Sometimes we also had interesting discussions about the church and the development of the human race. Perhaps it’s going too far to call them discussions, because he would begin explaining his ideas when some question or remark from one of us had set them off, and we just listened. He was not a member of any church, and thought the Christian religions were outdated, hypocritical institutions that lured people into them. The laws of nature were his religion. He could reconcile his dogma of violence better with nature than with the Christian doctrine of loving your neighbour and your enemy. “Science isn’t yet clear about the origins of humanity,” he once said. “We are probably the highest stage of development of some mammal which developed from reptiles and moved on to human beings, perhaps by way of the apes. We are a part of creation and children of nature, and the same laws apply to us as to all living creatures. And in nature the law of the struggle for survival has reigned from the first. Everything incapable of life, everything weak is eliminated. Only mankind and above all the church have made it their aim to keep alive the weak, those unfit to live, and people of an inferior kind.
This [distinguishing patterns from randomness] bears on the theory that the different living species have come into existence by accidental mutations. This can be affirmed only if, first you accredit the distinctive pattern of living beings as exhibiting a peculiar orderliness which you trust yourself to appraise, and second you accept at the same time the belief that evolution has taken place by a vastly improbable coincidence of random events combining to an orderly shape of a highly distinctive character. However, if we are to identify — as I am about to suggest — the presence of significant order with the operation of an ordering principle, no highly significant order can ever be said to be solely due to an accidental collocation of atoms, and we must conclude therefore that the assumption of an accidental formation of the living species is a logical muddle. It appears to be a piece of equivocation, unconsciously prompted by the urge to avoid facing the problem set to us by the fact that the universe has given birth to these curious beings, including people like ourselves. To say that this result was achieved by natural selection is entirely beside the point. Natural selection tells us only why the unfit failed to survive and not why any living beings, either fit or unfit, ever came into existence.