When and where will “cancel culture” stop? Wokeness is never satisfied. It’s never enough. Here’s a surprising late entry to the cancel culture sweepstakes. Charles Darwin is under attack. That’s right. St. Charles Darwin is about to get canceled if the folks at Sheffield University get their way.
British naturalist Charles Darwin has become the latest historical scientist to run afoul of the “decolonise the curriculum” movement, with Sheffield University reportedly claiming that Darwin’s theory on evolution was used to “justify white male supremacy.”
It’s worse than white male supremacy. In an attempt to redeem Darwin, Darwin biographer Professor James Moore responded to Sheffield University’s attack on the icon of evolutionary “science”:
What set his ‘racism’ apart — and makes him more like us today — was his profound conviction that all the human races are ‘family’, sisters and brothers. Darwin’s wokeness was most obvious in his maintaining the full common humanity and unity of the races in the face of a rising anthropology that insisted the races were in fact separately originated and unrelated species, thus offering justification of atrocities that Darwin is now blamed for.
Given Darwinian assumptions, we are animals. We are one of the “favoured races,” to use Darwin’s own words, of all other animals. “Although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin,” writes Richard Dawkins, “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” There’s no way to account for such a favored status without first acknowledging that we are created in God’s image.
While Darwin opposed slavery, there is nothing in his system or in the claims of modern-day adherents of Darwinism that can offer any justification as to why enslaving people is morally wrong.
In the 1925 “Scope’s Trial,” the defendant, John Scopes taught from “an approved school text called A Civic Biology by George Hunter.” The book is not so much a scientific defense of Darwinism as a rehearsal of “Darwinism’s social implications. In particular, chapter seventeen discusses the application to human society of “the laws of selection” and approves the eugenic policies and scientific racism common in the United States at the time.” (Scopes, a substitute teacher planted by the ACLU to test Tennessee’s anti-evolution law, was teaching his students from chapter seventeen.) In his Civic Biology, “Hunter believed that it would be criminal to hand down ‘handicaps’ to the next generation and regarded families with a history of tuberculosis, epilepsy and feeblemindedness as ‘parasitic on society.’ The remedy, according to Hunter, is to prevent breeding.” Here’s how Hunter put it:
If such people were lower animals, we would probably kill them off to prevent them from spreading. Humanity will not allow this, but we do have the remedy of separating the sexes in asylums or other places and in various ways preventing intermarriage and the possibilities of perpetuating such a low and degenerate race.
Evolution validated the eugenics movement by giving it scientific legitimacy. The same was true about entrenched ideas concerning race. “Hunter believed that the most evolved of the ‘races of man’ is that of ‘the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America,’ which is ‘the highest type of all.’” Today’s morality (or lack of it) is a reflection of the ethical and social implications of Darwinism. Evolution strips man of any dignity and the need to consider the rights of others. Barbara Reynolds, former columnist for USA Today, writes about the dominance of evolutionary dogmatism in our nation’s schools:
Prohibiting the teaching of creationism in favor of evolution creates an atheistic, belligerent tone that might explain why our kids sometimes perform like Godzilla instead of children made in the image of God. While evolution teaches that we are accidents or freaks of nature, creationism shows humankind as the offspring of a divine Creator. There are rules to follow which govern not only our time on Earth, but also our afterlife.
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If evolution is forced on our kids, we shouldn’t be perplexed when they beat on their chests or, worse yet, beat on each other and their teachers.
Reynolds’ comments are reminiscent of what C.S. Lewis wrote: “We make men without chests and we expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and we are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.” We strip men and women of the certainty that they are created in the image of God, and we are surprised when they act like the beasts of the field. The beasts of the field are roaming the streets and schools of America. “In New York, two teenage boys and a young woman lock up a 13-year-old girl, repeatedly rape and torture her, then hang her up in a closet by her heels before she manages to escape.”
Darwin’s first work, The Origin of Species by Natural Selection, first published in 1859, was the weapon that secularists needed to advance a rival comprehensive worldview based on non-Christian presuppositions. Darwinian evolution was seen as a way out of a world governed by a Creator who demanded ethical absolutes. German scholar Ernst Haeckel pushed the implications of Darwin’s theories to comprehensive limits. He believed that moral law was subject to biology. “Thousands, indeed millions of cells are sacrificed in order for a species to survive.”
If this is true of biology, then it is equally true for society. “Haeckel’s use of Darwin’s theories was decisive in the intellectual history of his time. It united trends already developing in Germany of racism, imperialism, romanticism, nationalism, and anti-semitism.” In 1906, at the age of seventy-two, he founded the Monist League. To the Monist, man was one with nature and the animals. Man was no special creation as the “image of God.” He had no soul, only a superior degree of development. The Monist League “united eugenicists, biologists, theologians, literary figures, politicians and sociologists.” The Darwinian worldview as expressed by Haeckel’s Monist League was comprehensive in interpreting all of life in terms of the social implications of evolution. The effects on Germany, as all of history attests, was disastrous. “Otto Ammon, a leading racial anthropologist, wrote that the laws of nature were the laws of society. ‘Bravery, cunning and competition are virtues. … Darwin must become the new religion of Germany … the racial struggle is necessary for mankind.” Karl Marx also found in Darwin “the natural history foundation” for his views. Hegel’s philosophy of “dialectical materialism” where conflicting views were synthesized into a third, more advanced stage of development, was now supported by Darwin’s biology and inherent historical implications that “society, like nature, improved over time.”
Darwin had a similar impact on America, although it did not take the form of Nazism or Marxist Communism. The American industrialist Andrew Carnegie embraced the social implications of Darwin’s theories and applied them to the world of business. “That light came in as a flood and all was clear. Not only had I got rid of theology and the supernatural, but I found the truth of evolution.” John D. Rockefeller, using Darwinian logic, believed that “[t]he growth of a large business is merely the survival of the fittest.”
So, given the operating assumptions of Darwinism, “If we are all biological accidents, why shouldn’t the white accidents own and sell the black accidents,” or worse, and who’s to say otherwise?