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Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) on Science, Religion and Darwinism

Ray Bradbury, who died yesterday at age 91, wrote The Martian Chronicles as a series of science-fiction short stories later woven together into book form. It tells the story of how human beings escape their own doomed civilization by colonizing Mars, wiping out the wiser native Martians in the process.

The Martians, as protagonist Jeff Spender explains, saw their religion and their science as compatible, "each enriching the other." Not so the men of Earth as Bradbury imagines it in the near future:

That's the mistake we made when Darwin showed up. We embraced him and Huxley and Freud, all smiles. And then we discovered that Darwin and our religions didn't mix. Or at least we didn't think they did. We were fools. We tried to budge Darwin and Huxley and Freud. They wouldn't move very well. So, like idiots, we tried knocking down religion.

We succeeded pretty well. We lost our faith and went around wondering what life was for. If art was no more than a frustrated outflinging of desire, if religion was no more than self-delusion, what good was life? Faith had always given us answers to all things. But it all went down the drain with Freud and Darwin. We were and still are a lost people.

"We were and still are a lost people." Yes, sigh. For a brief summary of how Darwinism poisoned the cultural well, you can't beat that.