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Screwtape on Devilution
William A. Stanmeyer


My dear Wormwood:

On the hotter nights down here I amuse myself by going through old files. ... I came across a Memorandum-to-File composed while the French Revolution was moving into its most gloriously gory phase. I also retrieved some Letters to various Tempters such as yourself, particularly correspondence with Slimerot, who is now working with our supportive friends of the KGB. . . The file memo outlined a meeting of the Future Bureau of the Joint Chiefs of the Low Command. Though things Up in France were properly roiling, we realized that eventually the carnage would end and the Enemy's agents in Europe would restore a measure of sanity to political life up there. So we had to be ready to shift tactics. We had to solidify our control of the "intellectuals," capture the universities, and turn them into privileged sanctuaries from which to launch guerrilla attacks on the culture as a whole.

As we left the meeting, I remarked to Slimerot that we should trick human educators and opinion leaders into adopting an intellectual theory on which we could base wholesale rejection of traditional morality. I suggested we teach them, through our friends the atheist professors, that they had apes for ancestors. Apes ! Teach them that through a process which none of their scientists would be able to explain because it did not actually happen -they had gradually "evolved" through "natural science" (i.e., Chancel and "survival of the fittest" (i.e., the law of the jungle) up to their present state of enlightenment.

Slimerot, whose duplicity is 50 admirable almost without peer told me to my face that the notion was absurd. He pointed Out that we would have to manufacture considerable evidence to convince human anthropologists that this fool idea was a "valid scientific theory." He called that evidence "the missing link." He also observed that implicit in this so-called "evolution" would be the fantasy that one species of animal could gradually change into something else, a different species, while for considerable time maintaining enough continuity with its origins as to remain inter-breedable with less "evolved" specimens of the same type. Yet, he correctly noted, there is not a shred of evidence of any living thing ever evolving into some different kind of living thing capable of breeding but infertile with its parent stock..

I admitted this fact would be a major obstacle, for I too knew that all living things obstinately keep producing young after their own kind and no other. I foresaw that despite our guidance to the humans in their laboratories, they would necessarily fail to be able to cross dogs with cats, much less cats with crows.

I went back to my office puzzling over this and other flaws in the idea: for instance, we would have to teach that the present universe developed out of "eternal matter," and there was a real danger that someday their astrophysicists might uncover evidence demonstrating a sudden creation or Big Bang.

Again, our "evolution" would have to assert that organic life emerged from random interaction of inorganic chemical compounds; but some quick statistical calculations proved that the possibilities of the protein and DNA molecules' being simultaneously produced by pure random chance, much less combining in lust the right way, would be 1 to a number with 167,626 zeros in it, I was beginning to doubt whether we could market this evolution theory of mine -there are limits, after all, to our duplicity and even to human gullibility. Unbeknownst to me, upon the adjournment of our meeting and our chat, that hellish Slimerot sought an audience with the Joint Chiefs privately, and, embellishing my idea with some marginal gloss of his own, he sold it to them as one of our major strategies for the nineteenth century. They gave him fitting praise and a promotion

As usual, my idea, when implemented, was brilliant. We took advantage of the fact that from early times, human fancy toyed with the idea that one kind of living thing somehow could change into some other kind. This notion has been the stuff of fables in all ages and all lands. It has been our marvelous achievement, working on the gullibility of Darwin and others, to make it the foundation of modern biology.

Coupled with a complex mix of intellectual dross wrapped in shiny phrases and published by shallow but prideful human minds, the theory of general evolution was sold to most of the "intellectuals" during the latter of the last human century and well into the present century. We taught them such unverifiable conjectures as: the universe started from a big Blob of protoplasm which was always there; advanced animals with wings or lungs or singlefocus eyes developed gradually by a trial-and-error process (contrary to more valid genetic theory that acquired characteristics cannot be inherited); the human race existed for hundreds of thousands and even millions of years; the sudden `lumps" and mysterious appearances of new species (shown by the gaps of the fossil record) were due to a "mutation" perhaps caused by a cosmic ray. We never did come up with a credible "missing link"; and now I fear that when we finally get some atheist anthropologist to manufacture one through plastic surgery with knee caps of elephants or jaw bones of monkeys, people will remember the frauds of this type we foisted on them earlier in the century such as "Piltdown Man" or askthe more basic question: how is it that we can come up with only one link, and that one fraught with conjecture, after all the intense searching, granted that mmions of supposed "ape-men" should have been the "linkage" between the millions of apes and the millions of men?

But actually, we do not need a missing link. Consider the "mutation" deus-ex-machina ploy it is only a secular way of saying "God intervened," As you must realize by now, the whole thing is an exercise in Secular Faith, Pause, Wormwood, to relish that phrasel Once they Stopped believing in the Bible, with its clear statement of monogenesis one Set of primal parents, Adam and Eve they had lost the true faith. So we could substitute another Faith, call it Science, and put religionists on the defensive ever after, By now, evolution as an "explanation" for the origin of the human race is so embedded in their consciousness that they take it for granted. It is quasi-religious faith with less evidence at its root than the faith-based teaching of the Bible. Yet it monopolizes the biology/anthropology offerings in their public schools; theV put up displays in their honor at the Smithsonian, and its premise of continual self-improvement for the human race can justify atrocities on a truly cosmic scale....

