Ancient Evolutionary Concepts

Educational observations and analyses relating to man's origins, cultures, development and characteristics are increasingly interpreted in an evolutionary framework. An expanding philosophic dogma of evolutionary exclusivism has permeated academic disciplines without scientific warrant. Rather than being empirical, with sanction of experimental results, the evolutionary philosophy has become imperial, with sovereign allegiance mandated.

Michael Denton asserts that "The entire scientific ethos and philosophy of modern western man is based to a large extent upon the central claim of Darwinian theory that humanity was not born by the creative intentions of a deity but by a completely mindless trial and error selection of random molecular patterns. The cultural importance of evolution theory is therefore immeasurable, forming as it does the centerpiece, the crowning achievement, of the naturalistic view of the world, the final triumph of the secular thesis.''1

The roots of this interpretive mind-set and system of thought reach far back in man's history. The oldest account of evolutionary thought is the Babylonian document Enuma Elish, which describes life forms naturally springing from the elements of the earth after Marduk, the primary deity, defeated Tiamat and made the earth from her body. Archaeologists assign this document a date approaching 4600 B.C.

The ancient Greeks enhanced the concept and made it more of the mainstream reasoning than an obvious religious exercise as the Babylonians had done. Anaximander (c.611 - 547 B.C.) held the idea that man was derived from fishlike mermen who eventually emerged from the water after their bodies changed.

Toulmin and Goodfield relate Anaximander's theory: "The first animals were generated in the moisture, and were enclosed with spiny barks. As they grew older, they migrated onto the drier land; and, once their bark was split and shed, they survived for a short time in the new mode of existence. Man to begin with was generated from living things of another kind, since, whereas others can quickly hunt for their own food, men alone required prolonged nursing. If he had been like that in the beginning, he would never have survived... Thus men were formed within these [fishlike creatures] and remained within them like embryos until they had reached maturity. Then at last the creatures burst open, and out of them came men and women who were already able to fend for themselves.''2

Empedocles (c 490 - 430 B.C.) likewise believed in a spontaneous generation of life. He postulated that initially plants appeared, then animals after a long series of stages. He further suggested that the forces of love and hate playing on the four elements of earth, air, fire and water produced the plants from which animals sprang. His concept was that originally the world contained creatures with every possible combination of limbs. These limbs joined at random among the creatures. Those species observed by man were those that survived after nature winnowed the odd assemblages out.

Theophrastu (died c 287 B.C,) in Greece and Pliny (A.D. 23 - 79) in Rome held to a theory of species transformation. Julian (A.D. 331 - 363) felt that soil and climate had modified the species. Job of Edessa conceived that "God created the simple elements and allowed them to carry out the complicated work of building up the creation with its innumerable genera and species."3

Wilheln von Leibniz (1646 - 1716) wrote that "it is possible that somewhere and somewhen - present, past or future - the species of animals were far more subjected to changes than we observe now."4

de Lamarck, the French naturalist, used the concept of evolution to explain his philosophy of nature in the early nineteenth century. The German philosopher von Herder (1744 - 1803) incorporated it into his cultural evolution theory. Voltaire introduced the concept of history as inevitable progress.

Impact of Charles Darwin

These roots and branches of evolutionary thought find their climax of maturity in Charles Darwin's publication of Origin Of Species in 1859. His postulate concerning natural selection as a mechanism for evolutionary processes did more than climax millenarian utterances; it held in embryo the catalyst for a wave of naturalistic thought which dominates a large portion of modern thinking.

So adamantly persistent and enthusiastic are the supporters of naturalistic evolution that some claim the concept to have been factually proved. B.B. Vance and D.F. Miller wrote in their high school textbook: All reputable biologists have agreed that evolution of life on earth is an established fact.' M. Savage states in his introductory college biology text: "No serious biologist today doubts the fact of evolution... We do not need a listing of evidences to demonstrate the fact of evolution any more than we need to demonstrate the existence of mountain ranges."

Many adherents admittedly embrace this concept in favor of physical or intellectual liberation. The great agnostic philosopher and author Aldous Huxley did not mask the means by which he arrived at his naturalistic conclusions:

Does the world as a whole possess the value and meaning that we constantly attribute to certain parts of it (such as human beings and their works); and, if so, what is the nature of that value and meaning? This is a question which, a few years ago, I should not even have posed. For, like so many of my contemporaries, I took it for granted that there was no meaning. This was partly due to the fact that I shared a common belief that the scientific picture of an abstraction from reality was a true picture of reality as a whole; partly also to other non intellectual reasons. I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption.

Most ignorance is vincible ignorance. We don't know because we don't want to know. It is our will that decides how and upon what subjects we shall use our intelligence. Those who detect no meaning in the world generally do so because, for one reason or another, it suits their books that the world should be meaningless.

