Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Darwinian Creed

I've alluded to the wrong-headedness to Darwinism before, and I thought I'd write a bit more extensively. A friend and expert in the "evolution wars" brought a very good book on the subject to my attention aptly titled Is Evolution Fit to Survive?. The book is not perfect (there is one glaring error, about which I am communicating with the author), but aside from this, the book makes excellent points and it makes them brilliantly.

As I am sure you know, Darwin postulated that random changes that give survival advantages are passed along to offspring; the accumulation of these changes over time gives rise to the development of the diverse life on our planet.

One of the great features of this book is that it doesn't villify Charles Darwin. Rather it portrays him sympathetically:

Darwin is sometimes depicted as a God-hating monster, but he was not. He had trained to be an Anglican clergyman. His wife was devout, and remained so throughout her life. She wrote a famous letter to Darwin protesting agains the religious implications of his work, and the chasm which had grown between them at the level of faith—they had once shared a vibrant Christian faith, but Darwin's faith had died. He regretted it bitterly. His memoirs read, "How often I have cried over that letter." (p. 4)

Darwin was a man limited by the horizon of his age and tied to skepticism by family loyalty. He wrote in 1839:

I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all of my friends, will be everlasting punished.

Brenhoft explains

Darwin wasn't a monster, though. He was a son who loved his father, and he didn't REALLY understand what Christianity teaches. Such a lack of understanding was not, in itself, evil. But the conflict that he preceived between God and his father did color his work in creating a theory of random natural selection, without intelligent design. (p. 95)

The book takes into account the limited information available in Darwin's day. For example, it mentions that Darwin didn't have detailed knowledge about the fossil record, embryology, or genetics that today's scientists have (pp. 21, 58).

Does the evidence support Darwin's hypothesis? In further posts, I hope to explore this topic, but for now the admissions of the Darwinists, as quoted in the book, will have to suffice. Even they acknowledge the unscientific nature of their beliefs:

The reasonable view was to believe in spontaneous generation; the only alternative [was] to believe in a single primary act of supernatural creation. There is no third position. For this reason, many scientists a century ago chose to regard the belief in spontaneous generation as a ‘philosophical necessity.’... Most modern biologists, having reviewed with satisfaction the downfall of the spontaneous generation hypothesis, yet unwilling to accept the alternative belief in special creation, are left with nothing.

I think a scientist has no choice but to approach the origin of life though a hypothesis of spontaneous generation ("The Origin of Life," Scientific American, August 1954, p. 46).

The book quotes Harold Urey, who tried (unsuccessfully) to create life in the lab, wrote,

All of us who study the origin of life find that the more we look into it, the more we feel that it is too complex to have evolved anywhere. We all believe, as an article of faith [emphasis added], that life evolved from dead matter on this planet. It’s just that its complexity is so great, that it’s hard for us to imagine that it did (Christian Science Monitor, January 4, 1962, p. 4).

If Darwinists themselves admit the lack of supporting evidence, why the histeria (as we saw in Kansas) to defend such baseless and unscientific beliefs? What is their motivation? The book quotes (p. 96) Aldous Huxley, grandson of the "Darwin's Bulldog," T.H. Huxley, who wrote in 1966:

"I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning; consequently assumed it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics; he is also concerned to prove there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do. For myself, as no doubt for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom." [clipped this quotation from this interesting site]

Darwin himself was aware of the moral implications of his theory, as he himself wrote

A man who has no assured and ever present belief in the existence of a personal God or of future existence with retribution and reward, can have for his rule of life, as far as I can see, only to follow those impulses and instincts which are the strongest or which seem to him the best ones.

We have only to look around us to see the results of Darwinian ideology. As Dostoyevsky's Ivan says in The Brothers Karamazov, "If there is no God, anything is permissible."

Robin Bernhoft, MD and Peg Luksik, Is Evolution Fit to Survive? (Johnstown, Pa: National Parents Commission, 2001).

Robin Bernhoft, "Confronting Creation’s Complexities: Darwinism Isn’t Fit to Survive," This Rock 14.7 (September 2003).

Nobel Lectures, Chemistry 1922-1941 (Amsterdam: Elsevier Publishing Company, 1966).

Aldous Huxley, "Confessions of a Professed Atheist," Report: Perspective on the News 3 (June, 1966), 19.

1 comment:

Bonnie said...

A man who has no assured and ever present belief in the existence of a personal God or of future existence with retribution and reward, can have for his rule of life, as far as I can see, only to follow those impulses and instincts which are the strongest or which seem to him the best ones.

Hmmm...sounds like Abolition of Man :-)