Now that issues around status in society are increasingly contentious, it’s interesting that the “evolutionary” view is flatly against equality, according to historian Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. A friend writes to say, “one helpful thing about Sapiens is that Harari is honest about the implications of a Darwinian viewpoint—he admits that it removes an objective basis for human equality, human value, and human rights (pp. 109-110)”:
Yet the idea that all humans are equal is also a myth. In what sense do all humans equal one another? Is there any objective reality, outside the human imagination, in which we are truly equal? Are all humans equal to one another biologically? Let us try to translate the most famous line of the American Declaration oflndependence into biological terms:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
According to the science of biology, people were not ‘created’. They have evolved. And they certainly did not evolve to be ‘equal’. The idea of equality is inextricably intertwined with the idea of creation. The Americans got the idea of equality from Christianity, which argues that every person has a divinely created soul, and that all souls are equal before God. However, if we do not believe in the Christian myths about God, creation and souls, what does it mean that all people are ‘equal’? Evolution is based on difference, not on equality. Every person carries a somewhat different genetic code, and is exposed from birth to different environmental influences. This leads to the development of different qualities that carry with them different chances of survival. ‘Created equal’ should therefore be translated into ‘evolved differently’.
So here is that line from the American Declaration of Independence translated into biological terms:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men evolved differently, that they are born with certain mutable characteristics, and that among these are life and the pursuit of pleasure.
Advocates of equality and human rights may be outraged by this line of reasoning. Their response is likely to be, ‘We know that people are not equal biologically! But if we believe that we are all equal in essence, it will enable us to create a stable and prosperous society.’ I have no argument with that. This is exactly what I mean by ‘imagined order’. We believe in a particular order not because it is objectively true, but because believing in it enables us to cooperate effectively and forge a better society. Imagined orders are not evil conspiracies or useless mirages. Rather, they are the only way large numbers of humans can cooperate effectively. Bear in mind, though, that Hammurabi might have defended his principle of hierarchy using the same logic: ‘I know that superiors, commoners and slaves are not inherently different kinds of people. But if we believe that they are, it will enable us to create a stable and prosperous society.’
It seems our friend wrote to Evolution News and Science Today as well.
As Nancy Pearcey asks in her book Love Thy Body, “As the implications of evolutionary materialism filter down through the public mind, the rights enjoyed in free societies will be demoted to the status of “myth.” And then who will defend those rights?”
The “evolutionary” view (Darwinism, in fact) is often portrayed as a sort of liberation but people may be rather surprised to discover exactly what that liberation is.
See also: Ernst Haeckel studied sponges to demonstrate “a universe devoid of supernatural beings or purpose” Just to set the record straight, embryologist Ernst Haeckel (1834–1919) had, according to learned expert, a “philosophy of sponges.” And the title above captures part of it.
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