The inescapable relevance of Darwinism

Mark K. writes:

Some people may consider discussions of Darwinism superfluous and not binding on our social and political realities in America. But on a visit to the supermarket, I noticed Jimmy Carter’s book “Our Endangered Values” being promoted. I picked it up and leafed through it and what do I see inside—a chapter on Darwinian evolution. Carter tries to make a case for a peaceful co-existence between Darwinist theory and the Christian world view. I also had noticed in Alan Dershowitz’s book “Blasphemy”—a critique of the influence of “right-wing fundamentalism” on the legal interpretation of American history and the Constitution—a chapter on Darwin. Dershowitz makes the case that if theism should not be the foundation for our political and legal charters, what replaces it is biological and cultural progressivism (best encapsulated as evolution). So in fact the myth of Darwinian evolution is coming into our social, political and legal discourses. Of course in Europe it already has established itself as THE progressivist paradigm. Interestingly enough Ruth Bader Ginsberg said a few years ago that American constitutional jurisprudence should look at European laws for help in interpreting the U.S. Constitution. So Darwinism is very much a critical underpinning that merits discussion.

Mark’s remarks are significant in light of the recent comment by E. in Florida that discussions of atheism and Darwinism are a pointless distraction. The whole controversy, says E., has been unnecessarily manufactured by believers, of whom he remarks (echoing Barack Obama) that they have some irrational “need” for a god.

What intelligent, conservative agnostics and atheists such as E. need to understand is that even if they personally don’t believe in God and consider the God vs. Darwinism issue both irrevocably settled (in favor of Darwinism) and irrelevant to any true concerns, the world does not share their indifference. Darwinist atheism is not simply a neutral “truth” that people are free to believe or not to believe. It is an expansive creed, seeking to dominate and transform society and suppress traditional beliefs. American society, including the very idea of limited government, is based on a religious understanding of existence. Government must be limited because man is an imperfect, “fallen” being driven by desire for power. Officially atheist societies, such as Europe has become, have no notion of human sin (except of course for the deadly sin of violating the strictures against non-discrimination), and therefore they have no rational basis for limiting human power and making it accountable. The upshot is that if one believes in freedom, one needs to be concerned about the move of the West toward the establishment of atheism/Darwinism as its official creed.

Last January, after the paleoconservative Catholic writer John Zmirak had expressed his complete disdain for white people who think that race is important, the blogger Dulle Griet wittily commented: “Mr. Zmirak, you may not be interested in race, but race is interested in you.” Given the steady move of the West toward quasi totalitarian societies with Darwinism as their state religion, it can be said with equal aptness to conservative non-believers: You may not be interested in the God vs. Darwin issue, but the God vs. Darwin issue is interested in you.

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Bill in Maryland writes:

You write: “Darwinist atheism is not simply a neutral “truth” that people are free to believe or not to believe. It is an expansive creed … “

But as a creed it is a hopelessly ignorant travesty of the underlying science. The traditionalist has two options: either attempt to destroy the creed by refuting the theory, or demonstrate the theory’s uselessness as a guide to individual ethical behavior and social policy. Of these, the first is unlikely to bear fruit, for reasons that I assume are obvious. For the first, you will have the likes of Dawkins and Gould and the rest against you; for the second, Dawkins and Gould can be cited in your support:

Gould: “Nature is amoral, not immoral…. [It] existed for eons before we arrived, didn’t know we were coming, and doesn’t give a damn about us…. Nature betrays no statistical preference for being either warm and fuzzy, or ugly and disgusting. Nature just is—in all her complexity and diversity, in all her sublime indifference to our desires. Therefore we cannot use nature for our moral instruction, or for answering any question within the magisterium of religion.”

Dawkins: “This brings me to the first point I want to make about what this book [The Selfish Gene] is not. I am not advocating a morality based on evolution. I am saying how things have evolved. I am not saying how we humans morally ought to behave. .. My own feeling is that a human society based simply on the gene’s law of universal ruthless selfishness would be a very nasty society in which to live. But unfortunately, however much we may deplore something, it does not stop it being true … Be warned that if you wish, as I do, to build a society in which individuals cooperate generously and unselfishly towards a common good, you can expect little help from biological nature.”

Gintas writes:

This is from The American Spectator:

Weikart wrote From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany.

As I show in meticulous detail in my book, From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany, the Nazis’ devaluing of human life derived from Darwinian ideology (this does not mean that all Nazi ideology came from Darwinism). There were six features of Darwinian theory that have contributed to the devaluing of human life (then and now): … If you look back at the six points outlined above, however, you will find that many Darwinists today are advancing the same or similar ideas. Many leading Darwinists today teach that morality is nothing but a natural product of evolution, thus undermining human rights. E. O. Wilson, one of the most prominent Darwinian biologists in the world, and Michael Ruse, a leading philosopher of science (the latter is in Expelled) famously stated that ethics is “an illusion fobbed off on us by our genes.”

Yes, Darwinism remains inescapably relevant.

Ben W. writes:

I heard an interesting comment about Darwinian evolution yesterday. The speaker said, “I don’t really feel any emotion when someone tells me that an antelope may have turned into a giraffe.” This struck me because I too don’t really care if animal 1 turns into animal 2—after all a wormy cocoon turns into a butterfly and it doesn’t disturb me. On the contrary, it is rather delightful to see the emergence of a butterfly from a “worm.”

But the thought of a human being coming from an ape-like creature does generate a certain visceral distaste. WHY?

Now if we were to reverse the process of a butterfly turning into a worm—that would bother us.

So two directions seem to have an emotional impact on us. The first is the unwillingness to differentiate man from animal. The second is of any life form turning from beauty to ugliness.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 15, 2008 03:13 PM | Send

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