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Tremors in the House of Cards

Only one Truth can make us free.

With all the noise and fuss certain atheistic evolutionists have been making of late, it's good to be reminded that the position they so adamantly defend is really a house of cards.

And they know it. Evolutionary thinkers have settled so firmly into the present state of their theory that they will brook no challenges to any platform or wall in the house, not even from one of their most respected members, and not even when that member is repudiating one of his own contributions.

In the August, 2010, issue of Nature, E. O. Wilson and two colleagues published an article repudiating the accepted evolutionary explanation of the origins of altruism. As reported in the Boston Globe by Leon Neyfakh (, April 17, 2011), the resulting firestorm from the evolutionary community has been unsparing.

Apparently, evolutionists recognize that Wilson's new explanation of altruism is, as Mr. Neyfakh describes it, "a frontal attack on long-accepted ideas about one of the great mysteries of evolution: why one creature would ever help another at its own expense." Wilson was instrumental in articulating the currently-accepted view, referred to as "kin selection theory," which "says that an organism trying to pass its genes down to future generations can do so indirectly, by helping a relative to survive and procreate."

Now, 40 years after first appearing to have "solved" a conundrum, the solution of which has eluded evolutionists from Darwin on, Wilson says, "Kin selection is wrong. That's it. It's wrong."

The evolutionary community has come at him with all guns blazing. Wilson's view, Mr. Neyfakh suggests, "has stunned the scientific world in part because Wilson was personally responsible for the almost universal embrace of this idea in the first place."

But apparently evolutionary theory has settled with such sclerotic effects on scientific thinking that not even so eminent a member of the club as Dr. Wilson is allowed to change his mind. Understand, Wilson's new view is equally evolutionary. He hasn't departed from his long-standing confidence in the intelligence of genes to ensure survival of the fittest. He's not abandoning his evolutionary views, but apparently even the slightest modification of the accepted position is deserving of denial, declamation, and denunciation.

So much for "openness." I suspect that the great sin of Dr. Wilson and his colleagues is that they lifted the skirts on the mathematics supporting kin selection theory, demonstrating that they don't work. And in a world where everything reduces to numbers, to challenge the mathematics of the scientific community on so crucial a doctrine is a great transgression, indeed.

The fear, of course, is that if evolutionists admit they blew it here, then are they going to be faced with the same situation a generation from now, when another E. O. Wilson proves the current theory to be unworkable? And if they allow repudiation from within the ranks here, will they have to tolerate it in other areas - perhaps all other areas - of evolutionary theory as well?

Evolutionary "truth," it is now clear, does not set one free. Rather, it locks one into an unchanging, totalitarian dogma which embraces materialistic determinism, denies spiritual realities, and demands absolute and unflinching allegiance from all parties.

But as this house of cards tries to settle the tremors of internal dissent, it's a good time for those who know the truth - about altruism and much more - to be setting forth their views in as many venues and by as many means as possible. For only one Truth can make us free, and it isn't transferred from one generation to the next through our genes.

Additional related texts: John 8:32; John 14:6; Ephesians 4:17-24; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

A conversation starter: "Why do you suppose evolutionary thinkers are so worked up about a dramatic new in-house challenge to one of their pet dogmas?"

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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