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Vol. XVI • 1994

The Aftereffects of Evolutionism
Dominique Tassot

On October 30, 1991 the Environment Commission of the European Parliament adopted a resolution presented by Mr. F Amendola, Italian "ecologist" delegate, on the "universal rights of the animals." Certainly Christianity has always recognized the place of all creatures in God's plan of the universe. Genesis shows us certain kinds distinguished by God from the beginning for being associated with man; on the sixth day, "God made the wild animals according to their kind, the domestic animals according to their kind, and all the animals that move along the ground according to their kind. And God saw that it was good" (Gen. 1:25).

Then we see that Noah was saved only with the land animals, confirming to which point man and the animals are tied together here and now, and the care that man must take to insure survival for all, the "clean" animals (provided for the sacrifices) and the "unclean" ones (not for sacrifice). We also see that the very ancestors of Christ lived the lives of shepherds and devoted themselves to the care of livestock. We see how the prophet Nathan accuses David of the death of Uriah the Hittite by praising the tenderness and familiarity towards the animals in terms which are in no way behind the reports of Henri Bosco: "The poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him" (2 Samuel 12:3).

But at the same time universal harmony imposes an order in the bosom of creation. Precisely so he can watch over the animal world man occupies the summit of this living hierarchy: he rules it, the proper meaning of the verb "radah" (Gen. 1:26); he is the "dominus," the master of this animal "house" (domus) for which he will be held responsible since he is the only created being endowed with moral conscience, the only one capable of acting intelligently over all the others.

The context spells out in which sense we should understand this term. It is said: "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground" (Gen. 1:26). This concept of man as "image of God" makes of the human being an exception among the other creatures. This analogy makes him capable of a personal relationship with God. It establishes in him a quality of being which makes him similar to God and which he will never be able to lose despite his own refusal. But it is inasmuch as he is similar to God that man is called to rule the world; it is this particular character which justifies his presence here below and gives meaning to his existence.

Verse 26 therefore does not at all give man a blank check to crush pitilessly everything which is not created in God's own image. On the contrary, it makes us accountable before God for the blood of all these lower brothers. If after the Flood God authorizes man to eat meat, He is careful to reserve the soul, that is, the blood, of it for himself (Genesis 9:4) to show clearly that this rule is a delegation of divine authority and not a right of ownership.

But at the same time, to deny in man this specific quality of being a person capable of a reciprocal relationship of intelligence and of personal love with God is to offend the Creator in a manner which the most foolish among the "philosophers" of the eighteenth century would not have dared to imagine. Even Diderot in his dreams perceived in man a "reason" which distinguished him from the "brute." And Buffon noted in his "Natural History": "All will agree that the most stupid among men is sufficient to guide the most spiritual among animals; he rules it and makes it serve his purposes, and this less by force and skill than by superiority of nature, and because he has a thought-out project, an order of actions and a sequence of means by which he compels the animal to obey him, because we do not observe that the animals which are stronger and cleverer command the others and make them serve their own usage." (Buffon, Histoire Naturelle, t. II, Paris, 1749, p.437). It is thus the most profound and the most vital concept of Christianity which a Commission of the European Parliament has agreed to reject. The listing of motives shows this well; it would be ridiculous if it were not staggering. Read only the following:

The animal is born, it learns, it is curious, runs, eats, keeps up relations with its kind, mates ... It is neither better nor worse than we, only different.

 ... suffering, joy, love, self-awareness, altruism, the sense of communication, the capacity for analysis and for problem solving or cultural heredity are riot the exclusive attribute of the human species, since in certain particular cases some of these characteristics are even more present in individuals belonging to other species. These prerogatives suffice to grant the individual which has them (the animal) ... the right to have its own requirements taken into consideration on an equal level [with man]... Civilization cannot flourish unless it is closely linked with the abolition of discrimination. The dynamics which has permitted to overcome antinomies like lord-slave, aristocrat-plebeian, black-white, man-woman, healthy-handicapped, heterosexual-homosexual, has opened up, historically speaking, fundamental advances in terms of the quality of life. The recognition of rights of individuals not belonging to the human species represents a logical consequence of this tendency."

For the biblical vision decreed by creation these parliamentarians have substituted a confused democracy in which the same people of good will are going to petition that a tree be not felled but see nothing wrong with thousands of legalized abortions. And if it became necessary some day to choose between the life of a man and the life of a tiger, in the name of what philosophy would one forbid the animal to exercise its right to food? You can see that when pushed to their logical end these ideas are absurd. It would be nice to see a day when F. Amendola, pursued by a rabid fox, would pluckily explain to it its duty to respect a man who has done so much for its brothers with tails! I strongly doubt that the fox will hear this speech, kneel down in dismay and gratitude, and concede to the delegate his right to a healthy life!

Now when we look for the intellectual error which underlies this manner of pretending to equality between man and the animals, we see it appear clearly in the theory of evolution. If man descends from the ape, there is nothing in man which is not also found, at least in embryonic fashion, in animals. Man is "different," as our delegates recognize, but it is only a difference in degree, and this conclusion is impossible to reject no matter how "humanist" one might be elsewhere. One is thus compelled to either reduce man to the rank of the animals (the materialist option), or to promote the animals to the rank of human beings (the sentimental option). In both cases there is great mental confusion and the loss of the proper meaning of human life.

Thus evolutionism shows itself as something quite different from a scientific theory: we have to do with an ideology which, like a cancer, obscures little by little all aspects of thought, which induces absurd behaviors, which is the entire contrary of true poetry because it eliminates the mystery of humanness. Even if one remains uncontaminated oneself, it is not without profit to evaluate all these contaminations. By contrast they show the importance of the truth in a society; they show to men of science that their responsibility extends well beyond their work; they give splendor to the precious supernatural indications lying hidden within the biblical vision of Creation.

Editor's Note: Translated and reprinted with permission from Science et Foi, No. 24, 2nd Quarter 1992, published by CESHE (Cerde Scientifique et Historique), F-02800 Vendeuji, France.

"The Aftereffects of Evolutionism"
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