Philosophy of Evolution: Human Apex

Participants in the Dialogue


Neo-Scholastics promote the cultural and spiritual growth of man, to the exclusion of any significant biological evolution.

First, adversaries to the proposal in this chapter are those who hold the continued biological evolution of man. These are the Darwinists.13 Machiavelli (1469-1527) endorsed biological progress for increased physical force of the individual and society. Eudaimonism conceives man as a being with no finality besides earthly happiness, no law besides pleasure or utility, and does not acknowledge a moral personality in man.14

Second, other adversaries maintain that culture is not likely to take the place of the evolution of man. These are Huxley and Spencer in England and Hackel in Germany, made unwarranted extensions of the evolutionary theory into fields of philosophy and ethics. Krause and Ahrens held that the ultimate internal goal of human beings is the complete evolution of human faculties.15 Schleiermacher, Wundt, and Ziegler held the ultimate goal of mankind is the evolution of humanity, not just the individual.16 The Evolutionists assign the object of beatitude to the civil progress of humanity.17 Sir Julian Huxley argued that human culture was detrimental to biological evolution.18

Third, other adversaries maintain that man has no future goals, except for the random development of biological evolution. The Materialists, Positivists, and Empiricists all reject the immortality of the soul.19 Emmanuel Levinas only admits immortality through the conception of children.20 Gabriel Marcel only admits immortality by current human acts of love which reveal the metaphysical and spiritual transcendence of man, which is immortality. For Karl Marx, everything is in the state of flux, which is the first principle of dialectical materialism, and "since there is nothing absolute, eternal and immutable according to the assertion of evolutionism, the process of becoming (evolution) had to explain everything, including the society, the morals, the laws, the philosophies, and the religions of man."21 Goethe, Schiller, Schlege, and E. Hartmann endorse only aesthetic progress as the norm of morality instead of the rational nature of man.22

Proponents of the thesis that future biological evolution of man is unlikely, and equivocal, are the Neo-Scholastics in general. The Neo-Scholastics maintain that cultural and religious growth of mankind is so important that they are dedicated to the academic and practical education of man. The Neo-Scholastics hold man has a destiny beyond this world.23

The related question of rational inhabitants of different planets has been adequately treated by Donat in 1915. Donat defends as probable the existence of generally corporeal beings endowed with a rational soul.24 Donat would not defend the existence on other planets of the same species of man as inhabits earth. Donat argues from analogy, for just as there are many species of animals, there can be an even greater variety of rational beings responding to local conditions of their respective planets. If there is a multiverse, no signals from one pocket universe could ever reach another, which means there is no way to know extra-terrestial life. In spite of this cosmic barrier, there may be ways to tell something about the multiverse just by looking at our own little pocket of reality.25

Adversaries who reject the proposal make it clear that the thesis proposed is a serious subject for discussion. The thesis proposed and defended as true presents an objective problem worthy of dialogue.

Adversaries who seriously contradict the proposal in this chapter deserve respect. These adversaries have reasons for their position. In every false position there is some truth. In dialogue, every attempt should be made to clarify that truth. In this case, the Materialists do argue for ecological concern and for the future happiness of the human race.26 Further, consideration of the future involves finality, but although nature is unquestionably endowed with finality, it is not always easy to identify the specific end of each thing and each activity in nature.27 Accordingly, even if our proposal and its proofs demonstrate the adversaries wrong, their reasoning can be understood and respected.


Author:  John Edward Mulvihill, S.T.D., D.Min., Ph.D.
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