The View From 1776
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Teaching Evolution: The Argument Is Not About Science
The ACLU has sued to stop the Dover Area [Pennsylvania] School District from instructing students that Darwinism is not necessarily a scientific fact, because, they say, doing so amounts to “an establishment of religion.”
The ACLU is correct that religion is involved, but it’s on the wrong side of the street. Darwinian evolution has nothing to do with science and everything to do with establishing atheistic socialism as the official national religion.
The absolutely essential doctrine of Darwinism is atheism, the assertion that life came into being by accident, via purely physical means. Without this doctrine and the corresponding thesis that all animal and plant life evolved from a single, primitive life form, there is no point at all in advocating Darwinism. Without the atheistic rejection of God as the Creator of the entire universe, Darwinism would be no more than a footnote in taxonomic classification of plants and animals.
Science can deal only with aspects of the material world to describe the phenomena of nature and to seek explanations for the processes of nature. Science cannot claim to deal with ontology, the branch of philosophy that seeks to understand the nature and source of Being itself (how the phenomena and processes of nature came to exist), an inquiry that inevitably travels the path of religious explanations.
But that is precisely what Darwinism claims to do. Without its religious ontological content, Darwinian evolution brings nothing useful to the table that earlier schools of biology had not already delivered.
In sharp distinction to Darwinian evolution, the only part of biology that is truly scientific is taxonomic description and classification of life forms into family, genus, and species. Even there, fierce debate rages within the biological community, because biology is not an exact science in the same way that chemistry and physics are.
Darwinian evolution, unlike true sciences such as chemistry and physics, cannot be employed to predict anything or to make exact classifications of anything. It is nothing more than a speculative hypothesis with no way to employ normal scientific tests to assess its validity. Believers have nothing to cling to beyond the word of Darwinians that things “could have been” as they hypothesize.
Darwin, whose family included notorious atheists, wrote that his efforts to concoct the hypothesis of evolution were motivated by a desire to discredit the Book of Genesis and what he called the damnable doctrine of Christianity.
Darwinism is not, as popularly thought, merely the idea of natural selection, which proposes that, when environmental conditions change substantially enough to impact life forms, some individual members of a species may be better adapted to the new environmental conditions and will survive in greater numbers than other members of the same species. This also has been called survival of the fittest.
Few people will disagree with this idea. But no one needed Charles Darwin to bring it to society’s attention, because people had been selectively breeding and hybridizing animals and plants for thousands of years.
Darwinism is, however, exceedingly useful to the secular religion of socialism, which accounts for the ACLU’s rabid support.
By hypothesizing secular and material factors as the sole agents affecting life, Darwin provided a rationalization to support liberal-socialists’ proclivities for controlling all human thought and activity by collectivized government regulation.
Thomas Huxley, the English biologist who in the 1860s and 70s became the best known promoter of Darwinism, coined the term agnostic and declared that there is no such thing as right or wrong, no such thing as sin; there is only the struggle for survival in a continually evolving world of material, social, and life forms. Karl Marx was a contemporary of Darwin, and his followers enthusiastically endorsed Darwinism as proof of Marx’s theory of atheistic, materialistic, dialectic processes of history that would inevitably lead to world socialism.
Without Darwinism there would have been no “science” of eugenics, which was conceptualized by Darwin’s cousin, Sir Francis Galton, in 1865, six years after Darwin’s publication of “On the Origin of Species.” Eugenics endeavors to give natural selection a hand by deciding whether, in the interests of perfecting humanity, certain individuals ought to be sterilized to eliminate them as breeding stock that would mongrelize the human race.
Both Margaret Sanger’s Planned Parenthood and Adolph Hitler’s master-race theories were based upon Darwinian eugenics.
John Dewey in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century established what has become today’s multi-cultural and politically-correct education. Among its central tenets are moral relativism and the psychological thesis that humans have no immortal souls, but are simply mechanisms that respond to sensual pleasure or pain. Dewey based today’s educational theories on Darwin’s assertion that everything is continually evolving. Therefore, Dewey concluded, there can be no such thing as timeless principles of morality. All that counts is whether your actions get you what you want.
Note that Dewey’s philosophy of a Darwinian world with no timeless moral standards is also the theoretical basis for liberal-socialist judicial activism, yet another reason for the ACLU’s near hysterical support of Darwinism. Liberal media like the New York Times never tire of telling us that the Constitution must evolve to encompass the latest fads of hedonism, marital infidelity, and sexual promiscuity.
Of course, if there is no God and none of the constraints of Judeo-Christian morality upon the powers of government, if political life is only a matter of survival of the fittest, the way is open for totalitarianism in Stalin’s Soviet Russia and Hitler’s National Socialist Germany.