In a day when biology and chemistry are probing the mechanism of life, and physics is ranging from the microcosm to the macrocosm, there is a tendency on the part of some scientists of high prestige to make authoritative pronouncements about matters of theology. Whenever this happens, it is well to remember that there is a difference between science and scientism. The latter word describes a type of thinking that does not hesitate to let science play God in assuming for itself virtual omniscience and omnipotence, even to the extent of holding out to mankind a species of mundane salvation. Thus the scientist who deals with the most profound questions of faith and theology, while at the same time arbitrarily discarding the whole of supernatural Christianity, has departed from science into scientism.

This is exactly what Sir Julian Huxley, noted British biologist and grandson of Thomas Huxley, the great Victorian protagonist of Charles Darwin’s evolutionary hypothesis, recently did. For flagrant scientism, it would be difficult to surpass his speech of November 26 at the Darwin Centennial Celebration at the University of Chicago. The crux of his address came in these words: “In the evolutionary pattern of thought there is no longer need or room for the supernatural. The earth was not created; it evolved. So did all the animals and plants that inhabit it, including our human selves, mind and soul, as well as brain and body. So did religion.”

“Evolutionary man,” Sir Julian continued, “can no longer take refuge … in the arms of a divinized father-figure, whom he has himself created.” Leading up to this wholesale dismissal of every form of theistic religion was a series of statements ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.