but is it science · Darwin · Evolution · politics · science and philosophy

Evolution: Setting the Stage, Part 2

Marx_and_Engels

Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels    Source:  Wikipedia, Public Domain

Socialism / Communism

Socialist thought began to be accepted in the 17th century (or even earlier) and flourished in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Socialism is actually a kind of social Darwinism or social engineering. It is based on a misunderstanding of human nature and a belief that man’s very nature could be molded and improved. This was based on the belief that the world is naturally progressive and everything, including human nature, is being continually improved throughout time.

The socialist dream sounds wonderful: everyone working for the common good and no one going without. Unfortunately, this belief has proven again and again to be wrong. Human nature is basically Self-centered, and in general man is generous and altruistic only after personal needs and desires are met. Humans are motivated by a focus on Me first, then spouse and children, then extended family, then friends, then local tribe and only then extending to local and state authority, to country and to the greater global society last.

Man naturally is very compassionate and generous toward those in need of charity, but only after his basic needs are met. Socialism requires that man’s focus be on the state (or society as a whole), while putting himself and his own interests last. This is the exact opposite of man’s true, unchanging nature. Habits and attitudes can be taught to a certain degree, but it has been demonstrated many times that man’s basic selfish and imperfect nature cannot be changed.

As the Plymouth colony learned, (see Part 1), without personal rewards for his achievements, a person’s motivation to produce is reduced or eliminated along with most of his creativity and efficiency. At the same time, his selfishness, envy, resentment and deceit grow as a result of perceived inequities. In such a society, the lazy person who hardly contributes at all gets as much as the hard working person who produces most of what is shared.

In labor unions where all members are rewarded equally whether they are cracker-jack contributors or space filling dead wood, resentment is rampant and efficiency and productivity suffer. Such unions discourage excellence and encourage minimal or status quo contributions. In the absence of an overarching internally motivated altruism, socialist societies must be tightly and thoroughly controlled by the state, ultimately resulting in totalitarian dictatorships or at best dictatorial bodies of an elite class in order to force people to behave as is required to maintain the society.

Unfortunately, socialism/communism also leads to moral degradation wherein cheating, lying and other forms of deceit are used to gain perceived or actual basic needs or an advantage over others. A prime example is the old Soviet Union, where morals and ethics have suffered greatly from real or perceived deprivations. As a general rule, needy is greedy. Everyone may be equal, but everyone, except the elite, is poorer for it.

Essentially we are back to monarchies and privileged gentry oppressing serfs or slaves “for their own good.” So much for equality as espoused by socialism, communism and their ilk. It is a very old, very bad idea that results in a return to old oppressions and a loss of basic freedoms and inalienable human rights “endowed by our Creator.”

But wait, what about the utopian dream? Marx presented his philosophy as a series of steps where, through the principles of dialectical materialism[1], society progresses from original oppression by the bourgeois[2] under capitalism[3] through struggle to a “dictatorship of the proletariat[4]” to a utopian state where governments are unnecessary and fade away on their own. Unfortunately, it never goes beyond the dictatorship stage because the utopian dream is totally unrealistic, unworkable and unsustainable in the real world due to the inherent and unchangeable nature of man and to reality in general. Marx never explained how the society would take that final step from dictatorship to utopia. People in power want to stay in power. It is totally unrealistic to expect them to voluntarily give that up.

Even if utopia were attained, how would the utopian society be organized and maintained without essentially robotic altruism to the society[5] by every individual and (again) strict control from the top to keep it all going? Like monarchies and dictatorships it is still all about control by an elite group. In recent fiction, Star Trek is a model of a utopian society. Poverty has been eliminated and altruism is the norm. No one is envious or resentful of others’ successes, and everyone gladly obeys orders from a wise and benign leader toward a common goal. However, the real world is more like Babylon 5 with all of its intrigues, envy, resentment, prejudices, hatreds and inequities. Man’s nature cannot be denied, and control through coercion and rewards is necessary for even a “utopian” society to function. Heaven on earth is impossible as long as imperfect people are involved.

Unfortunately, even today there are those who would throw away their freedom, in the form of excessive regulation and government control, to gain a (false) sense of security under the control of a supposedly wiser elite. It seems there are some who are uncomfortable with freedom, with all its risks and opportunities, and who desire a nice safe cage. (Some intellectuals and elitists who espouse the socialist philosophy assume that they will be among the elite and are only uncomfortable that others are not controlled. However, most of these people will end up being the controlled, not the controllers.)


They, who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety,  deserve neither liberty nor safety.                    —Benjamin Franklin


Christianity is built on the value and importance of the individual whereby everyone benefits freely as a result of freely practiced moral values such as duty, honor, charity, respect and equality of opportunity (not outcome, which is unrealistic)[6]. Socialism in its many forms, does not value the individual but rather sees people as groups that should (be compelled to) work for the greater good of the whole, regardless of whether it is good for any one individual. These two philosophies are diametrically opposed. Socialism can only succeed if Christianity is either eliminated or tightly controlled as a purely social ritual. That is why socialism and atheism are such good partners, and behind socialism is the ever-present progressivism.

