Evolution, Creation and Restoration
By Ambassador Alan Keyes
June 22, 2001I have to say, to begin with, in thinking about my talk this evening I actually found myself a little bit challenged because it is a subject that though unfortunately it's not explicitly dealt with too often, especially in the context of our social and political lives in this country, when you stop and think about it, to me it seems at some level so clear and straightforward that I'm almost at a loss as to why it would take any more than five or ten minutes to talk about it in any depth. It is in fact a sign of how far we have strayed from the common sense concerns that ought to be with us at all times as citizens and as members of this society, that the implications of evolutionary theory for aspects of our lives that we absolutely take for granted, are almost never seriously considered. And so at the risk of seeming kind of simple minded this evening I would just like to step through, from the point of view of somebody who deeply cares about both our liberty and our republic and our way of life, I would just like to step through some of the things that seem to me to be the more obvious consequences with the apology that I think is necessary here, that but for the nature of our times, it would not be necessary to do this because it ought to be perfectly obvious.
And why it ought to be obvious I think is clear the moment I begin, from that premise from which I by and large almost always begin, especially when I am talking about the moral implications on the whole of our thought and behavior in this society. Because as a people, we live in the context of a nation and a way of life that is in fact founded on an articulated and explicit moral premise. That hasn't always been the case in human history. Nations come about in all kinds of ways. And by and large they have been the consequence of events and co-location and circumstance and conquest and sentiment and kinship and all kinds of other things that can be considered accidental and that in and of themselves may or may not have any real moral significance, whatever hold they have on our feelings and sympathies.
But in the case of our country we actually had a beginning that we can clearly identify, and that was in the context of a rational and explicit effort to found a polity on stated principles of justice, to forge institutions that however imperfect, would reflect those principles of justice. Naturally enough that required that the principles of justice be stated and from the very beginning, in a context where in other times and circumstances folks might have thought it unnecessary to state them, or at least unnecessary to state them in this way, our founders actually did feel it necessary, as they moved into the battle for American independence, to make clear the explicit moral premises, premises that went beyond their sentiments, that went beyond their feelings, that went beyond their outrage at the particular way in which they had been treated. Many times that accounts for human behavior. People will rise up in arms because they “feel” that they have been abused but they don't bother clearly to articulate the premises that allow them to recognize that abuse. In our situation that wasn't the case at all. They did state the premises clearly, in ways that we ought to remember, though I know that from the way that things are going these days, these are words we hear less and less about, but we all know though, in the Declaration of Independence, in the part of it that stated the moral premises of our country, they were very explicit about the foundations of human justice. “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” Now, unless as a people we are simply turning our back on that principle, and I think that if we are, and I would suggest that in some of our decisions and laws and other approaches we seem to be, it would be wise, wouldn't it, to make sure we had some substitute for it. Well I surely haven't seen one. In the absence thereof, we must assume that those stated principles remain the moral premises of this way of life, based on due process and voting and representative government and the notion that every human being has rights and an indefeasible dignity that government has to respect.
Well, the Declaration of Independence states the basic premise, the first premise of all of those other things that we take for granted. And that premise is very clear. The reason that it is necessary to establish government on a basis that limits power in accordance with respect for human dignity and human rights is that those rights and that dignity come from the Creator God. That's clear. It's straightforward, it's simple. And it involves, by the way, the invocation of authority in a context where without that invocation of authority, it is not clear how this nation or any nation would be able to escape what have been the age-old premises of human polity. The age-old premises that by and large are simply some way of translating into consciousness the acceptance of whatever results history serves up. Might makes right. Justice is the good of the stronger. The notion that you must accept the result, that you must accept as a paradigm of justice and right and wrong whatever determined the outcome in any given situation. Well, our polity was founded on the notion that that is not the basis for justice. And that in fact, justice understood in that way actually constitutes no justice at all. It is rather a mask for injustice. Which leaves those who are weak to be preyed upon. Which leaves those who are defeated to be abused. Which leaves any who find themselves in a position of disadvantage in fear that that disadvantage will be exploited to their destruction.
