With the rain pouring down outside, I am watching the quite fabulous documentary on Charles Darwin on SBS Tv Australia. The documentary gives me much to think about.
I am reminded that Baha’u’llah, the Founder of the Baha’i Faith was in exile in the Ottoman Empire for teaching that all races of humanity are equal, and that men are equal to women, at the time that Darwin was publishing his “Origin of Species”. The Origin of Species and the idea of the survival of the fittest was often wrongly interpreted as supporting the right of European colonialists to destroy indigenous cultures and people throughout the world.
Baha’u’llah’s teachings recognised that the human being, whatever the origins, had reached beyond nature. It was this ability of humanity to lord over nature, that Baha’u’llah, and after him, his son Abdu’l-Baha, addressed themselves. Baha’u’llah recognised that humanity was on the verge of taking their abilities to the next technological stage. He predicted that Germany will twice be devestated. He warned that, because humanity could advance technologically and socially in any direction and to any degree, if civilisation was allowed to overstep bounds of moderation we would bring great damage upon ourselves. This has also proven to be prophetic as human societies have struggled to maintain some form of homeostasis over the past 100 years. Among the chaotic influences on human societies have been the excuse for people to believe in a no-God, no purpose, survival of the fittest, nihilistic view of the world. This view has lead to domination of many of the cultures of the world at different times by extraordinary tyrants who have each managed to murder millions of the people under their rule. Many millions more have been killed in the defence of the rest of the world against those tyrants. We have barely survived the 20th Century. The irony cannot be overlooked. The one issue that has almost lead to our demise as a species, was aour knowledge that a species may not be able to survive in a changed environment. The changed environment in the case of modern humanity has been the change of the mental landscape. To my knowledge, only Baha’u’llah was insightful at that time and since, about the mental tools needed for humanity to survive this environmental change.
Abdu’l-Baha, leader of the Baha’i Faith at the beginnning of the twentieth century, confirmed that humans evolved. However he also sustained the argument that there was Divine purpose behind that evolution and in the purpose of humanity into the future. It was argued on the documentary of Darwin, that the development of species in any direction from the primary source, was a proof that human beings were not at the top of a creational tree. In the sense of the argument provided by Christian Churches in the 19th Century and some now, this is true. In another sense, the sense that to everyone including biologists, human beings are clearly moved beyond the confines of natural selection, and have powers to control natural selection for everyone including ourselves, this idea is not so true.
While it is not clear to me why a linear structure is more God-related than a non-linear structure, it seems that if we can look at the argument about the work of a Creator with the same logic of the work of man. It occurs that a scientist can make a computer model of the evolutionary process. Presumably such models will become more and more refined over time, until human being will be able to plot the evolution of all species, even the ones now extinct, with extreme accuracy. If we were to imagine that, a Creator is, say 1,000 x more than the best human being in every way, then what is the limitation of such a ‘presence’ creating evolutionary processes that have human beings as the outcome.
It is not clear what the documentaries about evolutionary theory are meaning to say, but it seems to me that they are attempting to engage a dialogical environmnent that has moved on, that has changed. I know in my heart that evolutionary scientists and the popular science media will adapt to this changing environment, will create new terminology, and language constructs to deal with the new dialectic. I know in my mind they will do this because their survival of science will be at stake. But I know in my heart they will do this because the Word of God is percolating throughout the minds of the world. For evolutionary theory doesn’t predict science or logical thought will continue to survive. Baha’u’llah, on the other hand, has so predicted.