Prolegomena to the Skylarking:
One of the things a writer must do, if he is planning on running with the big boys, is demonstrate his erudition and learning as he starts off the proceedings, and to do so by means of judicious citations. What better way to set the tone than by quoting the trenchant expertise of others? And because I am going to be tackling a view held by virtually all the real brains of the scientific world, that ratio being settled by the Credentials Office of the Cartel, who better to cite than a business management consultant and a journalist?
Peter Drucker once made this observation, one that holds true outside the world of business, out to the edge of the universe in fact.
“The only things that evolve by themselves in an organization are disorder, friction, and malperformance.”
And Malcolm Muggeridge, no slouch when it came to astute observation, once said this:
“I myself am convinced that the theory of evolution, especially to the extent to which it has been applied, will be one of the greatest jokes in the history books of the future. Posterity will marvel that so very flimsy and dubious an hypothesis could be accepted with the incredible credulity it has.”
The initial presenting problem is how and why highly intelligent people can believe and do extraordinarily foolish things. We see this in day-to-day sorts of situations, as when a very smart woman makes obviously bad romantic choices, or when a statistician, who actually knows the actual odds, throws a bunch of money away in some gambling spree. A shiny hot car can have a superb engine, along with a tachometer that bounces crazily on the right side of the dial, and still be on the wrong road.
This has corporate and societal applications also. In the history of dumb ideas—we have agreed to speak frankly throughout the month of November—the gold and silver medalists would have to be Darwinism and Marxism. Marxism believes, for example, that it can cost a dollar to make a loaf of bread, and that we can make everybody sell it for 50 cents a loaf, and yet, at the end of the day, still have bread. This is tantamount to believing that 3 is bigger than 5, and yet the fact remains that the people who actually believe this are clustered in our major universities. You know, our grand societal thinkery-spots.
And Darwinism! But I must restrain myself. Don’t want to get out over the fronts of my skis. Gotta pace myself here.
Set the Stage:
Spider webs that are marvels of structural engineering, millions of them all over the globe, made by spiders with the intelligence of an arachnid with a teeny little brain . . . not to mention the intelligence of a trained structural engineer. Migratory Arctic terns which fly from Antarctica to the Arctic and back again, mysteriously finding their way each way. Eons ago one bright tern said to another one, “You know, given the tilt of the earth’s axis, I’ll bet it is summer on the other end of this globe when it is winter here . . . you know?” And because one good tern deserves another, the two of them set off, and eventually persuaded all the others that this was the way to enjoy endless summer. Then there are the beetles, over three hundred thousand species of beetles, careening around in the backyards of who knows how many of us. Salt water salmon heading up fresh water rivers in order to spawn, letting nothing whatever interfere with their urgent need to get there. Monarch butterflies, which have never been to the particular spot in Mexico where they all spend the winter, make a trek there by the millions. Trillions of cells in one human body, each one of them orders of magnitude finer than an exquisite watch, all of them synchronized and working together. Then consider a particular kind of caterpillar, which when frightened by a predatory bird, has a rear end that swells up into the shape of a venomous viper head. Another butterfly, bright blue when its wings are spread, folds them up together to look for all the world like a brown, dried-up leaf. Down at the microscopic level, DNA replicates itself like it was a factory filled with exquisitely-tuned robotic machines. Another insect, stumbling onto the aforementioned dried leaf strategy by blind, stupid, purposeless chance, looks exactly like a different kind of dried up leaf. Blind impersonal forces really enjoy that dried leaf trick. Protein chains fold up elegantly, just like that garden hose in your shed over the winter that doesn’t ever get tangled. Oh, your hoses do get tangled? You must not be trained in science.
And then keep in mind the fact that I have listed here a small handful of marvels, which when compared to all the marvels which could be listed, are like one little tiny BB, rolling around on the concrete floor of an empty CostCo warehouse.
What do you get when you take a “just so” story, and multiply it to the 178th power? You get the assured results of science, you fundamentalist ninny-hammer, and why aren’t you bowing down to the sound of the cornet, flute, dulcimer, and sackbut?
Dullards, Dogberry, and Darwin:
A common emphasis among Christians is that folly, biblically defined, is not the same thing as stupidity. We are told, ad nauseam, that biblical folly is a moral category, not an intellectual one. It is claimed that a fool in the biblical sense might do very well indeed on an IQ test. Moreover, since we are speaking frankly, my interlocutor might say, a fool in the biblical sense might run IQ circles around, as the Victorians might put it, the present writer. The present writer is perhaps standing out there on a wide flat surface of some pretty pedestrian assumptions about common sense science, as he probably is, while the bosses of the world spin scientific Brodies around him. Thus the narrative goes, as we are constantly cautioned to remember—we are dealing with very smart people.
So, we are assured, yet again, that when Scripture says something like . . .
“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God”(Psalm 14:1).
. . . fool does not actually mean, you know, fool. The point is earnestly made that this is a moral folly, not an intellectual deficiency. Never, ever assume that unbelievers are operating foolishly in the intellectual realm. They are very smart people. If they were not smart people, how could we look up to them, yearn after them, and wish we could be like them? Well, that’s foolish too, and it seems that we are becoming like them.
But the Scriptures teach us that such moral folly results in intellectual darkness.
“Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Ephesians 4:18).
Where does the darkness of understanding come from? It comes from the blindness of their heart.
“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Rom. 1:21).
A refusal to honor God as God, and refusal to give Him thanks, results in what? Darkness of heart, and vanity of imagination.
