Doubtful Europe during the eighteenth century paves the way for evolution
Europe, in the 17th century, had been conceiving doubt and scholars preaching it, philosophy they called it; the love of wisdom, with its distinct odor that can’t be confused but causes confusion to all those who breathe it, a confusion that fades away as truth yields itself to those who sought it.
The conflict between the church and the ones who call themselves “enlightened” was most intense.
The Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) had a profound influence on many Enlightened philosophers of the 18th century with Voltaire being their head. He claimed that morality is the only thing worth mentioning in the old and new testaments, and he regarded the stories and/about the unseen they tell “unbelievable”, which prompted Voltaire to accept from the English deists the “idea that what is true in Christian teachings is the core of human values that are universally true in all religions” he claims these values are common everywhere because it comes from god, and theology is ridiculous and different everywhere because it comes from man. Furthermore, he regards the Torah as a book written by a drunkard ignorant in a vile place.
Andre Cresson says: the positivist philosopher August Comte claimed that destroying traditional religious beliefs is not enough and stressed a substitute must be arranged, many philosopher of the 18th century felt the same need for a substitute, but, what is a valid substitute?
The answer is subject to scholarly dispute, some, the likes of Rousseau and Voltaire, believed that when all divine religions are subject to the mind it tends to justify the existence of a natural religion. Others, like Diderot and d’Holbach and Bentham, went to call genuine atheism the only possible rationale.
The atheistic philosophy of d’Holbach, possibly, found nourishment in the minds of the 18th century philosophers and from them it spread to the 19th and 20th centuries’ materialistic philosophers. Needless to say, evolutionists relied on it without a doubt.
d’Holbach (1723 – 1789) was a German philosopher, and encyclopedist, and one of the first outspoken atheists in Europe and had a major role in the French revolution. He advanced a materialistic and deterministic cosmology whereby everything could be explained in terms of matter and motion, denying the existence of a deity, and refusing to admit as evidence all “a priori arguments”, d’Holbach saw the universe as an eternal and constant totality of matter and motion. Nature could only be known to man as a series of causes and effects:
“The universe, that vast assemblage of everything that exists, presents only matter and motion: the whole offers to our contemplation nothing but an immense, an uninterrupted succession of causes and effects” (Holbach, System of Nature, 15)
Holbach blamed an ignorance of nature for the development of religious ideas in humanity. He believed that people incorrectly personified nature, projecting their own interests and purposes onto natural objects that were in reality very different from themselves. Out of ignorance of nature arose religious beliefs in Gods and concepts like heaven and hell, which caused man to pursue self-preservation in misguided ways:
“The ignorance of natural causes created Gods, and imposture made them terrible. Man lived unhappy, because he was told that God had condemned him to misery. He never entertained a wish of breaking his chains, as he was taught, that stupidity, that the renouncing of reason, mental debility, and spiritual debasement, were the means of obtaining eternal felicity” (System of Nature, 349-350).
d’Holbach concluded that words such as God and create do not evoke any intelligible thought in the mind and must, therefore, be dropped from the language.
Clearly, this can almost be what evolutionists proclaim, especially the Darwinist of them.
There is no use sought in further mentioning of more philosophers in this article , not that they had any less effect in “soil tillage” for the seed of evolution, but because the subject we pursued has been made clear; the road is paved…
to be cont’d
1- story of philosophy, will Durant.
2- at-tawasul, intellectual periodical, 12th edition.