|Feature Article - February 2007|
|by Do-While Jones|
What do the social sciences tell us about the theory of evolution?
Over the years we have examined the theory of evolution from a number of different scientific perspectives. We’ve looked at it from a biological point of view, a chemical point of view, a thermodynamic point of view, etc. But we’ve never looked at the theory of evolution from the point of view of a social scientist. That is, we’ve never looked at the theory of evolution from the point of view of a sociologist, psychologist, or anthropologist. It is about time that we did.
From a sociological point of view, it is clear that man is a social being. He lives in a society that depends, to some extent, on order and structure. Sociology examines how well the customs of various civilizations operate. One thing that brings order and structure to society is religion.
Voltaire said, “Si Dieu n'existait pas, il faudrait l'inventer.” (If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.) 1 From a sociological point of view, man needs something to give meaning and direction to his life, and that thing is a religion. Religions were invented as a way to keep order in society.
From a secular, sociological point of view, there are only two possibilities. Either (1) there is no such thing as “one true religion,” in which case all religions are merely human inventions devised to keep order, or (2) there is one true religion, in which case all religions, except one, are merely human inventions devised to keep order. That’s why sociologists view all religions as if they aren’t really true. And, in every case (or every case but one), sociologists are correct.
Given the premise that all religions are false, the sociological approach is to examine the extent to which each religion makes people feel good and behave well. Religion simply is “the opium of the people,” 2 but different people choose different drugs. Some people find the notion of a god watching over them comforting. On the other hand, some people find the notion that there is NO god watching over them comforting. Social scientists want to know which drug works the best.
Social scientists aren’t looking for the “true” religion—they are looking for the best religion. Social sciences study the various world religions and evaluate how well they help society to function.
The primary atheistic religion in America is humanism. Atheists don’t meet every Sunday morning, and aren’t as formally organized as most religious groups; but the American Humanist Association does claim to be “The Voice of Humanism Since 1941.”
In order that religious humanism may be better understood we, the undersigned, desire to make certain affirmations which we believe the facts of our contemporary life demonstrate. 3
Although it is often claimed that atheism isn’t a religion, these atheists themselves claim humanism to be “religious.” The “certain affirmations” they make are, in effect, their creed. Since they are so opposed to traditional religions, they object to the word “creed” as a description of their beliefs. Instead they use the term, “manifesto.” Their fundamental beliefs are stated in their fifteen-article Humanist Manifesto, in which they admit that they are inventing a new religion tailored to fit modern needs. We encourage you to read the whole manifesto. Here are a few pertinent excerpts.
While this age does owe a vast debt to the traditional religions, it is none the less obvious that any religion that can hope to be a synthesizing and dynamic force for today must be shaped for the needs of this age. To establish such a religion is a major necessity of the present. It is a responsibility which rests upon this generation. We therefore affirm the following:
FIRST: Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.
SECOND: Humanism believes that man is a part of nature and that he has emerged as a result of a continuous process. 4
The “continuous process” by which man has emerged from nature can be nothing other than evolution. Clearly, the first two articles deny supernatural creation.
FIFTH: Humanism asserts that the nature of the universe depicted by modern science makes unacceptable any supernatural or cosmic guarantees of human values. Obviously humanism does not deny the possibility of realities as yet undiscovered, but it does insist that the way to determine the existence and value of any and all realities is by means of intelligent inquiry and by the assessment of their relations to human needs. Religion must formulate its hopes and plans in the light of the scientific spirit and method. 5
This was written back in 1933, when science was still associated with the “scientific method.” Since the theory of evolution fails the scientific method so miserably, modern evolutionists don’t limit science to things learned using the scientific method. The new definition of science is, essentially, “anything a scientist thinks.”
SIXTH: We are convinced that the time has passed for theism, deism, modernism, and the several varieties of "new thought". 6
Since “the time has passed for theism,” et cetera, they have a strategy for replacing them with something else. That “something else” is stated in article 11.
ELEVENTH: Man will learn to face the crises of life in terms of his knowledge of their naturalness and probability. Reasonable and manly attitudes will be fostered by education and supported by custom. We assume that humanism will take the path of social and mental hygiene and discourage sentimental and unreal hopes and wishful thinking. 7
In other words, they plan to use the public education system to eradicate all those sentimental and unrealistic religions. Social peer pressure will cleanse America of the filth of wishful thinking. This has been their published strategy since 1933.
THIRTEENTH: Religious humanism maintains that all associations and institutions exist for the fulfillment of human life. The intelligent evaluation, transformation, control, and direction of such associations and institutions with a view to the enhancement of human life is the purpose and program of humanism. Certainly religious institutions, their ritualistic forms, ecclesiastical methods, and communal activities must be reconstituted as rapidly as experience allows, in order to function effectively in the modern world. 8
So, religious institutions must be replaced by some other institutions that will keep society in line. What could those institutions be, if not the schools, government, and the courts of law?