...For myself as, no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom...The supporters of these systems claimed that in some way they embodied the meaning (a Christian meaning, they insisted) of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and at the same time justifying ourselves in our political and erotic revolt: we could deny that the world had any meaning whatsoever.5

Conflict In Confirmation

Whatever the self justifying processes are which embrace naturalistic conclusions, is there real scientific merit and consistent intellectual justification for adopting this imperial position toward the concept of evolution? Does exhaustive academic research turn up a high percentage of consistent data supporting evolutionary interpretation? Is an honest and open board of inquiry able to entertain any alternate view of life origins and diversities with a comprehensive investigation supporting a consensus in favor of evolution? A heavy weight of academic opinion has answered in the negative. Definitive scientific opinion supporting a factual basis for evolutionary interpretation, including areas of anthropological investigation, is lacking.

W.R. Thompson's forward to the new edition of Darwin's Origin Of Species, published in the Darwinian Centennial Year as a part of the Everyman's Library series publicly admitted: "...there is a great divergence of opinion among biologists, not only about the causes of evolution but even about the actual process. This divergence exists because the evidence is unsatisfactory and does not permit any certain conclusion. It is therefore right and proper to draw the attention of the non-scientific public to the disagreements about evolution. But some recent remarks of evolutionists show that they think this unreasonable. This situation, where men rally to the defense of a doctrine they are unable to defend scientifically, much less demonstrate with scientific rigor, attempting to maintain its credit with the public by the suppression of criticism and the elimination of difficulties, is abnormal and undesirable in science."

In Reader's Digest, January, 1963, Edward Conklin, biologist at Princeton University, stated: "The probability of life originating from accident is comparable to the probability of the unabridged dictionary resulting from an explosion in a printing shop." Since that statement was made molecular biologists have compounded the problem by admitting the dimensional explosion of data opposed to spontaneous life generation. On the subject of evolution, Columbia University professor Erwin Chartaff commented: "Our time is probably the first in which mythology has penetrated to the molecular level."

Colin Patterson, senior paleontologist at the British Museum, has acknowledged that "no one has ever produced a species by mechanisms of natural selection."6 Professor of biology and Dean of the Graduate School at Yale, Keith Thomson laments that "speciation itself' is still, 130 years after Darwin supposedly solved the problem, "the central mystery" of evolutionary biology.7

Christopher Booker, an evolutionary writer for the London Times, wrote about the theory of evolution: "It was a beautifully simple and attractive theory. The only trouble was that, as Darwin was himself partly aware, it was full of colossal holes. [Regarding Darwin's Origin Of Species ] we have here the supreme irony that a book which has become famous for explaining the origin of species in fact does nothing of the kind... A century after Darwin's death, we still have not the slightest demonstrable or even plausible idea of how evolution really took place - and in recent years this has led to an extraordinary series of battles over the whole question... a state of almost open war exists among the evolutionists themselves, with every kind of sect urging some new modification... As to how and why it really happened, we have not the slightest idea and probably never shall."8

Britain's New Scientist observed that "an increasing number of scientists, most particularly a growing number of evolutionists... argue that Darwinian evolutionary theory is no genuine scientific theory at all... Many of the critics have the highest intellectual credentials."9

Astronomer Robert Jastrow muses over the question of how life originated, then comments: "To their chagrin [scientists] bave no clear-cut answer, because chemists have never succeeded in reproducing nature's experiments on the creation of life out of non-living matter. Scientists do not know how that happened... Scientists have no proof that life was not the result of an act of creation.''10

Educator Francis Hitching observed: "In three crucial areas where [the modern evolutionary theory] can be tested, it has failed: The fossil record reveals a pattern of evolutionary leaps rather than gradual change. Genes are a powerful stabilizing mechanism whose main function is to prevent new forms evolving. Random step-by-step mutations at the molecular level cannot explain the organized complexity of life... To put it at its mildest, one may question an evolutionary theory so beset by doubts among even those who teach it. If Darwinism is truly the great unifying principle of biology, it encompasses extraordinarily large areas of ignorance. It fails to explain some of the most basic questions of all: how lifeless chemicals came alive, what rules of grammar lie behind the genetic code, how genes shape the form of living things... [The theory is] so inadequate that it deserves to be treated as a matter of faith.'11

Since our current research has specific education-oriented implications, a modern definition of evolutionary theory, along with the inferences associated, would be in order. John Baumgardner of the Los Alamos National Laboratory recently put the issue in perspective: "The question of origins, in addition to being a central philosophical issue, also has profound practical significance. For what a person believes about his origin affects dramatically his self-image, his goals, his motivations, his attitudes toward other people - in short, his whole approach toward life... Evolution, in regard to living systems, states that all life has gradually evolved from a single cell, which itself had arisen spontaneously from inanimate matter... When the term 'evolution model' is used, it is referring to the hypothesis that (1) life arose initially by natural processes through chance association of the chemical elements, (2) random mutation of the genetic instructions has given rise to the various kinds of higher plants and animals, and (3) geological formations represent gradual changes in the earth spanning billions of years.''12 This definition, along with attendant implications, holds even if the modern theory of "punctuated equilibria" is taken into consideration.