So while it may be technically true, so far as it goes, that a smart person (by a stipulated and narrow set of measurements) can deny that God made the world and all that it contains, it remains the case that such a person is thereupon called upon to affirm, with a solemn countenance, a series of propositions that are stupid—and I mean stupid with three o’s.
All this means is that a genius need not be dullard in order to be a fool. The fact that the fool is not brain-power rpm impaired simply means that his stupidity does not have an explanation that is located in his natural mental limitations. The stupidity—and it is very real stupidity—must therefore be coming from somewhere else. In fact, when the person involved is not mentally handicapped that actually makes the stupidity more stupid, not less.
If a simpleton assured you that wet streets cause rain, we can attribute the stupid claim to the stupidity of the source. But if a man with perfect GRE scores and three graduate degrees tells you the same thing, it remains stupid. In fact, the stupidity is compounded by the “ought-to-know-better” component, not diminished. And so as to keep our eye on the ball, to claim that a little yellow canary is a blood cousin to the sea lion is a more egregious howler than thinking wet streets cause rain.
The point I am building up to is this: Darwinism is not simply an error. It is not an understandable mistake. It is not a reasonable theory that has one unfortunate downside, that condition of happening not to be true. No, Darwinism is incoherent, disordered, and jumbled. It really is ludicrous, risible, and stupid. Moreover it is the kind of stupidity that rises to the greatest heights of stupidity, in that smart people are peculiarly attracted to it. What we call smart people are often very vain and conceited people, and they do not want God over them. And rather than submit to the wisdom of God, they will go for anything.
“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21, ESV).
Their wisdom is our folly, and vice versa.
The apostle Paul once said that the sins of some men go before them, while the sins of others come behind (1 Tim. 5:24). The same thing goes for stupidity. When someone like Dogberry does his thing, everybody can see it, right out there in the open. It goes before him.
“One word, sir. Our watch, sir, have indeed comprehended two aspicious persons, and we would have them this morning examined before your worship.”
But when Sir Richard Houghton III says something like . . .
“As Witherton demonstrated in his landmark study, the transitional forms between Orcinus orca and Bos taurus or Bos indicus would have to be considered to include, at a minimum, a diminutive form of Lepus roseus.
. . . our temptation of course is to go whoa—that’s some high-flying education right there. But what he just said was that orca whales came from cows through the intermediate staging area of little pink bunnies, and that Witherton, who hasn’t been locked up yet, also thinks the same thing. And yes, I know that actual evolutionary theory does not include the bunnies. I put those in to make the whole thing more realistic and down to earth, to keep from straining credulity to the breaking point. You know, to provide some verisimilitude. The cow > whale scenario needed something to keep us all from laughing out loud.
So Who Do You Think You Are?
So when I say that Darwinism is stupid—someone might interject—am I not setting myself up against the entire world of accepted and accredited learning? And not only have I done that, he continues, I have first called their science into question, and then I descended to personalities. I am not simply maintaining that Darwinism (happens to be) false, which is a serious thought crime in itself, but I am also maintaining that it is ludicrous, ridonkulous, preposterous, farcical, an idée fixe thrown from the high cliffs of evidentiary knowledge onto the rocks of blinkered ignorance. And if I am asked for my authority to speak with such confidence on such things, I can produce . . . what? An MA in philosophy from the University of Idaho?
“I have more understanding than all my teachers: For thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts” (Psalm 119:99–100).
Kneel before Your Maker
The central problem is the conceit of man. Because of an establishment-wide ignorant pomposity, strictly enforced by tenure tribunals, it has become impossible to draw the most obvious of conclusions—which is that the Creator is an artistic engineer of infinite majesty.
“O come, let us worship and bow down: Let us kneel before the Lord our maker” (Psalm 95:6).
Because the Lord is our Maker, the posture we should have before Him is that of kneeling. The secular evolutionist does not want to kneel, and therefore it is necessary for him to deny that he has a Maker. He can follow a logical argument to that extent. For if he had a Maker, kneeling is the obvious thing to do, and he is too proud to kneel. Too conceited to kneel. Too vain to kneel. Too puffed up to kneel. Too bloated with intellectual gasses emanating from his head to kneel.
Because he valued his mind over the glory of his Maker, this is the reason he has lost his mind. You would not have your God as God, and so it is that your cisterns can hold no water (Jer. 2:13), just like your arguments. He valued science over his Maker, and this is the reason he has lost most of his science already, and will lose the rest of it when he finally makes it to the outer darkness. Denying God does not just mean losing God. Denying God means that you also lose the thing you substituted in for Him.
If you substituted science for God, then you lose God, and your soul, and science along the way. More than that, worse than that, all the bumpkins that you used to look down on, despising them for their know-nothing approach to science, will come to know far more of real science than you do. You have done post-doc work at Oxford and Harvard, and the average graduate of Buffalo Breath Bible College knows more about what is going on in the natural world than you will ever know.
You do not know what you think you know. Because it is not well with your soul, your mind has become diseased and scarred. Your mind cannot bend in the right ways anymore, cannot bend to fit around the evidence, but the way to fix all that is to start with your knees. The knees have to bend first.
I Was Told There Would be Free Books . . .
The free Kindle book that goes with today’s post is Joy at the End of the Tether, which can be obtained here. We also have a few titles directly on today’s topic of evolution,which you can see here and here, but they are the regular price. We couldn’t get them to be free for you because of some Amazon timing restriction. So if it is free you want, you will have to settle for a book on the lessons of Ecclesiastes.