Truth Divided

2-tier and Darwinism

Nancy Pearcey studied under the great theologian and philosopher, Francis Schaeffer, during the 1960s. One of the points that Schaeffer made about truth and societal response to truth is explained in understanding the dual perspective of truth claims as found in the a 2-tier system. Pearcey is an accomplished university professor and scholar in her own right. She explains the 2-tier issue extensively in her book, Total Truth, and is an invaluable asset to understanding truth claims in Western society.

I would like to provide an excerpt from her book. These six paragraphs provide a concise explanation of the 2-tier perspective and how this perspective influences education in American society.

Another divide between fact and value was clinched in the late nineteenth century by the rise in Darwinism. Though [Emmanuel] Kant and others had speculated on a naturalistic origin of the universe, the picture was not complete until Darwin offered a plausible naturalistic mechanism for the origin of life. He provided the missing puzzle piece that rendered naturalism a complete and comprehensible philosophy. That’s why contemporary biologist Richard Dawkins says “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” As he explains, before Darwin it was certainly possible to be an atheist, but not an intellectually satisfied one—because you could not have a complete, comprehensive worldview. Darwin filled in the gap in a naturalistic picture of the universe. The lower story was now seamless and self-contained.

As a result, the upper story was now completely cut off from any connection to the realm of history, science, and reason. After all, if evolutionary forces produced the human mind, then things like religion and morality are no longer transcendent truths. They are merely ideas that appear in the human mind when it has evolved to a certain level of complexity—products of human subjectivity. We create our own morality and meaning through our choices.

Of course that means we can also recreate them whenever we choose. Nothing justifies the normative definition of, say, marriage as a lifetime union between husband and a wife. That social pattern is not inherent and original in human nature—because nothing is inherent and original in human nature. Cultural patterns emerge gradually over the course of human evolution, arising by naturalistic causes and lasting only as long as they are expedient for survival.

Today the fact/value dichotomy has become part of the familiar landscape of the American mind. Children pick it up every day in the typical school classroom. Fields like the humanities and social studies have been taken over by postmodernism. In English classes, teachers have tossed out their red pencils, and act as though things like correct spelling or grammar were forms of oppression imposed by those in power.

But paradoxically, if you go down to the hallway to the science classroom, you’ll find that there the ideal of objective truth still reigns supreme. Theories like Darwinian evolution are not open to question, and students are not invited to judge for themselves whether or not it is true. It is treated as public knowledge that everyone is expected to accept, regardless of their private beliefs.

By the time students go to college, they’ve learned the lesson very well. Describing the students who troop into the classroom year after year, philosopher Peter Kreeft says, “They are perfectly willing to believe in objective truth in science, or even in history sometimes, but certainly not in ethics or morality.” Do you recognize the dichotomy? The vast majority of students arrive in the classroom already convinced that science constitutes facts while morality is about values (Pearcey, Total Truth, p. 106-107).

Pearcey points out correctly that scientific atheism’s view of how the universe came into existence has been placed into the lower tier of fact and truth. Would it not be better said that the rightful location for Darwinism and Evolutionary theory is that it should be placed into the upper tier of personal opinion? The response to this question from some is that evolutionary theory is fact, and that it is provable with a mountain of evidence to back up the claims. This simply is not true.

In his book Revisiting Reality: A Biblical Look into the Cosmos, author S. Douglas Woodward writes (italics added),

...we have all been brainwashed with the secular, atheistic version of reality all our lives...The brainwashing goes so far as to extol the virtues of an inexorable expansion of the universe until it dies a death of entropy despite the inherent contradiction that there exists an evolutionary advance of our species “built into” the Cosmos. However, we cannot stress enough that progressive evolution and death by entropy are incompatible. Scientific atheism can’t have it both ways (p. 19).

While there is not sufficient time to further discuss this matter in this forum, I would strongly encourage you to take the time to read I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist, by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek. The book provides a clear and succinct response to the inaccuracies and assumptions made by those who place Darwinism into the lower “fact” tier when it belongs in the upper.

Unfortunately, the biblical perspective of creation by the work of a transcendent personality has been moved into the upper tier and is now considered a matter of personal choice. As a result, the overwhelming number of children educated in public schools are taught Darwinism as scientific fact and fundamental truth. Is it any wonder there is a growing number of youth in America who claim no interest in biblical Christianity? Or the number of adults? The reason is not because biblical Christianity is not true or proven to be false, but because, at least in part, people are trained by state and government operated schools that belief in a creator is to be relegated to the upper tier and has no place in the educational domain. This is done intentionally.

Allow me to re-emphasize Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s statement that gives clarity and a call to arms to remove religion from the minds of the general public. The 2-tier perspective is one of the tools used to advance that agenda.

“The atheist realizes that there must not only be an acceptance of his right to hold his opinion, but that ultimately his is the job to turn his culture from religion, to eliminate those irrational ideas which have held the human race in intellectual slavery”--Madalyn Murray O’Hair

Without question the concentrated efforts of such people has proven fruitful to the detriment of many. The 2-tier dichotomy continues to be a tool to achieve the aim of removing the reality of God from the minds and hearts of the American population.

This leads us to discuss how the conversation about God is excluded from the public arena.

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