“And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.”
The creation/evolution debate has been lost—by the proponents of evolution, that is. Unfortunately, for the evolutionist at least, his god has betrayed him! The evolutionist’s god, SCIENCE, was supposed to confirm what its chief prophet, Charles Darwin, prophesied in the evolutionist’s bible: The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. Instead, it appears that Darwin’s prophecies have been undercut by the very god (science) that was supposed to prove his theory. The advances of modern science challenge, rather than support, his godless theory! If Charles were alive today, he would need to eat his words and concede defeat. It’s just too bad his disciples can’t see it. Or maybe they simply refuse to do so.
On the other hand, in all likelihood they do see it and are simply being true to form as presented in Romans 1:25, where the evolutionist fits the mold of one, “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator….” This would explain, no doubt, an interesting development in the evolution/creation discussion: a development that is seen in the increasing reluctance of evolution’s chief present-day proponent, Richard Dawkins, and others, to debatethe issue with those who hold to creation and/or intelligent design. Instead of using discussion/debate to prove evolution right and their opponents wrong from science, various methods are being used in an attempt to silence the skeptics of evolutionary science. When one has lost the debate, it is time to concede defeat or silence the opponent. It appears that many of Darwin’s apologists have chosen the latter approach. In this article and one to follow we will examine concerns of some evolutionists with Darwin’s theory, some adaptations they have made to his theory, methods they are using to silence the skeptics, and some of the serious consequences that follow.
The Gospel According to Charles
A few original prophecies from the chief prophet of evolution will serve to make it clear why some of Darwin’s contemporaries tended to distance themselves from him just a bit. Read for example Darwin’s Epistle of the Bear (made-up title—CK).
In North America the black bear was seen by Hearn swimming for hours with widely open mouth, thus catching, like a whale, insects in the water. Even in so extreme a case as this, if the supply of insects were constant, and if better adapted competitors did not already exist in the country, I can see no difficulty in a race of bears being rendered, by natural selection, more and more aquatic in their structure and habits, with larger and larger mouths, till a creature was produced as monstrous as a whale.¹
If you think that was fantastic, try some of Darwin’sRevelations of the Giraffe (made-up title—CK).
So under nature with the nascent giraffe, the individuals which were the highest browsers, and were able during dearths to reach even an inch or two above the others, will often have been preserved…. By this process long-continued… combined no doubt in a most important manner with the inherited effects of increased use of parts, it seems to me almost certain that any ordinary hoofed quadruped might be converted into a giraffe.²
In response to evolution stories like this, one creationist remarked: “A frog turning instantaneously into a prince is called a fairy tale, but if you add a few million years, it’s called evolutionary science.” With stories like these, who needs Rudyard Kipling? On second thought, could it be that Darwin was Kipling’s inspiration for his Just So Stories?
All kidding aside, all of Darwin’s disciples were not amused. In fact Professor Richard Owen of the British Museum convinced Darwin to leave the whale-bear story out of later editions of The Origin of Species. While Darwin conceded to this, word has it that he privately regretted giving in to his critics. Years later he still thought the example “quite reasonable.”³ And while the bear story is a whale of a tale, it would later become evident that his giraffe exposition, if true, would result in the extinction of the giraffe, since the female giraffe is on average 24 inches shorter than the male. As the saying goes, “the devil is in the details.” And the details ofThe Origin of the Species not only reveal numerous “just so stories” like those presented above, but also a litany of conjecture, speculation, and even expressed ignorance on the part of Darwin. A few examples from The Origin of Species will illustrate the point (emphasis—CK): So it has probably been with the turnspit dog… (p. 42).
• Some, perhaps a great, effect may be attributedto the increased use or disuse of parts (p. 53).
• So profound is our ignorance, and so high our presumption, that we marvel when we hear of the extinction of an organic being (p. 81).
• It is good thus to try in imagination to give any one species an advantage over another (p. 85).
• In order to make clear how, as I believe, natural selection acts, I must beg permission to give one or two imaginary illustrations (p. 97).
• Some of them [challenges to Darwin’s ideas—CK] are so serious that to this day I can hardly reflect on them without being in some degree staggered; but,to the best of my judgment, the greater number are only apparent, and those that are real are not fatal to theory (p. 1).
• To the question why we do not find rich fossiliferous deposits belonging to these assumed earliest periods prior to the Cambrian system, I can give no satisfactory answer (p. 345).
