Judaism Today: Darwin is Dead

The great 12th-century Jewish transmitter, Maimonides, described the early onset of agnosticism as a gradual process, untraceable to any particular individual. For centuries, humans had known God. They saw the wonders of rocks, rivers and mountains as natural manifestations of His power.

In stages, they forgot the source of these creations, and embraced nature as a replacement for God, finally constructing an entire philosophy based upon their observations of nature.

Maimonides illuminates for us our socio-political landscape. He explains that nature’s contemporary call is more compelling than that of religion, which tends to focus on the past and the future. This helps us understand why some people, while professing to be religious, modify religious tradition to accommodate current popular indulgences such as homosexuality and abortion.

It also explains why a popular news weekly recently announced that infidelity was genetic. Of course it is; it mostly lures men, doesn’t it? The only question is whether we should build our social and moral rules upon that observation of nature, or not. Religious Jews and Christians would say that since it violates our spiritual schematic, infidelity should be avoided. Scientific naturalists say that anything natural is normal.

The widespread acceptance of social Darwinism had profound impact on the lives of all Americans. For instance, it was only in that atmosphere that the sometimes wacky educational ideas of John Dewey could have gained ground. Amazingly, the world’s greatest institution dedicated to the disseminating of ideas, America’s public school system, was essentially placed in the hands of a man who cryptically claimed, “The ultimate problem of production is the production of human beings.”

If we see ourselves only as sophisticated animals and schools as society’s breeding pens, then Dewey was also correct when he insisted that, “Schools do have a role—and an important one—in production of social change.” However, should Darwinism and its social implications ever be rejected, the way will finally become clear for the repair of our public education system.

Now listen to the high priests of the secular faith of Darwinism. Harvard biology professor, Stephen Jay Gould wrote, “I do not see how we, the titular spokesmen for a few thousand mammalian species, can claim superiority over insects who will surely outlive us all.” Even more revealing is Cornell University’s Professor William Provine who assures us that modern science directly implies that free will as it is traditionally conceived, simply does not exist.

The message is loud and clear. Your actions have no more significance than those of a cockroach. Furthermore, like a cockroach, you are in no position to make moral choices of your own free will. When you commit some hideous brutality, it is not that you decided to do so. No, on the contrary, external circumstances made you do it. Once this message is fully absorbed by potential criminals as well as by their judges and juries, civility and safety will be doomed.

Professor Phillip Johnson recently published Darwin on Trial and has assembled a large group of acclaimed biologists with impeccable credentials. These brave academics are coming forth and, in unison, are announcing that the emperor has no clothes. In other words, they show that Darwinism no longer holds up to dispassionate scientific analysis. The conclusion to be drawn is that any lingering adherents to Darwinism are driven more by secular faith than by science.

This is a powerful, growing movement fueled by courage and scientific integrity. Soon we will all view Darwinism as a quaint academic relic. It will take somewhat longer to strip Darwinism’s social implications from America’s cultural institutions like her schools and courtrooms, but it will happen. God has often been abandoned through history, but those cultures that survive, as have the Jews, always come home just in time. Maimonides would smile.


  • Rabbi Daniel Lapin

    Daniel Lapin (born 1947) is an American Orthodox rabbi, author, public speaker, and heads the American Alliance of Jews and Christians. He was previously the founding rabbi of the Pacific Jewish Center in Venice, California. and the former head of Toward Tradition, the Commonwealth Loan Company and the Cascadia Business Institute. Lapin currently hosts a daily television program with his wife Susan and provides spiritual advice to people through his website.

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