Now of course, I go through that – and we all understand don't we – that by and large when you're on the receiving end of that kind of abuse and oppression and injustice, it upsets you a great deal and you can see right away that it's wrong. That hasn't been the hard part, I think, in the history of mankind. Trying to convince the oppressed that oppression is bad, you really don't have a hard time with that one. Generally speaking though, when the tables are turned and folks gain the upper hand, and they are wielding that power, then suddenly the principle that even has been translated in various ways into our own time and politics, that principle seems very attractive. What's the use of having power if you can't abuse it? See, and even those who were previously abused, when they get the upper hand will be fueled by natural human passions. The desire for revenge, the sense of resentment and so forth and so on. To feel and believe that, okay, the tables are turned, tit for tat, you will get your retribution now and that retribution constitutes a new element of justice. I would have to say that by and large, throughout human history, this has been the cycle of events pretty much everywhere you look in the world. I believe that it was in fact a Providential gift of Almighty God when at one moment in history a different understanding of justice broke through. Not just in the mind of some philosopher in his closet to be taught to a few of his followers or anything like that, but in a context that translated a more universal and general principle of justice into the practical basis for institutions through which people would actually govern themselves. And that I think was the significance of the moment of the American founding and it helps us to understand the historic and Providential significance of the principle that was articulated at the time of the founding. The principle that there is a basis for justice beyond human events, a basis for justice beyond human will and circumstance and strength and relationship. And that that basis for justice reflects the mind of the Supreme Being, the Creator God, and that it has been built in, as it were, into the world in which we find ourselves and is therefore reflected in the nature that surrounds us and of course in our nature as creatures of this almighty Creator. It was an appeal to the authority of that Creator then, that began this nation and that everything we take seriously in the way of forms of government, institutions, was founded on.
But then there's that simple question I so often ask my audiences, because, we seem to have reached a time when common sense is so lacking. Since the assertion of rights began with an appeal to the authority of the Creator, what happens to that assertion if and when that authority is denied? It seems pretty clear to me. If I have based my claim on a certain authority and it turns out that that authority is non-existent or false, then it follows doesn't it, that my claim is non-existent and false. And that's particularly true in this context. Because in some ways, we were dealing with a situation where the empirical evidence did not support the claim. And the empirical evidence would be the way things turn out. The way things turn out does not by and large support the claim of the weak, it does not support the claim of the conquered, it does not support the claim of anybody except those favored by circumstance and confirmed and affirmed in the result. So if your simply going to base your sense of justice on “the empirical evidence,” there is no empirical evidence that justice requires respect for the dignity and the rights and the situation and condition of anybody, except those who have the power to defend themselves or to assert their claims and make that assertion stick.
So there you are, if we don't have the appeal to that higher authority then the only authority that is left is the outcome, and that ultimately is grounded in force, whether it be the force of arms or the force of circumstance. And so there is no basis for justice except that force. Now I thank God for any number of reasons that that was not the principle that this nation was founded on, and that over the course of its history another understanding of justice was available to inspire the consciences and encourage the actions of decent people in America. Clearly many great advances in American history depended on this. The fight against slavery, the battle for civil rights, women's rights, the proper respect for the innocence and so forth of children, all of these things require consciences that were motivated by the belief that justice demands respect for the dignity of the weak, the dignity of the conquered, the dignity of those who have not been endowed by circumstance with the superior power.
