An Open Letter to Charles Darwin

An Open Letter to Charles Darwin from Jon Foyt:

Sir: When I was in college some fifty years ago (and counting)—many years after your scientific work On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (London, 1859)—I was challenged by a revered professor who demanded to know: “Why, Young Man, are you here in this college?”

I voiced a stereotypical freshman response, “To learn…” and then I paused and added, “…ah…I guess.”

He stared at me with his cold, searching academic eyes and said, “If you’re not here to both search for the truths in society and science and to study the factors that make up the human capability, what I call the human equation—the two and the only two reasons to seek higher education—then you don’t belong in this institution or in any other university today.”

I’ve pondered his words over my next half century of living.

Now, Mr. Darwin, back to your esteemed theory as reported from two decades of tireless scientific research, I wish to pose this hypothetical question: How and why has the evolution of our species—homo sapiens—gotten so off track as to eschew the truths of society and the universally-accepted axioms of science, fundamental economics, as well as the truths about the human experience with its grand potential?

Sir, I know you did not intend to forecast the future of human development in 1859, but I have to ask, even if you are not here to answer, why, in the past century and a half of human evolution, have the truths about society and science gotten lost, befogged by biases and falsehoods, bigotry and rigid political party lines?

Have the multiple truths we seek become too grotesque in their starkness for any of us to accept? Have these universal truths grown too frightening for us to live with in our comfortable retirement lives? Have the truths grown too threatening to believe so that, in their stead, we substitute myths of all measure, along with folklore of the most ferocious kind and subscribe to unscientific and unproven doctrines combined with the awful distortions of our beloved American history? Have we in today’s chaos of wild and aberrant thought reverted to an alchemy of absurdities?

Sir—and I must ask this question, given the foregoing—has your evolutionary theory of mankind become distorted? Has our evolved species bifurcated into separate evolutionary branches—one retreating to our ancestors in trees who care not a twit about the truths of the world and, the other focused on bridging the chasm between today’s divided political parties?

Whence on your evolutionary tree sprout the “Young Earthers,” who, oblivious to scientific truths, espouse their six thousand year-old date for the birth of our planet? Whence descend the politicians who know only distortions about American history, or worse, advocate theories of economics repeated from mutant partisan groups? When and where and why, Sir, did the long road of human evolution fork into these two very different and opposing paths of mental evolution?

But wait! Of course, the species you have tracked down through the eons—ours—has the mental capacity and the freedom to believe anything it wants, to worship whatever or whomever it chooses, to promulgate such dogma as the earth is flat and the moon made of green cheese, and so on, and so forth. Yet, does not our human species—and is it now two divergent political “branches”? (like What’s the Matter with Kansas?)—also have the God-given capacity, indeed the spiritual mandate, to seek out truths? Indeed, does not our species have the obligation, as the epitome and culmination of your evolutionary story, to so do?

Alas, many of these other folks have attended college, are products of our American educational system, and have received one of more of its carload of degrees. But what gives with their lack of search for truths? Are they lured by the camaraderie of like-minded folks intent on joining the same political party? Has this particular political party demeaned the human equation to where human factors are subordinated to the golden chalice of corporate power? Has the search for truths been supplanted by efforts to control our national, state and local governments, with the support from well-funded special interest groups? Has the craving for wealth replaced the search for truths?

Could you, Sir, please drop by the Dollar Clubhouse for a scheduled appearance before an authorized Rossmoor group and give us an update on your theory of evolution? For we, like you, search for the truths around us and how they have come to evolve into what they are touted to be today, and we find ourselves alarmed by how misguided versions of social and scientific truths of the human potential may erroneously be shaping the world around us.

Jon Foyt, a Rossmoor novelist, can be contacted at: jonfoyt@mac.com

To research “Young Earthers,” who do not per se have a website, readers are advised to Google the subject and then click accordingly.

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