I wish to respond to Ivan Mugisha’s article ‘Darwinians back for world terrorism’ which appeared in The Sunday Times issue of July 18th 2010. The article was such a cocktail of untruths and logical fallacies that I feel compelled to jump into the debate. I am no scientist, but I can spot absurd arguments and glaring factual errors when I see them.
The author shows an ignorance of what evolution actually is. ‘Survival of the fittest’ is not what evolution is about- indeed, it was Herbert Spencer not Charles Darwin who coined that term. And when scientists do use it, they do not mean ‘fittest’ in the conventional sense of the word.
The animal that survives is not the strongest or the most ruthless- it is simply the one best suited to adapt to its environment. As a result the ‘weakest’ could survive and have done since time immemorial.
This is easily one of the biggest misconceptions of evolution. It is from this that the author extrapolates all kind of immoral tenets that people who believe in evolution supposedly support. However as any school kid knows, science is not supposed to address moral concerns.
The idea that it strips morality from life government is absurd- morality does not come into it. Why on earth would people look for morality and spirituality in science? There is no morality or immorality in scientific theories- that is not what they are for.
And the author also fails to realize that people who believe in evolution do not advocate for the hilariously cartoonish portrayal of life in the wild that he presents. They set out how life is rather than how it should be. It is descriptive as scientific theories tend to be.
They can no more approve of the evolutionary struggle as they can approve of gravity. It is also in this vein that scientists do not claim that evolution conclusively proves that religion is wrong.
It is of course entirely possible for God and evolution to co-exist- especially if one believes in a God who is generally non-intervening-but that is a debate for another time.
The parade of logical fallacies reaches its height when the author tries to link ‘Darwinian ideas to terrorism. The day a suicide bomber kills innocent people because he was inspired by Charles Darwin is pretty much the day the world will collapse in itself.
Can anyone seriously believe that Osama Bin Laden believes in evolution and Darwinism? Since most religious leaders-and indeed most religious people- believe evolution is blasphemous, how on earth could it possibly motivate suicide bombings and other? Anyone who watches the news even once a year would know that their concerns are strictly spiritual.
But let us assume for the sake of argument that there is a group of people (‘Darwinians’) who not only believe in evolution but firmly believe that it provides a blueprint for how life should be.
That is patently untrue, but let us gloss over that and pretend it is accurate. Going along with that logic, then people like Hitler and Stalin were either directly or indirectly inspired by evolution so Darwin then takes the blame for the people they killed. This is what the author is arguing.
However the question would then be- what about the millions of people who have been killed in the name of religion since time immemorial?
The author asserts that this is only because those people were killing are doing so in contradiction of religion killings. In going through the mental gymnastics trying to create this logic, the author does not wonder whether Darwinian theories may also have been misinterpreted by his so-called disciples.
Truth unfortunately is often an inconvenience.
This ‘analysis’ of Darwinianism is flawed on every level. Anyone who has read up on Charles Darwin would know he was a humane and compassionate man who vigorously opposed slavery.
The idea that he is a man who would have encouraged racism and slavery is laughable. You may argue with the science of evolution- it obviously has its flaws- but calling it a cult and linking it to terrorism is scientific and logical illiteracy.
Minega Isibo is a lawyer