Again I say though, common sense would seem to suggest that all of that, that whole structure that is grounded on our acknowledgement and acceptance of this transcendent authority and its relevance for our justice, all of it disappears when that authority is either denied in its significance or its very existence. Now, in many ways in our society arguments are made that deny the significance of God's authority. That can happen in the context of all kinds of things, it can be in the context of talking about sexual matters, in the context of talking about abortion and so forth and so on. At some level those arguments can be difficult to deal with, but I think in our time they have been rendered most difficult to deal with because they come in the context of a supposedly scientific understanding of our nature. They do not only deny the significance or relevance of God's authority, they deny, at least in the context of our nature and the nature of the world, the very existence of that authority. And it's one of those reasons that I marvel at the nonchalance that is often shown, whether in religious circles or other circles amongst people who claim that they have concerns with morality, the nonchalance that they show when they are dealing with the subject of evolution. Now I want to make clear here this evening that I am not standing before you as some kind of scientific expert, any kind of understanding I have of the limitations of evolutionary theory I base on the same kind of reading that anybody could do, any lay person could do in this country. What I am, however discussing is why it is necessary to take this challenge seriously in a way that many people do not. Even at the highest level of discourse in our religion, in our faith, in our society, you have folks who are actually willing to act as if this is some kind of secondary matter where one can easily cede to the authority of “modern science” without much detrimental effect upon anything else. And yet, if you even think about it for a minute, the implications of the understanding of the world, but especially of ourselves, that evolution represents, utterly destroys the foundation for any sense of a transcendent basis for human justice. And as a matter of fact, one ought to see that in the natural paradigm that evolution itself represents, the one that is most often, of course, presented – and they'll always tell you that it's an oversimplification and so forth and so on, but at some level they're lying – because whoever stood up and made it clear that you summarize the whole business, at least in terms of what you might consider its social relevance, with the old phrase, “the survival of the fittest,” right? Well, however you want to and with whatever complexity you want to interpret it, what that really suggests is that outcome validates existence. That's what you're really talking about. And in that sense, we're looking at a situation in which, if there is any standard at all, that standard is simply what works. Whether you want to call it survival, dominance, whatever, the standard is simply 'what works.' But not what works in some general or cosmic sense, no, because the whole disappears. By this understanding, what works is to be understood only from the point of view of the particular being. And it reminds me, I think it was the start of an old TV show, 'Hunter,' and at the end of the mélange that used to open the show, the hero would be beating up on somebody, and would be standing over him and they'd be closing out the credits and he would say, “It works for me!”
It works for me. I think that summarizes the understanding of the standard that is implied by evolutionary theory. Whatever works for you! And we think it's an accident that that understanding has now become the kind of popular basis for most discussions of just about anything. And you can put fancy labels on it, relativism, circumstantial ethics and all this, but the truth of it is it boils down to this principle: whatever works for you. Now of course, as a principle of social justice, this can be a problem. I especially would understand that looking back on the heritage that I come from, since I am quite sure that John C. Calhoun was one of those people who believed slavery worked for him. And so did my ancestors as a result; he didn't see anything wrong with that at all. “Slavery works for me, you work for me, that's all we need to know.” But in order to challenge that understanding we have to challenge it on the basis of the belief that there is some way of judging rights and wrongs that is not exhausted by the result, by the outcome.
Well that understanding, the possibility of such a principle, is inherently denied by the understanding represented in evolutionary theory. It's denied for a number of reasons. It's denied of course as a matter of formal logic and reasoning. It's also denied because one of the conditional premises of the thought that goes into the theory is that you're going to look at the world in such a way that you can explain the existence of what appear to be organized and rational structures and results, but you're going to explain it all as if no intelligence, mind or will informed those results. To put it quite simply, and I know there are people who will say, “Oh no, evolutionary theory doesn't require that you deny the existence of God,” no, it just requires that you consider it an irrelevant question. The existence of God becomes one of those things like a taste for chocolate ice cream. You can have it or not have it as you please, but it really doesn't matter beyond your own personal preference. That's why in so many ways in our society you will find through all different kinds of religious denominations and so forth, there is this creeping personalism in religion. And what I mean by that is this notion that it's all just a personal thing, something that you go forward with in faith because it gives you personal satisfaction. People can even understand the context of personal salvation as if it is all about them and not at all about the universe. And I think that at least in part that is a consequence of the kind of thinking that evolutionary thinking fosters because it requires, not that we stand up and say, “There is no God,” but just that we look at the world and explain everything in it as if that were true.
