Monday, December 12, 2005

Dethronement step II – Just Another Animal

Thanks to Martin for filling me in on Freud. It's notable that in the second criticism of human megalomania Freud mentions Darwin. Not because this is wrong, but rather because his own theory of the human mind has been criticised for using an outdated version of evolution, namely Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and his theory of "inheritance of acquired traits" (see also Lamarckism).

Recently, Scientific American declared Charles Darwin to be the most influential scientist of the past millennium. (The subtitle on the cover was "Sorry, Einstein . . ."). In other words, the idea of evolution is considered the most important scientific idea through the modern history of man (well, at least the past millennium). Although Darwin was cautious to mention humans in his first works, he later made more explicit remarks about the phylogeny of mankind.

There is little doubt that Darwinism has not gained the wide acceptance that the Copernican world view has had for a long time. The proponents of Intelligent Design (hush-hush!) claim to challenge evolutionary theory. But let’s be frank: the ID idea is NOT a scientific theory. It has not generated ANY testable hypotheses, and it does NOT explain empirical data any better than Darwinian evolutionary theory. It’s that simple. Really! But in addition, let’s just mention the idea of Unintelligent Design. After all, if the designer of animals, humans and everything was Intelligent, why are there so many examples of unnecessary – or even harmful – body parts? For example, why do we have a blind spot in each eye? What is the veriform appendix for? See also this section for the main criticisms of the ID idea.

The aspects of Darwinism are – sadly – still not accepted generally. So, while reading the Freud citation from Martin, I still wonder why the same diagnosis of human megalomania applies today. I will not dwell into the reasons to this here, other than point out that there is a clear tendency for religious people to reject evolutionary theory. So this is the current status of the road to human dethronement. OK, we’ll accept that we’re not the Centre of the Universe. But hey, don’t make me think that I’m just some ape!

See also this page.

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