Friday, May 09, 2008

I went to see "Expelled" tonight with my friend George. There was a lot more they could have said about Intelligent Design itself, but their focus was more on the conflict between the "scientific establishment" and those trying to gain a hearing for ID. The connection they made between Darwin and Hitler (and then with today's scientific establishment) was rather chilling, and led me to think more about the possible spiritual aspects to this conflict.

The ID controversy is similar in a number of ways to the other major point of scientific controversy today, that of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). In both cases, the scientific establishment is adamant that the point is settled in their favor and that it is an affront even to question the "scientific consensus." Anyone who does question the consensus is assumed to have an ulterior motive, either religious or commercial, and is dismissed without serious consideration. The mainstream media has taken the side of the establishment in both cases and generally refuses to seriously investigate either the tactics that the establishment uses to defend its position or the legitimacy of the arguments uses to put forward dissenting views. How is it, I wondered, that the same sort of battle has developed around these two particular issues? Could these issues be manifestations of a single deeper spiritual purpose that could account for the similarity of these reactions?

One of the points that Expelled clearly made was that Darwinian thought has provided justification for people pursuing dehumanizing thoughts and behaviors. The principle of "survival of the fittest" nurtured Hitler's efforts to destroy the Jews and create of the German people a superior race. The conviction that human beings are simply highly evolved animals has allowed Darwin and others since him to conveniently hold the conviction that it was ok to treat human beings as a farmer would treat animals; breeding those who seemed likely to produce desirable offspring and killing off those whose cost to society exceeds their perceived value. On the other hand, AGW has justified a kind of hatred of technically advanced human beings as destroyers of the world. The more advanced the society, the larger its "carbon footprint" and therefore the more it is to be hated because of its perceived contribution to a pending global catastrophe.

The combined effect of these two theories is to make both weak and strong human beings liable to destruction. Darwinian survival of the fitness will ensure that the weak (including the unborn and the elderly) will be killed off, while AGW will ensure that the strong get hamstrung to reduce their carbon footprint. When these two ideologies have done their work, only the middle will be left. Since the middle will have its weaker and stronger members as well, they too will be destroyed in time. Left unchecked, these forces will destroy humanity.

This looks very much like spiritual warfare to me. If so, a victory in either of these areas will require combat in the spiritual arena. The Christian conviction of the dignity of all human beings as bearers of the image of God and stewards of the world is under serious assault by both of these movements and we must take up our spiritual weapons to defend this conviction, or else we may find ourselves losing the benefits that Christianity has brought to western civilization.