Now you do have to ask yourself, and I ask myself this quite often when I am considering that premise of evolutionary thinking, why would you want to do that? Why is it we never stop and ask ourselves that? When you read this in the macroevolution text and you have the folks who are saying, “Well, evolution seeks to explain a world that looks like it was put here by rational construct as if that were not the case.” Why would you want to do that? I mean, generally speaking we human beings are content to believe that if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, we'll be quite willing to call it a duck. But in the case of a world that looks like a consequence, begs for a cause, seems to reflect intelligent and rational thought, why is it so important that we should explain what appears in all these guises as if that intelligence did not exist and did not inform the result? That question I think, which is so rarely raised does require, it seems to me, an answer, because it suggests that the thinking that goes into evolution cannot explain its own motivation. That shouldn't come as a surprise should it? Because if evolution theory is correct then there is no underlying rational explanation for motivation. That is the whole consequence of the theory. Motivation becomes irrelevant except as it relates to the mechanical production of an effect. And yet in this particular case, I think it ought to be important to us because it suggests that standing behind evolutionary theory there is not just a hunger for knowledge of the world, no. There is an insistence that whatever it may look like, the world MUST be understood in a certain way. And the way in which the world must be understood is a way that denies the existence of a relevant and transcendent intelligence and will that formed the world as it is.
I find it interesting that to some extent we cling to this premise even as our own advances in thinking have brought us to a world in which it is far easier perhaps than it used to be to understand how such an intelligence might operate. I'm speaking of course of the fact that as we move further and further along the road of cybernetics and computers and programming, we actually have today, in some ways, a more immediate access to what the intelligence of God may look like in its workings. That might have been the case even a couple hundred years ago, because it is no longer a question now simply of being like a watchmaker who puts together a mechanism. We can even understand how it might be that a will, an intelligent will, could implant conceptual wholes in the world and have those wholes appear and work and function even though that from which they emerge has no resemblance to the result. How the tree can come from the seed was always a great mystery, but not so much a mystery when we understand how the complex graphics can come from the computer program. It's just a hint of course, of the way in which such an intelligence can produce a whole that reflects the concept, the form that it had in mind even before that form appeared. And yet, the advances that we have made in our own sort of puny intelligence ought to help us to comprehend how this is possible. I raise that of course because if we weren't bound by the notion that we're going to explain how everything got there without reference to such an intelligent will, then certainly some of things that we have been working with ourselves would help us to become even more comfortable with the notion of that intelligent will, help us to understand even better than we might have the meaning of those scriptures that might have seemed obscure at one point, when the psalmist informs us that we were fashioned in the secret places of the earth, that God had counted all the number of our days before there was yet one of them. At some level one accepted the truth of that on faith. At another level today, we can confirm at least in conceptual principle the possibility of such an intelligent operation with our own little metaphors for that kind of result.
[For the programmer certainly conceives of the results of the program and can count up those… - SPLIT IN THE TAPE -… paradigm that rejects the idea of this transcendent intelligence.]
It is also a rejection of the idea that there is, expressed in the forms in which things appear in the world, any meaning or significance. That is an implication of evolutionary theory of course because if the forms are simply the consequence of the interaction over many millions of years of matter with itself in various contexts and under various conditions, then the forms that result from it have no particular significance, meaning or authority, they're just what happened and one can ascribe no particular significance to what happened except, well, it happened.
