In reading through Bernard Shaw’s “Back to Methuselah” he has made some very critical points on Darwinism and Evolution that are worth contemplating. These ideas also stand worthy of having some critique themselves.
On the first page of preface to Shaw’s text, he gives the reader extensive material to mull over. He speaks on the progress of science and gives a small outline on enlightened thought; “For the pre-Darwinian age had come to be regarded as a Dark Age in which men still believed that the book of Genesis was standard scientific treatise, and that the only additions to it were Galileo’s demonstration of Leonardo da Vinci’s simple remark that the earth is a moon of the sun, Newton’s theory of gravitation, Sir Humphry Davy’s invention of the safety-lamp, the discovery of electricity, the application of steam to industrial purposes, and the penny post” (7-8). This sentence is packed full of the narrative of human development of scientific theorem. What intrigues me is not the history of science, but the history of human thought within this science. In the Dark Ages, men were sure of the Bible’s authenticity in its description of human origins. As time went on, we began to see the critiques of this and men like Galileo, Da Vinci and Newton gave humanity more to think about. In the time of these intellectuals, how much more did they know than those in the Dark Ages? And how sure were they during their own lifetimes, that what they believed or discovered was true? Likewise, the same can be applied to us today. How much more do we know now than sir Humphry Davy? Similarly, how much are we sure of ourselves, in what we believe, that it is the absolute truth? How much of this will be discounted in another 100 years?
Science is an evolutionary concept just as we ourselves are continually learning, adapting and adopting new habits. Can we ever reach the end and figure out all the answers to the all the questions? Or do we merely think that we do, when in reality we are not even close?
Shaw addresses these questions however he does not begin to answer them. He establishes that “the power that produced Man when the monkey was not up to the mark, can produce a higher creature than Man if Man does not come up to the mark. We must beware; for Man is not yet an ideal creature” (13). According to Shaw, we will never fully be finished changing – there will never be an end point. And should that be the case, I would like to argue one step further that neither so shall we ever come to the full realization of our origins