Today’s history tellers cannot avoid the undeniable non scientific influences in evolutionary thought. But they do avoid the obvious implication; namely, that evolution entails non scientific premises. It is, as it were, a social construct. Evolution is a theory created by humans, out of human concerns that have very little to do with science.
All of this is plain to see. Every proof for evolution hinges on deep metaphysics that are independent of any scientific experiment ever conducted. As Stephen Jay Gould explained:
Odd arrangements and funny solutions are the proof of evolution—paths that a sensible God would never tread but that a natural process, constrained by history, follows perforce. No one understood this better than Darwin. Ernst Mayr has shown how Darwin, in defending evolution, consistently turned to organic parts and geographic distributions that make the least sense.
The strong arguments for evolution, as Elliott Sober has explained, incorporate assumptions about nature, design and god. If evolution is true it would be a remarkable triumph of philosophical and theological (not scientific) thought.
So why don’t our history tellers tell us these things? Why don’t they explain that evolution is not merely contingent on the history of ideas, but that evolution is, itself, just another one of those ideas? Every time evolutionists proclaim evolution to be a fact they are demonstrating their metaphysical influences. Why don’t our history tellers tell us this?
The answer is simple: our history tellers are, themselves, evolutionists. Their not too subtle explanations of the rise and success of evolution are filled with the very metaphysical influences that mandate evolution in the first place. Michael Ruse argues evolution is necessary to resolve the problem of evil and Peter Bowler repeats that creationism and design are clearly false. Thomson drives home the point in a passage worthy of Darwin himself:
We adopt the noble lion as a metaphor for strength and bravery, but there is little nobility in being the deer (or child) that is ripped apart by the lion and eaten while its viscera are still quivering in the dust. It is hard to see a divine utilitarian goodness in venomous snakes, stinging wasps, mosquitoes and poisonous plants, or in leprosy, malaria and cancer, or in the miseries of old age and the death of the very young. For humans, ugliness, disharmony, war, tyranny, famine, viciousness, greed, racism, inter-religious and intra-religious conflict seem to be at least as common a part of our conditions as goodness, happiness, peace and beauty.
This is the stalemate debated in every pulpit, denied at the hospital bed, eluded at every graveside – an acid eating away at the faith of young and old. A benign and loving God has somehow to be squared with all the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that flesh is heir to. If God has not created all this misery and evil, and if they do not flow as some natural consequence of his creation, we would have to accept that it has some other cause. In that case, God would not be the only First Cause, but one of many possible causes. Given the premises on which it was based, natural theology could not avoid the challenge of finding an explanation of this paradox, to provide a new explanation of why good and evil are equally God's work. This was its Achilles heel, and in the attempt to produce a rational scientific explanation of misery, want and evil, a door was opened for Darwin.
These histories are evolutionary. They are told from the perspective of the history of ideas that led to evolution. They effortlessly transition from a telling of the history to a preaching of the message. Evolutionary thought has influenced far more than just science.