Why is that important? Well I think it ought to be perfectly obvious. What is the significance, for instance, of family? Over the course of human history arguments have been made about the fundamental importance of family life and family structures. They have in fact been essential elements in the understanding of right and wrong and decency in almost every decent society that has ever existed. That runs back of course to an understanding of the male and the female and their different roles in relation to one another and the responsibilities that are implied by all of that. But if the basic attributes of our nature, biologically, have no significance except that these are the particular accidents that somehow account for our being here, is it possible to ascribe moral significance to those accidents? I often try to get people to toy with the idea that we would re-write the Declaration of Independence in order to reflect our general acceptance of evolutionary theory and to consider how we would have to rephrase it. And whether that rephrasing would in fact have any important significance that could then become the basis for a system of justice and due process and so forth. So how would we do it? Well, obviously we can't say something like, “We hold these truths to be self evident,” because self-evident truth is not the same as empirical truth. Empirical truth is not evident until after you have examined all of the relevant facts. It's not like a geometrical proof, it doesn't necessarily strike you right away on the face of it, you have to keep looking at the evidence to ascertain whether it is so. So the whole idea of self evident truth is tossed out the window if we are going to see our nature and the forms of our lives and our way of life including our biological forms, then we're going to see them just as the result of happenstance, of accident as it worked itself out over millions of years. So we get rid of the idea of self-evident truths. And so we have to say that, I guess what we would do is we would hold that the following observations seem more or less true to us based on the state of human evolution at this time. And then what would we say? Well, we would have to say that it appears to be true, based on these observations that, well, some of us, and we can argue whether “some of us,” would mean most of us, have reached a stage of evolution that is more or less similar. And that having reached this stage where we are more or less similar in our evolution, we are all of us equally entitled to whine about the results. Now, I think that would kind of roughly if a little bit facetiously translate evolutionary theory into the political terms that might be required to be the basis of a polity. But then the question would be, what kind of basis would it be? I mean, even leaving aside that there were a lot of gray areas shall we say, areas that would be subject to dispute and require determination of what I just said, the question of whether or not we have all of us evolved to more or less the same point, that would certainly be open to question wouldn't it? It would be open to question based on differing scientific achievements, differing military achievements, differing social achievements. It would be open to question based on all kinds of things, I mean, some people would get on their high horse and say we're superior in evolutionary terms because our science is better than yours, and others would say, well, we're superior because our society functions more properly and decently than yours and so forth and so on. Now those kinds of debates were not uncommon in human history and by and large, the way in which they were decided was that people would talk about until they got angry enough and then they'd fight about it until somebody won. And it was generally considered to be the case that whoever was standing when the smoke cleared, as the title of the movie goes, “The Last Man Standing,” had then proved the point and justified their superiority. Do we honestly believe this to be the case? Looking back on the beleaguered history of the 20th century, are we willing to say that the Nazis were superior to the Poles just because when the smoke cleared, they were standing and the Polish cavalry had been destroyed? I hope not. At which point I think Churchill would have had a hard time rallying the people of Great Britain to continue their fight because they were obviously living under the shadow of superior beings, why didn't they just give up?
So, the premises that I have just talked about as you translate this evolutionary premise into something that might become a basis for polity, actually is indistinguishable as one might expect it to be from the old principle, “might makes right,” which is established by circumstance, by power, by the material balance and result. I don't know why that would surprise us since there is an evident similarity between the natural principle, if I can put it that way, asserted in evolutionary dogma and the political principle that justice is the good of the stronger and that all you have to do to justify yourself is come out on top, beat the other guy, survive. But it goes even further. Self-evident truth is out the window, ideas of human equality are out the window, and along with those ideas of human equality, we must also throw out the window all ideas of representative government and due process. Since it's hard to see how it is possible to assert that the rights of the weak must be considered in a world where justice is determined by strength alone. That's why it was hard to understand in, say the context of the Roman world, why the weak should be considered because justice was premised on superior power.
