Riz Khan Discusses Darwin's Legacy With D'Souza & Dawkins genre: Hip-Gnosis

In the first of the following videos, Riz Khan discusses Darwin's legacy with Dinesh D'Souza and Richard Dawkins. I'm not usually a fan of D'Souza, but I can at least appreciate his willingness to accept evolutionary theory...especially given his history as a religious apologist. Beyond that, D'Souza quickly moves into a lengthy diatribe on the things evolutionary theory can't explain...which is the means by which D'Souza attempts to reinsert God into the equation.

When Khan speaks with Dawkins (second video), the discussion focuses upon the misconceptions about the theory of evolution, the point at which children should be introduced to the concept, and the attempts by creationists to posit a designer without offering any plausible explanation for the origin of the creator...or the complexity he or she would have to possess to have set the universe and our existence into motion. In other words, the assertion of a creator does nothing to refute the evolutionary process nor is it a testable hypothesis.

Generally speaking, I'm of the opinion that the bickering over the theories of evolution, creationism, and intelligent design is merely a symptom of the larger issue confronting us fully flawed humans. The bottom line - our capacity to contemplate our mortality leads us to seek the meaning of our existence.

While I understand man's discomfort with the unknown, I am equally fascinated by man's need to explain it outside the realm of what can be tested and proven from the scientific method. There is a level of arrogance attached to the presumption that we, in our virtual ignorance of the origin of things, can postulate that there must have been a supreme being. Ironically, though evolutionary theory is well-substantiated, even those who work in the field refrain from speaking in absolutes. Yes, they defend the theory and the evidence which supports it, but they also realize we have a limited capacity to offer all encompassing explanations.

In other words, the body of evidence we have doesn't rule out the possibility of a creator, so long as our belief in a creator doesn't negate the scientific evidence we possess. At the same time, nothing in the existing scientific evidence can be construed as evidence in support of a creator. Those who leap to that conclusion are free to do so as a matter of faith...but their assertions have no basis in fact.

Unfortunately, the scientific community is put in the precarious position of defending against those who would prefer to ignore the evidence or the lack thereof. All too often this defensive stance is viewed as an affront to the beliefs of the faithful, when in fact it is merely an insistence upon drawing the proper distinctions between fact and faith...all the while refusing to allow religious ideology to dictate the means and the interpretations of scientific discovery.

In the end, there is little reason to believe that anyone living today will be alive when we're able to fully explain the universe and its origin. What this means is that people are left with limited choices. One, they can accept that their lives will come and go without any real answers and the process of advancing awareness will likely cease upon death (the most logical conclusion given what we know). Two, they can draw their own "big picture" conclusion from the available data (a best guess if you will) and take comfort in it...despite an awareness of its persistent uncertainty. Lastly, they can embrace any belief they choose, absent any real evidence, or exploration thereof, and insist that it is the absolute truth regardless of their inability to substantiate it (faith in a higher power and an afterlife).

In identifying these choices, one also sees how science and religion approach our lack of knowledge from completely different ends of the spectrum. To a degree, this divergence is a predictable source of conflict. As each of us seeks an understanding of our existence, we rarely want to accept the existential angst that accompanies uncertainty. The means by which we each seek to resolve that angst is certain to pit some of us against each other...and that may actually be the only thing we can know with certainty at this point in time. As such, I believe it's safe to state that everything else is white noise designed to mask the terror of our pending mortality.

Riz Khan: Darwin's Legacy - Part One

Riz Khan: Darwin's Legacy - Part Two

Tagged as: Creationism, Creator, Darwin, Death, Dinesh D'Souza, Evolution, Faith, God, Intelligent Design, Richard Dawkins, Riz Khan

Daniel DiRito | July 23, 2008 | 11:51 AM
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