Darwin’s Myopia, in excerpts:
“Once, Milton, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelly “gave me great pleasure” and “I took intense delight in Shakespeare.” -Charles Darwin
“In his old age Darwin admitted, “I have lost the power of becoming deeply attached to anyone.” He assured Tennyson that there was nothing in his theories to prevent anyone believing in a supreme being. But he did not think about God or the possibility of an afterlife. He closed his mind to speculation about the infinite and concentrated on worms. One is tempted to feel that he deliberately shut his eyes to the ultimate consequences of his work, in terms of the human condition and the purpose of life or the absence of one.” Paul Johnson (emphasis added)
“It is hard to believe that Darwin himself would have accepted this huge, bottomless emptiness of life. Or, rather, perhaps because he felt it yawning, he averted his eyes from the big issues and focused them on the small: climbing plants, orchids, insectivorous plants, worms. The truth is long before he died, he had lost control over his own theory. The point at which he lost control can be precisely identified. It was when he decided that natural selection, to be of internally coherent, has to be comprehensive and universal. But if this is so, then there is no essential difference between man and any other animal. The differences, however obvious and seemingly enormous, are of degree and not of kind.”
Paul Johnson (emphasis added)
Enter the paradox, missed by Darwin: “It can more easily be grasped if we see natural selection as destructive as well as constructive-and not only destructive but self-destructive. Once natural selection had created man, it was in its own danger zone. Human beings think…are conscious, and self-conscious.
It is at this stage in evolution that natural selection falters and ceases to work with all its previous triumphalism and certitude.” Paul Johnson (emphasis added)
The above quotes are taken from Historian Paul Johnson’s insightful biography Darwin: portrait of a genius Copyright © 2015
From Johnson’s concise, detailed and deliberative biography we learn that Charles Darwin inherited genius stock-“a classic case of genetic inheritance”. We read of Darwin’s luminous and wealthy patriarchs-of his paternal and maternal grandfathers and of his father. We learn of Darwin’s moneyed care and education upbringing. Self-education would soon become a way of life for Darwin.
Darwin married a godly wife, Emma Wedgwood, a “clever, educated, equable, hardworking, industrious, economical, and, not least, sensitive” woman. Together they had many children together.
Darwin, a lover of botany and the author of On the Origin of the Species, we are told, never involved himself with the study of anthropology. He also never regarded math to any usable extent. Statistics were never his bailiwick.
It is likely that Darwin never met up with and had never studied the Christian Monk Gregor Mendel’s foundational work, a well-read paper on genetics in 1866 and a writing that would support natural selection. Mendel’s pea hybrid work would give birth to the science of genetics.
Darwin, during his Beagle voyage focused on botany, insects, flora and fauna in general and the facial expression of savages such as those of Tierra del Fuego. At home he read the local press. He was deeply concerned about how other people viewed everyone else, scientists in particular, who differed from what he considered church dogma.
Darwin’s s fear of being ostracized on earth with his published work coupled with his revulsion of any thought of eternal ostracization-punishment in hell forever-kept Darwin spiritually self-ostracized from the Creator. He turned away from God and turned inward with a self-defensive mode of living.
At one point Darwin, we read, became enthralled with Thomas Malthus’ theory of overpopulation, an unsubstantiated and later refuted theory. Malthus’ theory would become lifelong dogma for Darwin. At the same time Darwin also denied any Christian accounting of creation.
“Ever since he became a systematic naturalist, Darwin had been an evolutionist. That is, he dismissed the account of Genesis of the separate creation of the species by Yahweh as symbolic and not to be taken literally. They had some way evolved. There was nothing new, surprising or alarming in this.” Others before him held similar views. See Chapter Three, “The Loss of God.”
In the chapter titled “Evils of Social Darwinism” Paul Johnson postulates, and I agree with his assessment, that a hybrid of natural selection-Social Darwinism-has led to all manner of evil: “Those who studied progress were hugely attracted by Darwin’s notion of natural selection as a relentless self-driving machine, “daily and hourly scrutinizing, throughout the world, every variation…silently and insensibly working…at the improvement of each organic being…” Darwin’s words “Struggle” and “Survival” would later be found in the works and placards of atheists and agnostics and of German philosophers. The words would be used to secure featherbedding in the humanist realm of law as well as in sociology, psychology and psychiatry. Culture would make the leap of Social Darwinism.
“Struggle” and “Survival” would be the seed words for the monstrous propagandized outgrowths of Fascists and of Socialists and of a Hitler and Marx and Engels and for the crushing rollout of Stalinist Communism.
