evolution, because that’s what I had been taught from ever since I can remember.

For most of my years, I was an atheist and evolutionist. But as I grew older some hard questions began pressing themselves on my mind: How could the universe come into existence uncaused? How could nature come from nothing? Why are there no transitional fossils? How did irreducibly complex biological structures emerge? Where does our sense of objective morality come from?

Darwinism, the theory of evolution and naturalistic materialism all fail to give satisfactory answers to these questions. That’s why the theistic option seems the better and more reasonable one to me.

I know that there are people who think differently, and I respect that fact. I’m convinced that they are as sincere in holding their position as I am in holding mine. It would never occur to me to question their mental capacities or ascribe them evil motives. I would never try to disparage them or call them “dense” or “dunce” or “ignorant” or “willfully ignorant,” which are just few of the names I have been called in recent days.

One almost begins to wonder whether you can make your point without denigrating those who think differently or without getting angry.

Jesus taught to love in word and deed. Whether one worships him or not, the moral excellence of his message is undeniable. We all fall short of the ideal, but we can all try to do better.

Jesus taught to love in word and deed. Whether one worships him or not, the moral excellence of his message is undeniable. We all fall short of the ideal, but we can all try to do better.

Think about this: I have not done anything to you to deserve such virulent disapprobation. I just wrote a piece in which I expressed what I sincerely believe to be the truth.

If I am wrong, why can’t you calmly accept my folly and set me straight by pointing out the error? Why all this anger and abuse?

Perhaps fate brought you to this article so that you can grow in the art of self-control, forbearance and patience with those who less enlightened than you are.

You should also entertain the possibility that perhaps you may be wrong, and that God is using this occasion to shine the light of truth into your own life.

You can be certain, however, that you will not be able to clearly discern which possibility is true if you allow anger to cloud your eyes and judgment.

There is obviously much we disagree on. But we could at least agree to conduct our discussion in a civil manner. It would make it far more fruitful and enjoyable, and we could learn from each other in the process. I think we can concur on that, can’t we?

I sincerely wish you and all of my critics, even the most unkind ones, the very best. I really do.

And may God bless you. I mean it truly.

____________________

Born and raised under communism, Vasko Kohlmayer is a naturalized American citizen. He has lived in several countries under various forms of government, but he still marvels at the goodness of God and the wonder of life.

He has written for a number of newspapers, magazines and internet journals. Vasko currently lives in Europe with his long-suffering wife and two beautiful daughters. He is the founder of The Christian Writers Foundation.

His column “Higher Things” deals with matters pertaining to God. You can read more by clicking on this link.

If you wish to be notified of Vasko’s new articles you can subscribe for updates here.

You can also read more by Vasko in Global Community by clicking here.

 

 


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Vasko Kohlmayer

Born and raised under communism, Vasko Kohlmayer is a naturalized American citizen. He has lived in several countries under various forms of government, but he still marvels at the goodness of God and the wonder of life. He has discovered that no matter how many places you've been, there is always something new to learn wherever you go.

Having started with sciences, he earned degrees in philosophy and literature. He has written for a number of newspapers, magazines and internet journals on subjects ranging from Russian politics to the gold standard. Vasko currently lives in Europe with his long-suffering wife and two beautiful daughters. He is the founder of The Christian Writers Foundation.  

 

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