According to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, there is a hierarchy among species, from the simple to the complex, and these are set out in a linear manner, just like the rungs of a ladder. Aristotle gave this thesis the name Scala naturae. This idea would have a profound effect on Western thought up until the 18th century, and belief in the Great Chain of Being, would later develop into the theory of evolution.
The belief that all living things evolved from inanimate matter constitutes the basis of Darwinism, but it can first be encountered in Aristotle’s accounts. Belief in the Great Chain of Being was enthusiastically adopted by philosophers who denied the existence of God.
According to this view, life came into being spontaneously and everything evolved—minerals into organic matter, and the first living primitive organisms into animals, plants and human beings, and from there to so-called deities, or gods. According to this irrational belief, new organs arise spontaneously according to a living thing’s requirements.
This belief has no scientific basis, but rather conflicts with all the scientific facts and is based solely on abstract logic. But it was most recently proposed under the name of the theory of evolution.
Initially, the Great Chain of Being was advanced as an entirely philosophical view and made no scientific claims. However, for those seeking to answer the question of how life came to be, aside from the fact of creation, the Great Chain of Being was literally a lifesaver, and was given a scientific air for that purpose.
How these organisms actually turned into one another, however, is a great mystery. Because this chain is based on an abstract and superficial logic rather than on any scientific observation. In other words, it consists of a hypothesis dreamed up by early philosophers, without engaging in any scientific research.
There is a strong parallel between the theory of evolution, which represents the basis of materialist and atheist philosophies,and the Scala naturae and Great Chain of Being that form the vital source of ancient pagan materialist philosophies. (See Evolutionary Paganism.) Today, materialism draws strength through the theory of evolution, as in the past, materialist thinking was based on the Great Chain of Being.
Darwin was strongly influenced by this concept and even constructed his theory on its principal logic. In several places in his book Darwin’s Century, Loren Eiseley emphasizes that the logic of this “ladder” was used in the 18th century and that this, in particular, was where the idea of organic substances moving inevitably towards perfection was born.196
Therefore, Darwin did not propose any new scientific theory. He merely restated a superstition whose roots lay in ancient Sumerian pagan myths and which developed fully within ancient Greek pagan beliefs. He employed contemporary scientific terminology and a few distorted observations, and further enriched it with a number of additions made by some scientists who lived in the 17th and 18th centuries—after which it acquired a scientific appearance in Darwin’s book The Origin of Species, and finally emerged as the greatest deception in the history of science.
196 Loren Eiseley, Darwin’s Century, p. 283.2009-08-15 14:41:37