Tagged: Darwin

Darwinism: Then and Now

by Erik G. Magro ©, Aug. 16th, 2005

The Victorian Age in England was a time of dramatic changes, new inventions, the Industrial Revolution, and an introduction to new ideologies, all of which would transform the way significant portions of society lived and thought of life forever. The overwhelming external changes in daily life during this period would match in intensity the nature of changes happening in the internal lives of the public. Charles Darwin, as a naturalist, helped usher in this change after a long voyage to the South Seas where he observed several widely unknown species. In 1859, a year after his return, he presented his observations in a book, The Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. In it he deduced from their widely diverse natures a common thread that linked all species to a single ancestor; the Theory of Evolution as he called the phenomenon soon became a household word and stirred up massive controversy and debate, still resounding today. The implications of Darwin’s theory created a deep divide in culture, a conflict of natural versus supernatural order. Not only did it offer an alternate account of the genesis of life from the Old Testament, but it also gave a sense of moral freedom from the divine Creator and His judgment; it became a cause unto itself in society among leaders in political and industrial circles, effecting science and academia. Darwinism, as the collection of theories was called, changed the course of man’s history forever.

In the immediate aftermath of unleashing the evolution theory to the public, the common man was faced with a choice of how to look at life and live it. Among those exposed to these choices were some of the most important men in the business community, men who could, with their influence of wealth and power, determine the lifestyles of the middle class population by means of their product prices, work policies, and wages in the factories they owned. A staunch supporter of evolution, Herbert Spencer, developed the social application of Darwinism, which was highly influential on the practices of such powerful moguls. The ideology was known as Social Darwinism and made use of the models Darwin used to describe evolution in nature, namely, survival of the fittest and natural selection. These orders of development were the philosophical basis that publicly justified the methods factory owners were already applying in their businesses to stay competitive. As leaders of industry, they believed they had the right to impose whatever treatment they saw fit for those below them on the social ladder.

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Psychologizing Subservience: The Era of Psuchikos Man

Featured-Wilhelm-Wundt

By Phillip D. Collins ©, Jan. 8th, 2014

I Corinthians 2: 14-15 establishes a binary opposition that defines the modern historical struggle in which man finds himself mortally locked. This passage of Scripture, as it is translated in the amplified version of the Bible, reads: “But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated. But the spiritual man tries all things [he examines, investigates, inquires into, questions, and discerns all things], yet is himself to be put on trial and judged by no one [he can read the meaning of everything, but no one can properly discern or appraise or get an insight into him].”

Verse 15 presents the reader with the “spiritual man.” The adjective “spiritual” is etymologically derived from the Greek word Pneumatikos, which relates to the human spirit or rational soul. Pneumatikos is that which was breathed into man by God in Genesis 2:7. In fact, the word pneumatikos also pertains to breath, as is evidenced by respiratory-related terms like “pneumonia.” The concept of Pneumatikos forms the basis for the Christian doctrine of imago viva Dei, which teaches that man occupies the unique position as a creature created in the image of God.

In contradistinction, verse 14 presents the reader with the “natural man.” The adjective “natural” is etymologically derived from the Greek word psuchikos. It denotes the principle of animal life, that which men have in common with the brutes. It also connotes the sensuous nature with its subjection to appetite and passion.

Interestingly enough, the term “psychology” is etymologically derived from psuchikos. Through the interpretative lens of modern psychology, all those elements of man that initially fell under the descriptive category of pneumatikos are biologicized. With the soul divorced from metaphysics, every thought, feeling, and idea becomes biochemical in origin. Remaining consistent with its etymological root, psychology reduces man to little more than a brute whose behavior must be sculpted by those few conditioners who are accountable to no moral master.

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