I. How Convinced Was Charles Darwin about His Theory
As we discovered while researching our book
Darwin’s Leap of Faith (Harvest House, 1998), Darwin himself had
serious doubts about his theory of evolution. Furthermore, the
scientific world generally was entirely unconvinced as to the truth of
evolution. The reasons for its subsequent acceptance lie beyond the
scientific data allegedly in its behalf. Further, what was true for
Darwin often remains true today: the theory of evolution is preferred
philosophically because it allows one to escaped the consequences of
belief in a personal God who holds one accountable for one’s actions
in this life.
During the course of this series we will examine
Darwin’s own doubts, his apparent motives relative to belief in
evolution and how the theory was first received by the scientific
The National Academy of Sciences, in an official
statement, declares the following: "…it was Darwin, above all others,
who first marshaled the convincing critical evidence for biological
Leading evolutionist George Gaylord Simpson also
cites Darwin’s The Origin of Species (1859) as "the work that
first substantially established this truth" of evolution.2
Why is a discussion of Darwin’s view and the recent
history of evolution important to a modern analysis?*
Some argue that since the entire scientific world
has now accepted Darwin’s thesis (albeit modified), and "proven"
evolution true, that a discussion of Darwin’s views and their initial
reception is irrelevant as far as the truth of evolution is concerned.
If evolution is a scientific fact, then this
argument is valid. If it is not a scientific fact, then a discussion
of both Darwin’s own doubts and the initial rejection of evolution by
the scientific community are certainly relevant.
If evolution isn’t proven (to the contrary) and
Darwin himself had serious reservations about his own theory, then his
doubts are relevant after all. And if the reasons that the
scientific community of Darwin’s day rejected evolution are still
valid today, almost a century and a half later, then one is forced to
look to nonscientific reasons for the acceptance of Darwinism.
To have both Darwin and the scientific
community expressing grave doubts over evolution is hardly irrelevant.
Consider an analogy. What if new evidence was uncovered that Jesus and
the apostles had expressed serious doubts about Jesus’ divine nature
and His role as Messiah and Savior? The modern Christian’s certainty
that Jesus is God, Messiah and Savior is based squarely on New
Testament manuscripts concerning Jesus’ own claims, convictions and
extensive supporting evidence including Jesus’ fulfillment of
messianic prophecy, His unique miracles and resurrection from the
But what if it was now discovered that all this
evidence turned out to be seriously misappropriated and, indeed, was
just plain wrong? Worse, what if new unimpeachable manuscript evidence
came to light proving Jesus to be something like the pitiable figure
in Nikos Kazantzakis’ The Last Temptation of Christ (1960)?
Christianity would be through and with good reason—it would be a rank
deception and fraud.
So if new, unimpeachable evidence is available today
that disproves evolution, do not the initial doubts of Darwin and the
scientific community take on new meaning? And then, doesn’t the
acceptance of evolution by the entire world require a closer look to
understand just why this theory became so universally accepted? The
reservations of Darwin and the initial skepticism of the scientific
community are consistent with the current crisis in
evolutionary theory due to the continuing lack of evidence for
evolution, even 150 years later.
Regardless of subsequent events, the initial
concerns of Darwin and the scientific community were correct after
all. And this is something important to know.
Darwin admitted that his volume, The Origin of
Species (1859) was "one long argument" for evolution.3
But reading through The Origin of Species one is struck by how
weak the case for evolution really is. And Darwin knew it. The data
amassed are just as easily interpreted within a non-evolutionary
framework. That his interpretation of the data and not the data itself
was paramount in his theory is clear from his statement that, "I by no
means expect to convince experienced naturalists whose minds are
stalked with a multitude of facts all viewed, during a long course of
years, from a point of view directly opposite to mine."4
In other words, Darwin didn’t really expect to change the mind of
anyone who believed that the facts of nature were more readily
explainable on the basis of creation than chance.
That Darwin had his doubts is evident from letters
he wrote just after publication of The Origin of Species. In
one letter to Huxley he said, "Exactly 15 months ago, when I put pen
to paper for this volume, I had awful misgivings; and I thought
perhaps I had deluded myself as so many have done…" and, in a letter
to Lyell he stated, "I have asked myself whether I may have not
devoted myself to a phantasy."5
Significantly, both Huxley and Lyell also had their doubts.6
Even before Darwin wrote The Origin of Species,
"the theory of evolution in biology was already an old, even a
It had been discredited primarily on two grounds: (1) insufficient
geological time to accomplish evolution and (2) lack of a satisfactory
mechanism for explaining how the process of evolution works.8
Today, 130 years later, with supposedly billions of geologic years to
allow evolution to occur and endless speculation as to evolutionary
mechanisms, the situation has not changed. Sufficient time still does
not exist for evolution to occur and no credible mechanism of
evolution has yet been put forth.
Evolution claims to operate through beneficial
mutations and natural selection. According to Darwin, evolution
happens when an organism is confronted by a changing environment. Some
organisms in a population became better adapted for survival than
others. In part, this is so because of beneficial mutations,
incredibly rare events that alter an organism allowing it to improve.
Natural selection involves the survival of those organisms best
adapted to their environment; those less adapted die out. The best
adapted transmit their improved genetic characteristics and
populations evolve upward. On the surface, it might seem to make
sense—that billions of years could produce sufficient mutations to
allow things to slowly improve and change so that all life evolves
But it actually doesn’t make sense at all as we
showed in Darwin’s Leap of Faith. Many things in life initially
seem true but aren’t—the sun rising and setting; that a given person
would be trustworthy; a mirage in a desert, etc. Explanations that can
seem to make sense but are false are also not unusual—astrological
interpretations, critical rationalistic theories to explain Jesus’
empty tomb, explanations for why the treatment works in certain
holistic health practices, etc. In terms of consequences, false
explanations can run the gamut from harmless to extremely
consequential. For example, in the latter case, misinterpreting demon
possession as mental illness or vice versa. When examined critically
there is little doubt where materialistic evolution lies.
1. National Academy of Sciences, Official
Statement in Voices for Evolution (Berkeley, CA: National
Center for Science Education, 1995), p. 56.
2. George Gaylord Simpson, The Meaning of
Evolution (New York: Bantam, 1971), p. 4.
3. Charles Darwin (ed. J. W. Burrow), The
Origin of Species (Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1974.), p. 435.
5. M.D. Bowden, The Rise of the Evolution Fraud
(San Diego, CA: Creation Life, 1982), pp. 56-57, citing Francis
Darwin (ed.), Charles Darwin Life and Letters, Vol. 2, pp.
6. Bowden, pp. 65, 69.
7. Darwin, The Origin of Species, p. 27.
8. Ibid., p. 28.