Darwinism, Badges, and Guns
Reality Check (Dec. 4, 2012)
The Darwinists developed a strategy for promoting their outlook over a century ago. It was first articulated by Lester Frank Ward in 1883. To understand the nature of the Darwinists' strategy for education, we must first understand established churches.
In 1833, the state of Massachusetts passed a law ending the 200-year-old state subsidy to Congregational churches. This was not the last trace of the established church in America. Local governments throughout the United States continued to subsidize local denominations in various ways. One way was to provide a subsidy in the form of access to tax-funded meeting houses. Competing churches had to build their places of worship. As towns grew, the churches that had built in the path of development prospered. The story of government subsidies to local churches and their subsequent demise is told in a great book by sociologists Rodney Stark and Roger Finke, The Churching of America. Its message: government subsidies weaken those who receive them. The recipients fail to keep up. They cannot compete.
This is another example of how bad ethics, coupled with government coercion, produces bad results. Special-interest groups that resort to state coercion to maintain their dominance eventually lose influence when the state ceases to support them. The subsidies weaken them. Then the subsidies are removed.
This brings me to the subject at hand: Darwinism.
A MINORITY POSITION
Believers in Darwinism in the United States have a major problem. Almost nobody thinks they are correct.
In 1982, a total of 9% of the people surveyed by the Gallup organization said that they believed that man evolved over millions of years, and that God had nothing to do with the process. This is straight Darwinism. It is the theory of evolution through natural selection. In 2012, 15% of those surveyed said they held to this view. In other words, 153 years after the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species, the Darwinists have failed to persuade 85% of the American population of the truth of their position.
This is the case, despite the fact that Darwinists have by law captured all of the public schools, the vast majority of the universities, and most of the media, which inclues captured Hollywood, the news networks, the publishing industry, and cable television. This has been the most concerted effort in government-financed, government-regulated propaganda in the history of the United States, and it has come a cropper. The overwhelming majority of Americans think that the theory is nonsense.
Why have they failed? Because they have relied on the state to promote Darwinism and to defend it against rival views. Once any idea becomes dependent on federal money and federal law, its failure is guaranteed. Its promoters lose their ability to compete in the marketplace. Then the government pulls the subsidy.
MEDIA CONFUSION OVER EVOLUTION AND DARWINISM
When this Gallup poll was released, the media picked up on it. But the entire media misunderstood the poll. They reported that half of Americans believe in evolution. This missed the main point. What is the main point? This: 85% of Americans reject Darwinism.
Darwinists do not rejoice when somebody says that he believes in evolution, but an evolutionary process guided by God. This idea is anathema to the Darwinists. Darwin took his stand against exactly this position. In his day, intellectuals believed in an old earth. They believed in God-directed evolution. God imposes order on the universe, they argued. Darwin's idea of evolution through natural selection was the answer to this view. This is why the Darwinists are passionate in their rejection of the ideas promoted by a movement that calls itself "intelligent design." Darwinists reject intelligent design as being as unscientific as the six-day creation movement.
The main point of Darwinism is not the idea of evolution. That idea long preceded Darwinism. It goes back to classical Greece. The main point of Darwinism is to promote the idea of purposeless life prior to the advent of man. It promotes the idea that all life came out of a purposeless universe, and until the advent of man, there was no purpose in the universe.
The main motivation of Darwinists has always been to elevate man as a replacement of God. What God is not allowed to do, namely, shape history, including cosmic history, in terms of His purposes, man is now said to be able to do, and therefore he has a responsibility to do it. It is the elevation of man as the new God that is the essence of Darwinism, not the doctrine of evolution. This is why Darwinism is a religion.
The way they do this is to promote evolution by natural selection. They are not opposed to the idea that man can use scientific technology to evolve new species. On the contrary, they would hail this as a major breakthrough in science. Then we can get evolution through intelligent design, as long as man is the intelligent designer.
I have written a long article on this, which appears as Appendix A in my book, Sovereignty and Dominion. I first published it in 1982. You can download it here: http://www.garynorth.com/public/8969.cfm.
BAIT AND SWITCH
Darwinism is a gigantic bait-and-switch operation. That which they deny to God, namely, the ability to impose purpose in the universe, they now say that man possesses. By men, they mean scientists who understand the laws of evolution and the laws of genetics. They mean elite planning man, not the average man on the street. I have covered this in my appendix. Check the footnotes.