Evidence For Design

Having traced a brief history of evolutionary thought, and having illustrated academic objections to the theory, what then is a basis for such objections? These objections should be kept on a scientific basis. John Baumgardner did his graduate work at UCLA and should be qualified to address the matter. He wrote: "Let us contemplate what is involved in achieving the level of order we find in living systems.

The simplest known living organism is the minuscule bacteria - like Mycoplasma hominis H39. This simple organism has about 800 different kinds of protein molecules, each with an average of 400 amino acid units. Now just as a sentence is made up of a particular sequence of letters, a protein molecule consists of a specific sequence of amino acids. Beginning with the fact that there are 20 different amino. acids in most living organisms, we can calculate the probability of getting the correct order for a protein with 400 amino acid units. We find the odds of getting just one such protein molecule by chance is 1 in 10 to the 520th. power - a staggering number! There is nothing in the universe to which such a number can be compared. For example, it is estimated that the number of atoms in the entire universe is not more than 10 to the 80th. power. Note that this probability is for only one of the protein molecules. If we consider all 800, we must multiply the exponent 520 by 800, and we have a number so vast it is beyond meaning... It is impossible from a rational or scientific standpoint to suggest that ordered complexity on the level of these protein molecules can arise by chance - not to mention life itself."13

Research scientist Robert Gange of the David Sarnoff Research Center in Princeton, New Jersey, approaches the problem from another angle. Dr. Gange specializes in information theory, its derivatives and overall application. He correlates specific data considering the possibility that the entire universe of inorganic matter could produce the life organisms as a whole or, for that matter, a single living cell. His analysis is as follows:

Information can be broken down into units commonly referred to as "bits." This should not be confused with "computer bits" whose nomenclature includes the radix. The number of informational bits increases logarithmically as the magnitude of the information grows, which means that large changes of information are measured by comparatively small numbers of bits. This is illustrated below. The number of bits of information corresponding to various library sizes is listed. The average book size is assumed to be 200 pages, and the letters K,M,B respectively denote thousand, million, billion. The 40 million books listed for the Library of Congress is an effective number corresponding to 24 million books, 19 million pamphlets, 3 million maps and 34 million miscellaneous items.

...Consider the universe. Its basic particle count is estimated to be of the order of 1080. A blueprint specifying a distribution on a scale of this magnitude would contain on the order of 270 bits. [In his calculations Gange uses the atomic elements of which planet Earth is composed. In terms of percentages of the whole by weight, the earth consists of: 46.5O, 28.0Si, 8.1Al, 5.1Fe, 3.6Ca, 2.8Na, 2.5K, 2.0Mg, 0.58Ti, 0.20C, 0.20H, 0.19CI, O.llP, O.lOS plus 0.12 percent trace elements. Source: Cotterill R. Cambridge Guide To The Material World, 1985. Ch. 7:100 Cambridge University Press.]

...The reason that biological structures have considerably higher information content lies in the fact that unlike inorganic systems, the sequence of the building blocks is critical to the survival of the structure. Estimates of the information content of protein and bacteria are given in the literature... A reasonable estimate can be made as follows: In the simplest of cells, such as bacterium, a minimum of one hundred metabolic reactions must be performed by at least that many enzymes. In addition there must be ribosomes to synthesize these enzymes accompanied by RNA and regulatory molecules, as well as a long DNA double helix. The DNA of E. Coli has been well studied and its one millimeter genome is known to have about 2 million base pairs. Since each base pair triplet recruits enzymes in accord with a uniform genetic code, they each define an amino acid residue. Although the information content at each DNA site depends upon the number of synonymous residues as well as which ones are present, we can reasonably estimate the order of magnitude of which we seek by approximating the information at three bits per residue [Yockey H. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 1977. 67:365]. This yields an information content for the genome of about 2 X 1010 bits.

Interestingly, a reasonable estimate for the information content of the human body is possible by observing that each of its cells has a total of about 6 X 109 base pairs. Since the genetic code is essentially universal. we estimate the information content of a human cell to be about 2 X 1010 bits. These results are summarized below...

It would seem obvious from these scientific calculations that there is justifiable objection to considering the theory of naturalistic evolution as a satisfactory explanation for life origins or speciation beyond genetic boundaries. No matter how much time is postulated, there is not enough information in the entire universe to produce even a single protein. Even chance must work within the limits of the units involved.

Attempts At Ape Communication

During the 1970's there was spectacular encouragement favoring evolutionary capabilities resident within the lower primates and dolphins. Papers were published showing favorable experiments which indicated that animals were capable of language,15 mathematical concepts,16 and the formation of simple sentences.17 Dolphins were supposed to have been capable of language,18 and chimps were supposedly trained to communicate with their trainers by making simple sentences using plastic symbols19 or tokens.20 It appeared that there was merit in considering certain animals capable of bridging the communication and reasoning gap, at least to a measurable degree, between themselves and man.

