What an amazing irony.  We are constantly reminded of the primacy of evolution in modern science.  Religion, with it’s divine laws and eternal hopes, is deemed the stuff of superstition and ignorance.  Science, via the vehicle of evolutionary theory, is progressively liberating us from the shackles of outdated, outmoded, unproven, unprovable theology.

Evolutionary theory, in it’s most ardent, most vocal expression, tells us that nature is accidental, purposeless and random.  That there is no deity, no free-will, no guiding principle for our lives except mutation, natural selection and the possibility of survival.  Some think that evolution means that nature ‘guides’ us down the eons.  But strictly speaking, this is untrue.  Guidance implies mind and will.  And any neo-Darwinist evolutionary biologist worth his salt will deny that nature has any mind, or will,  whatsoever.  This fact is, to some, part of the very glory of evolution.  It means two things; our existence is an amazing accident, that stands in defiance of all statistical probabilities, and that nature cannot judge us, for there is no morality except survival.

Ironically, many in our culture, including some doctrinaire Darwinists, are hell-bent on the impending socialist transformation of America.  They are in favor of more and more bail-out money to ever-increasing numbers of citizens, many of whom knowingly contribute as little as possible to the good of the country; or, one might add, the good of the species.

These neo-socialists preach their ideology from a high pulpit, perched on the bodies of untold millions murdered by socialism (far and away more than religious fiat or intolerance ever killed).  History has no bearing on their theory; which they hold with as much faith as anyone in my own Southern Baptist congregation.

Why do they want to tax the rich?  Because the rich are evil and have obviously stolen from the poor.  Why do they want to provide universal health care?  Because the poor are in need of help, in order to survive and be healthier.  Why do they want to re-organize our very cultural and political landscape?  Allegedly, for a more fair, equal, non-judgmental, tolerant, diverse country.  Why adjust the environment to counter the effects of humanity on the environment?  We have a duty to ‘nature’, and to other humans.  Why do all of this?  Because they feel that we ought to help people, and that they ought to advance their ideology, some of which has to do with easing suffering, some of which has to do with political and economic ascendancy and the associated power to oppress dissent.

But I have to ask, if we are evolutionists after all, if evolutionary theory trumps all other religions, what does ‘ought’ mean?  What does help matter?  Why help?  Why not allow natural selection, economic or physical, to do its work? No bailout, no universal coverage, no mortgage assistance, no redistribution.  Aren’t the healthiest inherently more likely to survive?  And if so, why enable the sick?  Aren’t the richest the ones who have demonstrated their ability to navigate a changing, one might say ‘evolving’ economic system, and thus more likely to pass on their enhanced survival genetics?

What are fairness, equality, tolerance, duty or diversity?  What is socialism and what is capitalism?  What is freedom or slavery? What is mankind?  What is ought?  And who says what we ought to do?  Nature?  Evolution?  Natural selection?  Genetics?  Environment?

Does science, our amazing tool, our friend and help-mate, tell us what we ought to do?  Not on a moral level; merely on a mechanical one.   It seems that the very idea of ‘ought,’ as expressed by modern progressives, is a slap in Darwin’s bearded face.  Morality should only be useful insofar as it might help survival.  Many have made this case; that we evolved morality for the purpose of the common good.  But once survival is imperiled, once group-think runs up against the individual’s need, morality should certainly be jettisoned to the fossil-pile.  We don’t really transmit group DNA, do we?  We transmit individual DNA.  The Nazis and Communists of the last century understood moral mutability quite well.  The socialists of our ear of bailouts will figure it out in their own due course, when budgets designed for the poor and vulnerable call for rationing their care, and when ‘helping’ one group requires theft from another; when creating equality necessitates oppressing another.
I’m not trying to insult any Darwinian biologist.  In fact, I believe that species do change over time.  I believe, however, that creatures do change within type.  I refer to myself as a believer in ‘micro-evolution.’  Nevertheless, I have serious doubts about Darwinism as an explanatory model for either the origin of life, or for all speciation and transformation; as do many mathematicians and other theorists.

But I especially have issues with the idea of evolution as a God-trumping, mindless, accidental process that stands above and looms over any idea of revealed truth and morality.

What makes me smile is that so many brilliant thinkers, and so many others who don’t fully understand what they believe, embrace evolution in all its wonder; and yet find themselves unable to allow it to proceed.  We want to care for the poor, the sick, the downtrodden, the immigrant, the one losing his house, the one losing her job.  No matter how unlikely to succeed, or even survive, they may be.
What we have is a a theory of evolution that we love to unpack and admire; our treasured bundle of letters from brilliant Uncle Charles.  But also an underlying ethic that supersedes the theory in practice.

We believe in helping, in disobeying evolution, in lifting others up from the trap of mere survival, in spitting in the face of natural selection, because we were informed (consciously or unconsciously) by a belief in right and wrong, in a transcendent morality, and in the revealed worth of individual humans.

Are we evolutionists?  Maybe.  Evolutionary theory has useful applications.  But at the same time, it makes me smile to think that we may be, simultaneously, secretly, and to our own chagrin, Christians as well.

Edwin

PS  Since pieces like this sometimes result in individuals questioning another individual’s education, I have a BS in Zoology from Marshall University and an MD from West Virginia University.  I know, I know, not Ivy League.  But frankly, who cares?  My loans are all paid off.

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