Evolution is "believed" in a pre-conscious way, even as illiterate peasants in the Middle Ages believed in Christ and the Virgin: The atmosphere of the culture fostered faith. We are to the stage, now, that people do not seriously question the "science" behind evolution; when anybody does, we persuade our friends in the media to pontificate, with faintly sanctimonious tones of mifled orthodoxy, that to doubt the obvious isn't even worth rebuttal If the essence of human nature evolves, Wormwood, what was "wrong" in the past might no~ be wrong in the present. If cultures evolve, in essenlials, then the religious sentiments of an earlier, less enlightened age need not be binding today indeed, are to be discarded as "old-fashioned" and "heightened" social consciousness, then there is no serious reason for the moderns to feel obligated to follow the system set up by their old-fashioned "Founding Fathers.".

Human subliminal acceptance of evolutionary faith conditions them to disregard the lessons ofiheir past and to accept faddist changes in the present just because these changes are "new" and, presumptively, an "improvement" over what went before, Since they believe they evolved "up" from the apes, and that the process of evolution continues, it follows that nothing "new" can really be "bad" for that would be devolution. a down-sliding that the theory denies can occur. We cannot let them get the idea that some changes are evil; it is much better, for our purposes, for them to believe that things are getting better and better the presumptive automatic "upward" movement ofthings -for if the "good" consists of unleashing automatic forces moving to "higher stages, then anybody who tries to preserve the norms of the past becomes an enemy of progress. One does not debate his enemies; he isolates them. Where he can, he liquidates them, as we have found our friends in the KGB doing routinely.

Another promising application is in religion: those hierarchical churches that refuse to ordain women are "standing in the way of progress," failing to understand that "times are changing," lacking in sensitivity to "women's evolving consciousness of their identity." Nowhere in this miasma of slogans is much attention given to the real question: whether the Enemy's decision to become a man embodied a timeless truth reflective of his eternal relationship to the Father.

Besides attacking the structured churches, we can use the evolutionary faith to attack the Bible itself. This topic is so important I will devote a later communication to it alone; here it is enough to point out the importance of convincing them that the stories of the Bible "evolved" like legends and myths, and that the account of the life of the Enemy as recounted in the Scripture is no more than an expression of longing desires of poetic writers handing down from generation to generation the "redemption myth" of a suffering God.

Of course, the evolution faith has its useful place in subverting morals. With society supposedly "evolving" to higher stages, an unverifiable theoretical judgment. and with both public morals and the family breaking down, a verifiable judgment of fact, it is easy for us to get humans to mix the two: to begin to believe, under our tutelage, that the breakdown of morals and the family is somehow associated with evolving to higher i.e., better stages.

So we tell wives that "personal growth" and "self-fulfillment" can come about only through being "liberated" from the claims of husband or the needs of children; we tell the kids they can, again, "fulfill themselves" only by throwing off the shackles of parental authority and "doing their own thing." And whenever someone in the family reminds them of tradition, authority, the needs of human psychology, the permanence of vows, or the commands of God, the easy answer that we whisper quickly andthey parrot as quickly, is: 'Tmes are changing. You don't want to be old-fashioned, do you?"

Now, Wormwood, step back in your mind from these specifics and ponder where the evolutionary mindset is taking them. For the man or woman who is a true believer' in evolution as the ultimate principle of the universe, everything in the present is so much mush, Nothing is right, that might not someday be wrong; nothing is true, that might not someday be false; nothing permanent, that might not someday be changed; nothing solid, that might not someday be jello. And nothing is wrong, that might not someday be right, It all depends on the situation, we tell them. In other words, there is no right or wrong, no true or false, or permanent or passing.

Yet the central metaphysical difference between human beings and mere animals is that at their best -when they reflect humans can discern right, truth, and permanence. They can grasp the transcendentals. By benumbing this capacity through the opiate of evolutionary belief, they lose that sense of the transcendent, that ability to look behind appearances. Ironically, to the degree that a human commits himself to evolution as a belief.system and as a practical guide to daily conduct, to that degree does he resemble the animals that lack spirit: animals cannot tell what is right, or wrong, or true, or lasting.

They can only tell what is there. Since true improvement of the human condition can come about only to the degree that their spirit exercises its authority over sense, and since the evolutionary faith leads to the authority of senses over spirit, belief in evolution causes Devolution or, as we originally termed it, Devilution.

If we keep working on it, Wormwood, this intellectual child of the Enlightenment will bring about evolve into eternal darkness.

So re-read this now every word. Read and heed, my dear Wormwood, so the Devil will have his due!

Your Affectionate Uncle,

Screwtape



Reprinted from Fidelity, Vol.3. No.11 (October 1984) slightly abridged, with permission.
Fidelity Magazine is published monthly by Ultramontane Associates, Inc., 206 Marquette Ave.. South Bend. IN 46617, and addressed to traditional Catholics.

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