All these things, taken account of then, it's also hard to understand once we have denied the existence of an intelligence that informed the result, why we should ascribe any significance to the forms that resulted, whether these be the physical forms of men and women or the forms of life and behavior that result from those biological differences. Obviously then, one consequence of evolutionary theory is that the family is in and of itself, drained of all significance. The only thing you could say for it is that maybe as a structure it worked, in this context or for that society. But there's no particular reason to believe that if you found a substitute you couldn't just disregard it with impunity because the forms have no significance. They represent no authority. If the theory of evolution is correct then all such forms are merely accidents and the only way therefore that you can, how can I put it, rise above the world in which those accidents essentially determine the outcome, is through the assertion of a willful, humanly understood and humanly informed result. I think, by the way, that's exactly why theirs an affinity, in its scientific guise and the understanding of human life that was put forward by people like Machiavelli. The understanding that at the end of the day, if we are to see human beings having a purpose, that purpose is to overcome fortune, overcome the world of accident and by imposing humanly constructed forms to compensate for the absence of significant form or meaning in the natural world. But insofar as this offers any hope at all it offers a hope that again is in its practical effect, indistinguishable from brute force, from the force of circumstance, from the assertion that justice is determined strictly by superior power. Now obviously, that superior power can be a consequence either of brute force or the consequence of technology and superior knowledge. But the result is the same. That the only basis for justice is something that is a consequence of circumstances entirely determined by outcomes which are the result of the balance of power if you like, in human affairs. The question we have to ask ourselves then as we think through these consequences is are we willing to accept that as the understanding of the world? Because if we are my friends, I think some of the things we take for granted are going. And some of us may do well in the world that is to come but a lot of us won't do very well at all. And I suppose whether you greet it with dismay or with confidence probably depends on where you think you'll end up. If you happen to be one of those people who thinks that at the end of the day when everything has been translated into these terms and those who are able to grasp the realities and wield the technological results with the greater skill have established their dominance, that you'll be on the winning side. And of course, if you're on the winning side you'll be very sympathetic with the arguments that suggest that this is a fine way to determine what justice is. But what if you're not? What if instead you're living through that long dark night of oppression that Winston Churchill foresaw as the consequence of a world dominated by science, bereft of all overriding moral principle. A world that, as he put it would be, “darkness relieved only by lights of a perverted science.” I think that this is in fact the world that is implied by evolutionary theory. By its consequences for moral and ethical structures and political principles, particularly those that we are supposed, as a people, to hold dear. It's one of the reasons why I believe that whatever one may think about this question, the first thing that ought to be true about Americans is that we have to take it seriously. If we are a people whose understanding of justice derives from the belief that all of us are created equal and that the will of the Creator therefore has authority in determining human justice then the question of Creation versus evolution is not just a question of scientific theory, it is a question of the utmost political significance. If the evidence is overwhelming then I suppose at the end of the day one would just have to bow to reality but you and I both know that the evidence for evolutionary theory does not appear overwhelming until and unless you have accepted the premises of evolutionary theory. One of those things which benefits from a willingness to engage in the sort of circular reasoning that actually violates the premises of most other logic that we apply. In science itself for instance, it is usually understood that you have to explain a result with a commensurate cause. It is only when it comes to evolution that we find that basic principle of cause and effect stood on its head. And that faced with a cause with an effect that suggests a complex and structured and well-organized cause, we actually seek for an explanation that denies that complexity. In almost any other field of science this would be thrown out on the face of it. The fact that we bend over backwards to make place for it and that in fact it has moved so far forward that it is now accepted as the necessary dogma in our institutions. It amazes me, especially in the context of a people whose free institutions absolutely require the acknowledgement of a transcendent Creator with the authority to establish the lines that distinguish right from wrong, good from bad, appropriate from inappropriate behaviors.
