Evolution and the New Age
by Henry M. Morris, Ph.D.
A strange religion has been coming into prominence in recent years. Sometimes miscalled the "New Age Movement," this phenomenon is in reality a complex of modern science and ancient paganism, featuring systems theory, computer science, and mathematical physics along with astrology, occultism, religious mysticism and nature worship. Ostensibly offered as a reaction against the sterile materialism of Western thought, this influential system appeals both to man's religious nature and his intellectual pride. Its goal is to become the world's one religion.
Although New Agers have a form of religion, their "god" is Evolution, not the true God of creation. Many of them regard the controversial priest, Teilhard de Chardin, as their spiritual father. His famous statement of faith was as follows:
"(Evolution) is a general postulate to which all theories, all hypotheses, all systems must henceforward bow and which they must satisfy in order to be thinkable and true. Evolution is a light which illuminates all facts, a trajectory which all lines of thought must follow." 1
The ethnic religions of the east (Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, etc.), which in large measure continue the polytheistic pantheism of the ancient pagan religions, have long espoused evolutionary views of the universe and its living things, and so merge naturally and easily into the evolutionary framework of the New Age philosophy. It is surprising, however, to find that Julian Huxley and Theodosius Dobzhansky, the two most prominent of the western scientific neo-Darwinians, were really early proponents of this modern evolutionary religion. In a eulogy following Dobzhansky's death, geneticist Francisco Ayala said:
"Dobzhansky was a religious man, although he apparently rejected fundamental beliefs of traditional religion, such as the existence of a personal God. . . . Dobzhansky held that in man, biological evolution has transcended itself into the realm of self-awareness and culture. He believed that mankind would eventually evolve into higher levels of harmony and creativity. He was a metaphysical optimist." 2
Dobzhansky himself penned the following typical New Age sentiment:
"In giving rise to man, the evolutionary process has, apparently for the first and only time in the history of the Cosmos, become conscious of itself." 3
More recently, the socialist Jeremy Rifkin, expressed this concept in picturesque language, as follows:
"Evolution is no longer viewed as a mindless affair, quite the opposite. It is mind enlarging its domain up the chain of species." 4
"In this way one eventually ends up with the idea of the universe as a mind that oversees, orchestrates, and gives order and structure to all things." 5
Lest anyone misunderstand, this universal mind is not intended to represent the God of the Bible at all. Harvard University's Nobel prizewinning biologist, George Wald, who used to state that he didn't even like to use the word "God" in a sentence, has come to realize that the complex organization of the universe cannot be due to chance, and so has become an advocate of this modernized form of pantheism. He says:
"There are two major problems rooted in science, but unassimilable as science, consciousness and cosmology. . . . The universe wants to be known. Did the universe come about to play its role to empty benches?" 6
Modern physicists have played a key role in the recent popularization of evolutionary pantheism, with what they have called the "anthropic principle."
"At the least the anthropic principle suggests connections between the existence of man and aspects of physics that one might have thought would have little bearing on biology. In its strongest form the principle might reveal that the universe we live in is the only conceivable universe in which intelligent life could exist." 7
This remarkable compatibility of the universe to its human occupants is not accepted as a testimony to divine design, however, but as a deterministic outcome of the cosmic mind. The anthropic principle is emphasized in a quasi-official "New Age" publication, as follows:
"Given the facts, our existence seems quite improbable--more miraculous, perhaps, than the seven-day wonder of Genesis. As physicist Freeman Dyson of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, once remarked, 'The universe in some sense must have known we were coming.'" 8
Prior to these modern developments, Sir Julian Huxley, arguably the leading architect of the neo-Darwinian system, had written an influential book called Religion without Revelation, and had become, with John Dewey, a chief founder of the American Humanist Association. As first Director-General of UNESCO, he formulated the principles of what he hoped would soon become the official religion of the world.
"Thus the general philosophy of UNESCO should, it seems, be a scientific world humanism, global in extent and evolutionary in background." 9
"The unifying of traditions into a single common pool of experience, awareness and purpose is the necessary prerequisite for further major progress in human evolution. Accordingly, although political unification in some sort of world government will be required for the definitive attainment of this state, unification in the things of the mind is not only necessary also, but it can pave the way for other types of unification." 10
The neo-Darwinian religionists (Huxley, Dobzhansky, Dewey, etc.) thought that evolutionary gradualism would become the basis for the coming world humanistic religion. Evolutionists of the new generation, on the other hand, have increasingly turned to punctuationism--or revolutionary evolutionism--as the favored rationale, largely because of the scientific fallacies in gradualism increasingly exposed by creationists. This development has facilitated the amalgamation of Western scientism with Eastern mysticism.