These same words were used to foment the works of Francis Galton and his sterilization eugenics program, a program practiced in many nations!
Under such a program it would be decided by someone(s) who was “desirable” or “undesirable”. If a person was found “undesirable”, then that person was “unfit to procreate” and then sterilized. Soon, the same eugenics process would be used to decide which races were “unfit to live.” You can take the thread of thought from here.
Today, Progressives want to define life: who is “fit to live” and who is “unfit to live” (e.g., abortion, death panels); who is to benefit and who isn’t to benefit (class and race warfare). Here’s a sample of the Progressive’s rejection of anything that might rattle their cages, written by an apparent Epicurean atheist:
The website Slate, a website where myopia studies itself in the mirror; where intelligence and moral absolutes proudly go to be reprogrammed into “who’s the bigger hypocrite” moral relativism, has a review of Johnson’s book by Mark Joseph Stern.
Incidentally, Slate provides its sycophantic readers with atheistic Progressive hubristic feel-good dispersion and mostly Turkish Delight.
The article written by “red in tooth and claw” Mark Joseph Stern apparently hoped to circle the atheistic humanist commentator wagons around the theory of evolution by using a well-known electric atheist prod-a rant that desperately wanted make the point that the “Bible is wrong”.
Stern clearly wanted to protect the atheist’s raison d’etre-a material world without moral agency (read accountability) and certainly one without Absolutes. A Darwinian Social scientism in lieu of God is more to their liking, more controllable and less scary.
Though mostly accepting of historian Johnson’s overview of Darwin’s life and work, Stern’s feathers are ruffled by Johnson’s interpolation of Darwin’s natural selection. He ends his piece with reassuring hubris: “But no thoughtful reader could possibly tolerate Johnson’s stunning intellectual dishonesty.” The article:
Well, think again Mark Joseph Stern. In fact read the book again. See that in no way does Paul Johnson dismiss or “smear” evolution or natural selection (you stated this in the subtitle of your article).
At the end of the book, Johnson does extrapolate what he sees as the ideological outcomes (Social Darwinism, humanism, nihilism, eugenics, etc.) of Darwin’s natural selection theory, a theory deliberately configured apart from God-consciousness as it was detached from Mendel’s foundational statistics experiments over time. (By way of information, before Darwin someone else would coin the phrase “survival of the fittest”.)
As can be seen by reading Slate and other smug ideological publications, Social Darwinism is now an applied theory that will abide no reference to mankind as created by God. Instead, Social Darwinism must abide with “the will to power”. Slate readers, I fear, would hate the correlation between God and man as much as they do their own shadows (i.e., Paul Johnson’s revelatory deductions) cast on cave walls.
Do we take to heart and flesh the words of Slate and the Progressives and let Social Darwinism and materialism define our lives? Do we, in the same vein, live like animals and subvert reason while claiming “science made me do it” and continue to make “unnatural selections (e.g., homosexuality, abortion)?
Or, do we return to our Creator?
I commend Paul Johnson’s book to you. Read it and discern for yourself.
I believe in God as a theistic evolutionist.
Other Christians who think like I do regarding Creation:
“Even before Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859, many Christians had already accepted an old Earth. One of the first supporters of evolutionary science in America—Harvard biologist Asa Gray—was a devout Christian. Conservative theologian B. B. Warfield also accepted the science of evolution, and both he and Asa Gray rejected the idea that evolution leads to atheism. Even the authors of The Fundamentals, published between 1910 and 1915, accepted an old earth. It wasn’t until a century after Darwin that a large number of evangelicals and fundamentalists began to accept the combination of flood geology and 6-day creation promoted by Seventh-day Adventists.” –How have Christians responded to Darwin’s “Origin of Species”? (emphasis added) Copyright © 2015 The BioLogos Foundation
“Given the stark difference between evolution and six-day creation, many people assume that Darwin’s theory shook the foundations of the Christian faith. In truth, the literal six-day interpretation of Genesis 1-2 was not the only perspective held by Christians prior to modern science. St. Augustine (354-430), John Calvin (1509-1564), John Wesley (1703-1791), and others supported the idea of Accommodation. In the Accommodation view, Genesis 1-2 was written in a simple allegorical fashion to make it easy for people of that time to understand. In fact, Augustine suggested that the 6 days of Genesis 1 describe a single day of creation. St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) argued that God did not create things in their final state, but created them to have potential to develop as he intended. The views of these and other Christian leaders are consistent with God creating life by means of evolution.” –How was the Genesis account of creation interpreted before Darwin? (emphasis added) Copyright © 2015 The BioLogos Foundation