But the encouraging signs were premature. An impressive amount of information is required for a scout bee to execute a number of sophisticated maneuvers to tell other bees in a hive the direction to fly in search of food. Robert Gange relates that "throughout the animal kingdom - regardless of whether bird, fish, animal or scout bee - communication is executed among members of the same species without any interference whatever by human intelligence. In the case of apes, however, a new ingredient is added, viz., human beings. In this instance animal trainers deploy their human intelligence to see whether animals are capable of using language. Moreover the studies are done in ways that, of necessity, force the apes to intimately interact over extended time periods with human intelligence and expectations....The training of animals to perform longer and longer sequences of signs for rewards is not at all new or even novel. It has been done with pigeons and even with worms. It certainly does not imply the use of language. Furthermore, all such sign behavior on the part of animals is mechanistic in that it can be essentially duplicated on a computer.''21

Critical researchers viewing the results of the reported abilities possessed by the apes and dolphins discovered a vital link between the trainer and the exceptional animal. After extended periods of intimate familiarity between the trainer and the subject, the animal was able to interpret extremely small movements of his trainer's head and body as well as variations in mood, expected emotional response and voice anticipation. Some animals have been found capable of distinguishing head movements on the part of the trainer well under one hundreth of an inch.

Gange and others report that "...the animal's ultrasensitive and unseen perception of human expressions and mannerisms became the dominant mechanism behind ill-founded language claims that followed. An animal's discernment of the trainer's expectations coupled with its supelior sensory organization explains what has been happening for years in the language experiments with the apes... They mirror the human intelligence of their trainers."22

Extensive work was done at major facilities as researchers viewed the films of the supposedly successful animal-to-human communication transfer. After exhaustive observation it was found that the trainers had indeed subconsciously telegraphed their expectations to the animals.23 That, plus the animal's natural genetic abilities at sequencing, made for rather spectacular, but false, results.

There is a long history of failure to provide the ingredients so necessary to establish the evolutionary theory on scientific grounds, but the insistence on its authenticity persists beyond any justifiable warrant. In his Descent of Man Darwin does not cite a single reference to fossil man, though specimens of Neanderthals were known at the time.

Darwin's Trauma

It appears that Charles Darwin was impelled to adopt a concept of evolutionary interpretation, in spite of evidence to the contrary, because of reasons within himself. It is admitted information that Darwin encountered a life-long struggle with phobias and inner disturbances. Some of his biographers admit to his adult preoccupation with illness and persistent phobic characteristics. In his Autobiography Darwin wrote: "I almost made up my mind to begin collecting all the insects which I could find dead, for on consulting my sister, I concluded that it was not right to kill insects for the sake of making a collection."24 Yet he had just written that "I do not believe that anyone could have shown more zeal for the most holy cause than I did for shooting birds."25 This incongruous reasoning bears the marks of disharmony in practice springing from discordant reflections within the individual.

Attempts at following a structured order in intellectual pursuits appear to have met with rejection from within the makeup of Darwin. He wrote that school was "simply a blank. During my whole life I have been singularly incapable of mastering any language, ...[I] could never do well at verse making... I believe that I was considered by all my masters (teachers) and by my father as a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard in intellect."26 Yet we are aware of the fact that he was certainly above average in intellect and ability to follow his chosen pursuit with undying commitment. As early as September, 1838, Darwin wrote to Charles Lyell: "Note-book after note-book has been filled with facts which begin to group themselves clearly under sub-laws."27 His intellectual abilities are not in question. There does, however, appear to be within himself a conscious or unconscious rejection of designed structure.

Darwin wrote that his father considered him to be below the common standard in intellect. Some of his biographers note that he referred to his towering father as "smothering" his short-statured mother. Outcroppings of a near-phobic fatalism and assignment of dominating influences to disharmonious concepts appear in his writings, as if he were being "smothered" by some vengeful annihilating force of nature. In his 1842 draft of his theory Darwin used the phrase "war of nature."28 In a letter to W. Graham, July 3, 1881, he wrote: "I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilization than you seem inclined to admit... The more civilized so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world."29 Concepts such as "survival of the fittest" and "universal struggle for existence" (borrowed from Lyell) are in keeping with the above phrases "fight on natural selection", "struggle for existence", and "eliminated", and seem to have preoccupied him.

