If this were a Pentecostal revival tent meeting, it would be one thing; but it's not. It's an Evolutionist revival tent meeting, with true believers waiving their arms in the air, babbling in tongues, rolling in the aisles, and falling in dead faints in front of the klieg lights and cameras.
These supposedly sober men of science have just unveiled a fossilized skeleton of a monkey that was actually found over 20 years ago. Why precisely now, during the bicentenary of Darwin's birth? Well, there's money to be made in all this hype, of course; and, given waxing interest in such "horrors" as Intelligent Design theory, it's high time for a new springtime in the New Evolutionist Evangelization, to shore up the flagging faith of the true believers. It's not likely they're really interested, however, in discussing these facts.
Oh, no, they breathlessly tell us, they've been secretly preparing to unveil the "eighth wonder of the world"!!! "[P]roof of this transitional species [they KNOW this, of course!] finally confirms Charles Darwin's theory of evolution"!!! Darwin "would have been thrilled" to have seen this fossil"!!!!
Unconfirmed reports continue to circulate that, according to reliable eyewitnesses, Richard Dawkins became so excited upon hearing this report that he soiled his trousers.
Dubbed "Ida," the fossil "tells us [FINALLY!] who we are and where we came from"!!! Right. And the fossil is precisely "47 million years old!" The scientific researchers, of course, KNOW that the figure could not have been, say, 42.3 million years, or 24.5 million years. This is HARD SCIENCE, after all ...
If you find that you have some difficulty mustering the kind of stratospheric leaps of faith called for by these true-believer Evolutionist pulpiteers, when they invite you, with every head bowed and every eye closed, to get up out of your seat and walk that sawdust trail up to the altar of self-congratulatory "scientific" enlightenment, you may want to try something a bit less emotional, more rational and level-headed.
I recommend Mortimer Adler, The Difference of Man and the Difference It Makes (New York: Fordham University Press, 1993).
Every bit as timely now as when it was first written, this is a remarkably well-researched book ... No, that is far too modest: the research is of breathtaking breadth, such as only a polymath intellectual like Adler could muster.
Adler phrases his title advisedly, precisely in the way he poses the problem. By focusing on the "difference" of man from non-man, he shows that the question at issue is of the sort that cannot be answered by any single discipline. Traditionally philosophy and theology have monopolized the subject of human nature; but neither philosophy or theology cannot presume to answer the question alone, as they cannot claim exclusive jurisdiction over the broad-ranging aspects of the question. Many facets of the question must be addressed by various special sciences, he shows, including biology, paleontology, neurology, psychology, and even computer science and research in artificial intelligence. But then, none of these special sciences is competent to reflect with epistemological self-consciousness upon their own first principles. That requires a philosophical mind, if not one versed also in matters of theology.
It is the single, most level-headed and most thoroughly researched discussion of the question I have seen. Highly recommended.
[Oh, then again, Adler is so gauche as to use the word "MAN" in his title. So what could he possibly know?]
Of related interest
- Mortimer J. Adler, Intellect: Mind over Matter (1st Collier Books Ed edition, 1993), a version of The Difference of Man and the Difference It Makes rewritten by Adler in more accessible terms, as kindly called to our attention by Dr. Max Weismann.