Posted by: David
I’d like to look at evolution based on why it enflames human sensibilities rather than looking too much into the details of the phenomena. The reason why few understand evolution is because of pride and fear in the human heart. Let’s borrow from Jane Austen and call it a pride and prejudice.
First let me define evolution as I understand it in one sentence: Evolution is the process whereby a natural system becomes its archetypal form. For instance, the archetypal form for a grazing animal that feeds on the tree leaves is the giraffe morphology. The archetype exists prior to the existence of the giraffe. Throughout the ages, the giraffe morphology has evolved and disappeared from the fossil records from within different groups. We can apply the same principle to all biotic and abiotic forms of existence in the entire universe. It can be applied to you and your body. It can be applied to the earth. There is even an archetypal you and your evolution is the process of you becoming the archetypal you. You, the earth, and the giraffe were defined as archetypes before the beginning of time.
I’m sure I’ve already enflamed some of you, but bear with me. Without getting into more detail on the process, I’d like to look at the psychological response of two sides of the evolution debate. I’ll start with the Christians, since I’m a Christian.
Within some circles of Christians, there is an established group-think that if one doesn’t read the Genesis Chapter 1 and 2 literally, where it ‘should’ be read literally, then one is distorting the Word of God. When we think this, we are being prideful, because we are saying that my interpretation or my circle’s understanding is correct and this places us in a place of power over another, and ironically over God. We may be just going along with what we are taught, and that may not be prideful, but it is prejudice. In this case, we are evaluating (placing judgment) something based on our fears rather than what we know in our heart. The root of prejudice is always fear. It may be a fear of not belonging to a group or it may be a fear that God will strike us down for not thinking correctly. If it’s the former, then so be it. It’s vanity to want to be accepted by others at the expense of truth. If it’s the latter, then we need to get to know God better. We will find out that God is gracious and merciful, especially when we tell him that we don’t understand something. We are not judged based on things we don’t know. However, we are judged by the standards that we expect of others, or place upon others.
In other Christian circles, the opposite is going on in order to please society, “what scientists say is fact.” Their pride and prejudice is getting the best of them also in a similar vein: vanity of the ego and fear of being an outcast.
Now, let’s move on to the general atheistic Darwinian. Sorry about the long term here, I needed to specify the perspective as closely as possible; there are all sorts of variations amongst Darwinian perspectives. Generally, it’s easy to see the pride and prejudice in this group. The prejudice is the most clear. There’s a prejudice toward the exclusion of God as driving force behind the process and a reluctance to ascribe a plan to the outcome of process. The prejudice (once again, a ‘pre-judgment’) is that God is not the impetus, which colors the final analysis. I must add that I believe that the deeper motive here again is fear: “If there is a just God, then, oh, no,” says the unconscious, “I’ll be convicted of this or of that.” In this case, the atheistic Darwinian cannot add God to the equation or the ego would be squashed. But once again, if the atheistic Darwinian would try to get to know God, then he would find the God of grace and mercy.
The ego is also to blame for the pride within this perspective. Man and his innovation must be the first to contemplate evolution. The “it’s mine” concept. So, here again, pride colors and distorts truth.
Mostly though, the whole evolution debate is a red herring. It keeps us fighting and that’s the best way to obscure the truth. During any fight, each side obscures their individual error, and both sides also do an excellent job of concealing and burying the truth that the other does hold dear. Yes, both the atheistic Darwinian and the Genesis-literal Christian have truths to tell. The atheistic Darwinian is witnessing a process of unfolding within the natural world that is very true and very real. The Genesis-literal Christian understands deeply that God is the ruler of a just universe and that he has designed the archetypes before the beginning of time.
But by burying the other side’s truth in their pride and prejudice, each group limits the others ability to see the wonders of God’s creation. We are observing, feeling and perceiving beings. We can understand joy. Besides beautiful human relation, nothing gives me greater joy than looking closely at God’s creation. Why does it give me such joy to think about how ginger is related to a banana or how relatively unchanged a species of fern has been for millions of years or how I am evolving to become the “me” of God’s planning? I cannot fathom.