Evolutionary humanism

Julian Huxley, one of Darwin’s leading supporters, sought to place the latter’s biological argument onto a philosophical footing and constructed a new religion under the name of evolutionary humanism.

The aim of this religion was to “ensure that the evolutionary process on Earth reached its maximum conclusion.” This was not restricted to strong organisms living longer and trying to reproduce more offspring. In addition, “it was foreseen that man would develop his own abilities to the highest level.” To put it another way, efforts were to be made to enable mankind to proceed to stages more advanced than the one that human beings are in today. Huxley offered a full definition of the term Humanism:

 I use the word ‘Humanist’ to mean someone who believes that man is just as much a natural phenomenon as an animal or a plant, that his body, his mind, and his soul were not supernaturally created but are all products of evolution, and that the is not under the control or guidance of any supernatural Being or beings, but has to rely on himself and his own powers. 156

Huxley’s suggestion that human beings’ sacred aim was to accelerate their own evolution had a profound effect on the American philosopher John Dewey. He developed this line and founded the movement known as Religious Humanism in 1933, publishing the famous Humanist Manifesto. The main idea he emphasized was that the time had come for the traditional Theistic (God-oriented) religions to be done away with and replaced by a new system based on scientific progress and social cooperation.

The deaths of 50 million people in World War II as a result of “scientific progress” rocked the optimism exhibited in the Humanist Manifesto. In the wake of similar blows, Dewey’s followers were forced to partially revise their views, and they published the second Humanist Manifesto in 1973. This one admitted that science may sometimes harm mankind, but preserved the basic idea: Man should now direct his own evolution and could do so through science. As the Manifesto said:

 Using technology wisely, we can control our environment, conquer poverty, markedly reduce disease, extend our life-span, significantly modify our behavior, alter the course of human evolution and cultural development, unlock vast new powers, and provide humankind with unparalleled opportunity for achieving an abundant and meaningful life.157

In fact these ideas, adopted consciously or subconsciously by all Darwinists, make crystal clear the fundamental beliefs of the Religion of Evolution. An imaginary process of species evolution is first dreamed up, and it is then assumed that this process is the creator of everything. The further, it is thought that this process can represent salvation for humanity, and it is believed that humanity’s sacred destiny is to serve that process. In short, evolution is both a Creator, and a savior, and a sacred purpose. To short, it is worshipped as a deity.

156 Huxley, J. as cited in The Best of Humanism, ed. Roger E. Greeley. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus, 1988. pp. 194-5.
157 http://www.jcn.com/manifestos.php.

2009-08-15 13:05:33

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