Culture & Ethics
When Darwinism Reigns, “The Pyramid Is the Point”
Darwinism isn’t just a scientific theory. It has implications for culture, politics, and personal interactions. Writing at The Stream, John Zmirak describes his interest in documentaries about gorillas and other beautiful animals. He includes deserved kudos for Discovery Institute’s popular YouTube videos:
At day’s end, when I’m exhausted, I wind down by finally turning on the television. The last things I usually watch are nature films, on the diverse, fascinating, and mostly apolitical channel CuriosityStream. For a grand total of $12 per year (as of now), you get access to thousands of polished, beautifully produced documentaries on every subject from ancient history to contemporary science. It’s the best entertainment money I’ve ever spent.
Invariably, I look for animal films. First of all, I’m a sucker for God’s innocent creatures, especially the furry ones. But I take delight in all the evidence of direct, Divine design all through the animal kingdom — from speeding sharks to circling condors. I do wish CuriosityStream would air some programming from the Discovery Institute. Its scientists do much better explaining nature via design than Darwinists do with their “just so” stories and smuggled-in teleology. (“Evolution developed the eagle’s eye to make it a better hunter… .”)
The Pyramid Is the Point
One thing I notice among most higher mammals, especially primates: the almost universal preoccupation with hierarchy. In some species, only the highest status female gets to breed. Once she claims that position, usually by bullying other females, it goes mostly unchallenged. But much more prevalent are species where the status that matters is male. The dominant male collects a harem of she-gorillas or sea lionesses, and fathers all the group’s children. Lesser males steer well clear of females, and accept the scraps from hunts, lest they summon the alpha male’s wrath. Often the dominant males will go out of their way to humiliate their lesser brethren, just to remind them who’s boss.
It’s true: on one hand, animals inform us about the mind and the care for beauty, charm, and nobility that lie behind biology. In a way, they “speak” to us about the vision, and the love, of their creator. That is the design perspective.
A Theater for Brutality
Looked at another way, the animal world is a theater for brutality, where social interactions can be about brute displays of force, and the strong dominating the weak. As Zmirak argues, the Darwinian view, when embraced, whatever the context, encourages a way of interacting with others individuals and other groups where the aim is to “humiliate [one’s] lesser brethren, just to remind them who’s boss.” After all, humans are just animals.
As Zmirak puts it, “They pyramid is the point.” If that’s the kind of worlds you want to live in, Darwinian evolution is the view of reality for you.