They come in the name of neutral science. Science is never neutral. They come in the name of neutral education. Education is never neutral. They come in the name of neutral civil government. Civil government is never neutral.
Then they escalate their claims. Ever since 1981, it has been illegal for any tax-funded school to teach creationism. This has been extended to intelligent design. So, the Darwinists have used coercion layered on coercion to promote their viewpoint.
The civil authorities make education compulsory: coercion. Then they tax all groups to pay for the schools: coercion. Then they subsidize specific groups' agendas: coercion. Then they ban rival views: coercion. All this is done in the same of science.
It greatly upsets them that almost nobody in America believes their position. They have had control of the K-12 educational system for over 80 years, yet they have been unable to change people's opinions. Back in 1959, one of the leading Darwinists in the world wrote an article, "One Hundred Years Without Darwin Are Enough." It has now been 153 years. They still have yet to persuade as much as 20% of the American population. If you are talking about belief in Darwinism in the United States, the entire movement has been a gigantic failure. It has convinced almost nobody.
I do not care what they believe, one way or another. Almost nobody cares what they believe, one way or another. As long as they do not get their hands on government money to promote their research at my expense, I do not care what they teach or what they do. Most Christians do not care. The man in the street does not care. The man in the street probably thinks that his belief that God used evolution to shape cosmic history is a Darwinian idea. He does not know the difference. And he does not care.
I think their position is scientifically wrong, but even if it were right, they have still not been effective educators. Why not? Because their strategy of compulsion and exclusion in education is morally wrong. Their agenda is founded on a lie: government neutrality, educational neutrality, and scientific neutrality.
BADGES AND GUNS
To understand what is really going on, I will resort to an analogy. Instead of viewing a Darwinist as a scientist in a laboratory, think of him as a member of the White Citizens Council in Hog Jowls, Mississippi, in 1954. The creationist parent is in the position similar to that of a member of the NAACP.
The White Smocks Council member arrives at the door of a creationist. He is accompanied by the sheriff. He asks to be let in. The creationist politely consents.
"Boy -- I say, boy -- you are out of line. You are not a scientist. You know why I am a scientist? Because I am wearing this white smock. I have a Ph.D. from White Smock State University. And I am telling you that we are not going to teach your views on the origins of the universe and life in any of our lily-white-smock public schools. You hear me, boy?
"You have been reading a lot of that creationist stuff. We know where that comes from: outside agitators. Well, we don't cotton to outside agitators down here. You got that, boy?
"I have brought along Sheriff Trump with me. He's got a badge. He's got a gun. He's an agent of science. Now, get your wallet. You are going to pay your fair share of the local schools.
"I don't want to hear any of that stuff about your objection to what is taught in the local schools. We white smock experts don't care what you believe. We care only what your kids will believe. So, while you're getting out your wallet, get your kids. We have a nice yellow bus for them. Should you try to stop us, we have a nice white bus for you. [Note: On the two buses, click here.]
"You don't seem to understand what science is all about. Science is all about money, badges, and guns. I represent science. We scientists have a lot of money to spend on research. That's because we've got badges and guns.
"You need to get with the program, boy. You need to get your children enrolled, pronto. Children need certified teachers to get educated in the scientific way. That's what state-accredited universities are for: training educators. Educators see things in the scientific way.
"Now, I don't want to hear about all that democracy mumbo-jumbo. Science isn't a matter of majority vote by registered voters. I don't care if 85% of your kind don't accept the findings of science. You've got no say in this matter. You know why you've got no say? Because you don't have any badges or guns.
"You can vote all you want. The United States Supreme Court says that you've got no say in this. That's the only democracy that matters. Five votes. You don't have five votes, do you? So, go get your wallet. Go get your kids. It's time for school."
The Darwinists' strategy has not worked. The public still isn't buying the Darwinists' official party line. The Darwinists have controlled tax-funded public schools ever since World War I. They have controlled the accredited universities. This has done them little good.
Let Darwinists compete, using their own money. Let them do without tax-funded schools.
Let every special-interest group do without tax-funded schools.
Let America do without tax-funded schools. There is no neutrality. They are therefore based on a self-conscious lie. They are instruments of state power.
Instead of competing to get access to badges and guns, let every special-interest group compete for consumers' money on a voluntary basis. This includes Darwinists.
I can almost hear the outraged cry from the camp of the Darwinists. "But that's not scientific! Science is about badges and guns!"
On the contrary. Science is about persuasion. Take away the badges and guns.
Auction off the public schools, one by one, before the next presidential election. High bids win.