There is more than ample justification to conclude that Darwin did not base his ideas primarily on the scientific data at hand. George Grinnell comments that "Darwin began his work from a highly abstract and speculative base."30 Barry G. Gale wrote extensively about Darwin's preoccupation with "struggle in nature.''31 Gale's thesis related to "extrascientific" origins in the evolutionary theory. Darwin referred back to the voyage on the Beagle and subsequent ponderings: "It was evident from such facts as these, as well as many others, could only be explained on the supposition that species gradually became modified; and the subject haunted me [emphasis added]."32 To Dr. Asa Gray he wrote: "There seems to me too much misery in the world... Ichneumonidae... feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars."33 In his 1842 draft of The Origin, he wrote of the ' myliads of creeping parasites and worms which have swarmed each day of life on land and water on the globe."34 In his Autobiography mention is made of attending lectures on geology and zoology while at college, then he added that "they were incredibly dull. The sole effect they produced on me was the determination never as long as I lived to read a book on geology or in any way to study the science. Yet I feel sure I was prepared for a philosophical treatment of the subject..."35

With a rather haunting preoccupation with a "universal struggle for existence" it is understandable that he was not originally interested in a systematic study of geology and zoology, but instead preferred to treat them philosophically with emphasis placed on nature's modifications rather than inherent design. This "inherent design" looms as having been repugnant to Darwin in nature and academic discipline. He wrote about his years in education: "During the three years which I spent at Cambridge my time was wasted, as far as academic studies were concerned, as completely as at Edinburgh and at school. I attempted mathematics, and even went during the summer of 1828 with a private tutor (a very dull man) to Barmouth; but I got on very slowly. The work was repugnant to me, chiefly from my not being able to see any meaning in the early steps in algebra."36 With the consistent rejection of systemic studies which at the time taught divine design in nature, and with a repugnance toward disciplines which required design logic to arrive at an answer, it is appropriate to ask whether there was resentment toward the concept of a Designer (Who regulated the experience of nature) within the observer (Darwin) himself. We have already seen that his early concepts of evolutionary modifications within nature were admittedly based on supposition,37 so the basis for resentment toward the concept of a Designer must reside within Darwin himself - not in the meticulous observations made toward nature.

It is appropriate that we examine the possibility that Darwin held resentment toward the concept of a personal Designer. He recorded in his Autobiography: "During these two years (October 1836 to January 1839) I was led to think much about religion... But I had gradually come, by this time, to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rainbow as a sign, etc., and from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos, or the beliefs of any barbarian [emphasis added]."38 He continues on the subject: "Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress....Although I did not think much about the existence of a personal God until a considerably later period of my life, I will here give the vague conclusions to which I have been driven... The old argument of design in nature, as given by Paley, which formerly seemed to me so conclusive, fails, now that the law of natural selection has been discovered."39

Darwin's Theology

Having now declared a new law (that of natural selection) to explain all of nature, and himself implied as the discoverer of the law (though the theory was not original with him nor unique to him), he then proceeds to eliminate the concept of design and Designer. For pages he writes about happiness versus suffering and states that the argument that an omnipotent God could not permit suffering was a strong one."40 He then admitted to "the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind to some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist."41

His admission here is more than the wonder of the universe and the impossibility of conceiving this as a result of blind chance. The bold admission is that of equating man (with past, present and future endowments) with the First Cause as having an intelligent mind to some degree analogous to that of man. Thus the First Cause was a natural universe with intelligence approximating that of modern man, and he Darwin) was the modern intelligence capable of conceiving that the universe in its disharmony had realized itself in the product of man. It is consistent then that Darwin could deny the existence of a personal God, but could call himself a "Theist." He had equated the mind of the universe with man. In this way the disharmony within himself was at harmony with a disharmonious universe.

His faith in the continued evolution of man in harmony with a disharmonious universe is expressed: "Believing as I do that man in the distant future will be a far more perfect creature than he is now...."42 But he, to his own satisfaction, removed God from that universe. In 1870 he wrote to J.D. Hooker, "My theology is a simple muddle [a term consistent with the 'disharmony' he felt within and observed without]; I cannot look at the universe as a result of blind chance, yet I can see no evidence of beneficent design, or indeed of design of any kind, in the details."43 His additional specific statement was: "Nor must we overlook the probability of the constant inculcation in a belief in God on the minds of children producing so strong and perhaps an inherited effect on their brains not yet fullv developed, that it would be as difficult for them to throw off their belief in God, as for a monkey to throw off its instinctive fear and hatred of a snake."44

It was consistent, then, with the developing mind-set of Darwin that he would write to Asa Gray: "I am bewildered. I had no intentions to write atheistically. But I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice."45 In his 1842 draft of The Origin, he had written, "It is derogatory that the Creator of countless systems of worlds should have created each of the myriads of creeping parasites and worms which have swarmed each day of life on land and water on the globe."46

It is specifically then for these reasons that Charles Darwin is the champion and patriarch of evolutionary thought. The Babylonians, Thales, Anaximander, Empedocles, Lamarch, Lyell, Spencer, Blyth, and even Darwin's own grandfather, Eraumas Darwin expressed essential components of the evolutionary theory. Alfred Russell Wallace actually committed the concept of adaptation by natural selection to writing before Darwin reduced his theory to wliting. Darwin, upon reading Wallace's paper, quickly wrote one of his own, and both papers were read at the same meeting of the Linnean Society in London in 1858 with Darwin and Wallace as coauthors. But Charles Darwin was destined to become the patriarch of evolutionary thought because he embodied the total concept of insecure man in harmony with a discordant universe. He entertained the idea of a supernatural Designer, but he ultimately reduced any concept of a supernatural deity to naturalistic causes and placed man as the ultimate product of a self-realizing universe. Darwin then expended his resentment toward the existence of a personal God, the inspiration of the Bible, and the practice of Christianity (including the person and followers of Christ).

