10 / CHRONICLESnPERSPECTIVEnJOURNALISTS AND OTHERnANTHROPOIDS by Thomas Flemingnt is over 60 years since the Scopes Trial attractednI journalists like Henry Mencken and Joseph WoodnKrutch to Dayton, Tennessee, and yet the teaching ofnevolution is once again as controversial as it was in 1925,nMost of the debate is carried out between militant fundamentalistsnand equally militant materialists. While most ofnthe fundamentalists stop short of believing that the earth isnflat (and square!) or that the sun goes around the thirdnplanet, they do treat the books of the Old Testament as anninfallible declaration of scientific truth.nThe rigid materialists, on the other hand, despise all ofnScripture as nothing more than a set of literary andnhistorical documents. Most Americans fall somewhere innbetween and view the Bible as an important (revealed?)nsource of wisdom and consolation. The classic via medianwas taken by C.S. Lewis among others: the importantnlesson of Genesis was the revelation of the universe asndivinely created; all the rest—methods, processes.nnntimetables—mere footnotes to while away the weary hoursnof scientists and polemicists.nThe current debate is complicated by something calledn”creation science.” Now, whatever creationism is, it is notnscience in the ordinary and accepted sense. While scientistsnare often as close-minded as a street-corner preacher, as anclass they do not claim to know all the answers in advance.nOne of the marks of a great scientific mind, I would suggest,nis a certain obtuseness. While everyone else knows ornpretends to understand reality, the scientist simply cannotnbring himself to see the emperor’s new clothes. They are allna littie like Parmenides, the philosopher who insisted thatndespite appearances, reality was a solid sphere, unmovingnand unchanging. The creationist, on the other hand, knowsnall the answers in advance. Whether he is wrong or rightndoesn’t really matter, since his views are not up to him. Henis not only not a scientist, he is not a philosopher of anynkind.nThe creationists may, of course, be right in claiming thatnthe universe was invented in the’course of six revolutions ofnthe earth upon its axis (or circuits of the sun around thenearth), although why it took that long remains a puzzle.nThe entire debate is in some senses silly. Like squaring thencircles, attempts to circumscribe the infinite are largely anwaste of time. When most biologists discuss these questionsnof origin and purpose, they are speaking as amateursnhopelessly out of their metaphysical depth; and whennchurchmen attempt to pronounce on scientific issues, theynsimply degrade their calling.nThe really pertinent struggle in all this is not the contrastnbetween Darwinists and fundamentalists. It is not een, asnsome have suggested, between religion and materialism:nThose who profess faith loudly with their mouths do notnalways do the Lord’s work. Chesterton accused honestnatheists of belonging to “Christ’s party without knowing it,”nand any man that works sincerely for the truth serves Himnwho called Himself the truth.nNo, the great struggle is not over how man got here, butnwhat he is. Are we creatures of infinite possibility, withoutnconstraints or limitations imposed on us by our nature, ornare we specific, rooted, and defined—either by our historynas a species, the divine will, or (as I think) both? On the onenside range the most influential social philosophies ofnmodern times: Marxism, existentialism, behaviorism,nAmerican (i.e., Boasian) anthropology. On the other sidenstand principally two groups: Christians and Darwinistsnwho, with halfhearted support of a few Freudians and ann