Evolution and Conservative Beliefs
Since the "Who We Are" series began appearing in NV, the National Office has been receiving complaints form subscribers who are unhappy because the account of man’s origins given there doesn’t jibe with the Jewish account in the Book of Genesis.
Some readers have sent curt notes, such as, "You evidently don’t believe in the Bible. Don’t you know that evolution is the work of Satan? Cancel my subscription immediately!"
Others have been more patient, explaining either that (a) the first White people were placed on earth via flying saucer somewhere around 7,000 years ago, or that (b) the Creation occurred as described in Genesis, but Adam and Eve were Whites, not Jews, and that the people of the Old Testament eventually migrated to northern Europe and were the ancestors of the European race.
Complaints were definitely in the minority, with most readers indicating an approval of the race-history article, but there was no intention of offending any of our readers’ religious sensibilities with the “Who We Are” series. On the other hand, the Alliance never hesitates to print the truth--even when the truth conflicts with cherished myths. The racial history and prehistory in “Who We Are” are in accord with the presently known facts, whereas the account in the Old Testament and subsequent migrations form Eden to Scandinavia are not.
But the objections to presenting the facts of biological evolution, and our insistence on doing so, go deeper that a quibble over Jewish mythology. Evolution is not just a scientific concept which helps us understand race history; it is an idea which is absolutely fundamental to our whole way of thinking. The doctrine of the Alliance is based solidly on the evolutionary concept.
Throughout recorded history the prevailing idea of the world has been a static idea. The world existed. People were born; they grew old; they died. The seasons changed. But year after year, the world remained essentially the same. The stars always returned each year to their same places in the sky. There were always the same animals, the same types of weather, the same cycles. The world did not change. So it had always been, and so it would always be. That was the central fact of live.
For the last thousand years in Europe, in particular, there has been a static view of the creative process. The Christian religion, just like the Jewish and Moslem religions, regards the creation of the world, not as an ongoing process, but as something completed. Both the material and the spiritual worlds were finished long ago. In particular, God is finished, already a perfect being--hence, incapable of improvement or change. And man , of course, has also been viewed as an unchanging creature, with a fixed relationship to the unchanging Creator.
A century ago Charles Darwin shattered forever this static view of the world--although many people didn’t realize it at the time, and many apparently still don’t. Darwin, of course, was not the first man to see the world as an evolving reality rather than as a static reality. And his work was flawed in several respects: he made some errors, and he failed to understand the mechanics of evolution. (the explanation of that --at least, as far as biological evolution is concerned--we owe to Johann Mendel and his successors in the fields of genetics.) Nevertheless, Darwin did overturn the old, static worldview, and he replace it with the evolutionary view. That is the greatest revolution in human thought which has ever taken place.
Life, of course, goes on, more or less, as before. People are born: they grow old: they die--but now we see each generation as slightly different form that which preceded it. The seasons still follow the familiar cycle--but now we know that the average climate also changes slightly form year to year, carrying the earth into a new and different climatic epoch. Even the stars do not return to exactly their same spaces in the sky each year; the whole pattern of the heavens is shifting, changing into something altogether new and different. The universe is evolving.
Because the pace of Cosmic evolution is slow, compared to the pace of human life, we are able, as mentioned, to go on more or less as before. But our vision, our understanding, is now altogether different. We no longer see ourselves or the world around us as a finished product. We no longer see the process of creation as something which ended long ago, or the universe as complete and static, ruled by a being with perfect knowledge.
We see instead a dynamic, evolving Whole, of which we are parts. We see an uncompleted world. We see a universe, a Cosmos, which is perfect neither materially now spiritually, but each is striving toward perfection, toward perfect knowledge, toward perfect consciousness.
This is an exacting vision, vastly more exciting that the old view of the world, but it is a vision which makes conservatives uncomfortable, They don’t want excitement; they want the feeling of security which comes form a sense of permanence. They want to be comfortable and safe and sure.
Our vision takes in not only the world as it is, but also the world as it was and the world as it can be in the future. We see the Cosmos moving upward along a path which climbs without limits through more and more highly evolved states.
That is a view which gives the conservative vertigo. To be sure, even we cannot see the whole path which lies ahead of us. Beyond a few hundred years it becomes lost in the clouds of uncertainty which lie ahead of us and above us. But we know it is there , and we form our plans, choose our values and our goals accordingly. The conservative, instead, fixes his gaze on that portion of the path immediately under his feet and tells himself that that’s all there is . And he makes his plans and chooses his values and goals accordingly. And they are, of course, different for ours.
An understanding of the evolutionary nature of reality makes us radicals. We see that tendencies which may be deeply buried beneath surface appearances now can, nevertheless, have profound effects on the way things develop in the long run. In evils which many seem small and tolerable to the conservative we recognize the potential for great damage, if their effects are allowed to accumulate long enough.
The conservative would like to patch things up superficially, to alleviate the immediate and obvious symptoms of the social and political and racial problems around him. With a static view of the world, he believes that things swept under carpet will stay under the carpet.
We, with our evolutionary view of the world, know that treating the symptoms of a disease is not enough. We know that the world is dynamic, and that the causes of a disease will continue festering under the surface until we go after its roots and tear them up.
That is why the conservative, for example, has always been willing to settle for racial segregation as a goal, while we have not. More generally, it is why the conservative turns away form difficult questions with harsh and unpleasant answers; he does not see the necessity of doing unpleasant things now in order that life may be on a higher plane in the future. It is why even the racially conscious conservative finds it so difficult to make sacrifices. He see only the men and women around him, with all their imperfections, and he says to himself, "I should sacrifice myself for them?"We on the other hand, see not just our race as it is today, but our race as it can become, and it is this ideal for which we sacrifice.