Darwin's Phobias

Certain characteristics have been observed among phobic individuals. These characteristics are in evidence on a cross-cultural basis and are global in nature. What is more, their existence has been strongly suggested among those in remote and ancient cultures who left artifacts for the archaeologists to find and puzzling inconsistencies for the anthropologists to ponder.

Extensive consultation with persons possessing phobias and exhaustive research in the literature have produced specific insights into the nature of phobias. They include:

These principles are essentially universal in scope. This researcher has personally observed the essential details of the above listed body of data on an international basis. In preparation for this paper a broad base of observation was necessary for extended periods of time. Specific objectives were kept in view, not the least of which was observation of phobic behavior as it affects outlook. Individuals and settings involved ranged from university classrooms to outback posts.

Specific countries visited with these objectives in mind included: the United States (over 20 states encompassing all demographic areas), Canada, Newfoundland, Mexico, Uruguay, New Zealand, Fiji, Debanon, Jordan, Greece, Italy, Israel, Egypt, Brazil, Trinidad, Samoa, Peurto Rico and Haiti. In some instances entire cultures were observed to practice phobic behavior.

There is, in embryo, a common discordant naturalistic experience, not unlike that of Charles Darwin, felt universally. His experience was enlarged.

It is, then, the conclusion of this author that Darwin experienced unithanatophobia (defined as: an obsession with universal death) and anisotrophobia (defined as: fear of designed structure in nature culminating in man). His experience and convictions expressed the idea of naturalistic evolution as a state of harmony with a discordant universe. As the crestal eddy in the ebb and flow of time produced new organisms, and disorder produced temporary order, i.e., speciation, all of life was one with a convulsing, discordant universe.

Darwin's Followers

It is this embodiment of special concepts in Darwin that has spawned a generation of modern enthusiasts. Carl Sagon begins his modern scenario with a reference to the sovereignty of God as equating with responsibility for evil: "If the play of the world is produced and directed by an omnipotent and omniscient God, does it not follow that every evil that is perpetrated is God's doing?"47 He then asserts: "The Cosmos is all there is, or was, or ever will be."48 "We are, in the most profound sense, children of the Cosmos."49 He insists that the Cosmos gave us birth and sustains us daily: "As the ancient mythmakers knew, we are the children equally of the sky and of the Earth."50 "Something in us recognizes the Cosmos as home.''51 "Some part of our being knows this is from where we came. We long to return."52 "Earth is our home, our parent. Our kind of life arose and evolved here."53 We are dependent on the sun, which "warms us and feeds us and permits us to see."54 "Our matter, our form, and much of our character is determined by the deep connection between life and the Cosmos."55 "Our ancestors worshipped the Sun, and they were far from foolish... If we must worship a power greater than ourselves, does it not make sense to revere the Sun and stars? ...Hidden within every astronomical investigation, sometimes so deeply buried that the researcher himself is unaware of its presence, lies a kernel of awe."56 This ebb and flow in Darwin's concept is expressed by Sagon: "Even a small tendency toward retrenchment, a turning away from the Cosmos, adds up over many generations to a significant decline... Even a slight commitment to ventures beyond the Earth builds over many generations to a significant human presence on other worlds, a rejoicing in our participation in the Cosmos "57

In Evolution As A Religion: Strange Hopes And Fears author Mary Midgley relates strikingly familiar associations with Darwin's total experience among modern enthusiasts.58 Midgley relates the modern expression that evolution is often spoken of as an agent: it becomes personified as something that can choose, select and create. She reveals, "it is really not possible to make sense of the notion of evolution's steady, careful progress towards this goal without language so deeply teleological that it implies an agent... It must be an entity of notable supernatural powers."59 She quotes Richard Dawkin (from The Selffsh Gene) as writing: "[The gene] does not grow senile; it is no more likely to die when it is a million years old than when it is only a hundred. It leaps from body to body down the generations, manipulating body after body in its own way and for its own ends, abandoning a succession of mortal bodies before they sink in senility and death. The genes are the immortals... By dictating the way survival machines and their nervous systems are built, genes exert ultimate power over behavior."60

Extensions of Darwinism

Midgley goes on to quote Stephen Weinberg (from The First Three Minutes) extending one of Darwin's basic themes: "It is almost irrestible for humans to believe that we have some special relation in the universe, that human life is not just a more-or-less farcical outcome of a chain of accidents reaching back to the first three minutes... It is very hard to realize that this all is just a tiny part of an overwhelmingly hostile universe.. . The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.''61 Purposeful harmony in disharmony relates back to Darwin. Midgley continues by quoting Jocques Monod (from Chance and Necessity) as expressing the inner frustrations experienced by Darwin: "Man must at last wake out of his millinery dream and discover his total solitude, his fundamental isolation. He must realize that, like a gypsy, he lives on the boundary of an alien world; a world that is deaf to his music, and as indifferent to his hopes as it is to his sufferings or his crimes."62 As previously related, a basic tenet of Darwin's evolutionary thought is that superior races will eventually "eliminate" inferior races (reference 29). This selfish isolation tenet finds current expression in David Barash's Sociology And Behavior: "logic of evolution demands" that even behavior that appears to be for the benefit of others "be grounded in underlying selfishness."63 As Darwin's biographers agree, he was phobic, and phobias normally produce preoccupation with self.

