Dinesh D'Souza

To see why this is so, let’s apply an entirely secular analysis and go with Hitchens' premise that there is no God and man is an evolved primate. Well, man's basic frame and brain size haven't changed throughout his terrestrial existence. So here is the problem. Homo sapiens has been on the planet for 100,000 years, but apparently for 95,000 of those years he accomplished virtually nothing. No real art, no writing, no inventions, no culture, no civilization.

How is this possible? Were our ancestors, otherwise physically and mentally undistinguishable from us, such blithering idiots that they couldn't figure out anything other than the arts of primitive warfare?

Then, a few thousand years ago, everything changes. Suddenly savage man gives way to historical man. Suddenly the naked ape gets his act together. We see civilizations sprouting in Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, China, and elsewhere. Suddenly there are wheels and agriculture and art and culture. Soon we have dramatic plays and philosophy and an explosion of inventions and novel forms of government and social organization.

So how did Homo sapiens, heretofore such a slacker, suddenly get so smart? Scholars have made strenuous efforts to account for this but no one has offered a persuasive account. If we compare man's trajectory on earth to an airplane, we see a long, long stretch of the airplane faltering on the ground, and then suddenly, a few thousand years ago, takeoff!

Well, there is one obvious way to account for this historical miracle. It seems as if some transcendent being or force reached down and breathed some kind of a spirit or soul into man, because after accomplishing virtually nothing for 98 percent of our existence, we have in the past 2 percent of human history produced everything from the pyramids to Proust, from Socrates to computer software.

So paradoxically Hitchens' argument becomes a boomerang. Hitchens has raised a problem that atheism cannot easily explain and one that seems better accounted for by biblical account of creation.

Dinesh D'Souza

Dinesh D'Souza's new book Life After Death: The Evidence is published by Regnery.