On February 12th, the birthday of one of the most-recognized and controversial icons of science, Charles Robert Darwin, is celebrated in many public school science classes, libraries, and even churches1 across the country.
Charles Darwin’s primary contribution to science is the theory of evolution by natural selection, but are his ideas and legacy really worth celebrating? Christian parents and students should consider the following facts:
- Darwinism fails to distinguish between observational and historical science. Scientists cannot go back in time to see the origin and history of life and run scientific tests on it, so the only way they can learn about the past is by examining and interpreting evidence in the present though a worldview ‘lens,’ a process known as historical (or forensic) science. Evolution-promoters often fail to distinguish between these two types of science, simply calling evolution ‘science’. This creates a false conflict between ‘science and religion’, when the conflict is really between two competing worldviews used to interpret the past, namely, secularism and biblical Christianity.
- Evolution is a form of secular religion. Darwinism is not simply a scientific theory. It is an attempt to explain the origin of life without a Creator. According to evolutionist Dr. Michael Ruse, “Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion—a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. . . . Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.”2
- Darwinism does not explain the ‘Origin of Species’ Darwin’s originally-proposed (and discredited) mechanism for evolution (acquired traits) and the neo-Darwinian mechanism (beneficial mutations) supposedly provide the changes ‘selected’ by natural selection. However, mutations do not cause the types of change needed for evolution, namely, the addition of new genetic ‘blueprints’ for new structures (i.e. feathers, hair, etc); they only duplicate, delete, corrupt, and scramble already-existing information.3 Thus, Darwin’s theory explains the survival, but not the arrival of the fittest, the true ‘Origin of Species’.
- Evolution teaching is generally one-sided. In California, over 100 pages are dedicated to evolution in both the 7th and 10th grade life-science/biology textbooks. However, challenges to evolution are usually not addressed, and when problems are cited, only a modified evolutionary theory is presented.4 Explanations like biblical creation are not discussed as possible alternatives.
- Evolution has lead to a loss of faith in God and the Bible. Evolutionary biologist and atheist Dr. Richard Dawkins has written that, “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”5 This is because evolution provides atheists with an explanation for the origin of living things that doesn’t involve God. Thus, by convincing generations of Americans that evolution is true, Darwinists have lead many to abandon faith in God as Creator of life. In their book entitled Already Gone, Ken Ham and Britt Beemer show how doubt in the Bible’s history by Christian children is closely linked to evolutionary teaching.6
How should Christians respond to the ideas and legacy of Charles Darwin? We should equip our students with biblical answers to evolutionary teaching, giving them a biblical and scientific defense of the ‘reason for the hope’ that is in us. You can get started by searching our website for resources that address the evolutionary teaching in your student’s biology or history textbook.
Free Resources for Further Reading:
1For example, the Clergy Letter project encourages church leaders to promote Darwin’s ideas in an ‘Evolution Weekend’ celebration; <http://www.theclergyletterproject.org/rel_evolution_weekend_2015.html>
2Michael Ruse, “Saving Darwinism from the Darwinians,” National Post, May 13, 2000, p. B-3.
3Sanford, John C. Genetic Entropy & the Mystery of the Genome. Waterloo, NY: FMS Publications, 2008. Print.
4For example, the 7th grade California textbook, Focus on Life Science, offers an explanation for the lack of fossil evidence for evolution by discussing the theory of punctuated equilibria, which proposes that evolution occurred in short, separated spurts rather than continuously over long ages.
5Dawkins, R., The Blind Watchmaker, Penguin Books, London, England, p. 6, 1991.
6Ham, Ken, C. Britt. Beemer, and Todd A. Hillard. Already Gone: Why Your Kids Will Quit Church and What You Can Do to Stop It. Green Forest, AR: Master, 2009. Print.