Russell and Duenes

C.S. Lewis and What Humpty-Dumpty Teaches Us About Evolution

with 2 comments

Though I’m only a little way into it – I don’t have a lot of time for free reading these days – I’m being thoroughly encouraged by C.S. Lewis’ God in the Dock. As usual, Lewis has insights that never swirl around in my tiny head, and he is particularly good at drawing out metaphors and allegories to bring home the truth of Christian doctrine and the folly of much modern dogma. In his essay on “Miracles”, Lewis gives a little twist on Humpty-Dumpty to show why modern physics cannot possible answer the question of origins.

The story told by modern physics might be told briefly in the words ‘Humpty Dumpty was falling.’ That is, it proclaims itself an incomplete story. There must have been a time before he fell, when he was sitting on the wall; there must be a time after he had reached the ground. It is quite true that science knows of no horses and men who can put him together again once he has reached the ground and broken. But then she also knows of no means by which he could originally have been put on the wall. You wouldn’t expect her to. All science rests on observation: all our observations are taken during Humpty Dumpty’s fall, because we were born after he lost his seat on the wall and shall be extinct long before he reaches the ground. But to assume from observations taken while the clock is running down that the unimaginable winding-up which must have preceded this process cannot occur when the process is over is the merest dogmatism. From the very nature of the case the laws of degradation and disorganization which we find in matter at present, cannot be the ultimate and eternal nature of things. If they were, there would have been nothing to degrade and disorganize. Humpty Dumpty can’t fall off a wall that never existed.



Written by Michael Duenes

September 4, 2011 at 6:40 am

Posted in Duenes, Reflections, Science

2 Responses

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  1. Have you seen the Question Evolution campaign? I’m excited about it. I live (and work) in spheres in which expressing doubt about evolution is like having two heads, and I’d like to start seeing social change on that.


    September 7, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    • I’m with you. I haven’t heard about the campaign, but that’s for the tip. I’ll look at it.


      russell and duenes

      September 9, 2011 at 10:27 am

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