Evolution Implies Atheism

WHAT a book a devil's chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering, low, and horribly cruel, works of nature.
-- Charles Darwin

MAN, the highest form of evolutionary development is contesting his very existence against a world of deadly bacteria. Evolution produced the microbe as well as man. What intelligence is there in that? Would the reader use his intelligence to produce the cholera germ? And would he employ it to the point of turning out these filthy germs by the trillions?

Man plans. He would not, if he wished to make a human head, consume millions of years experimenting on the skulls of fishes. But that is how evolution works. Dr. W.K. Gregory of the American Museum of Natural History traces the evolution of the human face "from fish to man." It is a long drawn out, round-about process that no intelligent being would adopt. Time means nothing in evolution -- nor the result. There are, in the United States alone, a quarter of a million insane persons in public and private institutions. That is mental evolution after untold ages of cosmic evolution. Any man, if he had his way, could do better than that. Surely he would not, to demonstrate his goodness and wisdom, work overtime on infantile paralysis germs. Only forces blind to immediate and ultimate results could evolve such beings. Evolution means Atheism.

And man -- what of his evolution? Geologic ages spent in trees! An anthropoid ape walking on all fours, with ape brain and ape behavior and time as nothing in the long-drawn stretch of human evolution!

Human intelligence makes oxcarts before it makes automobiles, but it does not keep on making oxcarts after it has learned to make automobiles. Evolution is still busy turning out apes and billions of creatures far less lovely than the apes -- and doesn't know why. Priests in pulpits and monkeys in tree-tops still chatter nonsense after billions of years of evolution. No wonder Winwood Reade calls man's historic struggle upward "the martyrdom of man".

Piously-minded scientists who assure us that there is no conflict between religion and science are talking foolishness. If man is descended from an ape, he is not descended from Adam. There never was a first man any more than there was a first horse, a first cow, or a first stringbean. By slow stages our present forms of life have evolved from lower forms. Every biologist is aware than man's ancestry goes back to primitive apes and fishes. He was not made after the manner of the Bible fairy-tale. The cultured Chinese gentleman of today knows he is not descended from an original pair of Jewish parents.

Man did not come into the world ready-made; and his ancestral line must extend back by necessity to the lowest and most simple form of life. There can be no break in evolution, even in thought. It is impossible to imagine a point in man's evolution where one can say: "Man started here." The stages through which he passed have been long and varied and his own identity as a human individual must be imperceptibly blended in the ape form from which he emerged. As is scientifically known, man needlessly repeats in his embryonic development the successive stages of his animal descent. Sire Arthur Keith very forcibly remarks: 'What should we think of a builder who in the erection of a palace insisted on 'recapitulating' all the evolutionary stages which lie between a hut and a palace? A Builder behind evolution would be a stupid anarchist.

If mind is the highest development of life, and reason the highest expression of mind, there is little to be proud of. The substantial thinking of the world is done by less than one per cent of the population. Man, is spite of education, in spite of opportunities, in spite of progress, is chained to the past. The human brain is still dominated by the impressions of the cave and the jungle.

Most of us, mentally, are still living in the trees, even if we do walk upright. Beneath the veneer of "civilization," there is a solid, sordid mass of primitive psychology. We continue, in the name of justice, to break necks on the gallows and to fight like wolves. We settle our international differences by the methods of the gangster. That's evolution, with all its backward-dragging, disgusting hangovers from primitive culture. There are vestigial thoughts as well as vestigial organs. Man shares them all, because there is no supervising "intelligence" to eradicate them. Evolution spells Atheism -- a godless universe.

Evolution knows no moral feeling. The earth is a gory battle ground, where the weakest animals go to the wall in a pitiless struggle of tooth and claw. Evolution, century after century, repeats its own follies, by bringing into existence billions of the lowest types of life when it might produce only the highest; continues the production of useless and harmful organs; turns out beings, some of which live for only a day or an hour, or sometimes for only a few seconds. It is a ruthless, blundering, non-moral process, without a glimmer of guidance behind it.

"We must get rid of the great moral governor, or head director. He is a fiction of our brains." So wrote the American naturalist, John Burroughs. He had studied close to nature and knew there is no Kindly Eye, no Heavenly Father, back of the universe. "All the forces of nature are going their own way; man avails himself of them, or catches a ride as best he can. If he keeps his seat, he prospers; if he misses his hold and falls he is crushed."

There is not a third-rate intelligence on earth that could not, after ten minutes' contemplation, devise a better scheme of things. Man's life is largely consumed in improving his surroundings and adjusting the blunders of nature. Daily, hourly, he must employ his wits to untangle the snares of unthinking nature. It would take an intelligence below the level of a moron to carry on evolutionary processes as commonly observed. It has taken evolution, unguided by intelligence, countless ages to develop the simple, unattractive flower known as the wild rose. Evolution, with man's intelligence behind it, has, in a relatively short period of time, changed this simple flower, by artificial selection, into the glorious, multi-petalled American Beauty. That was intelligence behind evolution. Man has not only produced new species of flowers from wayside weeds, but given scent to odorless lilies and eliminated the thorns from raspberry and blackberry bushes. He has been able to evolve a spineless cactus, which, breeding true, now furnishes the desert with food for cattle. He has, by applying his intelligence to evolution, done in a short period of time that which evolution might have accomplished only after millions of years - or never at all. He has speeded up those processes which, under natural evolution, drag along hopelessly or reach an ultimate utility only after thousands of failures and unfavorable adaptations.

To be sure, there are countless facts in nature which imply Atheism independent of evolution and regardless of whether one creature or structure has evolved from another. The "cruelty" of the cat, the spider, or the tiger would be just as "cruel" -- and would imply Atheism -- even if these creatures had always been exactly what they are now. But there are other fats based upon an understanding of evolution that supplement ordinary observation of natural phenomena. Without the slightest knowledge of evolution, one might wonder at the ease and rapidity with which our "Heavenly Father," by means of an earthquake in Lisbon, wiped out 60,000 of his children in six minutes; but when this same Intelligence, in a burst of infinite wisdom, takes 3,000,000 years to change a four-toed extremity into a hoof (as in the evolution of the horse's foot) we are led to marvel, not so much at the Deity's stupidity as at the asininity of the pious dolts who teach the existence of a god.

The God idea cannot be reconciled with our knowledge of evolution. Belief in a Ghost directing the universe must be discarded along with the belief in witchcraft, the sanctity of the snake-dance, and the rituals of voodooism.

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