Is Darwinism Good Science (or Bad Philosophy)?

Top of page The Problem of Definition

The first question to ask someone when they say they believe in evolution is: What do you mean by evolution? For many people, the answer may translate to "change."

If this is what they have in mind as a definition of evolution, then of course they are correct. Change takes place every day. We all personally experience physical change as we grow older.

But this definition misses the point. Evolution is a very particular type of change. It is the process that produces greater genetic complexity. More specifically, evolution is the development of new species via an increase in the quantity and quality of genetic information through random natural processes.

There is a difference between evolution and variation. Most people and many textbooks tend to confuse these two concepts. They may give several specific examples of "evolution," including dog breeding, fruit flies, peppered moths, horses, and Darwin's famous finches. But these are examples of variation, not evolution. The difference is enormous.

Variation (sometimes inappropriately called "micro-evolution") is horizontal drift or adaptation. It can often be identified as a cyclical phenomenon. Evolution ("macro-evolution"), on the other hand, is vertical change, in which new genetic information is added (an expansion of the gene pool) to produce a higher (more complex) form of life. No one in Darwin's time or today, including the strictest biblical creationists, doubt that variations occur within kinds. (Variation within kinds, incidentally, is consistent with the Bible. The book of Genesis discusses how God created separate kinds of animals. This does not preclude variations within those kinds.)

The potential power of evolution is the theoretical ability of a lower kind of being to change into a higher order of being, for example from a frog to a dog, all through random and unplanned natural processes. The historical textbook examples (finches, etc.) show nothing of the sort! They do not present evidence, for example, about how finches came to be in the first place or if finches changed into other kinds of higher animals. The finch proposition merely shows that you start with finches and end with finches. Coloration, beak shape, etc., may vary, but the finch remains not only a bird, but a finch.

The same is true of each of the traditional examples of "evolution." The case of peppered moths is most interesting. Supposedly, dark moths increased in number versus light-colored moths in England during the Industrial Revolution. The dark moths predominated as they were better protected from predator birds because they blended with the soot-darkened tree trunks. But the reader is asked to think critically about this example. In this case, there was not even any variation that occurred. You had both light-colored and dark-colored moths to start with, and light-colored and dark-colored moths in the end. Yes, natural selection occurred (if the tale is at all true), but that did not result in evolution, with a greater quantity and quality of genetic material.

A number of years ago, revelations surfaced that these moth experiments were doctored. Textbook photographs were actually of moths glued to tree trunks—a place on the tree they do not actually land! Evolutionists were crushed. Many science teachers taught this tale as a key piece of evidence for the truth of evolution. But subjected to analysis free of evolutionary presuppositionalism, this was never a legitimate example of evolution at all! There was never any new genetic material, especially not any leading to a higher order of being. Yet this example reportedly has continued to show up in some high school science text books. This whole affair makes a mockery of real science.

In other situations, variation may be explainable by understanding that the ability for variation is already present in the genetic material. Human skin or hair color, for example, is easily understood this way. It was not mutation or other genetic change that causes such variation. The ability for such variation has always been in the genes.

After thousands of years of dog breeding, dogs have never become something other than dogs. And, it should be made clear, that domestic dog breeds are a result of intelligent manipulation, not blind chance! (Remember, blind chance is by definition a key ingredient for evolution.) All of the genetic material for every breed existed in the original dogs. If all dogs were released and allowed to interbreed, they would return to what primitive dogs looked like. It must be asked, How can intelligent selection meet limits and yet non-intelligence operate without limits? Dog breeding is just another example of how evolutionists have tried to pull the wool over our eyes.

Are these the best examples of evolution its proponents can present? If these examples are the sum of the best available "evidence," the lack of credible evidence herein actually tends to discredit the theory of evolution rather than support it.

Top of page The Problem of Scientific Method

The scientific method requires that a theory must be observable, repeatable, and testable. Neither evolution nor special creation can meet these tests. There is not even any observable evidence in science to show that it is even possible for new information to be added to the cell to produce upward change in the Darwinian sense. Thus, our attempts to explain origins are technically not scientific theories at all.

