In response to my post about a biological textbook claiming that you need to believe in "philosophical materialism" to accept evolution, Andrea Bottaro dropped by to leave a comment. Andrea Bottaro is a member of the anti-ID blog The Panda's Thumb, and to add some "more context", he quoted the whole section, from Kenneth Miller's and Joseph Levine's Biology: Discovering Life:
Darwin knew that accepting his theory required believing in philosophical materialism, the conviction that matter is the stuff of all existence and that all mental and spiritual phenomena are its by-products. Darwinian evolution was not only purposeless but also heartless – a process in which the rigors of nature ruthlessly eliminate the unfit.
Suddenly, humanity was reduced to just one more species in a world that cared nothing for us. The great human mind was no more than a mass of evolving neurons. Worst of all, there was no divine plan to guide us. These realizations troubled Darwin deeply, for in his day, materialism was even more outrageous than evolution (Figure 8.14). Some scholars speculate that fear of being branded a heretic for his materialism contributed to Darwin's 21-year delay in publishing his theory. The same antimaterialistic reasoning also drives much modern-day opposition to evolutionary thought.
Yet as pointed out by evolutionary scholar Douglas Futuyma, seldom do the detractors of the Darwinian world view take note of its positive implications. In Darwin's world we are not helpless prisoners of a static world order, but rather masters of our own fate in a universe where human action can change the future. And from a strictly scientific point of view, rejecting evolution is no different from rejecting other natural phenomena such as electricity and gravity.
Darwin remained to the end a devout, if somewhat unorthodox, Christian. "I see no good reason why the views given in this volume should shock the religious feelings of anyone," he wrote. Like religious scientists of many faiths today, he found no less wonder in a god that directed the laws of nature than in one that circumvented them.
In Andrea Bottaro's version, the last paragraph was in bold, as if it negated what was written in the first paragraph. But it doesn't take long to see that it just makes things worse. According to Miller and Levine, the textbook authors, Darwin knew that believing in materialism, the "purposeless" and "heartless" view that "matter is the stuff of all existence and that all mental and spiritual phenomena are its by-products", was required to accept his theory. What person with an IQ above room temperature would not think that this would "shock the religious feelings of anyone" Mind you, I think Miller and Levine are talking out of their rectums regarding the materialistic assumptions behind evolution. But if we are to believe the quote above, someone will have to award Darwin with an award for being the most naive person in Western history.
Also, don't miss Salvador dismantling the spin about Darwin remaining a "devout, if somewhat unorthodox, Christian" to his death.