The improper application of evolution to the social sciences
I have been here three weeks, so I suppose I should tell you all how I’m doing. Here’s the answer: just fine! Everything has been well. I have met many friendly and intelligent people, eaten well, exercised a fair amount (I mean, a LOT! Every day! Yeah! Really!), and studied efficiently. I have not vomited into any toilets because I have not drunk any alcohol. My room is very clean, and sanitation in general has been satisfactory. I have become proficient in the games of pool, foosball, and ping pong, as I always wanted to be. I have attended Mass each week, and I like the community here. My two philosophy teachers are Buddhist and Objectivist (which means he loves Ayn Rand and hates God,) but instead of destroying my faith, these men have challenged it and made it stronger. I am going to leave this institution with the same religion with which I started.
The word I hear most in class discussions is “evolution.” If my peers had as much faith in democracy as they do in the theory of evolution, they would not need to worry about P-Diddy killing them November 3rd. If they loved God as much as they do Darwin, the churches would be packed. Yet, when I look at my fellow young thinkers, I sense complacency. They believe that no matter what they do, mankind will crawl inexorably toward a goal of ultimate harmony and happiness, step by step and century by century. They think that the governments of man slowly improve, and the crises of today will slowly disappear. They speak of “the evolution of justice” and “the evolution of religion” as if these stunning, completely unnatural (supernatural) concepts could be made less powerful by stretching them across thousands of years and attributing them to natural selection.
They are wrong. Mankind is not evolutionary; it is revolutionary. The only thing that’s slow and steady about human affairs is decay. When men cease moving forward and busy themselves with cataloguing the past and endlessly praising the great men of old, as in the late Roman Empire, they become the living dead. The American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the Financial Revolution, the Glorious Revolution, the Communist Revolution – these are the cornerstones of our society, the springboards of change. Justice, liberty, and God did not evolve; we discovered them, and we will never be the same. Humanity runs not on a sidewalk but on a treadmill, and it cannot afford to stop moving. Insight comes not as the slow ascendance of lights during the final credits of a movie but as the blinding, brilliant flash of the sun once you step out of the theatre. Reach not for small things but for great ones; the rest will come as it will. This is our nature. This is our charge.