To illustrate the difference between the innovator and the dull crowd of routinists who cannot even imagine that any improvement is possible, we need only refer to a passage in Engel's most famous book. Here, in 1878, Engels apodictically announced that military weapons are "now so perfected that no further progress of any revolutionizing influence is any longer possible." Henceforth "all further [technological] progress is by and large indifferent for land warfare. The age of evolution is in this regard essentially closed." This complacent conclusion shows in what the achievement of the innovator consists: he accomplishes what other people believe to be unthinkable and unfeasible.
The allegories of the "fall of man" and the "deluge," are the two most important features of the Pentateuch. They are, so to say, the Alpha and Omega, the highest and the lowest keys of the scale of harmony on which resounds the majestic hymns of the creation of mankind; for they discover to him who questions the Zura (figurative Gematria), the process of man's evolution from the highest spiritual entity unto the lowest physical — the post-diluvian man, as in the Egyptian hieroglyphics, every sign of the picture writing which cannot be made to fit within a certain circumscribed geometrical figure may be rejected as only intended by the sacred hierogrammatist for a premeditated blind — so many of the details in the Bible must be treated on the same principle, that portion only being accepted which answers to the numerical methods taught in the Kabala.
It seems obvious to me now – though I have been slow, I must say, in coming to the conclusion – that the institution of private property is one of the main things that have given man that limited amount of free-and-equalness that Marx hoped to render infinite by abolishing this institution. Strangely enough Marx was the first to see this. He is the one who informed us, looking backwards, that the evolution of private capitalism with its free market had been a precondition for the evolution of all our democratic freedoms. It never occurred to him, looking forward, that if this was so, these other freedoms might disappear with the abolition of the free market.
Darwin broke with a fundamental dogma of Christianity–that God created man in his own image. At the same time he struck at metaphysical concepts of evolution, as they had prevailed from Aristotle to Hegel. He conceived of evolution as a blind sequence of events, in which survival depends upon adaptation to the conditions of life, rather than as the unfolding of organic entities in accordance with their entelechies.
Thus his name has come to represent the idea of man’s domination of nature in terms of common sense. One may even go so far as to say that the concept of the survival of the fittest is merely the translation of the concepts of formalized reason into the vernacular of natural history. In popular Darwinism, reason is purely an organ; spirit or mind, a thing of nature. According to a current interpretation of Darwin, the struggle for life must necessarily, step by step, through natural selection, produce the reasonable out of the unreasonable. In other words, reason, while serving the function of dominating nature, is whittled down to being a part of nature; it is not an independent faculty but something organic, like tentacles or hands, developed through adaptation to natural conditions and surviving because it proves to be an adequate means of mastering them, especially in relation to acquiring food and averting danger. As a part of nature, reason is at the same time set against nature–the competitor and enemy of all life that is not its own.
Thus I define religion as the awareness – accompanied by the emotions and determined by them – of dependence from something, defined by the tradition, which at the given stage of cultural evolution of man exceeds his cognitive capabilities; this awareness then causes in man, under the action of emotions and tradition, volitive states leading to an endeavor to change somehow the supposed dependence or at least perform some influence on what the man of given cultural stage considers to be the cause of the dependence.
I am absolutely convinced from personal knowledge that any one of these men feel and believe, as a matter of course, that evolution is a fact.
We are in possession of scientific knowledge to directly and fully answer the question: ‘Has evolution occurred?
There is no process of evolution in which duration introduces new events of itself and at its own insistence; time is integrated as a nosological constant, not as an organic variable. The time of the body does not affect, and still less determines, the time of the disease.
It is as if evolution has built a safety device in our nervous system that allows us to experience full happiness only when we are living at 100%--when we are fully using the physical and mental equipment we have been given.
The downside, of course, is that over time religions become encrusted with precepts and ideas that are the antithesis of soul, as each faith tries to protect its doctrines and institution instead of nurturing the evolution of consciousness. If one is not careful to distinguish the genuine insights of a religion from its irrelevant accretions, one can go through life following an inappropriate moral compass.
Scientists use the term 'fact' to refer to a scientific explanation that has been tested and confirmed so many times that there is no longer a compelling reason to keep testing it or looking for additional examples. In that respect, the past and continuing occurrence of evolution is a scientific fact. Because the evidence supporting it is so strong, scientists no longer question whether biological evolution has occurred and is continuing to occur. Instead, they investigate the mechanisms of evolution, how rapidly evolution can take place, and related questions.
Scientists no longer question the basic facts of evolution. The concept has withstood extensive testing by tens of thousands of specialists in biology, medicine, anthropology, geology, chemistry, and other fields. Discoveries in different fields have reinforced one another, and evidence for evolution has continued to accumulate for 150 years.
