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Humanism: The Brave New World of Atheistic Scientists – James Philip

This is another of James Philips letters.  You can access the first one here.

A Prophetic Letter from 1971 – The Church and the Media – Rev. James Philip

This second one (although earlier – from 1968) is as prescient and prophetic as the first.  Dealing with the House of Lords, science, technocracy, ‘experts’, the NHS,  eugenics, sterilisation, and the need for Christians to be involved in public affairs and politics.  Although written 52 years ago it could have been written today!

7 July 1968 – Humanism: The brave new world of Atheistic Scientists

During our holiday one of the items of news that hit the headlines was the revolt of the House of Lords against the Government, and the subsequent declared intention by the Government to modify and curb the powers of the Upper House. The merits and demerits of this proposal could scarcely be thought to be a relevant subject for a Congregational Letter, but a proposal which was given certain publicity during this time is certainly worth a second look because of its sinister implications. It was that the House of Lords should be abolished completely, and a House of Scientists set up in its place as an Upper Chamber. This, it was said, would serve to give the Government the full benefit of the immense advances, technological and otherwise, that have been made in the scientific field – a panel of experts, so to speak elected from every branch of science and the professions, would be able to apply scientific knowledge for the maximum benefit of society as a whole.

Government by Scientists?

It is as well that we should understand the implications of such a proposal, impressive and plausible as it may seem to some. The basic fallacy underlying it is the assumption that scientists as scientists must necessarily be more qualified to rule the nation or the world than other men. One would have thought that the history of the twentieth century with its grim record of scientific destruction would have made most sensible and thoughtful people hesitate to make so uncritical an assumption. One would have thought that the holocausts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the 50 – and 100 – megaton tests of the nuclear powers, and the existence of terrifying nerve gases and the possibilities of bacteriological warfare, would tend to qualify the credulous enthusiasm men seem to have for the great ones of the scientific world. But apparently not. And still less does there seem to be any marked misgiving within the world itself. ‘Within this generation’, one scientist is on record as saying, ‘the scientist will cease to be the man on tap, and become the man on top. Many scientists have their hands on the controls of political action. This is one of the most optimistic things about the future of man.’ This is an optimism that we do not and cannot share, but can only view with the deepest misgiving.


And for this reason, among others: Many people will have viewed and listened with interest to the recent programme on the B.B.C. on the Health Service, which has just completed the first twenty years of its existence. Not to mention the many problems involved in maintaining a national service with anything like adequacy (and surely, with all its faults, it serves us considerably better than most other medical services in any part of the world), we simply draw attention to the nature of the comments made on the subject of the prevention of abnormality in children. Now, no-one who has had experience of abnormal children and knows the heartache and distress brought to homes and families by such tragedies could fail to be thankful for any medical research that seeks to alleviate or prevent the long agonies of afflicted parents and children. But research is one thing, the imposition of control (as seemed to be implied in the programme) is quite another. And what was so disquieting was to realise just how far medical authorities would be prepared to go (in the name of scientific advancement) in advocating legislation to prevent parents having children if there was the possibility of their being abnormal.

Brave New World

Unfortunately, this cannot be considered to have been an isolated statement out of character with the mainstream of scientific thinking. There is ample evidence available to make it plain that there is a great deal of thinking of this nature in scientific circles today, which strikes at the very foundation of Christian ethics and Christian ideas of human dignity and freedom. Two or three years ago the CIBA Foundation, a foundation for the encouragement of medical and scientific knowledge, gathered together distinguished scientists from four continents to discuss the future of man. The papers read at this Conference, if the reports are to be believed, were alarming in the extreme: Genetics (the study of heredity) and Eugenics (the production of ‘high-grade’ offspring) should be employed, it was said, to raise the general level of genetic intelligence and increase the number of outstandingly intelligent and capable people needed to run our increasingly complex societies – this from Julian Huxley. Another scientist proposed that this could be done by a Government putting a chemical into our food or water which made everybody sterile, and then provide a second chemical capable of reversing the effect of the first for those whom it licensed to bear children. One question that all this raised was whether human beings have a right to have children. “Is it a general feeling that people do have a right to have children?” asked one scientist, and went on, “This is taken for granted because it is part of Christian ethics, but in terms of humanist ethics, I do not see why people should have the right to have children”. Another scientist agreed with this view, saying, “In a society in which the community is responsible for people’s welfare – health, hospitals, unemployment, insurance – the answer is No….”
This is the ‘brave new world’ to which the men of science hope, and intend, to bring us. And those who do not care much for the idea will receive short shrift:

