Sunday, June 04, 2006


I remember a very earnest 8th grade social studies teacher getting quite upset with me when I laughed at her slide presentation on the subject of evolution. I didn’t laugh because I had been brought up as a fundamentalist; my mother was a liberal humanist and my father was a middle –of–the–American-road Protestant, and both were pro-evolution. I laughed because the idea seemed preposterous. And the idea still seems preposterous. Now I know people inside the religious community as well as outside take evolution very seriously, but I don’t think they take it seriously because they have examined the theory and find it credible; they take it seriously because they like the notion of a force stronger than God. It is a way of hedging their bets. If God turns out to be too hung up on their personal lives, they can always appeal to a more impersonal and more powerful force above God who is not too particular about personal sin. But the downside of the evolutionary god is that, having no distinct personality, he is not concerned with particular persons. So in order to lose one’s sins in the great nature god’s indifferent center, one must also lose one’s personality. There is no personal resurrection with evolution; there is only an impersonal splattering of dust into the cosmos.

Evolution is not something discovered by Darwin. He gave it the ape-to-man formulation, but the idea that a natural impersonal force controls our destinies and not God is as old as Satan, who peddled that idea in the Garden of Eden. And it seems to be a litmus test for sanity. Accept evolution and you are with the sane, the rational, and the scientific. Reject it and you are with the insane, the irrational, and the nonscientific. Well, why not live dangerously? I reject it completely and without any attempt at some kind of Augustinian compromise. I simply reject it.