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Necessary trips?

Endangering careers to oppose Darwin

Necessary trips?

Charles Darwin (Henry Maull and John Fox)

Washington Post columnist and former Bush administration speechwriter Michael Gerson says 20th-century evangelicals “made a crucial error in picking evolution as a main point of contention with modernity.” Gerson quotes William Jennings Bryan from a century ago: “The contest between evolution and Christianity is a duel to the death. If evolution wins … Christianity goes.”

Mike Gerson recognizes that “many people of his background believed this.” (“Bless their hearts,” a chorus of Southern Christian women would add.) Gerson, though, says “their resistance was futile, for one incontrovertible reason: Evolution is a fact. It is objectively true based on overwhelming evidence.”

Gerson hasn’t done his homework. A huge and mostly unreported story is that the 21st-century battle is not science vs. Christianity but science vs. Darwin. While microevolution—finches developing larger or smaller beaks—is obvious, Darwin’s unavoidable ignorance concerning cell structure and much besides condemns his theory to be among the many whose time has come and gone.

More than 1,000 Ph.D. holders have signed the “Scientific Dissent From Darwin” list. The list of signatories includes members of national academies of science in 16 different countries. Many are senior professors or researchers at universities and research institutions such as Cambridge University, the British Natural History Museum, the Institute of Human Paleontology in France, Ben-Gurion University in Israel, MIT, and so on.

Some writers who respected my history books lost confidence in my judgment when they learned I doubted Oz the Great and Powerful, aka Darwin.

At least they all were at such distinguished places last time I looked—because coming out against macroevolution takes courage, and for some it’s been career suicide. I suspect many of them have thought, “Is this trip necessary?” I’ve thought that too: Some writers who respected my history books lost confidence in my judgment when they learned I doubted Oz the Great and Powerful, aka Darwin.

Gerson asks, “What if Bryan and others of his generation had chosen to object to eugenics rather than evolution, to social Darwinism rather than Darwinism?” Or, what if they had spent more time developing “compassionate conservatism,” which Gerson and I both strove for two decades ago?

What he doesn’t get is what Bryan understood: That acceptance of Darwinism logically leads to eugenics, social Darwinism, militarism, racism, and attempts not to serve the poor, homeless, and addicted, but to kill them for the purported good of all. Darwin himself wrote, “The civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races through the world.” He wasn’t responsible for either callous conservatism or cancerous progressivism, let alone mass murders by Darwin-believers like Adolf Hitler. Still, ideas do have consequences.

This issue of WORLD went to print on Feb. 13, one day after the 210th birthday of two world-changing individuals: Both Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born on Feb. 12, 1809. Lincoln died only six years after Darwin published On the Origin of Species, and it’s doubtful that the Great Emancipator ever read it because a little thing like the Civil War soon occupied his waking hours and his nightmares as well.

Nevertheless, historian John West brought to my attention a comment (with spelling mistakes) by James Keyes, one of Lincoln’s neighbors in Springfield, Ill.: “In my intercours with Mr Lincoln I learned that he believed in a Creator of all things, who had neither beginning nor end, who possessing all power and wisdom, established a principal, in Obediance to which, Worlds move and are upheld, and animel and vegetable life came into existence.”

Keyes concluded, “A reason he gave for his belief was, that in view of the Order and harmony of all nature which all beheld, it would have been More miraculouis to have Come about by chance, than to have been created and arranged by some great thinking power.” That was true in the 19th century and it’s true now: So true that Darwinians are grabbing onto theories of multiverses or computer simulations to explain how we could find ourselves in such a finely tuned world and universe.

But if somehow all of this could be the product of chance, with survival of the fittest our operative principle, power rules. Why emancipate slaves? Why help the poor? Why not kill our neighbor? Happily, evidence against macroevolution is growing. Mike Gerson and others: Read Michael Behe’s new book (due out on Feb. 26) and dozens of others I could recommend.