The belief in a naturally progressive universe says that everything from the universe to molecules is evolving toward perfection, with no room for absolutes, not even moral ones.   If the entire universe is believed to be naturally progressive, then there is no need for a God to have caused or influenced it. It is its own reason for being. To those who espouse atheism or socialism in its various forms, progressivism is what gives meaning to life and their cause, essentially replacing God. It gives them a purpose and a satisfaction in furthering that assumed natural progress. That is why it has such a strong hold on its believers, especially those who wish to engineer a socialist utopia or stop evolution in its tracks to “save the planet.”

The progressive universe itself becomes their de facto god, and social change toward a dreamed-of perfect utopian paradise becomes the goal and their purpose in life. Since no cultural or social system has ever achieved the perfection envisioned, to the progressive the present system, whatever it may be, must be changed to further that perceived progress. This makes it a perfect philosophy for young radicals who wish things were better but lack the life experiences to see the broader picture or the unintended consequences of rampant social change.

However, remember the maxim: all progress is change, but all change is not progress. That is, unless you believe that progress is inevitable as do the progressives. But progress requires work while regress is the natural state of things. A boulder perched on the edge of a cliff, given enough time and erosion, will naturally roll down (regress) by necessity, but pushing it back up to the top (progress) requires work. Progress is not a natural thing; it must force its way against the regressive nature of the universe. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that entropy always increases – that chaos or disorder always increases and usable energy always decreases. This is the opposite of the progressive philosophy. Dust, death and decay are natural results of the real world.

If the universe is naturally progressive, then everything must be interpreted as progressing or “evolving” toward perfection, whether it is molecules, life, earth, stars, galaxies or the universe.   The fixed laws and values of basic physics, such as the force of gravity or the mass of the proton, are a great mystery to those who reject all absolutes in favor of universal progress. These values are under constant attack by theorists using deductive reasoning, i.e. “pure” reason, rather than inductive reasoning based on reality, experiments and observation.

This is the case of cosmology and particle physics today. They start with an a priori[7] hypothesis, based on assumptions about how the universe must behave, and produce complex mathematical equations to model an imagined perfectly symmetrical, homogeneous and beautifully progressive universe. In areas where reality conflicts with the theory that is based on pure mathematics, the facts are either ignored as anomalies, reinterpreted to make them fit or new layers of complexity are added to their calculations. Never is the theory questioned.

Why all the expounding on progressivism and its partner socialism with its unrealistic view of human nature, and ultimately its tragic results? First of all, it is a perspective on the pseudoscientific theories discussed in this blog that are all about control of thought by an elite class of “experts” who are not to be questioned. Progressivism and Socialism have influenced or control the foundations of most of modern science and academia today.

That does not mean that real scientific achievement is not valid or does not advance our knowledge of our world; it means that real results are often interpreted to fit the prevailing progressive paradigm. For instance, if DNA of similar organisms is less different than dissimilar ones, which is expected if DNA determines form and function, it is not acceptable to just state the known facts and note the similarities and differences. The very real data must be fitted into the evolution paradigm by concluding that similar DNA means that they must have evolved from a common ancestor. While this may or may not be true, it is far from proven. It is a leap of faith and a philosophy based on existing paradigms.

Secondly, Darwinism and Eugenics[8]specifically have been used as tools and extensions of socialist philosophy throughout its history. Pre-Marx progressive socialist thought itself nurtured Darwinism. Darwin’s theory of Evolution by survival of the fittest (class struggle in socialist parlance) through natural selection arose amidst this nineteenth century pre-Marxist socialist-progressive era. In the context of the prevailing philosophies, this meant to the materialists and humanists that once and for all religion could be eliminated. It seemed to confirm their social ideas that the world was naturally progressive and did not need any outside forces to bring it about. Using the theory of Evolution, religion could be replaced by materialism, humanism and socialism as the new “religion” of the people.

[1] Dialectical materialism supposedly progresses from thesis (original idea) through antithesis (opposition) to synthesis (final form).

[2] Bourgeois (originally a resident of a town or burgh) is defined in Marxism as the (supposed oppressor) upper and middle classes as opposed to the Proletariat defined as the (supposedly oppressed) lower classes. (Proletariat is originally from the Latin proletarius, for citizens lacking property that were exempted from taxes and military service and could only contribute to the state by having children.) This assumes that there is a strict class order rather than a fluid classless society whereby individuals assume ever changing positions based on effort and ability.

[3] Capitalism was coined by early socialists from capital, which originally meant head and later meant property or money.

[4] Dictatorship of the proletariat is really a dictatorship by elites with special privileges over the masses which are tightly controlled.

[5] Only colony animals such as ants, bees and a few rare vertebrates behave like that without coercion.

[6] To be a Christian is to believe in Jesus Christ, repent of sins and rely on Him. Unlike all other religions, it is a religion of Faith, not works. The Christian does good works not to ensure his salvation, but to emulate Jesus, follow His teachings and please God, all done out of gratitude for salvation already gained through simple Faith.

[7] A priori means presumed from the beginning; self-evident; intuitively obvious.

[8] Eugenics is a “science” that deals with the improvement (as by control of human mating) of hereditary qualities of a race or breed. Systematized by Francis Galton, Charles Darwin’s half-cousin in the late 19th century in which he advocated controlled breeding to prevent mankind from falling into mediocrity by regression towards the mean. This system was later used by the Nazis (National Socialist Party) in their pursuit of the master race, and was used to justify the elimination of Jews and other “undesirables”.

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