In spite of all the difficulties in his Theory of
Evolution, Darwin usually proposed some seeming explanation which he
felt did not make the difficulty necessarily fatal. For example, "If it
could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not
possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications,
my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case."36
Notice how Darwin stresses again and again that we must
never doubt the possibility of evolution to accomplish its goal:
We should be extremely cautious in concluding that an organ
could not have been formed by transitional gradations of some kind.37
Although we must be extremely cautious in concluding that
any organ could not possibly have been produced by successive
Isn’t the only reason he must be "extremely cautious"
because without mutations’ natural selection there is simply no basis
for the theory of evolution to begin with? Over and again we are told,
"The difficulty is not nearly so great as it at first appears."39
"And those that are real are not, I think, fatal to my theory."40
Again and again, natural selection became the miracle
Darwin needed to justify his theory:
This difficulty, though appearing insuperable, is lessened, or, as
I believe, disappears, when it is remembered that selection may be
applied to the family, as well as to the individual....41
The electric organs of fishes offer another case of special
difficulty; it is impossible to conceive by what steps these
wondrous organs have been produced; but, ...we must own that we are
far too ignorant to argue that no transition of any kind is
In the end, even the miracle of the eye can be
explained by natural selection: "Then the difficulty of believing that a
perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though
insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real."43
No matter how impossible the job, Darwin assumed that
mutations and natural selection can account for the production of any
given organ, feature, plant or animal. Today it is a scientific fact
that virtually every complex organ and creature "could not
possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight
modifications." Darwin could not apparently think of a single case when
natural selection would fail; today we cannot think of a single case
where it would succeed.
Yet Darwin almost certainly knew that he was
requesting miracles and that evolution required faith at least as great
as the alleged religious "superstitions" he rejected. Consider two
illustrations Darwin was willing to let stand in The Origin of
Species. Although they hardly convey the degree of miracle required
for evolution overall, they nevertheless give us an indication of
We have seen in this chapter how cautious we should be in
concluding that the most different habits of life could not graduate
into each other; that a bat, for instance, could not have been formed
by natural selection from an animal which at first could only glide
through the air.44
In North America the black bear was seen by Hearne swimming for
hours with widely open mouth, thus catching, like a whale, insects in
the water....I can see no difficulty in a race of bears being
rendered, by natural selection, more and more aquatic in their
structure and habits, with larger and larger mouths, till a creature
was produced as monstrous as a whale.45
In other words, Darwin believed that the immensely
complex radar system of a bat might somehow evolve from a flying
squirrel or that a bear, by the "accumulation of infinitesimally small
inherited modifications, each profitable to the preserved being" could
eventually change into a whale!46
This, of course, is faith, but hardly of the noble variety. It was a
faith Darwin invoked at every level of significant evolutionary change.
That his faith was finally irrational is seen in his
personal letters illustrating what he termed "my endless oscillations of
doubt and difficulty" concerning evolution.47
Even his theory of natural selection was suspect: "In fact, the belief
in Natural Selection must at present be grounded entirely on general
considerations…. When we descend to details, we can prove that no one
species has changed… nor can we prove that the supposed changes are
beneficial, which is the groundwork of the theory."48
As noted earlier, Darwin was not alone in having
doubts. Darwin, Spencer, Huxley and Wallace were the four pillars of
19th Century Darwinism and the individuals responsible for the
acceptance of evolution in that century.
Yet, all of them had doubts. Alfred Russell Wallace,
the co-founder of biological evolution, confessed that the human brain
"could never have been solely developed by any of those laws of
T. H. Huxley admitted his belief in evolution was "an act of philosophic
Herbert Spencer admitted that, "Even in its most defensible shape there
are serious difficulties in its way."51
All these men accepted evolution (despite their
doubts) because they had first rejected Divine creation and
simply had no other option. Because they were biased against the
supernatural and preferred not to believe in the Creator God of Genesis,
evolution was accepted by default:
The reason these men accepted evolution is not brought out clearly
in their scientific works but in their letters, biographies and
autobiographies which many scientists have never examined…. The
eminent evolutionists of the nineteenth century accepted evolution
because of their anti-supernatural bias, and not because of the weight
of the scientific evidence….52
Overall, in most cases it "was not a study of nature
itself that led men to search for some hypothesis of natural evolution,
but rather the desire to escape the supernatural."53
36. Charles Darwin (ed. J. W. Burrow), The Origin
of Species (Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1974), p. 219.
37. Ibid., p. 220, emphasis added.
38. Ibid., p. 222, emphasis added.
39. Ibid., p. 248.
40. Ibid., p. 205.
41. Ibid., p. 258.
42. Ibid., p. 222, emphasis added.
43. Ibid., p. 217.
44. Ibid., p. 231.
45. Ibid., p. 215.
46. Ibid., p. 142.
47. Robert T. Clark, James D. Bales, Why
Scientists Accept Evolution (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1976),
citing Life and Letters, Vol. 2, 211.
48. Ibid., p. 36, citing Life and Letters,
Vol. 2, 210.
49. Bird, Vol. 1, p. 73, citing A. Wallace,
Natural Selection and Tropical Nature, 1895, p. 202.
50. In Clark and Bales, p. 80.
51. Ibid., p. 98.
52. Ibid.; cf., R. J. Rushdoony, The Mythology of
Science (Nutley, NJ: Craig Press, 1968), p. 13.