The concept of biological evolution is one of the most important ideas ever generated by the application of scientific methods to the natural world. The evolution of all the organisms that live on Earth today from ancestors that lived in the past is at the core of genetics, biochemistry, neurobiology, physiology, ecology, and other biological disciplines. It helps to explain the emergence of new infectious diseases, the development of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, the agricultural relationships among wild and domestic plants and animals, the composition of Earth's atmosphere, the molecular machinery of the cell, the similarities between human beings and other primates, and countless other features of the biological and physical world. As the great geneticist and evolutionist Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote in 1973, ‘Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.’
THEORY: In science, a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses. The contention that evolution should be taught as a "theory, not as a fact" confuses the common use of these words with the scientific use. In science, theories do not turn into facts through the accumulation of evidence. Rather, theories are the end points of science. They are understandings that develop from extensive observation, experimentation, and creative reflection. They incorporate a large body of scientific facts, laws, tested hypotheses, and logical inferences. In this sense, evolution is one of the strongest and most useful scientific theories we have.
Creationists sometimes claim that scientists have a vested interest in the concept of biological evolution and are unwilling to consider other possibilities. But this claim, too, misrepresents science. Scientists continually test their ideas against observations and submit their work to their colleagues for critical peer review of ideas, evidence, and conclusions before a scientific paper is published in any respected scientific journal. Unexplained observations are eagerly pursued because they can be signs of important new science or problems with an existing hypothesis or theory. History is replete with scientists challenging accepted theory by offering new evidence and more comprehensive explanations to account for natural phenomena. Also, science has a competitive element as well as a cooperative one. If one scientist clings to particular ideas despite evidence to the contrary, another scientist will attempt to replicate relevant experiments and will not hesitate to publish conflicting evidence. If there were serious problems in evolutionary science, many scientists would be eager to win fame by being the first to provide a better testable alternative. That there are no viable alternatives to evolution in the scientific literature is not because of vested interests or censorship but because evolution has been and continues to be solidly supported by evidence.
But today there is no scientific doubt about the close evolutionary relationships between humans and all other primates. Using the same scientific methods and tools that have been employed to study the evolution of other species, researchers have compiled a large and increasing number of fossil discoveries and compelling new molecular evidence that clearly indicate that the same forces responsible for the evolution of all other life forms on Earth account for the biological evolution of human characteristics.
Educators may bring upon themselves unnecessary travail by taking a tactless and unjustifiable position about the relation between scientific and religious narratives. We see this, of course, in the conflict concerning creation science. Some educators representing, as they think, the conscience of science act much like those legislators who in 1925 prohibited by law the teaching of evolution in Tennessee. In that case, anti-evolutionists were fearful that a scientific idea would undermine religious belief. Today, pro-evolutionists are fearful that a religious idea will undermine scientific belief. The former had insufficient confidence in religion; the latter insufficient confidence in science. The point is that profound but contradictory ideas may exist side by side, if they are constructed from different materials and methods and have different purposes. Each tells us something important about where we stand in the universe, and it is foolish to insist that they must despise each other.
Don't be like those people who believe in positive thinking and tell themselves that they're loved and strong and capable. You don't need to do that because you know it already. And when you doubt it — which happens, I think, quite often at this stage of evolution — do as I suggested. Instead of trying to prove that you're better than you think, just laugh. Laugh at your worries and insecurities. View your anxieties with humor. It will be difficult at first, but you'll gradually get used to it. Now go back and meet all those people who think you know everything. Convince yourself that they're right, because we all know everything; it's merely a question of believing… Don't explain. Your friends do not need it, and your enemies will not believe you… Don't think about what you'll tell people afterward. The time is here and now. Make the most of it… Don't waste your time with explanations: people only hear what they want to hear.
In primitive Buddhism, in primitive Christianity, in the writings of some of the Mussulman teachers, in the early movements of the Reform, and especially in the ethical and philosophical movements of the last century and of our own times, the total abandonment of the idea of revenge, or of "due reward" — of good for good and evil for evil — is affirmed more and more vigorously. The higher conception of "no revenge for wrongs," and of freely giving more than one expects to receive from his neighbors, is proclaimed as being the real principle of morality — a principle superior to mere equivalence, equity, or justice, and more conducive to happiness. And man is appealed to be guided in his acts, not merely by love, which is always personal, or at the best tribal, but by the perception of his oneness with each human being. In the practice of mutual aid, which we can retrace to the earliest beginnings of evolution, we thus find the positive and undoubted origin of our ethical conceptions; and we can affirm that in the ethical progress of man, mutual support — not mutual struggle — has had the leading part. In its wide extension, even at the present time, we also see the best guarantee of a still loftier evolution of our race.
It is evident that no review of evolution can be complete, unless these two dominant currents are analyzed. However, the self-assertion of the individual or of groups of individuals, their struggles for superiority, and the conflicts which resulted therefrom, have already been analyzed, described, and glorified from time immemorial. In fact, up to the present time, this current alone has received attention from the epical poet, the annalist, the historian, and the sociologist. History, such as it has hitherto been written, is almost entirely a description of the ways and means by which theocracy, military power, autocracy, and, later on, the richer classes' rule have been promoted, established, and maintained.