|By: Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon; ©2002|
|W. R. Bird, author of The Origin of Species Revisited suggests that Darwin tended to “jump to conclusions without adequate evidence”, and “stubbornly maintaining his theories regardless of the arguments and evidence against them”. Ankerberg and Weldon give examples to back up this charge.|
Darwin had the “notorious habit of jumping to conclusions without adequate evidence” and “of stubbornly maintaining his theories regardless of the valid arguments and evidence that could be brought against them.”
Historian Jacques Barzun, Provost and Dean of the Graduate Faculties at Columbia University, further observes that the common view of Darwin as an intellectual and a lover of truth needs qualification:
Darwin himself appeared to have serious doubts about how distinctive his theory of evolution was; in at least 45 instances between 1869 and the final edition of the Origin, Darwin deleted the word “my” before the word “theory.” As noted earlier, Darwin hardly invented the idea of evolution; he merely systematized a certain amount of data allegedly in favor of it. Regardless:
In the end, Darwin had simply got a taste of his own medicine. He had deprived the universe of meaning and paid the price. As Leslie Paul observes in The Annihilation of Man (New York: Harcourt-Brace, 1945, p. 154), “The final result of the application of the theory of The Origin of Species to the whole material universe is to deprive it completely of meaning.” Cambridge scholar John Burrow observes in his introduction to The Origin of Species: “Nature, according to Darwin, was a product of blind chance and a blind struggle, and man a lonely, intelligent mutation, scrambling with the brutes for his sustenance. To some the sense of loss was irrevocable; it was as if an umbilical cord had been cut, and men found themselves part of ‘a cold passionless universe.’” What Darwin had wrought for modern man is, in the eyes of many, hardly worth the meager scientific validation it has encountered.
Darwin’s Origin is today much less convincing. As an illustration, we may cite the es‑teemed entomologist, W. R. Thompson, who penned the introduction to the Origin of Species for the “Every Man Library” No. 811 edition (1956). Thompson reveals not only severe problems with Darwin’s basic thesis, especially descent by natural selection, he also shows how the manner in which Darwin argued appeared to give his theory more credibility than it deserved.
It is worthy to note that Dr. Thompson penned the above words over 40 years ago. In subsequent years, recent developments and discoveries throughout the sciences have made belief in evolution more and more difficult. So much so that some scientists have now abandoned the theory while others, although continuing to exercise faith that evolution is true, concede that convincing evidence for it may never be forthcoming.
In the end, Darwin also continued to exercise faith in evolution because he had little choice. He found the theory an emotional necessity and had convinced himself as to its plausibility, despite innumerable problems.
Darwin may have succeeded in convincing himself about evolution, but as we will see in our next article, it was another story entirely for the scientific community.
(to be continued)