FOURTEENTH: The humanists are firmly convinced that existing acquisitive and profit-motivated society has shown itself to be inadequate and that a radical change in methods, controls, and motives must be instituted. A socialized and cooperative economic order must be established to the end that the equitable distribution of the means of life be possible. The goal of humanism is a free and universal society in which people voluntarily and intelligently cooperate for the common good. Humanists demand a shared life in a shared world. 9
In their view, capitalism hasn’t worked. Therefore, “a radical change in methods, controls, and motives must be instituted. A socialized and cooperative economic order must be established … Humanists demand a shared life in a shared world.” Is this the Humanist Manifesto or the Communist Manifesto? The mere fact that they find the word “manifesto” less offensive than “creed” is significant.
The term “Christian Right” has been used to describe a political movement that has arisen in recent years. What is the Christian Right responding to? Clearly, it is responding to the Anti-Christian Left as defined by the Humanist Manifesto. It is the stated goal of American humanists to cleanse America of Christianity, and replace religious institutions with government institutions that will replace capitalism with communism.
So, we can step back and view the situation from the impartial position of a social scientist watching the battle play out. There are two groups who have competing ideas on how society should be governed. One believes religious ideals should motivate individuals to virtuous action in a free society. The other believes individuals need to be controlled by government institutions that are unhindered by superstition. What is the key to success? Both groups agree it is winning the creation/evolution battle.
From a secular, social science point of view, there clearly is a basic human need to have an explanation for where the human race came from. Every culture has a creation myth. Consider the Native Americans, for example.
In Southwestern tales, four or five worlds of different colors or elements are stacked one on top of the other, and people climb up a reed or stalk through a hole in the ceiling of one dying world into the next, newborn one. People in the Northwest tell of descending through a hole in the sky (associated with the smoke hole in a tipi) to emerge into the present world. 10
The Greeks, on the other hand, believed that man was created by two Titans named Prometheus and Athena.
Prometheus shaped man out of mud, and Athena breathed life into his clay figure. 11
The Norse legend, not surprisingly, says that man came from ice.
Thawing frost then became a cow called Audhumla. … The cow licked salty ice blocks. After one day of licking, she freed a man's hair from the ice. After two days, his head appeared. On the third day the whole man was there. His name was Buri, and he was tall, strong, and handsome. 12
There are many more creation myths. We leave it to you to find more as the proverbial “exercise for the reader.” You will find that there are differences, and similarities, but there is one thing that is common to all creation myths, except one. With just one exception, all creation myths are stories about something that happened in the past which cannot be proved or disproved.
As silly as it sounds, one cannot prove that the first man was not licked out of a block ice by a cow. In defense of the Norse legend, one could legitimately say, “We don’t know any scientifically plausible method by which it could happen, but that doesn’t prove it didn’t happen. It must have been a miracle.” That’s not a terribly satisfying defense, but if one accepts the possibility of supernatural events, it could be true.
As we said before, there is one creation myth that is an exception. The creation myth of humanism is the theory of evolution; and it is based on 19th century science—not oral tradition.
None of the other creation myths claim to have a natural, scientific explanation. All the other creation myths involve special, supernatural events which cannot be reproduced in the laboratory. The theory of evolution is the only creation myth that claims no supernatural process was involved, and was the natural result of forces still in operation today.
Since the theory of evolution claims to be scientific, it must be scientifically plausible. Evolutionists cannot legitimately use the defense, “We don’t know any scientifically plausible method by which it could happen, but that doesn’t prove it didn’t happen. It must have been a miracle.” Faith in miracles is not allowed in a religion that denies the supernatural. Yet evolutionists use that excuse every time they get backed into a corner. Insufficient scientific knowledge isn’t an acceptable defense of a myth that claims to be based on scientific knowledge.
The fundamental problem for evolutionists is that science happened. The space race began after World War II, and when the Russians launched Sputnik in 1957, Americans really got serious about science. Science students wanted to learn how everything worked, and one of those things they wanted to learn about was evolution. When they started to look at evolution in the light of modern science, they started seeing insurmountable difficulties. They rejected evolution as the explanation for the existence of all the various kinds of life on Earth, and started looking for other explanations.
If known natural processes are unable to explain the origin and diversity of life, the only other two options are (1) unknown natural processes, and (2) supernatural processes. It is easy to believe in unknown natural processes at first; but as time goes on, and the search for natural answers leads to an unending series of dead ends, faith in an unknown natural cause has to be abandoned.
After the alchemists had tried everything they could think of, they eventually gave up on the idea of turning lead into gold. Someone might still say, “How do you know lead can’t be turned into gold? Gold had to come from somewhere; it could have come from lead. Sure, lots of alchemists tried to turn lead to gold, and failed, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done!” Modern society recognizes that argument for what it really is—desperate wishful thinking.
When evolutionists say, “How do you know life isn’t the result of evolution? Sure, lots of scientists have tried to explain it, and failed; but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen,” we recognize it for what it really is—desperate wishful thinking.
The problem with the 19th century theory of evolution is 21st century science. We don’t know any scientifically plausible method by which chemicals could form the first living cell, and there isn’t any scientifically plausible way a single-celled organism could evolve into multi-cellular organisms, and there isn’t any scientifically plausible mechanism by which those multi-cellular organisms could evolve into all the plants and animals alive today. To believe in the theory of evolution, one must believe in a whole series of steps for which there is no plausible scientific explanation. That is a fatal flaw for a creation myth that claims to be based on science.
