Evolution vs Creationism
The Phoney War

The evolution vs creationism debate gives rise to crude stereotypes.
In considering the much-touted evolution vs creationism debate, we may see why, as we suggested at the end of our introductory piece on the theory of evolution, Christian fundamentalism may sometimes be the best friend the popular "evolutionist" mythos has.

We are not neglecting the excellent work done by some Christian scientists in uncovering and publicizing some of the deep flaws in the physical theory (a task which, owing to the cultural mythos-status of the theory, has been carefully neglected by "mainstream scientists").

On the other hand, fundamentalists have created in the public mind a perception that the only alternative to "scientific evolution" – a phrase which appears to have all the cachet of physical science and its technical achievements behind it – is a highly improbable literalistic reading of the Book of Genesis.

Most fundamentalist Christians combine their attack on evolutionism (which may often contain some telling points, at least on the negative side) with such outlandish assertions as that of a "young earth" only some 4,000 years old, in accordance with a childishly literal interpretation of Scriptural myth.

Actually some of the strongest factual evidence against evolutionism lies in the incontrovertible evidence, systematically overlooked by the high priests of the modernist Establishment, that humanity – or something like humanity – is far older than evolutionary theory can allow (see The Mysterious Origins of Man [DVD]).

Be this as it may, the evolution vs creationism debate poses one false myth against another.

Evolutionism is a false myth, because, even if it were 100% factually true, it displaces the profound mythic stories-of-origin with a merely physical account that leaves the human soul starved and impoverished on the more important levels.

Fundamentalist creationism is a false myth for almost exactly the same reason. It takes one of the profound mythical accounts and reduces it to the level of mere "historical fact". It treats the events of Genesis as if they were mere "happenings" that took place in time and space: when they are in fact an account (re-told in patriarchal terms) of the origin of time-and-space itself. It confuses the manifestation of total cosmic being, physical and non-physical, with the making of a single planet.

Admittedly the stories themselves allow for this confusion, but they were written at a time when such a degree of literalism and banalization were scarcely imaginable and when the microcosm of a particular world and the macrocosm of the total cosmos could be treated as mythically equivalent.

The fault of fundamentalist creationism is not that it is too far from the "scientific world-view", but that it is much too close to it. It uncritically accepts the literalistic mechanical world of Newtonian physics and 19th-century materialism as the last word in the description of the cosmos (as, indeed, does modern evolutionary biology, while the other sciences have long since passed beyond it).

Because fundamentalist Christianity has capitulated philosophically to the 19th-century modernist outlook and attempts to answer its mocking questions on their own terms, it reduces the Story of Creation to a merely-historical pseudomythos, scarcely more valuable to the soul than evolutionism itself.

More than this, it is then forced – by its own capitulation – to confront the "scientistic" mythos on its own terms in a barren evolution vs creationism debate, in which, even while the creationists may produce some very telling physical evidence, the whole emotional balance, in the popular mind, must be on the side of the "scientistic" world-view simply because the game is played on its emotional playing-field.

The supposedly "conservative" Fox News Channel recently reported that America was "behind" other countries in the acceptance of evolutionism and agonized over how Americans could be made to "catch up" with the rest of the world. This is, on the face of it, an extraordinary position to take. A debate between two views is being reported as if the victory of one view were the only desirable or "progressive" outcome.

And yet Fox News is simply reflecting the emotional prejudice of the popular mind. If the battle is to be fought as a phoney evolution vs creationism debate, in which all the "evidence" is of a purely material nature, then such terms as "scientific establishment" will always carry more emotional weight than "Bible-believing scientist". The Christian will be seen (rightly – though for reasons a little more subtle than those perceived by popular sentiment) as an amateur dabbling in someone else's sphere.

The real questions that a metaphysical (or mythic) view of the universe should put to a merely literalistic one cannot be put by the fundamentalist Christian, since he has already acceded to an evolution vs creationism debate conceived in purely literalist terms.

It is for this reason that fundamentalist Christianity is, in some respects, the best friend the evolutionist pseudomythos could have. If the proponents of the pseudomythos had been able to create their own "dummy opposition" to make their own case look impregnable, they could hardy have done better. Many people "believe" the theory of evolution solely because they see the absurdity of Biblical literalism as the only alternative.

In order to consider the real questions at issue in the supposed evolution vs creationism debate, we need to examine how the popularized version of evolutionism works as a pseudomythos in the mind of the ordinary person; and how – quite regardless of whether or not it is "true" on its own level – it replaces the nourishing real Myths that teach us of the nature of the cosmos and our place within it on a level far deeper than that of physical biology.

This we shall proceed to do in our next part.

See also:

The Theory of Evolution

The Origin of the Universe

or go to Metaphysics main page

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This section:

Ancient Truth and Modern Thought

  • The Traditional World View vs the Modern World View

  • Science, Truth, and Logic

  • Christianity and Science: the Western Worldview

  • The Theory of Evolution

  • Evolution vs Creationism

  • Would Jesus Believe in Evolution?

  • Notes on Descartes, Imagination and Reality

  • Julian Jaynes and the Bicameral Mind

  • Stephen Hawking: Fairy Tales and the Faith of the Faithless

  • George Lakoff, Metaphor and Metaphysics

  • On New Age Thought: Science, Spirituality, and Screwdrivers

  • Spiritual Evolution: A New Age Error

  • What's Wrong with Wicca?

  • Astrology and Traditional Cosmology

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