Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Happy Birthday Darwin



February 12th was the birthday of the late Dr. Charles Darwin back in 1809. With such a date passing, we pause to reflect once more on the dramatic impact of one man’s attempts to discredit God. Upon reading that sentence, you might find my assertion rather bold or far-reaching. But, that is precisely what Darwin attempted intentionally or not. And, his success has been sadly famous. In fact, he has been so successful that I’m guessing he is not celebrating his scientific body of work right now. It is important to note that it was reported by Elizabeth Cotton in 1915 in a questioned publication, that Cotton visited Darwin on his deathbed where he confessed to her his second thoughts about his work. That claim was denied by his family, but may still be true. We genuinely pray that somehow his soul rests in peace. We genuinely pray that before he passed, he did in fact turn his life over to God.

Regardless of whether Darwin did or did not question his work on his deathbed, he clearly questioned it in the text of his own work. Darwin expressed significant doubts throughout the texts of his evolutionary publications. He referred to his work as “grievously hypothetical.” That is far from confidence. Darwin continued, “The eye to this day gives me a cold shudder.” To think the eye had evolved by natural selection, Darwin said, "seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree." We agree. Darwin called his own hypothetical applied to the reality of the eye to be “absurd.” We agree with that as well. And, Darwin felt the same about the peacock’s feather, which he said “makes me sick.” These doubts were further fortified by letters that he wrote to colleagues and friends in which he expressed unceasing streams of doubt. It would be entirely consistent for him to carry such pervasive doubts to his death since the evidence required to remove them are elusive even to this day (and it probably does not exist). After all, the grand attempt of Darwin’s work was to unite the entire big picture of biological origins into a single and seamless yet unsubstantiated vision. In light of such audacity, we can only conclude that his goal is naturally impossible. In fact, evidence existed in nature to the contrary even in his day. Yet, while such an attempt is naturally audacious, the supernatural is immune from audacity.

But, what about the evidence contrary to Darwin? Were you ever taught about such evidence in your biology classes? 207 years after Darwin's work, last week, a nationwide poll was conducted regarding Americans’ opinions around teaching the evidence both for and against evolution. The poll was conducted by the Discovery Institute and included surveys of 2,117 U.S. residents randomly sampled from a nationally representative panel of more than 6 million residents (also used by NBC, the Los Angeles Times, etc.). Surprisingly, the survey revealed that today 81 percent of American adults believe that “when teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution, biology teachers should cover both scientific evidence that supports the theory and scientific evidence critical to the theory.” Then again, isn’t that science? You could word the polling question more like this: “Should biology teachers teach science?” Science at its core is about continually challenging its own conclusions and its own interpretations of evidence. There is probably not a single theory in science that lacks logical critique against it. And, in almost every other area of science, the contrary evidence is presented and taught. Sadly, that is not the case for Darwinian evolution. It is not good education to present only a one-sided review of data, especially in sphere of science.

By the way, support for teaching the scientific evidence for and against Darwin's theory is overwhelming regardless of age, gender, religious affiliation, geography, party affiliation, and household income. 79 percent of men and 83 percent of women support teaching the evidence for and against Darwin's theory. 85 percent of theists, 65 percent of atheists, and 79 percent of agnostics support this approach. 79 percent of Democrats support teaching the evidence for and against Darwin's theory, and so do 82 percent of independents and 85 percent of Republicans. 85 percent of middle-aged Americans (ages 45-59) support teaching the evidence for and against Darwin's theory, and so do 81 percent of young adults (ages 18-29) and senior citizens (ages 60 and older). If we should let children think for themselves in areas of dogma/religion, shouldn’t they also be liberated to think for themselves regarding scientific dogma? If evidence pro and con related to religion and philosophy should be taught, why not in evolutionary biology. After all, in almost every other area of biology this is done. Why not evolution? That is a rhetorical question since I think we all know the answer. Happy birthday, Darwin.

Proverbs 18:17 says, “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” It is not until both sides of a coin have been examined that we understand the coin as a whole. That is what America clearly wants – science with critical thought. But, alas the authorities governing the dispensing of evolutionary dogma will not allow it. Christian, in the end, it is up to us to provide this education to our families since society will not do it for us. We must be proactive in supplementing the education of our children even through adulthood in order to make sure they understand true science and how to appropriately apply critical thinking. Only truth welcomes criticism, because truth has nothing to fear.

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