One of the nation's most eminent biologists, Keith Stewart Thompson, has stated: "Perhaps the most obvious challenge is to demonstrate evolution empirically. There are, arguably, some two to ten million species on Earth. The fossil record shows that most species survive somewhere between three and five million years. In that case, we ought to be seeing small but significant numbers of originations and extinctions every decade." But, of course, we do not see that. (From the article "Natural Selection and Evolution's Gun," American Scientist, Vol. 85, Nov/Dec 1997, p. 516)

As put by creation scientist Henry Morris, "If there is anything certain in this world, it is that there is no evidence whatever that evolution is occurring today—that is, true vertical evolution, from simpler kind to some more complex kind. No one has ever observed a star evolve from hydrogen, life evolve from chemicals, a higher species evolve from a lower species, a man from an ape, or anything else of this sort. Not only has no one ever observed true evolution in action, no one knows how evolution works, or even how it might work. Since no one has ever seen it happen (despite thousands of experiments that have tried to produce it), and no one has yet come up with a workable mechanism to explain it, it would seem that it has been falsified, at least as far as the present world is concerned."

And as concerns the past, no one in 5,000 years of recorded history has ever recorded evolution. Further, the fossil record is one of extinction, not evolution. And Morris notes that, "No fossil has ever been found with half scales/half feathers, half legs/half wings, half-developed heart, half-developed eye, or any such indication." Evolution must be accepted on faith. (Appendix 3, The Defender's Study Bible, notes by Henry Morris, Ph.D., World Publishing, 1995) The idea that evolution is science and that creation is religion is false. Evolution is based on the philosophical premise of naturalism, not science. In fact, as special creation (supernaturalism) fits the evidence better, it can be argued that creationism is more scientific than evolution.

Top of page The Problem of Natural Selection as a "Tautology"

The theory of evolution predicts that by a process of mutation and natural selection, the fittest organisms will produce the most offspring. The problem is that the theory defines the fittest organisms as the ones which produce the most offspring. A tautology is a way of saying the same thing twice, that is, a formula which is true in every possible interpretation (Tautology). On inspection, natural selection is a tautology. (5, pgs. 21-22)

This understanding strikes at the heart of the theory of evolution, challenging evolution at its roots. In effect, proponents are saying that evolution proves evolution, which is circular reasoning. (3, pgs. 38-67)

Let's elaborate. For those not familiar with principles of logic, there are various rules of logic that must be followed to prove something to be true. Failing to follow logic produces a "logical fallacy." One such principle is "Begging the Question," that is, "circular reasoning." This is a logical fallacy in which the proposition to be proved is assumed implicitly or explicitly in the premise (See Begging the Question.) 

As put by Glenn S. Sunshine in his book Why You Think the Way You Do,

"Ultimately, the evidence for Darwinism is circular:

  • Naturalists assume Darwinian evolution.
  • They use it as the framework for interpreting any evidence they find.
  • They proclaim that the evidence proves the theory.

...In other words, Darwinism interprets the evidence rather than the evidence testing Darwinism. As a result, no matter how many failed predictions come from Darwinism, it can never be proven false. Simply put, naturalistic evolution is an article of faith. If you are surprised or offended by this argument, then I would simply put this question to you: What evidence would falsify Darwinism? If you cannot think of or imagine anything that would, it is an article of faith and not a scientific theory." 

While no one doubts that natural selection (survival of the fittest) exists, there is a fundamental question as to its role in evolution. Like mutation (as discussed earlier), natural selection can only act on pre-existing structures. At best, natural selection helps explain how species survive, but it does not explain how species originate. This is now admitted by evolutionists. For example, evolutionist Richard Lewontin admitted, "...natural selection operates essentially to enable the organisms to maintain their state of adaptation rather than to improve it." (14, pg. 84). This seems so obvious upon reflection, it is amazing that so many people have bought into the idea that natural selection could even theoretically produce evolution.