Comments

  • One of Many
    Posted: Thu, 02/14/2019 02:38 pm

    Regarding Darwinism, I think the analogy to Islam is a very good one. 

    I am both glad to see many scientists come to terms with the lack of science in Darwinism ... and also sad that they will eventually shame millions of professing Christians who would not believe the words of the Creator who told them so all along.

  • Allen Johnson
    Posted: Fri, 02/15/2019 10:42 am

    Many years ago Vera Shaw wrote about Darwin in her book, "Thorns in the Garden Planet."

    “Few people recognize that in later life Charles Darwin actually supported Christian missions and wrote enthusiastically about the effects of the Gospel on native peoples.” Darwin noted in his early travels on the Beagle that missionaries had turned Tahitian natives away from most human sacrifice, idolatry, and licentiousness, and had earnest prayers to God.  Darwin had written off the natives of Tierra del Fuego as “savages beyond the help of missionaries.” Yet forty years later he confessed that he had been wrong about his assessment, for the missionaries indeed had been successful. From then on, Darwin sent financial support to the Mission. (157-58).

    Darwin revised his seminal book, Origin of Species. For example, the last sentence of his final edition, #6, he writes, "There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved."
     

    I do agree that an atheistic understanding of evoloution as a blind force determined by some sort of survival impulse can lead to eugenics and Nietzschean dominance of the powerful crushing the weak. The Divine Breath creates and shapes and upholds.

  • John Cogan's picture
    John Cogan
    Posted: Mon, 02/18/2019 12:36 pm

    Gerson calls "evolution" a fact. In some cases - Darwin's finches, resistant strains of bacteria and insects - it has been demonstrated. But the genetic pathways of macroevolution have not been demonstrated and more importantly, neither has abiogenesis, the rise of life from chemicals. In fact, how life arrived at the point where it can reproduce and be selected for favorable traits is an unsolved mystery.

  • CovenantWord
    Posted: Mon, 02/18/2019 02:26 pm

    Although I commend the exposure of intellectual inconsistency of macroevolution that Mr. Olasky concludes, it is perhaps worth noting that, based on the evidence herein presented, Lincoln and Darwin agreed on the deistic doctrine of the origin and development of life. From the op-ed: "Mr Lincoln . . . believed in a Creator . . . who . . . established a principal, in Obediance to which . . . animel and vegetable life came into existence." From Mr. Johnson's comment, quoting Darwin: "There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that . . . from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved."

  • SuperBoppy
    Posted: Mon, 02/18/2019 02:32 pm

    The term "micro-evolution" is inaccurate. The proper term is "natural selection", and has nothing to do with evolution. Natural selection is simply a selection of the genome information already present in the organism due to environmental changes or purposeful breeding. No new information is added. This is nothing more than a bait-and-switch tactic evolutionists use to try to support their hypothesis.

  • Laura W
    Posted: Mon, 02/18/2019 09:34 pm

    Well, I'm not sure I'd say they're being dishonest, but I agree that the term "evolution" is so broad that it's not particularly useful. (Also "micro-evolution" and "macro-evolution" are ad-hoc terms that don't have an accepted scientific definition. They can also give the impression that we're talking about a difference in degree, rather than in kind.)

    I usually explain that I'm in full agreement with the concept of natural selection (the organisms best at passing on their genes do in fact tend to pass on more of their genes to future generations), but I disagree with the idea of common descent (all life on earth is decended from a single organism or community of organisms via accumulated mutations over long periods of time). I just haven't seen any convincing evidence that those sorts of changes are possible, let alone probable.

    There's even some evidence out there that at any realistic rate of mutation, natural selection actually can't act fast enough to weed the bad mutations out, so the net effect of accumulated mutations would be to make the gene pool worse, not better. There are a lot of ways that things can fail without killing the organism outright, while still making it harder for them to survive. Albinism in wild animals, for instance, normally makes it easier for predators to find and kill them, but maybe not before they've already passed on their genes to several offspring.