Online Premiere: To Understand What's Really at Stake in the Evolution Debate, Watch The War on Humans Now
The powerful Discovery Institute documentary The War on Humans is viewable now in its entirety on YouTube. What does it have to do with evolution? Very simple. The Darwin debate is about the interpretation of scientific data, but its importance goes much deeper: to the ultimate question of the place of man in nature. The war that our colleague Wesley Smith writes about, elaborated in the film and in his accompanying e-book, is on the idea of human uniqueness, the ancient view that men and women transcend nature, that we are the final seal on the work of design evident in the universe.
Maybe we are, maybe we're not. Why does the question matter? As Wesley says with grim understatement, "If we see ourselves as just another animal in the forest, that's precisely how we'll act."
There's a loathing of mankind notable in the extreme animal-rights movement -- but far more common is an attitude of animalism. That is, a resentment of the utterly unique stature of human beings on the Earth (and seemingly beyond) with the responsibilities that carries. Animalism is the insistence that we're just animals anyway, so don't bother us with exalted expectations that our ancestors equated with wisdom. Superficially, animalism may sometimes seem harmless, even charming -- look at Jerry Coyne's blogging on cute animals with their human-like ways at Why Evolution Is True. He's currently chronicling an adorable cat that a reader named for him, "Jerry Coyne." The gesture is symbolically rich.
Unfortunately, if the attitude carried the day in our culture, the reign of bestiality -- what else to call it? -- would mean the end of our culture, and of civilization. The documentary War on Humans persuasively traces ideological animalism to Darwin, whose theory locates man unambiguously in animalkind, where we hold no particular rank or status.
"Talk about evolution," reads one of the demands of eco-terrorist James Lee. "Talk about Malthus and Darwin until it sinks into the stupid people's brains."
I'm now on Twitter. Find me @d_klinghoffer.