Related to this is the problem of chance. When asked how we came to be (or how the universe came to be), many people will blindly say: by chance. Theologian/philosopher R. C. Sproul, in his book Not A Chance, explains that many people have not thought this idea through. He explains that chance has no power at all, certainly not the power to create. The law of causality says that every effect must have an antecedent cause. But chance is nothing except a term to describe probabilities. It is not a causal agent. Indeed, chance has no being (is only conceptual). Saying that Chance created is a poor excuse for acknowledging that you may not know what created. Chance is no thing—that is, nothing. Nothing creates nothing.

Top of page The Problem of Desperate Theories

Over time, the theory of evolution has changed, as scientists recognized flaws in the concept. In Darwin's time, many people thought that the giraffe's neck was explainable by the animal stretching to reach leaves. This was the theory of "use and disuse," which was given a fancy name—pangenesis. This idea was later thrown out in favor of what is referred to as neo-Darwinism. The "neo-Darwinian synthesis" says that evolution came about through mutation and natural selection.

Given the paltry evidence for this modern view of evolution, proponents of the theory seem intent on finding some other mechanism for life on earth other than God. Even well respected scientists have come up with some startling alternative theories.

One of the most accomplished scientists of our time, Francis Crick, is the co-discoverer of DNA. Apparently recognizing the dead end for the theory of evolution, Crick has put forth the theory of "directed panspermia." This idea is that life on earth originated from intelligent beings from outer space, who sent bacteria to our planet.

Besides having no evidence for such an idea, its obvious problem is that it merely puts the origin of life back a step, to some other planet. In the words of Phillip Johnson, "When a scientist of Crick's caliber has to invoke undetectable spacemen, it is time to consider whether the field of prebiological evolution has come to a dead end." (5, pg. 111)

Evolutionist Richard Goldschmidt put forth a theory that, given the improbability of gradual evolution, that evolution must have occurred in big jumps. Thus, an occasional lucky accident might produce a "hopeful monster," a member of a new species with the capacity to survive and propagate. Of course, with what would such a creature mate?

Though perhaps an exaggeration of the idea, this hopeful monster theory brings forth images of a dinosaur laying an egg one day, and lo and behold out comes a bird—a preposterous idea that gained no respect in scientific circles. It really is easier to believe in miracles. Lubbenow says of this idea, "It must be the only theory ever put forth in the history of science which claims to be scientific but then explains why evidence for it cannot be found." (9, pg. 182)

Evolutionists tell us that you cannot see evolution happening today because it occurs too slowly. But they tell us you cannot see it in the fossil record because it happened too rapidly! Sounds like rather inconsistent reasoning, don't you think?

If you believe that a frog turned into a prince instantly, that's a fairy tale. If you believe that a frog turns into a prince in 300 million years, that's evolution. It sounds more and more like those "just so" stories we were read as children. It takes a lot more faith to believe in evolution than it does to believe in creation!

Well...the theory of evolution can now be revealed as whatever anyone wants it to be. The theory is thus not unlike the silly putty egg. It just molds to suit one's fancy.

Top of page The Problem of Reductionism

Just about everybody agrees that it is impossible to produce a coherent book by randomly combining letters, spaces, and punctuation marks. Yet, evolution really says just that—that life is merely the sum of random chemistry. This is referred to as "reductionism." "Materialism" or "naturalism" are terms for similar notions. Technically, materialism is defined as a philosophical theory that regards matter as the original cause of everything. Naturalism is a philosophy that makes nature the whole of ultimate reality. This is the philosophical underpinning of evolution.

But, as explained by Phillip Johnson, a book is not just paper and ink. Music, thought, or Shakespeare's plays are more than the sum of our brain chemistry. Likewise, a computer is more than silicon and plastic, but it is a product of the information put into it. The reality of life cannot be fully understood by strict materialism. Matter and information are fundamentally different things. (6, pgs. 68-81)

The discovery of DNA really means that at the core of life is a language. And there are no known natural forces capable of producing such information.