“Unless the average man can understand and appreciate the world that scientists have discovered, unless he can learn to comprehend the techniques he now uses, and their remote and larger effects, unless he can enter into the thrill of being a conscious participant in the great human enterprise and find genuine fulfilment in playing a constructive part in it, he will fall into the position of an ever less important cog in a vast machine. In this situation his own powers of determining his fate, and his very will to do so, will dwindle, and the minority who rule over him will eventually find ways of doing without him.
This deadly philosophy is not new: it found expression and was put into practice with fateful consequences for the world in the Third Reich in Germany, when Hitler’s megalomaniac dream of a pure Aryan race led, to the appalling genocidal atrocities of the gas chambers and concentration camps all stemming from the philosophy of the superman dreamt up by the brilliant intellectual madman, Nietzsche. One critic at the Conference said, “It is just as well that the first cycle of eugenics did die because we have seen in Nazism where it may lead. I think that it is no accident that the Nazi’s doctrines about sterilisation were closely linked, intellectually and morally, to Nazi doctrines about genocide. That is why I am so alarmed to see what is happening today”.

The Price of Freedom is Eternal Vigilance

Alarmed indeed! Well might we all be alarmed as we see the dangerous and fanatical arrogance of men of science and realise that there are those bemused enough by their intellectual brilliance to think that this qualifies them to rule the country. Long ago, King David uttered timeless words when he said, “He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God” (2 Sam 23:3). This is still the Divine prescription today, and it is neglected at our peril. To put man in place of God as the master of things is to abolish all absolute standards of morality and to invite disaster in society and in personal life alike.
This is one more reason why Christian people should be actively involved in public affairs, and take a responsible share in public life, standing for Christian moral values and being prepared to defend them vigorously when they are attacked or subtly undermined. Are we to remain dumb and unprotesting when we see what remains of our Christian heritage contemptuously swept aside by atheistic decadents in favour of this bleak and devilish programme? We must not contract out of this urgent responsibility. In this, as in so much else, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
Yours earnestly, James Philip

That Hideous Strength – How the West Was Lost – Melvin Tinker Part 1



  1. Thanks for sharing this. A lot of it is basic common sense.

    Philip writes of a “basic fallacy underlying it is the assumption that scientists as scientists must necessarily be more qualified to rule the nation or the world than other men.” Yes, obviously – the period of the enlightenment taught us this with positive optimism in human endeavour to oppose oppressive church dogma ending up in two world wars that had nothing to do wiht religion. This highlighted a basic human problem and cause for celebration. As humans, we have incredible capacity for both evil and good.

    He says “unless the average man can understand… he will fall into the position of an ever less important cog in a vast machine.” True, in this dark world “the system” wants you to be intelligent enough to operate the machines but not intelligent enough to question the system. The first thing and totalitarian government does is get rid of intellectuals, poets and artists. they know too much and are a threat to the system.

    And that’s without considering any knowledge of God. The great thinker Nietzsche had something to say about the death of God and the consequences of us becoming our own little gods.

    It’s just a case of history repeating itself – nothing new under the sun.

  2. Your post doesn’t really warrant the Huxleyesque title.

    For several centuries, scientific knowledge has made significant inroads into the domain of belief in the Supernatural and the early pioneers of Science faced great opposition from Rome for their, later to be proven, discoveries.

    1. Both those statements are false and atheist mythologies. If it were not for Christianity modern science would not exist – and the early pioneers of Science did not face great opposition for their discoveries.

      1. The Earth was created on the 23rd of October , 4004 BC , according to the King James Version.

        It had to be the (Biblical) case because the world was in a state of decline after the perfection of Eden.

      2. Again you are a fount of information and ‘bon mots’ – many of which are just wrong. FYI – the KJV did not date the creation of the earth as 23rd October 4004 BC.

