Julian Huxley fascinated me for a while and I started reading some of his work. Initially I was quite impressed by his thought processes - albeit that he often sounded quite arrogant. You see, when an atheist denies God, he also denies a moral absolute and consequently a moral lawgiver. If there is no moral lawgiver and no moral absolutes then who can say what is right and what is wrong? Why should we even care about such things? I've seen people try for some wriggle room on this one, but it’s a major sticking point in the atheist's argument and often they find themselves 'borrowing' from Christianity when they defend their personal ideas of morality.
The crux of evolutionary ideology is the survival of the fittest, so if you are going to follow this thought through to its logical conclusion then how can rape, murder, theft, adultery, lying and a host of other ‘crimes’ be wrong when a person is just doing whatever he needs to do to survive or get ahead? Trampling over other people in order to get what we want should be the first law of evolution and be essential to our make up. For example, if I want to be selected for a particular job promotion, what is to stop me from killing off all the others short-listed for the position?
When I was debating this very point recently I was told that since we no longer live in the cave-man days we no longer have to kill or be killed. We have a measure of stability in our society and this allows us to to develop a pack mentality, so that it is no longer about what is good for the individual, but is now about what is good for the pack - or for society I presume. This apparently gives us room to care for people, to have compassion for our fellow human beings and even to show sympathy and empathy. I genuinely think it is a clever argument, but there is no denying that sympathy and empathy are enemies to evolution and could potentially destroy the 'pack' if we lose sight of the 'survival of the fittest' mentality. What would Huxley have to say about this?
Well, Huxley stood his evolutionary ground whilst promoting his humanist ideology. He claimed that humanism was a replacement for religion, but he made no bones about how we should further advance our society and didn’t shy away from the uglier side of evolution. In 1926 he published a collection of articles in a book entitled The Stream of Life. The articles had formerly been broadcast by Huxley over the radio - this surprises me, because I think it takes some gall to express his ideology publicly. Huxley told his audience exactly how we could improve the human race.
"But what are we to think when pity for suffering individuals leads us not only to preserve them, but to allow them to reproduce and so not only to lower the quality of the race, but to produce more suffering in individuals yet unborn? What is one to think of the misplaced kindness which, to give an actual recent case, takes an epileptic woman to hospital to be operated on to remedy sterility; or the sentimentality which rejoices at the 'happiness', so called, generated by the marriage of two deaf mutes?"[i]
Here, I think, would be an appropriate time to bring up the actual joy generated by 'the marriage of two deaf mutes' (although I would never choose to use the phrase 'deaf mute'). In the 1960’s a London Newspaper ran an article entitled: ‘Deaf Couple Marry’ which detailed the marriage of my own parents.
My parents met at a London deaf school where sign language was forbidden and deaf children who persisted in this deviant language were shunned by society, because apparently the ‘waving around’ of their hands made them appear mentally ill.
The education my parents received focused mainly on manual skills and speech therapy and therefore they left school with barely any education. My father had a qualification in woodwork and my mother a qualification in cake decorating. When they married my parents were not allowed to make their marriage vows to one another in sign language, but instead had to struggle to speak their vows orally to each other.
Despite their disadvantages they were hard workers and determined to build a good life together. Some years later my parents 'reproduced' two very healthy hearing children who went on to marry and have hearing children of their own. Their first grandson, Benjamin grew up adoring his grandparents and communicating with them in sign language. He was inspired by the determination and courage with which they faced life. Today he is in his 4th year as a medical student at Imperial College London - one of the top medical schools not only in the UK, but also in the world. Their second grandson, Joseph 17 is currently gathering work experience so that he too can study medicine - if this is what God wills, and guess what their 11 year-old grand-daughter wants to do? I am not saying that this means our family has more value than anyone elses, I am merely pointing out that doing away with the ‘undesirables’ is not progressive!
