Richard Dawkins has an essay in the latest Free Inquiry on “The Power of Darwin.” He says that Darwin’s theory of natural selection is “arguably the most powerful idea ever” because “it assumes little to explain much.”
Twenty-first century evolutionary science, if Darwin could return to see it, would enthrall, excite, and amaze him. But he would recognize it as his own. We are just coloring in the details. For my money, the most important thinker the human species has ever produced was Charles Darwin….
Darwin raises our consciousness to the sinewy power of science to explain the large and complex in terms of the small and simple. In biology we were fooled for centuries into thinking that extravagant complexity in nature needs an extravagantly complex explanation. Darwin triumphantly dispelled that illusion. There remain big questions, in physics and cosmology, that await their own Darwins. Why are the laws of physics the way they are? Why are there laws at all? Why is there a universe at all? Once again, the lure of “design” is tempting, but we have the cautionary tale of Darwin before us. We’ve been through all that before. Darwin raised our consciousness, and we are emboldened to seek true explanations of genuine power.
Do you agree?