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In the story of evolution as we know it, there is no Eden. The world was never peaceful and perfect, free from death and pain. Rather the upward curve has been constant and gradual, always accompanied by death, which culls those creatures less than fit for survival.

Nor does evolution tell a story of Adam and Eve. The human race also has risen incrementally. Evolution suggests no story of atonement, for it knows nothing of personal responsibility, law, sin, shame or redemption.

The absence of such information in the story of evolution does not suggest to me, as it does to Haught, that we must throw out large parts of the Bible’s story. One learns different things from different sources—some things from science, some things from music, some things from the Bible. On purely empirical grounds, I would insist that sin is as reliable a fact as can be, even if evolution knows nothing of it. The same with beauty and truth and love—equally missing from evolution as Darwin traces it. Evolution knows of populations, not individuals. It could never chastise Cain for killing his brother. Murder is part of evolution’s mechanism of change. It would be a good thing, if evolution knew anything about “good.”

“Good” is not part of evolution’s story. Nevertheless good exists.

excerpt Homo loquax
from The Human Beast: Tom Wolfe's 2006 Jefferson Lecture, 10 May 2006 : : via Greg Veltman

Until there was speech, the human beast could have no religion, and consequently no God. In the beginning was the Word. Speech gave the beast its first ability to ask questions, and undoubtedly one of the first expressed his sudden but insatiable anxiety as to how he got here and what this agonizing struggle called life is all about. To this day, the beast needs, can’t live without, some explanation as the basis of whatever status he may think he possesses. For that reason, extraordinary individuals have been able to change history with their words alone, without the assistance of followers, money, or politicians. Their names are Jesus, John Calvin, Mohammed, Marx, Freud—and Darwin.

And this, rather than any theory, is what makes Darwin the monumental figure that he is. The human beast does not require that the explanation offer hope. He will believe whatever is convincing. Jesus offered great hope: The last shall be first and the meek shall inherit the earth. Calvin offered less. Mohammed, more and less. Marx, even more than Jesus: The meek will take over the earth now! Freud offered more sex. Darwin offered nothing at all. Each, however, has left an enduring influence. Jesus is the underpinning of both Marxism and political correctness in American universities. There was a 72-year field experiment in Marxism, which failed badly. But Marx’s idea of one class dominating another may remain with us forever. In medical terms, Freud is now considered a quack. But his notion of sex as an energy like the steam in a boiler, which must be released in an orderly fashion or the boiler will blow up, remains with us, too. At this very moment, as we gather here in the Warner Theatre, you can be sure that there are literally millions of loin spasms and hip-joint convulsions that are taking place at this very instant throughout the world that would not be occurring were it not for the power of the words of Sigmund Freud.

Today, Charles Darwin still reigns, but his most fervent followers, American neuroscientists, are deeply concerned about this irritating matter of culture, the product of speech. Led by the British neuroscientist Richard Dawkins, they currently propose that culture is the product of “memes” or “culturegens”, which operate like genes and produce culture. There is a problem, however. Genes exist, but memes don’t. The concept of memes is like the concept of Jack Frost ten centuries ago. Jack Frost was believed to be an actual, living, albeit invisible, creature who went about in the winter freezing fingertips and making the ground too hard to plow.

Noam Chomsky has presented another problem. He maintains that there is no sign that speech evolved from any form of life lower than man. It’s not that there is a missing link, he says. It’s that there is absolutely nothing in any other animal to link up with.