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Stephen Jay Gould exposed “The stereotype of a fully rational and objective ‘scientific method,’ with individual scientists as logical (and interchangeable) robots, is self-serving mythology.”1 Gould, who served as professor of geology at Harvard and New York University, stated that “no factual discovery of science (statements about how nature ‘is’) can, in principle, lead us to ethical conclusions (how we ‘ought’ to behave) or to convictions about intrinsic meaning (the ‘purpose’ of our lives). These last two questions—and what more important inquiries could we make?—lie firmly in the domains of religion, philosophy and humanistic study.”2
Gould is involved in a dodge by relegating religion to its own sealed box. There is no point, Gould insists, where religion and science have anything to do with one another. “Science and religion should be equal, mutually respecting partners, each the master of its own domain, and with each domain vital to human life in a different way.”3 And yet, when it comes to the meaning of life and the “oughts” of behavior, Gould must turn to religion because he cannot account for them in his evolutionary worldview. He admits that “all scientists accept materialism (at least in their workplace), and the philosophically astute realize that it poses no threat to our love for music, subjective insight, and love itself!”4 But if evolution is true—“operating blindly and randomly”5 as evolutionists insist—there cannot be any scientific justification for morality and meaning because these are outside the realm of science. And since today’s scientists are materialists, they cannot account for a “subjective insight” like love. In fact, materialism discounts any form of “insight.” Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the double-helix structure of DNA, sets forth the logical implications of materialism:
Crick’s “astonishing hypothesis” declares that all of our interior states, joys and sorrows, our memories and ambitions, even our personal identity and the cherished notion of free will, are “no more than the behavior of nerve cells.”6
Crick and Gould use the Christian concepts of love, joy, and sorrow as labels to identify the impersonal, purely random “behavior of nerve cells.” What’s true for “interior states” is also necessarily true for morality. Michael Ruse asserts that morality developed in the same way as hands, feet, and teeth—the “ephemeral product of the evolutionary process.”7 According to Ruse, “Morality,” like gills in fish and lungs in homo sapiens, “is just an aid to survival and reproduction, and has no being beyond this.”8 An article published in The Sciences, a New York Academy of Science magazine, stated that “rape is a ‘natural, biological’ phenomenon, springing from men’s evolutionary urge to reproduce.”9 Now here comes the schizophrenia. Even though rape is a natural, biological phenomenon, the authors conclude, “Plainly, rapists are responsible for rape and should be punished.”10 Why? Animals aren’t punished for “rape.”
In a full-page advertisement for a television special called the “The Trials of Life” showed a composite picture of six animals, one of which was the bald eagle, with the following caption: “Discover how similar the face of nature is to yours. The way you love, the way you fight, the way you grow, all have their roots in the kingdom we all live in: the animal kingdom.” The implication here is obvious: Humans are only an evolutionary step away from other animals. As Time magazine put it, “science has long taught that human beings are just another kind of animal.”11 While channel surfing, I came across the second installment of the series, Benjamin Franklin’s bird of “bad moral character,” the bald eagle. (Franklin preferred the turkey for the national bird.) With two eaglets in the nest and not enough food to go around, mamma allows the weakest eaglet to die. She then cannibalizes it and feeds it to the surviving eaglet.
