Happy Birthday, Darwin

Charles Darwin was born February 12, 1809. He became one of the world’s greatest scientists, and certainly its greatest biologist. His birth date deserves our recognition.

However, I’m a bit leery about an advertising campaign by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. It’s funding a Colorado sign stating, “Praise Darwin; Evolve Beyond Belief.” Darwin certainly does merit our praise. However, his central significance is not the stir he’s caused among the religious; it is his contributions to science. And the advice, “evolve beyond belief,” doesn’t mean anything. A belief can be true or false. The only way to evolve beyond belief is to quit thinking. The proper goal is to reach true beliefs and shed false ones.

Thankfully, there are much better ways to celebrate Darwin’s birth date, such as by checking out his complete works or listening to Keith Lockitch’s talk, “Darwin and the Discovery of Evolution.”

One thought on “Happy Birthday, Darwin”

  1. A belief is an idea taken from the perspective THAT it is held(in consciousness), rather than why it is held, or whether it is true or false. If we are assessing the truth or falsity of an idea it is no longer a matter or perspective on the belief.

    The slogan would seem to be an attack on the Christian notion that one has faith in god/jesus/etc and is content with mere belief rather than explicitly venturing into the realm of ideas where arguments for the truth of an idea become relevant.

    The implicit reading of the slogan would seem to be.. ‘evolve’ into critically thinking about ideas that are presented to you, rather than merely believing them b/c someone/something else said that it was so.

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