Darwin vs Galileo, a dialogue: "What it Means We Evolved"





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Published on Sep 26, 2013

Imagine Darwin introducing Galileo to evolution for the first time. What would this master of maths and logic make of Darwin's account? Would he be impressed? Turns out, he isn't. In fact, he decides he can come up with a better theory of evolution and win for himself fame equal to Darwin's. We come in where Darwin has just failed to answer two questions Galileo posed him and must now keep his promise to serve as Galileo's research library. In the exchange that follows we see Galileo coming up with his own way of making sense of evolution.

The theory of evolution Galileo comes up with doesn't satisfy Darwin, and we next see him challenging Galileo to point out what his theory tells us we didn't know before. What questions does it answer? Galileo gleefully takes up the challenge.

These two extracts are taken from a new 90-minute play (written in 2012 and 2013) taking a fresh look at evolution free of the assumptions we've acquired from our familiarity with darwinism, The play is taken up entirely with the dialogue between these two giants of science as they bicker about what evolution means. Darwin defends modern evolutionary theory, Galileo picks holes in it and arrives at his own assumptions.

Evolution is our new origin story. Increasingly we shape our beliefs about the living world and our own nature around it. This play asks the question, suppose the story we're telling is wrong, could we be selling ourselves short? Is evolutionary theory a new Procrustes, chopping human nature down to fit its narrow parameters?

The author studied biochemistry at University college London and went on to become a medical and science writer in New York City. He is no creationist; he is an atheist, an organizer of the Hudson Valley Atheists. He remained an enthusiastic Darwinist up to his 60s when writing and publishing books on the impact of evolutionary theory on human nature through his imprint, Evolved Self Publishing (www.evolvedself.com), alerted him to problems inherent in darwinism. It is now his mission to broadcast his misgivings.

For more information about this play, the script and sound recordings of the acts, visit www.evolvedself.com. The play is available for performance. The author offers to perform it free, playing both roles as he does in these extracts, for groups of students in the humanities in the Mid Hudson Valley and New York City. Contact the author, Shaun, through email at the address here: www.evolvedself.com/about/address.htm.

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