In the 1925 “Scope’s Trial,” the defendant, John Scopes taught from “an approved school text called A Civic Biology by George Hunter.”12 The book is not so much a scientific defense of Darwinism but a rehearsal of “Darwinism’s social implications. In particular, chapter seventeen discusses the application to human society of ‘the laws of selection’ and approves the eugenic policies and scientific racism common in the United States at the time.’ (Scopes, a substitute teacher planted by the ACLU to test Tennessee’s anti-evolution law, was teaching his students from chapter seventeen.) In his Civic Biology, ‘Hunter believed that it would be criminal to hand down ‘handicaps’ to the next generation and regarded families with a history of tuberculosis, epilepsy and feeblemindedness as ‘parasitic on society.’ The remedy, according to Hunter, is to prevent breeding.”13
Hunter describes the “Jukes” and “Kallikak” families as “notorious example[s]” of bad heredity that resulted in feeble-mindedness, criminality, alcoholism, and sexual immorality. According to Hunter, they are “true parasites” on society, “spreading disease, immorality, and crime in all parts of this country.” Here is Hunter’s evolutionary solution:
If such people were lower animals, we would probably kill them off to prevent them from spreading. Humanity will not allow this, but we do have the remedy of separating the sexes in asylums or other places and in various ways preventing intermarriage and the possibilities of perpetuating such a low and degenerate race. Remedies of this sort have been tried successfully in Europe and are now meeting success in this country.14
Evolution validated the eugenics movement by giving it scientific legitimacy. The same was true about entrenched ideas concerning race. Hunter believed that of the “five races or varieties of man” that have evolved, “the highest type of all” is “the Caucasians, represented by the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America.”15
Robert Lewis Dabney (1820–1898), a Southern Presbyterian theologian praised by Princeton professor A. A. Hodge as “the best teacher of theology in the United States, if not the world,” understood the moral implications of Darwinism when he wrote:
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If mine is a pig’s destiny, why may I not hold this “pig philosophy”? Again, if I am but an animal refined by evolution, I am entitled to live an animal life. Why not? The leaders in this and the sensualistic philosophy may themselves be restrained by their habits of mental culture, social discretion and personal refinement (for which they are indebted to reflex Christian influences); but the herd of common mortals are not cultured and refined, and in them the doctrine will bear its deadly fruit.16
Because Christianity had so impacted nineteenth-century society, the ethical and cultural effects of Darwinism were at first minimal. In time, however, as consistency began to be demanded of the new naturalistic worldview, the evolutionary dogma impacted the world in ominous ways. Marxism and Nazism are built on Darwin's theory. “Given the close relationship between Darwinism and the horrific crimes committed by Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge Regime we are forced to conclude that ours has been the Darwinian century.”17
1 Stephen Jay Gould, “In the Mind of the Beholder,” Natural History (February 1994), 103:14.
2 Stephen Jay Gould, “Dorthy, It’s Really Oz,” Time (August 23, 1999), 59.
3 Gould, “Dorthy, It’s Really Oz,” 59.
4 Stephen Jay Gould, “Darwin’s ‘Big Book,’” review of Charles Darwin, Natural Selection, ed. R. C. Stauffer (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1975), in Science (May 23, 1975) 188:824–826. Quoted in Henry M. Morris, That Their Words May be Used Against Them (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 1999), 474.
5 Michael D. Lemonick and Andrea Dorfman, “Up From the Apes: Remarkable New Evidence is Filling in the Story of How we Became Human,” Time (August 23, 1999), 58.
6 Daniel Voll, “Soul Searching with Francis Crick,” Omni (February 1994), 46.
7 Michael Ruse, The Darwinian Paradigm (London: Routledge, 1989), 268. Quoted in Paul Copan, “True for You, Not True For Me”: Deflating the Slogans that Leave Christians Speechless (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 1998), 46.
8 Ruse, The Darwinian Paradigm, 268.
9 Dan Vergano, “‘Natural, biological’ theory of rape creates instant storm,” USA Today (January 28, 2000), 8D. The thesis was expanded and published in Randy Thornhill and Craig T. Palmer, A Natural History of Rape: Biological Basis of Sexual Coercion (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000). Feminist scholars have portrayed rape as being about power, while Thornhill and Palmer claim it’s about procreation and the perpetuation of the species. Since evolution is about the survival (procreation) of the fittest (power), it’s easy to see, given Darwinian assumptions, how both can be right.
10 Quoted in Vergano, “‘Natural, biological’ theory of rape creates instant storm,” 8D.
11 Lemonick and Dorfman, "Up From the Apes," 51.
12 Philip J. Sampson, 6 Modern Myths About Christianity & Civilization (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2001), 54.
13 Sampson, 6 Modern Myths About Christianity, 54–55.
14 George W. Hunter, A Civic Biology (New York: American Book, 1914), 263.
15 Hunter, A Civic Biology, 196.
16 Robert L. Dabney, “The Influences of False Philosophies upon Character and Conduct,” in Discourses (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Pub., 1979), 4:574.
17 F. W. Schnitzler, “Darwinian Violence,” Christianity and Society 4:3 (July 1994), 28.