Friday, April 13, 2012

The Devolution of Evolution

In which I unravel a global conspiracy.

"We cannot otherwise think and make comprehensible the purposiveness which must lie at the bottom of our cognition of the internal possibility of many natural things than by representing it and the world in general as a product of an intelligent cause" - Immanuel Kant

     I've been connecting some dots in the past few weeks and starting to understand just how complex is the web that has produced much of the moral decline of recent years. Specifically looking into the origins of the theory of evolution in my secular online school, I've realized that the theory has a long and dark root system that winds all the way back to Descartes if not further.
     It started with a simple idealization. The materialist approach to science, supported by Descartes, limited science to direct physical interactions. It's been called the "billiard ball" approach to science where no "forces" exist, and all operations in nature are the result of particles and objects banging into each other. This sounds harmless enough, but a simple theory like this (even though it was disproved) sparked a distrust of all invisible "forces."
     The gap left by the disproved materialism was soon filled by the theory of mathematics. Mathematics was a much stronger system used to fill the scary void of the question of invisible forces. Suddenly, anything that could not be explained by mathematics or statistics could not be considered a science. This was the origin of positivism, and by this point, the ground had gotten much shakier.
      This requisite of mathematic explanation posed a serious problem to one tiny little scientific discipline: the young field of biology. Biology implies morphology; the study of forms as opposed to matter. Morphology, in turn, implies teleology; the explanation of phenomena by purpose. And if there weren't enough "ologies" already, teleology directly implies theology; the doctrine of an ultimate purpose in the material world. Quite obviously, mathematic theory cannot, in any way, explain theology. This realization prompted Immanuel Kant, in 1790, to conclude that biology could never be a science because it had to be explained by an appeal to ultimate purpose; a designer.
     As we can now see, Kant's conclusion was not the end of the debate. Biology is obviously among the sciences today, so we're left wondering what happened. To resolve the biology problem, science took a hint from the field of literature. It is my understanding that textual interpretation in bygone eras was mainly directed toward a determination of the intent of the author. As time progressed, though, interpretation began to become a thing of personal preference. The authority of the individual reader was elevated above the authority of the writer, and individual reason outweighed traditional institutions. It was now acceptable to bypass acknowledgment of absolute meaning, absolute truth, or absolute purpose. Slowly, scientists began to see that "absolute intent" was a thing of the past. And if absolute intent was not as important as it once was, perhaps the biology "problem" wasn't as big of a "problem" to science as they once thought. Positivism had gained the upper hand. "Confound theology! Confound ultimate purpose!" They said. "We'll make biology fit with a mathematical model." 
     As soon as intelligent design became a non-starter simply because it was not mathematical, scientists were left scrambling to find an alternative that explained how hundreds of thousands of complex organisms developed from nothing.
     Enter Charles Darwin. The poor fellow is branded as the figurehead of evolutionary theory, but Darwin really only developed the theory of natural selection, a commendable theory that is very observable and provable. Unfortunately, media and sheer mass of information has made natural selection and evolution interchangeable terms. This is not the case. Natural selection is merely a process by which species change and adapt, and does not generate new genetic information to produce entirely new species. In natural selection, complex organisms remain complex, just different. 
     Darwin helped, but he still didn't solve the biology "problem." Scientists were still left scrambling. Natural selection was a mechanism of evolution, but biologists still needed to find some mathematical explanation for new genetic information. For this, early biologists proposed that successive generations could inherit information that was gained during the lifetime of the parents. In other words, scientists thought that if you chopped the tails off of two mice and bred them, the offspring would be born without tails. This theory obviously failed miserably, but, like materialism, it caused some serious problems later on. (I'm getting to those). In the mean time though, biologists turned to mutation to describe this continual increase in genetic information. Suffice it to say that even though they still hold to this theory, mutation only shuffles genes, but never generates entirely new ones.
     The faulty idea that information gained during the lifetime of parents would be passed on to their offspring gave direct rise to the practice of eugenics. In a nutshell, eugenics is the controlled breeding of the human population by increasing the inheritance of "good" characteristics and suppressing the inheritance of "bad" characteristics. It led to compulsory sterilization of 36,000 lower-class individuals in the United States by 1941, and it was the theory that the Nazis held to when they attempted to create the Arian race by destroying all "inferior" people groups. It was also brought to my attention that the eugenics movement was one of the leading inspirations behind modern abortion. Bad stuff.
     All this to say that so much of the evil, and so many of the lies in this world may all be part of a single web that the Enemy is weaving. And it all starts so innocently.