I have gone through all of this and part of me feels like, okay, that's done. And I stand back and I look at what I have said and I wonder to myself how anybody can deny the common sense of it. I marvel at it as a matter of fact. It seems to me we've been like drunken people stumbling through the darkness for the last century or more, embracing ideas that have as their consequence the utter destruction of things we profess to hold dear. And yet we blithely go down the road of this so-called knowledge without ever thinking through, at the level of simple common sense, what it implies for cherished institutions and ideas including the cherished idea of our own dignity. Now, of course, there are those who might suggest that clinging to those ideas of dignity and those institutions is just kind of weak mindedness, an unwillingness to embrace the truth because it has these sad and difficult implications for our human affairs. But in all honesty, let us assume for the moment just for the sake of argument, that they were right. It has always been the case as I look back on human history that human societies acknowledge the necessity at times of embracing those premises that make society possible and of limiting the acceptance of those premises that destroy it to the detriment of humanity. Wisdom at least even in the ancient world, the wisdom of somebody like Socrates seemed to consist in acknowledging that the wisest were those who acknowledged that in the context of human society and affairs, decency required that you placed a limit even on the consequences of truth. I think that it speaks volumes for the unscientific motivation of evolutionists and those who embrace its consequences that they show no sign of any such moderation. That they are willing in spite of what seem to be all of the dangerous and immoderate consequences of the view they put forward, to demand that this view become the foundation of thinking and education in a society in which the implication of it is the utter destruction of the societies' institutions. I guess I would want to suggest that that alone to me would warn me against the belief that we are dealing with folks who are putting something forward for the sake of truth. I think an ambition that is so reckless, an ambition that is so heedless of the consequences of its assertion is not an ambition informed by a spirit of truth, by a love of truth.
But we put that aside as well because in this particular case, a strong argument can be made that for all the assertion and so forth, it's not entirely clear that we're dealing here with something that even in terms of scientific procedures has established its truth. At the very least therefore, a society that has on the one hand premises that require the authority of the Creator would be justified in believing that we should not discard the premise of creation until and unless some alternative premise were unavoidably, inexorably established in fact and truth. But that hasn't been the case. Interestingly enough of course, we're supposed to act as if it has been and therefore we are to forbid the questioning of this truth in our classrooms and in our educational institutions. That to me has always been another sign of the unscientific nature of this particular theory. Since in every other area of scientific inquiry and endeavor, nothing is so taken for granted as the need at every stage to question the results and question the theories, even the ones that have seemed to be validated most often by experience. But for that questioning of basic premises, the Newtonian understanding of the world would have never been advanced by Einstein's challenges and so forth and so on. We have understood that science, that the real spirit of scientific inquiry actually requires that the mind constantly be open to the possibility that the theory is wrong and that any fact which then comes into evidence that is inconsistent with that theory is sufficient to shake it to its very foundations - and yet this has not been the case with evolutionary dogma.
I don't go through that because I want to, as I say, argue as some kind of scientific individual, I go through it because this ought to lead us to suspect the motives of those who are imposing this dogmatic approach with respect to this theory. Dogmatism of this kind is inappropriate to science. And since it is inappropriate to science, what is the motive of those who have imposed it when it comes to the examination of this theory? One would have to suggest that the motive is not scientific. That the motive instead has to do with the fact that this is a theory that in many ways buttresses certain forces in our time and in our society, forces that seek by their action to undue the existence of traditional understandings, principles, faiths, constraints, and to promote concepts of “liberation” that have through time immemorial been considered inconsistent with the survival of societies.
