Faith by any Other Name
Regis NicollRegis Nicoll's weblog
- 2007 Apr 30
In the nineteenth century, Lord John Morley had a dream: ‘The next great task of Science is the building of a new religion.’” Considering the developments over the last century, Lord Morley could rightly be called the “Daniel” of neo-Darwinism.
As with all religions, neo-Darwinism has its patron saints: Charles Darwin; its founding text: The Origin of Species; its creed: The Humanist Manifesto; its martyrs: Galileo; its evangelists: Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins; its holy days: Darwin Days; its holy relics: fossils; and its religious symbol: the Darwin fish plaque.
And now it has its evangelistic pageants. On April 21, the Cambridge Science Festival debuted Lifetime: Songs of Life and Evolution—a 90-minute musical aimed at “spread[ing] the good word on evolution.” The performing cast was made up of families with children as young as five singing paeans to our evolutionary origins. Cast members sported the Lifetime t-shirt, complete with a logo depicting a primate evolving into a singing man.
The performance included tributes to Richard Dawkins, celebrations of diversity through our evolutionary heritage, and even lyrics against speciesism: "Don't you dismiss, this protist ... What's so great about being the same shape every day?"
Underneath the celebratory patina, one gets a whiff of desperation in all this. Yet one thing’s for sure: you can’t say that those Darwinists aren’t people of faith.
(What do you think of the Darwinist faith? Post your thoughts here.