If someone believes one creation myth, he cannot believe any other. If one believes the first man thawed out of ice, then he cannot believe the first man climbed up a reed from a dying world. On the other hand, if it were possible to prove that the first man did not thaw out of ice, it would not prove that the first people crawled up a reed from a dying world. Disproving one myth does not prove another. It merely leaves an unanswered question.
There are some people, like Marshall 13, who claim to be comfortable with unanswered questions. But social science has pretty well established that the origin of man is a question that most human beings aren’t comfortable leaving unanswered. Disproving the Norse legend would not, all by itself, prove the Southwestern Native American legend is true. Disproving evolution does not prove the Genesis story. If man is not the natural result of evolution, where did he come from? Did he come from ice, mud, a hole in the ground, or down from the sky? Inquiring minds want to know!
There is a whole spectrum of religious groups that would be more than happy to answer that question for you. Since there are so many suppliers of information in that area, Science Against Evolution sees no need to duplicate their effort. We focus on the truth about evolution, and let you search for whatever other truth you want to find elsewhere.
The question that is legitimately in our charter is, “If science is against evolution, why do so many scientists continue to believe it?” The answer has to do with social science (which broadly includes history and political science) rather than the so-called “hard sciences” (such as biology, chemistry, and physics). The answer can be found in American history and politics.
The Humanist Manifesto was published in 1933. Since that time, rather than wage open war against believers, humanists chose to sabotage traditional religions secretly. They did this by saying that there was no real conflict between science and religion. One deals with the physical realm, and the other deals with the spiritual realm. There can be no conflict because there is no overlap. It sounded logical, so most people believed it. Only a few people recognized that if the theory of evolution is true, then man’s sin did not cause death, so death could not atone for sin. The few who recognized that there really is a conflict between the theory of evolution and traditional Christian beliefs were disregarded as religious fanatics.
The humanist strategy worked for a while. The theory of evolution was “fostered by education and supported by custom.” American children in the public schools were taught that “evolution is a fact.” Anyone who didn’t believe in evolution was accused of believing the earth is flat, too.
Children were taught all the principles of the humanist manifesto in public schools. They were taught that the universe self-exists and was not created. Man is a part of nature that has emerged as the result of a continuous process. The nature of the universe depicted by modern science makes unacceptable any supernatural or cosmic guarantees of human values. The time has passed for theism. Government will ensure equitable distribution of goods and services, and will take care of them. Naturally, the children rejected traditional religion and turned to the political left.
When conservative Americans saw what was happening to their children, they fought back. They home-schooled their children. They elected creationists to public school boards to get evolution out of textbooks. The fight was on.
Beginning in 1985, national samples of U.S. adults have been asked whether the statement, "Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals," is true or false, … Over the past 20 years, the percentage of U.S. adults accepting the idea of evolution has declined … [In 2003,] About a third of American adults firmly rejected evolution, and only 14% of adults thought that evolution is "definitely true." 14
Since the humanists’ covert attack on other religions is becoming less effective, they have launched a full frontal assault. Richard Dawkins is leading the charge, with his book The God Delusion. He also managed to make the cover of the November 13, 2006, Time magazine with his “God vs. Science” debate. You no doubt have noticed in recent years that humanists are becoming openly anti-Christian. They want to prohibit children from saying the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools because it includes the phrase “under God.” They have gone to court to keep prayer out of schools. They have tried to prohibit religious clubs from meeting on school property. They have argued in court that any criticism of evolution is an effort to get Christianity into public schools as the basis for removing warning stickers from biology textbooks.
Evolutionists aren’t really pro-science; they are anti-God. They view religion as a mental illness that needs to be eradicated. Recognizing the obvious conflict between the Bible and the theory of evolution, they are endeavoring to establish the theory of evolution as a way of discrediting the Bible (and the Koran, too) and stamp out the delusion that there is a God.
A social science examination of the theory of evolution, and the humanist reasoning behind it, helps us to understand the influence of the theory of evolution on politics and customs. It explains why non-scientific arguments are used as proof of a supposedly scientific theory.
The scientists who believe in the theory of evolution believe it because it is the creation myth of their religion. They attack Genesis because they know that if they can discredit Genesis it will leave a void which most people would naturally fill with something else—and that “something else” is most likely to be the theory of evolution, which is the foundation of their religion.
In the past we have largely ignored the religious, cultural, and political implications of the theory of evolution. In the future, we will continue to try to ignore them. We prefer to examine the theory of evolution from the point of view of the hard, experimental sciences. Richard Dawkins, however, makes that hard to do sometimes.
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2 Karl Marx, as translated in http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/300700.html
10 Erdoes and Ortiz, 1984, American Indian Myths and Legends, page 75
13 Disclosure, January 2007, “Marshall’s Big Question”
14 Science, Vol. 313, 11 August 2006, “Public Acceptance of Evolution”, page 765, https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.1126746