And that gets me to my final set of points because I think one of the things we have to see here is the connection between the promotion of a scientific understanding that relieves us of the acknowledgement of a transcendent authority, that destroys the basis for the possibility of objective truth in anyway relevant to our social and moral affairs, and all of those things that we see going on in our society that seem to be the consequence of our abandonment of any moral understanding of our way of life. If we are in fact the consequence of evolutionary accident then in point of fact there is in many areas no basis for making moral judgments about human behavior. I think one of the areas in which this is particularly true and particularly relevant is in the sexual area of course, in which once you have denied that any will or moral being informed the creation, you have then denied any significance to the biological distinctions that were the consequence of that will. Therefore family, marriage, the decent constraints that have been understood to be essential to society when it comes to human sexual behavior, all of these things seem like totally arbitrary impositions on human will, unless of course they can be justified by immediate inconveniences. So once you reached the point where your technology might have freed you from those inconveniences, you are freed from all such constraints. Because there is nothing inherently respectable about those constraints, nothing that commands respect because there is no authority inherent in the forms of which these behaviors are a consequence. I think in that sense evolutionary theory is the natural ally of all those forces that seek to undermine and destroy the traditional social structures of our society. But sadly, it is also the enemy of those forces that would seek to sustain an understanding of our human condition, which validates the possibility of human freedom and self-government. Because this is one of the consequences of evolutionary theory that I believe to be most detrimental, maybe the most detrimental in a moral and social sense and that is this: If the results that we see are in fact as evolutionary theory seems to suggest, the consequence of the working out over millions of years of the inexorable properties of matter and motion and so forth and so on, then what room is there in such a world for choice? What room is there for choice? The only way that evolution could be true of human beings is if we cannot break the cycle of material fact and consequence with a choice that transcends those circumstances. If we have no place to stand to rise above the stream of cause and effect, then evolution makes sense. If we have such a place, if we have such a ground for human choice and freedom then as it affects human beings, evolution couldn't possibly be true. It requires in fact, that there be a cycle in which material cause and consequence are unbroken by arbitrary choice. Unbroken by any twist or turn that reflects, not the formation and deformation of material circumstance but simply the determination of human will in freedom. But I think that that clear denial of the possibility of human freedom is obviously a consequence of the first premise of evolutionary thinking. For how could we have a place to stand to determine our will and to make a choice apart from the stream and flow of cause and effect, of material circumstance and consequence, except that there exists a Being whose being transcends this stream, this cycle of material things and who by His will can lend to us that standpoint that makes our freedom possible? I think that especially as Christian people we need to understand that our liberty, our freedom as human beings is a consequence of grace. It is a consequence of the willingness of God to acknowledge our freestanding existence and to support us in the sustaining of that existence. The beauty of it is that even as he lends us His standpoint as it were, from which we can therefore rise above the circumstances and conditions that He Himself has determined for the world, even as He lends it to us, two things are true: He makes possible that freedom through which, as Adam and Eve are clearly shown to do in the Bible, we can even choose against His will – because otherwise it wouldn't be freedom – but He also affirms His absolute interest in our existence, in our being, in our choice and its consequences. He supports us in the freedom to choose and even to go against His will and that support is clearly evidence of His support and acknowledgement for the possibility of our existence. And see, I think ultimately it is that support and acknowledgment, by God, of the possibility of our existence that the American Declaration translates into political terms. For it means simply this, that the principle of all that is, is not indifferent to the fate of our humanity. Of course, that's a premise that at an emotional level, at the level of that emotional acknowledgement of truth that is so much a part of faith, evolution utterly denies. The world of evolution is a world in which if we stand at all, we stand alone on the precipice of accident and circumstance. We jump into a future that is a dark and unknown abyss in which anything is possible, including that which utterly invalidates the possibility of our existence and its meaning.
I think this is the real choice we have before us when we deal with evolutionary dogma. It's a choice that has its implications for our freedom, for our institutions, for our moral selves, for basic structures like the family, but beyond it all, it is a choice that has implications for how we shall understand, in the context of this universe, our human condition. Are we in fact here, standing as it were, lonely and without any support except perhaps our own feeble resolve in a long dark night of material accident and circumstance? Or do we exist by the grace of God's love, by the power of His will, warmed in truth in the very inmost essence of our being by the knowledge that as He supports us in our freedom, so in His justice does He support those things which are necessary for our dignity and for our survival in decency and in prosperity, and in the hope that we can some day achieve that true and perfect joy and happiness which is today as it was forever, His intention for us all.