The modern intellectual adherents to the concept of evolution have grouped themselves as "humanists". This humanistic identification, along with its basic evolutionary tenet have increasingly taken on a religious nature. Scientist John Little recently admitted: "Evolution is the creation myth of our age.... A belief in evolution is a religion in itself."64 The dean of contemporary scientific philosophers, Karl Popper (author of the currently most widely accepted definition of the term science") examined evolution and concluded: "I have always been interested in the theory of evolution, and very ready to accept evolution as a fact... I have come to the conclusion that Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical research programme."65 Biologist L. Harrison Matthews cautioned: "The fact of evolution is the back-bone of biology, and biology is thus in the peculiar position of being a science founded on an unproved theory - is it then a science or a faith? Belief in the theory of evolution is thus exactly parallel to belief in special creation - both are concepts which believers know to be true but neither, up to the present, has been capable of proof."66 Professor of physics, H.S. Lipson at the University of Manchester observed: "In fact, evolution became, in a sense, a scientific religion; almost all scientists have accepted it and many are prepared to 'bend' their observations to fit in with it."67

Modern humanistic publications identify with Darwinian concepts and are admittedly religious. In Summary, here are the religious tenets expressed:

The American Humanist Association (which equates itself with evolutionary thought) was established in the state of Illinois as a non-profit, tax-exempt organization conceived for educational and religious purposes. In 1961 the U.S. Supreme Court took official cognizance of religious humanism in the case of Roy R. Torcaso. The unanimous opinion of the court was: "Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism and Others." [Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 IJS 488 (1961), footnote 11, p. 495] Lloyd Norain. former president of the American Humanist Association, revealed: "Down through the ages men have been seeking a universal religion or way of life.... Humanism...shows promise of becoming a great world religion." James K. Uphoff, in the March, 1978, issue of Educational Leadership, gave a broad definition of religion which "...envisions religion as any faith or set of values to which an individual or group gives ultimate loyalty."

Geneticist Francisco Ayala presented a eulogy following the death of Theodosius Dobzhansky: "Dobzhansky was a religious man, although he apparently rejected fundamental beliefs of traditional religion, such as the existence of a personal God....Dobzhansky held that in man, biological evolution has transcended itself into the realm of self- awareness and culture. He believed that mankind would eventually evolve into higher levels of harmony and creativity. He was a metaphysical optimist."69 Dobzhansky, one of the most prominent scientific neo-Darwinians, wrote: "In giving rise to man, the evolutionary process has, apparently for the first and only time in the history of the Cosmos, become conscious of itself."70 The religious orientation and the extension of Darwinian evolutionary thought are obvious.

Others have expressed the same view more recently: "In this way one eventually ends up with the idea of the universe as a mind that oversees, orchestrates, and gives order and structure to all things.''71 George Wald, Harvard University's Nobel prize-winning biologist wrote: "There are two major problems rooted in science, but inassimilable as science, consciousness and cosmology... The universe wants to be known. Did the universe come about to play its role to empty benches." 72

Humanistic evolution, then, is a religion in the sense that it is a transcendent metaphysical concept which adopts consensus tenants of origins, conduct, literary patriarchy and destiny. It finds a state of harmony with discordant universal experience.

It follows that religious assertiveness would be declared. ln an official fund-raising letter for the American Humanist Association, Fall, 1984, the following declaration was made: "The time has come for wide-spread recognition of the radical changes in religious beliefs through-out the world. The time is past for mere revision of traditional attitudes ....Today man's larger understanding of the universe, his scientific achievements, and his deeper appreciation of brotherhood have created a situation which requires a new statement of the means and purposes of religion... 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: Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created. Humanism believes that man is a part of nature and that he has emerged as the result of a continuous process."

