Dan Neil"s Error: Reconciling Darwinism With Religion

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On 27 November, 2005, Los Angeles Times carried an article by Dan Neil. Titled “In God and Darwin We Trust,” (God is beyond all this), the article considered the evolution/creation debate in terms of the situation in Chile, and sought to construct common ground between Darwinism and belief in God. Neil maintained that evolution is a scientific theory and that for the religious believers in Patagonia see no reason to oppose Darwinism. However, he ignored a number of very important facts.

On 27 November, 2005, Los Angeles Times carried an article by Dan Neil. Titled “In God and Darwin We Trust,” (God is beyond all this), the article considered the evolution/creation debate in terms of the situation in Chile, and sought to construct common ground between Darwinism and belief in God. Neil maintained that evolution is a scientific theory and that for the religious believers in Patagonia see no reason to oppose Darwinism. However, he ignored a number of very important facts.

The main error of those who seek common ground between Darwinism and belief in God is that they make do with only the superficial aspects of what is expressed by means of the theory of evolution and fail to properly appreciate God’s might. In their view, evolution means nothing more than biological change in nature, and they think that there is no religious reason not to regard this as God’s form of creation. Indeed, the words  “I don’t care if I’m descended from a monkey or a mouse.” in the article are a reflection of the superficial nature of this approach.

There is no doubt that, if God so willed, He could have made evolution the cause of living things’ emergence and development, and could have created all their systems in accordance with this. There is no doubt that for God, Who created all things from nothing with the simple command “Be!” it would have been easy to create a cause of their development. But God did not create such a form of development for living things. No trace of such development is to be found either in living things’ physiological structures or in the fossil records. However, the most important point dividing Darwinism from belief in God concerns the concept of “chance” by which the concept of evolution is put forward as an alternative to God’s creation. Through the scriptures He has sent down through the ages, God reveals that He is the Creator of the entire universe and that He rules all things at all times. The Earth is full of proofs of this. Darwinism utters a terrible calumny in opposing this, claiming that all living things emerged during an unconscious, chance-based process, and that they are the work of random coincidences. According to Darwinism, which is a superstitious religion, a human being has no more responsibility in this world than a piece of rock on a mountain slope.

The fact is, however, that man is tested in this world for the eternal life of the Hereafter and will be held responsible for all his actions. Almighty God has created the Earth, the skies and all that lies between with the greatest knowledge and artistry. Darwinism, on the other hand, is a belief that completely contradicts reason and science and suggests that all these things are the work of chance. It is here that Darwinism emerges as part of the materialist worldview. Evolutionist scientists defend a dogma that they regard as true for the sake of materialism. The well-known Harvard University evolutionary geneticist Richard C. Lewontin expresses this important link:

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, so we cannot allow a Divine [intervention]… (Richard Lewontin, "The Demon-Haunted World," The New York Review of Books, January 9, 1997, p. 28. [emphasis added])

As we can see, Darwinism is in total conflict with religion. That is in any case the reason why Darwinists are so devoted to the theory. The anthropologist Michael Walker admits as such:

One is forced to conclude that many scientists and technologists pay lip-service to Darwinian theory only because it supposedly excludes a Creator... (Dr. Michael Walker, Senior Lecturer, Anthropology, Sydney University, Quadrant, October 1982, p. 44)

Leading Darwinists openly admit that Darwinism rejects religion and the existence of God. Ernst Mayr, one of the founders of neo-Darwinism and regarded as the modern-day Darwin, says,

Darwinism rejects all supernatural phenomena and causations. (Ernst Mayr, "Darwin"s Influence on Modern Thought," Scientific American, July 2000, p. 83)

In his book Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, the atheist and evolutionist Daniel Dennett, a professor from Tufts University, says,

We must look unflinchingly at Darwin"s idea and its consequences. For we have listened to the wrong sirens and underestimated its power and reach. Like some universal acid, it cannot be contained. It eats its way through every barrier and into the fabric of our traditional concepts of cosmology and psychology, revolutionizing our view of the world and of ourselves. (Daniel Dennett, Darwin"s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meaning of Life, 1995, p. 520)

Naturally, seeking to reconcile religion and a theory opposed to religion may give rise to very damaging consequences and is a completely mistaken endeavour. Another error revealed in the article regards Darwin’s racist views. It contained this comment regarding what being a Darwinist in Patagonia means:

“To be called Darwinist here is to be called a little bit of a racist... Darwin was very hard on the locals. He called them subhuman and beasts. But that doesn’t minimize his contributions to science or the clarity of thought.”

Darwin’s racism is here portrayed as a personal matter involving only himself, and the impression is given that it had no effect on scientific conception. This is a highly deficient interpretation. In the post-Darwin period, racist ideas that had always been in circulation began to gain more ground in biology. The evolutionist professor Stephen J. Gould of Harvard University states that racist trends spread significantly among scientists in the period following Darwin:

Biological arguments for racism may have been common before 1859, but they increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory. (Stephen Jay Gould, Ontogeny and Phylogeny, Belknap-Harvard Press, pp. 27-128)

The main objective of science is to open the way to human progress by the accumulation of knowledge. The effects of Darwinism worked in the exact opposite direction. The races that claimed superiority over others enhanced scientists to collect data  indicating that other races are  inferior and to develop theories suggesting that this is biologically based. With the adoption of Darwinian theory, division and enmity between races spread, and human progress and the establishment of a climate of peace, love and security was prevented. The racism and colonialism nourished by Darwinism led the world to major wars.

Clearly, The  bridge that Neil wishes to build between Darwinism and religion has no foundations. God commands proper moral values; love, solidarity and tolerance among people. Racism, on the other hand, involves hostility to certain groups of people, and even attempts to eliminate them altogether. For that reason, belief in God and Darwinism, which is a racist theory, are manifestly incompatible.

On the other hand, Neil’s evaluation regarding the clarity of Darwin’s thoughts is not at all accurate, either. In a letter to J.D. Hooker, Darwin wrote:

You ask about my book, and all that I can say is that I am ready to commit suicide; I thought it was decently written, but find so much wants rewriting… (Francis Darwin, The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, September 30, 1874)

Darwin’s doubts were not limited to the presentation of his theory. They actually involved the whole of that theory itself. Because Darwinism defines intelligence as a concept that evolved by chance from lower animals, and therefore as the work of chance. Darwin well realised that  there were no grounds on which the veracity of this theory, the product of an intelligence of such a nature, could be defended. In a letter to W. Graham, Darwin expressed this concern thus:

But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man"s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. (Francis Darwin, The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, CHARLES DARWIN TO W. GRAHAM, Down, July 3rd, 1881)

As we have seen, Darwin was certain neither of the clarity of his ideas, nor of their veracity.

Conclusion

In brief, Darwinism is a racist and materialist theory, and cannot be defended as reconcilable with religion. Neil should take note of the points set out above, and act accordingly with the fact that Darwinism and religion are in opposition.

2005-11-27 00:00:00

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