How did this happen?
Beginning in the 1700s and during the Enlightenment period, there was a marked change in how people thought about reality. Nancy Pearcey explains this in her book, Total Truth, and writes,
The credo of the Enlightenment was autonomy. Overthrow all external authority, and discover truth by reason alone! Impressed by the stunning successes of the scientific revolution, the Enlightenment enthroned science as the sole source of genuine knowledge. Claiming to “liberate” the lower story from the upper story, it insisted that nature was the sole reality, and scientific reason the sole path to truth. Whatever was not susceptible to scientific study was pronounced an illusion (Pearcey, Total Truth, p. 101).
Rather than the previously unified perspective of God as the source of all things and the basis for understanding moral conduct through the Bible, as was the predominately held position in the United States, a split occurred that often causes society to view truth claims as belonging to one of two tiers: “...the lower story became the realm of publicly verifiable facts while the upper story became the realm of socially constructed values” (Pearcey, Total Truth, p. 106). In other words, science became the source for what is considered true, while the upper tier became simply a matter of personal choice. The split of the upper and lower level is displayed in this model provided by Pearcey.
Socially Constructed Meanings (personal opinion)
Publicly Verifiable Truth (scientific fact)
The ramifications of this perspective is enormous. This duality causes us to view truth claims through two different lenses. Claims that are rooted in scientific opinion are viewed as factual and relegated to the lower tier—the tier of real facts. Those claims are not to be disputed and everyone is expected to consider those claims as binding and applicable to everyone. On the other hand, truth claims that are not rooted in scientific fact are relegated to the first or upper tier and are considered to be not scientifically verifiable but simply ideas that originate from human thought, and therefore, not applicable to everyone. Therefore, the first or upper tier is personal choice or individual value that should not be imposed on others. This dual view of scientific fact and personal values is so deeply ingrained in American thought that we give little consideration of the implications of the matter. But maybe we should.
Next let's discuss how Darwinism plays a role is this matter.To next section Homepage