|By: Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon; ©2002|
|Darwin gathered and systematized a good deal of data, but he proved nothing. He no more proved evolution by amassing facts than scientists of an earlier era proved the world was flat by amassing facts. Facts are facts, but they can be interpreted quite differently depending upon presuppositions and other considerations.|
As we showed last time, a number of scientists were critical of Darwin’s theory. Darwin gathered and systematized a good deal of data, but he proved nothing. He no more proved evolution by amassing facts than scientists of an earlier era proved the theory of phlogiston or that the world was flat by amassing facts. Facts are facts but they can be interpreted quite differently depending upon presuppositions and other considerations.
As another leading scientist of the day, Louis Agassiz of Harvard University, author of the Contributions to the Natural History of the United States, observed:
Darwin himself admitted his theory was bereft of proof where it was most needed. In a letter to H. G. Bronn he confessed, “You put very well and very fairly that I can in no one instance explain the course of modification in any particular instance,” and further, “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,” and finally, “I am actually weary of telling people that I do not pretend to adduce direct evidence of one species changing into another.” In other words, Darwin agreed he had no direct evidence for evolution.
As William Hopkins observed: “A great number of facts are mentioned as being only explicable on this theory, and might thus appear to an inattentive reader to constitute a large amount of inductive evidence. But all that is attempted to be done is to assert, not to prove, that the facts are consistent with the theory;...”
David L. Hull, Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin, and former visiting Associate Professor, Committee on the Conceptural Foundation of Science, University of Chicago, points out that Darwin’s deficient methodology is still used today:
Again, even Darwin suspected that his factual data were insufficient. He conceded to Asa Gray, “What you hint at generally is very, very true: that my work will be grievously hypothetical, and large parts by no means worthy of being called induction, my commonest error being probably induction from too few facts.”
In the end, critical reviews gave Darwin no end of trouble and caused him to constantly revise The Origin of Species. After the “most cutting review” of St. George Jackson Mivart, Darwin thought, “I shall soon be viewed as the most despicable of men.” In a letter to J. D. Hooker January 16, 1869, Darwin complained, “It is only about two years since the last edition of the Origin, and I am fairly disgusted to find how much I have to modify, and how much I ought to add; ...”
All of this is why Michael Denton concludes that:
In conclusion, Darwin’s theory was subject to a considerable amount of valid criticism immediately after publication. As we documented in Darwin’s Leap of Faith (1998), the critics were right all along and the scientists and theologians who accepted Darwinism on naturalistic or philosophic grounds were wrong. Evolution came to be an accepted theory not because it was ever proven but because people wanted it to be true. Its appeal was that it provided a seeming scientific explanation for living things as well as a seeming testable mechanism for the origin of those things—natural selection. How valid such appearances were scientifically is shown in the above book.
Not only was Darwin unable to answer his best critics, but in the subsequent 140 years, neither have modern scientists been able to answer theirs. As Michael Denton observes:
From day one evolutionists have had serious, and, we think fatal problems with their theory. In light of the evolutionary establishment’s constant refrain of “evolution is a fact,” those frank enough to admit such difficulties should be commended.