I'd like to put this real life example to Julian Huxley and ask him how the marriage and reproduction of my parents actually weakened the human race and how, in the face of what they have achieved, he can justify his comments recommending that society should be 'segregating defectives in special institutions' and forcibly sterilising them.’[ii]
Growing up and studying World War II at school I realised that had my parents lived in Germany at that time they most likely would have ended up in the gas chambers since the ‘cleansing’ that Hitler and Nazi Germany practiced was in alignment with Huxley's eugenic ideas. Joe Boot, author of A Time to Search cites historical philosopher John Koster who wrote:
"Darwin and Huxley's picture of man's place in the universe prepared the way for the Holocaust...Darwin the scientist directly inspired Nietzsche’s superman theory and the Nazi corollary that some people were subhuman...People have to learn to stop thinking of other people as machines and learn to think of them as men and women possessed of souls...History doesn't need another one hundred million deaths to prove that scientific atheism is a form of mental illness.”[iii]
Eugenics is the logical outworking of evolution. I can see why on paper the ideas make sense and might sound like ‘progress’. I can also see why people who argue against this sort of ideology might be considered to be ‘feeble minded’ – something Huxley and the early proponents of evolution despised but what you see in the Nazi concentration camps is eugenics in action. The devaluing of human life flows from the atheist position of rejecting the teaching of the Bible that tells us that people are made in the image of God and therefore all life is precious. Instead life is expendable and killing of the defectives, undesirables and weak is to be applauded. The Nazi concentration camps brought these ideas into sharp focus and taught us that such ideas have consequences and these consequences would frequently come back to haunt us.
My grandmother, who was not a believer, told me that she was glad she didn't know that my mother was going to be deaf because if she had she would have made a terrible mistake and would have aborted her baby as an 'act of kindness'. My grandmother had no time for God, but she had unwittingly absorbed Darwinian ideas, which she didn’t fully understand but believed that they gave her license for her atheism. Millions of other people have hung their atheism on the same ‘respectable peg’ for as Richard Dawkins said, ‘Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.’[iv]
The teaching of Christianity is in direct contrast to the harsh demands of evolution leading to eugenic ideologies and it is no wonder that Hitler himself rose up to declare:
"I regard Christianity as the most fatal, seductive lie that ever existed.’[v]
I find it hard to believe that anyone would claim that Adolf Hitler was a Christian. I do not deny that he was born a catholic, but it is clear that Hilter’s intention was to wipe out Christianity.
"Altogether Hitler’s killing machine murdered 5 million Jews, and 7 million Christians — a little published fact that caused Jewish historian Max Dimont to declare that “the world blinded itself to the murder of Christians” by Nazi Germany.”[vi]
I believe that the grace of God covered my family and that we are living proof that Huxley couldn’t have been more wrong – I absolutely do rejoice over the happiness brought about by the marriage of my wonderful deaf parents.
© Kim Sandy 2013
[i] Julian Huxley (1926). The Stream of Life, cited by Boot, J. (2002). A Time to Search: Discovering meaning and purpose in life, Eastborne, Kingsway Publications, p.106.
[ii] Ibid., p.106
[iii] John P. Koster, Jr,.The Atheist Syndrome (1989), cited by Boot, J. (2002). A Time to Search: Discovering meaning and purpose in life, Eastborne, Kingsway Publications, p.111
[iv] Dawkins, R. (1989) The Blind Watchmaker, London, Penguin Books (this edition 2006), p.6
[v] Alolf Hitler, cited by Larry Azar, Twentieth Century in Crisis (1990), Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt, p.155.
[vi] Dimont, Max I (1994) cited by Bergman (2006) in ‘Was Adolf Hitler a Christian: A common objection to creationism.’ [online] available at http://www.trueorigin.org/hitler01.asp (last accessed 22nd June 2013).
[vii] Edward Simon, "Another Side to the Evolution Problem," Jewish Press, January 7, 1983, p. 248
Picture of Juilian Huxley: The work of art itself is in the public domain for the following reason: his image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. This applies to Australia, the European Union and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years.