CHAPTER 5. THE SECOND GENESIS
Bowler (1988:5) refers to the adoption of the idea of evolution as the non-Darwinian revolution. It was a revolution because it required the rejection of certain key aspects of creationism. But it was non-Darwinian because it succeeded in preserving and modernizing the old teleological view of things.
Social scientists not only killed social Lamarckianism but evolution and biology itself as a meaningful approach to the social sciences. They have failed to see that equality of opportunity racism (in both its conservative and liberals versions) is a much more damaging philosophy and has been at the heart of America's values since the very formation of a sense of American identity.
The social scientists act as if there is only one type of biological interpretation, and that this is a conservative one. They have not been able to see that there is a possible radical interpretation of biology.
The celebration of the victory of the so-called reform Darwinists over the social Darwinists misses what really happened. American social scientists are not aware that they made a wrong turn. They do not see the defeat of evolution as unfortunate, but rather celebrate that fact. They substituted a sociological materialism, as biased as any biological materialism. The liberals thought they were avoiding racism by this emphasis on sociological determinism. However, it did no such thing. It backs up the sociological moralism behind the liberal version of equality of opportunity racism. In fact, sociological determinism hides the very racism that the liberals say the emphasis on sociology eliminates. This is self-delusion in the extreme and has cut off the social sciences from the natural sciences for over one hundred years.
The social science thinkers had created a kind of second genesis. This sees man as so different from the animals that we are really talking about an entirely different creature. Proponents of the second genesis say that man's uniqueness is shown in his domination of the earth. However, the reptiles are different from the amphibians and at one time the reptilian dinosaurs dominated the entire earth for some 200 million years. But no one has argued that the reptiles are so different from amphibians as to suggest that reptiles are not really animals. However, social scientists often argue that man is not really an animal.
In the first Genesis God created Adam and Eve separate from the other creatures of the universe. In the second Genesis evolution created Adam and Eve separate from the other creatures. In the first Genesis what distinguished man from the animals was his qualities that made him closer to God -- his soul and his spirituality. In the second Genesis what distinguishes man from the animals was not his soul, but something very close to it, his ability to think and reason.
In fact, the first Genesis story has some superiority to that of the second Genesis. The concept of original sin probably is closer to the real nature of man than the concept of man being a tabula rasa on which society writes what it will. Certainly we do not want to breathe new life into the myth of original sin, but as myths go this one is probably closer to the truth than the second genesis myth.
A tragedy of the second Genesis is that it has created a gap between the natural and social sciences that still exists to this day. In 1956 C. P. Snow (1959) published his thesis of the existence of two cultures. He argued that there are two cultures of science and the humanities (with the social sciences being somewhere in the middle) that know nothing of each other. He went so far as to say "the whole of western society is increasingly being split into two polar groups (Snow, 1959:4)." He noticed that literary culture was so ignorant of science that this bias was turning the entire traditional culture anti-scientific. He much regretted this polarization as a big loss to all peoples. The anti-scientific bias of traditional culture then teaches people to see the natural order as of no interest to them. He suggested that we have to rethink our educational systems in order to reunite the two cultures and to do so he pledged to fight the overspecialization of subjects in the schools.
The ignorance of social scientists about the natural sciences is appalling. What is worse is that they say that the natural sciences are irrelevant to understanding man. And the way the social sciences are taught in America they are right. For instance, one does not need to know any natural science to become a sociologist. The social sciences take an anti-evolution and anti-natural sciences view. Instead, they build strawmen arguments such as instinct theory. In introductory sociology texts, they still trot out this old idea that has little connection with the ideas of the present natural sciences. Van den Berghe (1991:273) notes that not only are sociologists oblivious of biology "they are militantly and proudly ignorant." They are so opposed to biology that they arrogantly and proudly reject the study of biology. Moreover they have demonized biology using "every epithet in their ideological lexicon: racism, sexism, classism, conservatism, fascism, and so on (van den Berghe, 1991:275)."
Snow's explanation for the split into two cultures is not very enlightening. He says that intellectuals in the west are opposed to the industrial revolution; that they are natural Luddites. This overstates the case because there are also conservative, as well as liberal or even socialist, intellectuals at any one time. What really happened was that the liberal intellectuals threw out the baby with the bath water when they threw out biology because the social Lamarckians happened to use it. That is as foolish as abandoning all spiritual and religious thought just because many conservatives use religion to justify their self-interests. Biology like religion can be conservative or liberal in its interpretation. The real issue is not biology per se, but social class differences.
Social sciences should not seek to differentiate themselves from the hard sciences, but rather seek to explain and elucidate how man is interconnected with the natural sciences. They need to stress unity rather than disunity.
In the long run the social science resistance or ignoring of natural science is doomed to failure. The natural sciences have developed so many new ideas in just the past few decades that the position of ignorance on the part of the social scientists is no longer tenable.
It was a mistake to have thrown out biology, and therefore, all the natural sciences from the social sciences. Instead, the social scientists should have come up with a liberal version of biology. But that may have been too much to expect from social science since the natural sciences have only recently come up with the hard evidence that Darwin was right all along.
Ideas are not the real problem, it is the social structure underlying and producing the ideas. Racism and idealism go hand in hand, and the idealism of American social science has blinded these thinkers to the problem of the underlying racism of American society. Conservatives responded to the death of biology by simply formulating conservative versions of the new sciences. For instance, if sociologists maintain that it is not biology but social structure and their associated values that maintains people in poverty, conservatives respond with a new theory saying that it is the culture of poverty that really maintains the disadvantaged positions of minorities rather than the racism of whites. Furthermore, to compound the ignorance of the social scientific argument about the importance of their victory over biology, is that conservatives revel in the fact that social scientists help destroy the materialist view of the human brain, for they are absolutely opposed to materialism.
In rejecting Darwinian evolutionism and biology, sociology past over any of the opportunity to take advantage of the radical qualities in Darwinism. American thought largely to this day has remained moralist and racist. And still to this day evolution in a Darwinian sense is not accepted by either conservatives or liberals.
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