I have been hearing a little murmur about Ben Stein’s new film Expelled (due out in Feb 2008). The movie is quite simply about the problems a few scientists who question evolution are facing at this point in time – from their own colleagues. Basically, if what Ben says is true – I cannot support that type of mentality – it’s too harsh (namely to take away one’s livelihood because he questions you). But this is the claim of the movie.
That has got me thinking about something – can science be connected to ideology? I look at some of the claims of evolution and wonder that at times. Take for example, we all come from nothing – that random chance explosion that created the conditions for life to exist here. Or that, we evolved from ape’s (an animal we put in zoo’s). I think some of this leads us down a path of human meaninglessness.
Stein is claiming, or so it would seem on his site, that the holocaust was aided by the existence of the ideologies of Darwinism. I am not sure (history needs to define this) but I can see some of the rationale. If Hitler thought we were ‘animals’ and could be treated like such – then he might feel justified in wiping some of the species out for the benefit of another more evolved species (ie: survival of the fittest to some extreme). I mean, looking now in retrospect at Hitler’s actions – why did he do what he did to 6 million Jewish people? What reasoning did he use? God? No God? Humans as ‘less than’?
But for me, this is the problem with evolution on some ideological level (I know we can all say it’s not supposed to be used that way). Ideologically I think it opens the mind to possibilities about humanity that can truly de-value it. If I come from nothing – what does that make me in the end of the day? And under who’s authority am I now ‘something’? I am an animal, I am a species, what makes me special? Am I even special? And if I am not special, can I be hunted for food? Can I be caged?
It’s truly problematic (the ideology part) and if the science community thinks it does not matter then they are far too removed from reality altogether. You see the things science can discover and un-earth, well, we humans use that stuff in our societies for both our betterment (ex: medicine) or for the worse (ex: pollution). Humans are governed by ideology in all societies on this planet – whether that’s gov’t, tribal, or religious law systems – nonetheless – they are paradigms of society. Science is filtered through that lense – and enters the ‘ethical realm’ of reality.
Nuclear energy reminds me of a vicious dog we can own. It can be your ‘best friend’ or your ‘worst enemy’ – but what it does need is direction. I see this with science in general once it enters our living reality. Evolution is not exempt from the backlash it can cause by stating categorically ‘humans come from chance’ – since humans have to decipher what the ‘hell’ that means. Now some might find meaning in that and others might find despair in that – but it means something to everyone. Dahmer went on the record to state that he committed his atrocities because he could view humans as animals via evolution – he might be crazy mind you – but that was his way of internalizing this view (sound a little like Hitler?).
I think it is plausible we came from something – I am not a scientist – but I live in the real world. Evolution, whether we like this or not, does create an ideology in some people’s minds and usually it errs on the side of hopelessness…it’s like telling someone ‘we never loved you’ and pretending all will be rosey – it’s that kind of despair for some. Plus I have a tough time believing I came from an ape (or chimp), or the idea of ‘survival of the fittest’, or we came from ‘nothing’…it just all smacks of ‘not real’ compared to human realities I face each day (and have for 32 years).
Basically, if evolution is 100% true as a science (and ideology) then life will lose its meaning at some point and society – instead of getting better – will get worse. This is not a prediction based on nothing – but based on the human experience.