The scientist who insists on studying only what he can feel, see, touch, taste, or smell before he will believe it, is being inconsistent. For example, such things as energy or the laws of nature and physics cannot always be directly sensed in these ways, thus scientists study them by their effects. In a similar way, we can study God by His effects. The laws of logic are another example of something that is real but not material. We submit that a person limiting himself to scientific materialism may be biased by attempting to limit truth, that is by limiting the evidence at hand.

Materialistic naturalism—the foundational principle of evolution—is not a science at all, but a philosophy. It is an assumption, designed to eliminate God by definition. Thus evolution is deeply rooted in the philosophical assumption of materialism.

Top of page The Problem of Human Consciousness

The human appreciation of values, of harmony, of beauty, etc., suggests a Creator who created these values and the ability to recognize and appreciate them. Unselfish love (not motivated by sex) is an example of something that is real, yet cannot be explained merely by molecules and chemical analysis.

Law professor Phillip Johnson discusses the debate among scientists over the problem of consciousness. Materialists admit that science cannot solve the consciousness problem. Natural selection is "absurdly" inadequate to explain the consciousness of a poetry-writing mind. (7, pg. 89) And Johnson asks, if the natural order were ruled by merely survival and reproduction, why was the process not satisfied to stop at cockroaches and weeds? (7, pg. 92)

Not withstanding the magnificence of the human mind, materialistic scientists must result in concluding that consciousness must be meaningless or illusory. Johnson challenges the materialists with the idea that perhaps their thoughts are mere illusions. This challenge reveals that materialists will embrace even madness if the only alternative is to give up materialism. (6, pgs. 81-83)

Top of page The Problem of Philosophical Paradox

As mentioned above, Darwinism is closely associated with the philosophy of naturalism. Darwinists believe that we were created by some kind of naturalistic process—by matter in motion—that matter did its own creating. Thus, naturalism is the view that the entire realm of nature is a closed system of material causes and effects, which cannot be influenced by anything from the "outside." This view does not necessarily deny the existence of God, but it does deny that a supernatural being could in any way influence natural events. If God exists, he is so far away to be irrelevant. The absence of a Creator is therefore the essential starting point for Darwinism. (5, pgs. 116-117)

It is noteworthy that many famous Darwinists have been atheists. Francis Crick was a signer of the Humanist Manifesto, which is a foundational document of a major atheist organization. Prominent Darwinists such as Harvard's Richard Lewontin and Stephen Jay Gould have proudly claimed Marxist inspiration for their biological theories. (5, pg. 137)

While there are numerous books available on the philosophy of science, Johnson submits a simple, but challenging thought: The paradox of scientific naturalism is that the cosmos can be understood by a rational mind only if it was not created by a rational mind. (5, pg. 164)

Top of page The Problems of Fear and Anger

Evolutionists seem to fear an open, free, and thorough scientific discussion of the scientific data. Eugenia Scott, from her strategic position as director of the main anti-creationist organization, has warned her fellow evolutionists not to debate. "Avoid debates," she says. "If your local campus Christian fellowship asks you to 'defend evolution,' please decline ... you probably will get beaten" (from "Monkey Business," The Sciences magazine, January/February 1996, p. 25.).

Recognizing the flaws in their arguments, fundamentalist evolution preachers attempt to shut off discussion by the phrase: "You can't do science without evolution." This is dogma, not science. Like much of the evolutionary rhetoric, it is propagandistic bluff. The only plausible explanation of why they want to shut off reasonable discussions of the evidence, such as in public schools, is because they know they cannot defend the theory. They want evolution taught as dogma without consideration of the evidence.

And if the reaction you get from someone when you bring up this subject is outright anger, that being the best defense they can muster for evolution, you know you've hit a nerve. You have affronted their religion.