Numerous ancient religions held to some form of evolutionary thought. Among them would be Epicurianism, Atomism, Stoicism, Gnosticism, Pantheism, and pre-Confucian Chinese religions. A partial list of modern religions which hold to an evolutionary philosophy includes: Humanism, Liberal Judaism, Liberal Islam, Liberal Christianity, Unitarianism, Religious Science, Unity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, Sikhism, Jainism, Mysticism, Bahaism, Theosophy, Satanism, Occultism, Spiritism, and Aninism.73 The first mention of the evolutionary concept in the history of the world is from a Babylonian religious document, Enuma Elish.74

This author has researched and listed the following religious characteristics common in part to all of the preceding religious groups including humanism:

It has become increasingly apparent to many of us involved in this field of research that many humanists have championed their cause with evangelist fervor:

The battle for humankind's future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive there role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level - preschool, daycare, or large state university. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new - the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism, resplendent in its promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian ideal of 'love thy neighbor" will finally be achieved. 75


Denton, Michael. 1985. Evolution, A Theory In Crisis, Adler and Adler, Bethesda, Maryland pp.357-358

Toulmin, Stephen and Goodfield, June. 1965. The Discovery Of Time, New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, p.36

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Huxley, Aldous. 1937. Ends And Means, New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, pp.312,316

Patterson, Colin. 1982. British Broadcasting Company, interview, March 4

Thomson, Keith. 1982. American Scientist, p.529

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Hediger, H. 1974. Image Roche, 62:27. Fouts, R. (1973) Science, 180:978. Schrier, A. and Stollnitz, F. ed (1971) Behavior Of Non-Human Primates, Academic Press. V.4

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Premack, D. 1971. Science, 172:808

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Gange, Robert. op. cit. pp.137,140

Ibid., p.142

Sebeok, T. and Umiker-Sebeok, J. 1980. Speaking Of Apes: A Critical Anthology Of Two-Wav Communication With Man, Plenum Press. Seidenberg, M. and Patitto, L. 1981. Ape Signing: Problems Of Method And Interpretation, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Seidenberg, M. 1976. There Is No Evidence For Linguistic Abilities In Signing Apes, Master's Thesis Columbia University. Chevalier-Skolnikoff, S. The Clever Hans Phenomenon, Cluing, And Ape Signing: A Piagetian Analysis Of Methods For Instructing Animals, Annals Of The New York Academy Of Sciences, 364:60

Darwin, Charles. 1882. The Autobiography Of Charles Darwin, New York: Harcourt Brace and Company, p.45

Ibid., p.44

Ibid., p.28

Ibid., p.156

Darwin.s Century, p.101

Himmelfarb, Gertrude. 1959. Darwin And The Darwinian Revolution, London: Chatto and Windus, p.343

Grinnell, George. 1974. The Rise And Fall Of Darwin's First Theorv Of Transmutation, Journal of the History of Biology, Fall p.273

Gale, Barry G. 1972. Darwin And The Concept Of Struggle For Existence: A Study In The Extrascientific Origins Of Scientific Ideas, Isis, Sept., pp.321-344

Autobiography, pp.41,42

Ibid., p.249

Hyman, Stanley Edgar. 1963. Darwin For Today, New York: The Viking Press, Inc. p.222

Autobiography, p.52

Ibid., p.58

Ibid., p.42

Ibid., p.85

Ibid., p.87

Ibid., p.88-91

Ibid., p.92

Ibid., p.92

Ibid., p.162

Ibid., p.93

Ibid., p.249

Darwin For Today, p.222

Sagon, Carl. 1979. Broca's Brain, New York: Random House, p.285

Sagon, Carl. 1980. Cosmos, New York: Random House, p.4

Ibid., p.242

Ibid., p.318

Ibid., p.318

Ibid., p.5

Ibid., p.11

Ibid., p.243

Ibid., p.243

Ibid., p.243

Ibid., p.345

Midgley, Mary. 1985. Evolution As A Religion: Strange Hopes And Fears, New York: Methuen and Co., University Paperbacks

Ibid., p.61

Ibid., p.129


Ibid., p.1


Little, John. 1986. When Scientists Are Unscientific, New Scientist, 109(1495):50-51

Popper, Karl. 1976. Unending Quest, pp.167-168

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HumaIiist Manifesto I, The New Humanist, May - June 1933, Vol. VI, No.3 Humanist Manifesto II, The Humanist, September - October 1973, Vol. XXXIII, No.5 Humanist Manifestos, Buffalo:Prometheus Books, 1973

Ayala, Francisco. 1977. Nothing In Biology Makes Sense Except In The Light Of Evolution, Journal Of Heredity, Vol.68, No.3, p.9

Dobzhansky, Theodosius. 1967. Changing Man, Science, Vol.155 January 27, p.409

Rifkin, Jeremy. 1983. Algeny, New York: Viking Press, p.195

Wald, George. 1983. as reported in A Knowing Universe Seeking To Be Known, by Dietrick E. Thomsen. Science News, Vol.123 (February 19) p.124

Morris, Henry M. 1985. Creation And The Modern Christian, El Cajon, CA: Master Books, pp.56-59

Wilson, Clifford A. 1985. The Early Chapters Of Genesis, Melbourne:Pacific College, pp.15,16

John Dunphy, "A Religion for a New Age," The Humanist 45 (JanuaryFebruary 1983): 26

Copyright by Carl E. Baugh, 1989