"The new systems biology shows that fluctuations are crucial in the dynamics of self-organization. They are the basis of order in the living world: ordered structures arise from rhythmic patterns. . . . The idea of fluctuations as the basis of order . . . is one of the major themes in all Taoist texts. The mutual interdependence of all aspects of reality and the nonlinear nature of its interconnections are emphasized throughout Eastern mysticism." 11
The author quoted, Dr. Fritjof Capra, at the University of California (Berkeley), is one of the New Age Movement's main scientific theoreticians, particularly in the application of modern computerized networking and systems analysis to the study of past and future evolution, also appropriating the unscientific idea of "order through chaos," an ancient pagan notion reintroduced to modern thought by Ilya Prigogine.
The incorporation of Eastern religious evolutionism into Western evolutionary thought was greatly facilitated also by the "Aquarian Age" emphasis of the student revolution of the sixties. Not all of the scientific "New Agers" accept the astrological and occult aspects of the movement, but even these features are becoming more prominent and intellectually acceptable with the growth of its pantheistic dimensions. John Allegro makes the following ominous prediction:
"It may be that, despite our rightly prized rationality, religion still offers man his best chance of survival. . . . If so, it must be a faith that offers something more than a formal assent to highly speculative dogma about the nature of a god and his divine relationship that answers man's individual needs within a formal structure of communal worship. . . .Historically, the cult of the Earth Mother, the ancient religion of the witches, has probably come nearest to fulfilling this role, and being sexually oriented has been especially concerned with this most disturbing and potentially disruptive element in man's biological constitution." 12
"Gaia," the religion of the Earth Mother--Mother Nature--is essentially ancient pantheism. It is now returning, even in "Christian lands," in all its demonic power. When combined with the pervasive controls made possible by modern computerized systems technology, the global goals of evolutionary humanism seem very imminent indeed. Jeremy Rifkin considers them to be inevitable.
"We no longer feel ourselves to be guests in someone's else's home and therefore obliged to make our behavior conform with a set of pre-existing cosmic rules. It is our creation now. We make the rules. We establish the parameters of reality. We create the world, and because we do, we no longer feel beholden to outside forces. We no longer have to justify our behavior, for we are now the architects of the universe. We are responsible to nothing outside ourselves. for we are the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever and ever." 13
Rifkin, though certain this is the world's future, is despondent. He closes his book with these words of despair:
"Our future is secured. The cosmos wails." 14
New Age evolutionism is not so new, after all, and Mother Nature is really nothing but one of the many faces of ancient Babylon, the "Mother of Harlots" (Revelation 17:5), the age-old religion of God's ancient enemy, "which deceiveth the whole world" (Revelation 12:9).
Scientifically speaking, New Age evolutionism, with its absurd ideas of order through chaos and quantum speciations, is even less defensible than Darwinian gradualism. Biblically speaking, evolutionism in any form is false. "For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is . . ." (Exodus 20:11). Instead of a wailing cosmos, "the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth His handiwork" (Psalm 19:1). The real "new age" will come when Christ returns!
1 Cited in "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution: Theodosius Dobzhansky, 1900-1975," by Francisco Ayala, in Journal of Heredity (vol. 68, no. 3, 1977), p. 3.
2 Ibid., p. 9.
3 Theodosius Dobzhansky, "Changing Man," Science (vol. 155, January 27, 1967), p. 409.
4 Jeremy Rifkin, Algeny (New York, Viking Press, 1983), p. 188.
5 Ibid., p. 195.
6 George Wald, as reported in "A Knowing Universe Seeking to be Known," by Dietrick E. Thomsen, Science News (vol. 123, February 19, 1983), p. 124.
7 George Gale, "The Anthropic Principle," Scientific American (vol. 245, December 1981), p. 154.
8 Judith Hooper, "Perfect Timing," New Age Journal (vol. 11, December 1985), p. 18.
9 Julian Huxley, "A New World Vision," The Humanist (vol. XXXIX, March/April 1979), p. 35.
10 Ibid. This paper was kept "in-house" by UNESCO for about 30 years, before The Humanist was allowed to publish it.
11 Fritjof Capra, "The Dance of Life," Science Digest (vol. 90, April 1982), p. 33.
12 John M. Allegro, "Divine Discontent," American Atheist (vol. 28, September 1986), p. 30.
13 Jeremy Rifkin, op. cit., p. 244.
14 Ibid., p. 255.
* Dr. Henry M. Morris is Founder and President Emeritus of the Institute for Creation Research.
Cite this article: Henry M. Morris, Ph.D. 1987. Evolution and the New Age. Acts & Facts. 16 (3).