Top of page The Problem of Ethics

Many people have rejected evolution after thinking through its evil, but logically consistent implications. Marx and Hitler both championed evolution, as it provided an intellectual foundation for their political philosophies. (10, pg. 105; 5, Chapter 12; and 8, pg. 53) Darwinism has also given intellectual support for racism. Though certainly not all evolutionists are racists, it is noteworthy that the full title of Darwin's book is The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. It should be obvious why evolution has contributed to the philosophical basis for evil. After all, if survival of the fittest is the basis for a philosophy, why not: racism, the holocaust, tyranny, and so forth? Consider this quote:

"If a person doesn't think that there is a God to be accountable to, then what's the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges? That's how I thought anyway. I always believed the theory of evolution as the truth, that we all just came from the slime. When we died, you know, that was it, there is nothing, and I've since come to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is truly God, and I believe that I, as well as everyone else, will be accountable to Him." 

These are the words of mass murderer Jeffrey Dahmer, on an NBC "Dateline" TV program, November 29, 1994. Before his conversion to Christianity, Dahmer was the perpetrator of one of the most ghastly string of murders in American history. Dahmer killed and cannibalized numerous victims. His actions were incredibly disgusting, but not inconsistent with his worldview.

As even admitted by evolutionary biologists like George William, Darwinism is a repulsive doctrine. Williams expresses open disgust at the ethical implications of a system that assigns no higher purpose to life than selfish bargains and conspiracies to propagate one's genes into future generations. (Source: Dinesh D'Souza's book What's So Great about Christianity, page 263.)

There is one question that can never be answered by an evolutionary assessment of ethics: Why should I be moral tomorrow? Moral rules without grounds or justification need not be obeyed. With evolution, no one individual has philosophical worth. If an individual becomes a casualty from the struggle for power or survival, so be it. This is in direct conflict with Christianity, which places infinite worth on every individual.

As put by Glenn S. Sunshine in his book Why You Think the Way You Do (page 169), "If materialism is true, there is no such thing as good or evil. (If matter and energy are all that exist, what is goodness? What about evil? Are they matter or energy? They are neither, and so they do not really exist.) We are left with relatively few choices as anchors for ethics."

Related to this is the problem of meaninglessness, that is nihilism. A consistent evolutionist cannot escape the problem that there is no basis for ethics nor for meaning in life. We began this section with a quote from Jeffrey Dahmer. Now lets end with a quote from evolutionist James Watson, the co-discoverer of DNA. He said at a luncheon given in his honor, "I don't think we're here for anything, we're just products of evolution. You can say, 'Gee, your life must be pretty bleak if you don't think there's a purpose,' but I'm anticipating a good lunch."

Top of page The Problem of Motive

We have quoted various evolutionists' own acknowledgments of the problems with their theory. Since so many evolutionists admit the problems of their theory, there must be a motive for their continued insistence upon it. We have previously suggested the question of whether some scientists are too eager to claim validity for "discoveries" because of a desire for research funding or notoriety. The problem of peer pressure undoubtedly plays a role as well, because careers depend on favorable peer reviews. But we submit that the following quotes begin to even better explain the situation:

George Wald, the 1967 Nobel Peace Prizewinner in science, wrote:

"When it comes to the origin of life on this earth, there are only two possibilities: creation or spontaneous generation (evolution). There is no third way. Spontaneous generation was disproved 100 years ago, but that leads us only to one other conclusion: that of supernatural creation. We cannot accept that on philosophical grounds (personal reasons); therefore, we choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance."

Perhaps most telling of all, Sir Julian Huxley, one of the world's leading evolutionists, said,

"I suppose the reason we leaped at The Origin of Species was because the idea of God interfered with our sexual mores." (8, pg. 52)

As put by Dinesh D'Souza, "If you want to live a degenerate life, God is your mortal enemy. He represents a lethal danger to your selfishness, greed, lechery, and hatred. It is in your interest to despise Him and do whatever you can to rid the universe of His presence." 

St. Paul, writing in the first chapter of the biblical book of Romans, discusses how men are inclined to "suppress the truth." We submit that what we have with evolution is really a philosophy of life that does just that—suppresses the truth. It is a failed attempt to throw out God in order not to be under His authority.