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Darwin’s Chair

Shrewsbury, in the English/Welsh borderlands, about thirty miles from where I live, was the birthplace of Charles Darwin. Outside the old grammar school (one of the town’s many fine historic buildings) there is a statue of Darwin, probably in bronze; it is not a standing figure, for the “Eminent Victorian” sits in a solid-looking chair.

It’s a rather fine sculpture; my only surprise is that every town doesn’t have one. Darwin is generally described, in the many histories of the later-19th century, as having caused a great storm in the society of his day, not just for seemingly turning the generally-held authority of Scripture on its head, but, in doing so, suggesting that mankind was not the object and purpose of Creation, but rather an eventual product of a chance process of events.

Humanity was no longer the purpose of all existence, and might not even be the end of this blind, meaningless series of undirected developments. I think it’s very significant that this aspect of Darwin’s life and history is so often aired today, because it helps disguise the reverse implication of evolutionism.

No doubt there is truth in the story of Victorian outrage at humanity’s supposed dethroning, but what his idea was actually doing was enthroning man – albeit a very different aspect of man, his role and purpose, than any which had been held in the Judeo-Christian-inspired thought of past ages.

The work of Charles Darwin must be considered only the culmination of a process, since all the accounts assure us that evolution was not new, but that in the Origin of Species we have a fully-developed evolutionary theory, supported (so it is claimed) by evidence.

Whatever the truth or validity of this evidence – and the vast amount which subsequent generations of evolutionists have laboured to amass – whatever the truth or reality of human origins, it is certain that the developed evolutionism that Darwin produced came as the end product of a very long process of desiring, of attempting to find or create a sound, supposedly-rational, basis for a materialist interpretation of existence and human life.

This process had begun several centuries before Darwin’s researches and – while there is much argument over the exact nature of his own beliefs, ideas, and ideological motives – it is most likely that he knowingly produced what I might call a “value prop”, a means by which a whole system of values might be held up and claim sovereignty, and universal validity.

The claim of evolutionists is not that theirs is a belief system which different people might choose to embrace or not (like so many modern-day religions), but that it is something which you have to believe. It is now they – materialist scientists, not infallible popes – who speak ex cathedra; thus evolutionism is very much something which enthrones mankind.

The oldest of all human urges (as old – dare I say it? – as the Garden of Eden) is man’s deep-seated desire to rise up against his Creator, to be the supreme ruler of the universe, and to put down, destroy, the deity who gave him life.

Hubris, human arrogance and boundless pride, is the source of all human ills, and this is the meaning, however we understand its historicity, of the story of Adam and Eve. Man does not doubt that God exists, but is determined to rise above him, determined to cast him aside.

Not all, but a lot of atheism – today, and long before Darwin’s time – is willed, or rather, it is not that people disbelieve in God, but they prefer that he did not exist, or at least, that the idea of him can be expunged from our world.

The psychology of atheism is a curious thing, but it is surely simple Freudian thinking (as has been suggested by Paul Vitz) which explains how the son seeks to destroy the father, and take his place. [See Vitz’s “The psychology of atheism”, Truth journal,www.leaderu.com/truth/1truth12.html Thus, the value prop of evolutionism puts mankind at the summit of everything, for he it is – not the animals or other life-forms – who has discovered the truth of this “mindless” process, and indeed, as some evolutionists are said to argue (is there no limit to human arrogance?) he may now even be able to control it.

This evolutionism is the value prop both of Humanism, and also of a kind of hideous, amoral nihilism, though the results of both will certainly be human misery and despair. Many claim that the evidence for evolution (“a philosophical doctrine, and not a scientific theory” (Werner Gitt, Did God Use Evolution?, Bielefeld, Christliche Literatur-Verbreitung, 1993, p. 7)) is rather shaky.

Some materialist scientists (no doubt driven by the need to control, to gain power) don’t worry about that, for many are supposed to have claimed that, questionable or not, evolution has to be defended, since the alternative – some kind of theism – is unthinkable, cannot be allowed, for it might unleash the dreadful possibility of there being some entity that is greater than themselves, and – if things could get any worse! – something to whom they might one day be accountable to for their actions.

So long as there is Darwin and evolution, however, this worst of all possibilities will never come about; so long as Darwin does not go the way of Marx (and some would add Freud), man will remain on his throne. There may not be a statue of Darwin in every town, but he’s there on the £10 note, which says much about the values of our society, and those who run it.
See also: Phillip E. Johnson’s The Wedge of Truth, From My Bookshelf – Archive: 4