'The Way It Is' Fallacy


The science vs. religion wound in American society, and in public education, will, in my view, continue to fester so long as scientists and evolutionists keep writing and speaking in ways that perpetuate what I have come to call, "The Way It Is Fallacy." This is the wrongheaded yet nonetheless widely held notion that science necessarily yields a meaningless or depressing worldview—and "that's just the way it is."  In the words of one recent blogger: "One can only hold on to some higher ideals until you see what the world is actually made of." Or as another offered: "The news of science and evolution may be fascinating and mind-expanding, but it isn't precisely 'good news' or 'gospel'. Evolution is good in many ways, but it is also red in tooth and claw. If science provides us with anything it is not optimism but realism."

From this perspective, those who look at evolution and see no reason for hope are said to be realists. Those who are inspired when they look at the world or imagine the future through evolutionary eyes are said to be wishful thinkers, Pollyanna's, or simply out of touch with reality. Interestingly, atheists and fundamentalists are generally in agreement about this.

But both are wrong, demonstrably so. Yes... Is it possible to focus on certain aspects of evolution and find little, if anything, to get excited about—little that anyone would be tempted to call ‘gospel', or good news? Absolutely. This is especially true if you ignore long-term evolutionary and cultural trends. But as I will show in the coming weeks and months, it is also possible, at least as legitimate, and certainly far more useful to highlight those aspects of the history of the Universe, including human history, that provide compelling reasons to be inspired and that offer realistic hope for humanity and for the larger body of life of which we are part. (Also see list of recommend resources below.)

The View from the Center of the Universe: Joel Primack and Nancy Abrams
Green Space Green Time: The Way of Science: Connie Barlow
The Sacred Depths of Nature: Ursula Goodenough
God After Darwin: A Theology of Evolution: John F. Haught
The Universe Story: From the Primordial Flaring Forth to the Ecozoic Era: Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry
The Dream of the Earth, The Great Work, and Evening Thoughts: Thomas Berry
Nature's Magic: Synergy in Evolution and the Fate of Humankind, and Holistic Darwinism: Peter Corning
Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin's Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives: David Sloan Wilson
The Symbiotic Man: A New Understanding of the Organization of Life and a Vision of the Future: Joel de Rosnay
Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, & the Economic World: Kevin Kelly
A Theory of Everything: An Integral Vision for Business, Politics, Science and Spirituality: Ken Wilber
Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution: Steve McIntosh
World as Lover, World as Self and Coming Back to Life: Joanna Macy
The Universe is a Green Dragon and Canticle to the Cosmos DVDs: Brian Swimme
Humanity: The Chimpanzees Who Would Be Ants: Russell Genet
Conscious Evolution: Awakening Our Social Potential: Barbara Marx Hubbard
Promise Ahead: A Vision of Hope and Action for Humanity's Future: Duane Elgin
Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World: Michael Dowd

Evolutionary Perspective - webpage
Introduction to Evolutionary Spirituality - webpage
Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History: David Christian
Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity: Teaching Company course taught by David Christian
Epic of Evolution: Seven Ages of the Cosmos: Eric Chaisson
Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny: Robert Wright
Evolution’s Arrow: The Direction of Evolution and The Future of Humanity: John Stewart
The Evolutionary Manifesto - essay by John Stewart
Evolution Extended: Biological Debates on the Meaning of Life: Connie Barlow
Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software: Steven Johnson
The Global Brain and Waking Up in Time: Peter Russell
EarthDance: Living Systems in Evolution: Elisabet Sahtouris
The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology: Ray Kurzweil
The Law of Accelerating Returns - essay by Ray Kurzweil
Radical Evolution: Joel Garreau