• The theory of natural selection, even if we look no further than this, seems to be in the highest degreeprobable (p. 487).4
Adaptations to the Gospel According to Darwin
As a consequence of these uncertainties and other difficulties with “The Gospel According to Charles,” W.R. Thompson, when asked to write an introduction for a new printing of Darwin’s Origin of Species, wrote in part:
Modern Darwinian paleontologists are obliged, just like their predecessors and like Darwin, to water down the facts with subsidiary hypotheses, which, however plausible, are in the nature of things unverifiable…and the reader is left with the feeling that if the data do not support the theory they really ought to…. This situation, where scientific men rally to the defense of a doctrine they are unable to defend scientifically, much less demonstrate with scientific rigor, attempting to maintain its credit with the public by the suppression of criticism and the elimination of difficulties, is abnormal and undesirable in science.5
Clearly Thompson recognized that much of what Darwin wrote in The Origin of Species is “doctrine,” not science. This problem and numerous developments in the study of genetics and DNA have led many other supporters of Darwin’s theory to move in the direction of promoting what came to be known as neo-Darwinism (sometimes referred to as the Synthesis, or just Darwinism).
A brief explanation of the ideas of neo-Darwinism compared to those of Darwin might be helpful here. Darwin promoted the theory of common descent and evolution by natural selection (sometimes called “survival of the fittest”). Over time, this would result in descendants with slight variations of their ancestors’ features. When looking at the work of the animal breeders of his day and seeing the valued results achieved in the breeding process, Darwin speculated that a similar process happens over long periods of time in nature without the help of man. Eventually this would result in new characteristics emerging in the various species and ultimately even the development of new species. According to Darwin, this process, which he called natural selection, is the driving force behind evolution.
A contemporary of Darwin, Gregory Mendel, made some discoveries in the field of genetics that suggested that evolution involves the transmission of characteristics from parent to child by means ofgenetic transfer. Over time, Mendel’s work in the area of genetics developed to the point that supporters of Darwin’s theory of evolution were confronted with a problem: who is right, Darwin or Mendel? Is evolution a result of natural selection, or of genetic transfer? Thus what is known as neo-Darwinism was developed as an attempt to reconcile these discoveries in genetics with Darwin’s theory of natural selection. While all neo-Darwinists are not in total agreement on these, it would appear that most hold to the following three basic ideas:
• the primacy of natural selection as the creative agent of evolutionary change.
• gradualism (accumulation of small genetic changes).
• the extrapolation of microevolutionary processes (changes within species) to macroevolutionary trends (changes above the species level, such as the origin of new designs and broad patterns in history). Evolutionary change is a shift of the frequency of genes in a population, and macroevolutionary trends come from gradual accumulation of small genetic changes. 6
However, this paradigm has not proven satisfactory for many evolutionists. Some of their reasons for distancing themselves from it are revealing. Listen to a few of them:
Richard Goldschmidt writes:
The evolution of the animal and plant worlds is considered… to be fact for which no further proof is needed. But in spite of nearly a century of work… there is no unanimity in regard to the details of the means of evolution…. The facts fail to give any information regarding the origin of actual species, not to mention the higher categories.
Ambrose Flemming, president, British Association for Advancement in Science, says:
Evolution is baseless and quite incredible.
L.L. Cohen writes:
It is not the duty of science to defend the theory of evolution, and stick by it to the bitter end, no matter which illogical and unsupported conclusions it offers…. Let’s cut the umbilical cord that tied us down to Darwin for such a long time. It is choking us and holding us back.
George G. Simpson, leading evolutionist writer of the mid-twentieth century, says:
It is time to give up trying to find a mechanism for evolutionary origins or change.
Albert Fleischmann, zoologist, writes:
The theory of evolution suffers from grave defects, which are more and more apparent as time advances. It can no longer square with practical scientific knowledge…. It is purely a product of imagination.7
Antony Flew, leading evolutionist best known for his books arguing against the existence of God and for atheistic principles, had a change of heart in 2004. Research on DNA and what he believed to be inconsistencies in the Darwinian account of evolution had forced him to reconsider his views. DNA research, he said:
has shown, by almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce life, that intelligence must have been involved.8
So, why can’t all Darwinists see what these men have seen? Darwin himself (were he alive today, and honest) would in all likelihood join his defectors, especially Antony Flew. After all, Darwin wrote: “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”9 By means of modern science these complexities have now come to light.
Does this mean that the theory of evolution is dead? Sadly, that is not the case! However, it does mean that to a significant degree the debate/discussion has changed. While there continue to be attempts to defend evolution with science, Dawkins and others have taken a more dogmatic approach. In our next installment we will address that and the consequences of these ideas for Western society in general and for modern-day Israel in particular.
… to be concluded
¹ Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life(London: John Murray, 1859), ch. 6.
² Charles Darwin, ch. 7.
³ Vance Farrell, The Evolution Handbook(Altamont, TN: Evolution Facts, Inc. 2001), 850.
4 Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, The Harvard Classics. Ed. Charles W. Eliot, (New York: P.F. Collier & Son Corporation 1937), 42, 53, 81, 85, 97, 169, 345, 487.
5 Farrell, 864.
7 Farrell 260-266.
9 Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species (6th ed., London: John Murray, 1959)182.