  3. Superb… and up to the standard of his Holyrood Abbey message board, whose wayside messages impressed me as I travelled by bus from school to playing field in the earlier 60s. And not only the anniversary of the NHS but my personal anniversary, so seeing and hearing the BBC today, after the 70th anniversary, of the NHS, reveals a dramatic fall. Reading Jim’s words today reveal that they are indeed prophetic.

  4. Well, one thing that can be said for those who practice science – they provide lots of evidence and repeatable experiments to show that what they say it actually true. It’s a pity the pastors can’t and never will be able to do the same.

    Of course, you bring up the Catholic Hitler. He wasn’t an atheist and neither were his troops.

    1. I love the old atheist fundie myths – repeated as Gospel from the Internet….It’s ironic that in a post boasting about truth and facts you repeat a lie – and don’t offer any evidence or ‘repeatable experiments for it. Hitler was not a Catholic – and neither were most of this troops. But I suppose your faith won’t let you believe anything else?!

      1. Amazing! Every time you introduce Hitler with regard to his Christianity you get walloped.
        Perhaps you should pause to consider that you may not be quite the expert that you think you are?

      2. The Scottish Geologist, James Hutton ( ) challenged the Biblical dogma of the Earth’s being only a few thousand years old.

        Perhaps the Kirk will formally recognize its error and apologize to Hutton just as the Pope apologized to Galileo in 1992.

        Amusingly enough , the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia ( 1993 – 99 ), Sheikh Bin Baz, wrote a learned paper in which he stated that the Sun revolved round the Earth, which itself was flat.

      3. I think its the ‘know it all’ smug approach you have which is actually quite amusing. The Kirk did not persecute Hutton – In fact it was Hugh Miller, Free Church elder and leader who popularised the view of the earth being old. Perhaps you need to apologise?

  5. I have, for a very long time, seen it as ironic that “… Hitler’s megalomaniac dream of a pure Aryan race …” was the dream of one who was the diametric opposite of it!

  6. I fear that in the world of science much evidence and repeatable experimentation has long since been replaced by computer modelling. Perhaps the one constant has been the need to keep wealthy patrons on board.

  7. Hutton pre-dated Miller by two generations. The Scottish Enlightenment was to make short work of the Creation Myth’s timescale before Miller came on the scene.

    1. That was not your point. What evidence do you have that the Kirk persecuted or opposed Hutton?. The Scottish Enlighenment had nothing to do with the Creation timescale.

  8. I may have erred by about 15 minutes re Creation. Ussher pinned the time down to “nightfall preceding Sunday October 23rd , 4004 BC.”

    The date was added to the King James version. Well , Christians are not renowned for rigorous intellectual consistency .

  9. No the date was not part of the ORIGINAL KJV – it was only that Ussher’s dating was a trusted addendum.

    1. And again you don’t know that – you are just making it up. The Puritans and Scottish Kirk regarded adding to the Bible as a sin. Perhaps stick to what you know?

  10. Wee Free and Unco Richt.

    Additions to any text may be valid if the editorial Board ( Council of Nicea – style ) agree.

    The date was added but I did not know that the Wee Free was at variance with the date , the addition and also the historical evidence of their eyes.

    Theological fantasies are your department so I must bow to your inferior knowledge.

    1. I guess you follow the old mantra – when you are in a hole keep digging. No – no Christian believes you have the right to add to the text and no the date was not added to the KJV (although it might have been put as a comment on some editions). I realise that your relationship with truth is somewhat jaded but you should have the courtesy to admit your mistake and avoid the old defence of when wrong – just shout louder!

    2. Oh please stop this pathetic jousting! Who on earth cares if poor ol’ Bishop Usher had a go at working out a start date and got it wrong? Theologians get things wrong and so do Scientists – frequently. Science and Theology can have a wonderfully symbiotic relationship where there is mutual respect and understanding, instead of immature sniping and point scoring. For every theologian whose notions were wrong, there are a bunch of scientists whose pet theories have also been de-bunked. For every ‘theological fantasy’ there is a bunch of ‘naturalist fantasies’ to match them. In our current crisis, it would be wonderful if our politicians could trust God, act with integrity and ‘follow the science’ .

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