This article was originally published at AnswersinGenesis.org, but because it is quite lengthy only select clips have been chosen. You may read Jerry Bergman’s entire article here. The abstract of the article says:
A common claim is that no conflict exists between modern neo-Darwinism and orthodox biblical Christianity. The conclusions of many of the most eminent biologists today and a major study of leading biologists were reviewed, finding that they strongly disagree with the non-conflict hypothesis.
Both Defendants [Dover Area School Board of Directors] and many of the leading proponents of ID make a bedrock assumption which is utterly false. Their presupposition is that evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to religion in general. Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffsâ€™ scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator (Kitzmiller et al. 2005, p. 136).
Many, if not most, eminent biologists openly disagree with Judge Jones and have expressed this disagreement in the strongest terms possible. For example, University of Chicago biology Professor Jerry Coyne wrote that science has in the past delivered several crippling blows to humanityâ€™s theistic worldview, and the most severe blow was
in 1859, when Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, demolishing, in 545 pages of closely reasoned prose, the comforting notion that we are unique among all speciesâ€”the supreme object of Godâ€™s creation, and the only creature whose early travails could be cashed in for a comfortable afterlife . . . like all species, we are the result of a purely natural and material process (Coyne 2009, p. 34).
Coyne notes that the views of theologian John Haught, who testified in the Dover case, about the harmony of evolution and theism, have been soundly rejected by most scientists. Specifically Haughtâ€™s view was, although life may have evolved, the
process was really masterminded by God, whose ultimate goal was to evolve a species, our species, that is able to apprehend and therefore to admire its creator. This progressivist and purpose-driven view of evolution, rejected by most scientists, has been embraced by Haught and other theologians (Coyne 2009, p. 34).
The Most Significant Revolution in History
In the minds of many, if not most Darwinists, the Darwinian Revolution has resulted in explaining away the task that once required a creator and has replaced Him by blind, unintelligent and amoral natural laws. This is because
Darwinâ€™s theory of natural selection accounts for the â€œdesignâ€ of organisms, and for their wondrous diversity, as the result of natural processes, the gradual accumulation of spontaneously arisen variations (mutations) sorted out by natural selection. (Ayala 2007, p. 8567).
Ayala concluded, noting that
Mutation and selection have jointly driven the marvelous process [of evolution] that, starting from microscopic organisms, has yielded orchids, birds, and humans. The theory of evolution conveys chance and necessity, randomness and determinism . . . this was Darwinâ€™s fundamental discovery, that there is a process that is creative, although not conscious (Ayala 2007, p. 8568).
The fact is, nowhere in Darwinism is there any mention or need for God, or even an Intelligent Creator, a fact which
raised an uncomfortable possibility: If God is not needed to explain the design in natureâ€”which was generally considered the best evidence for a designerâ€”maybe God does not exist at all (Stewart-Williams 2008, p. 19).
This View in Science is Widespread
Surveys of eminent evolutionists find that most agree with those scientists quoted above. For example, Greg Graffin completed a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology at Cornell University under Professor William Provine. His thesis was on the religious beliefs of leading evolutionary biologists. The sample he polled consisted of 271 scientists, and close to 56% completed the entire questionnaire (151 persons). Graffin found that as a result of accepting the Darwinian worldview almost 98.7% of his respondents rejected a traditional theistic worldview and, instead, became functional atheists. He defined theism as a belief in a personal creative God as taught by the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religions. He added that a San Antonio, Texas, attorney wrote recently to him asking
Is there an intellectually honest Christian evolutionist position? . . . Or do we simply have to check our brains at the church house door?â€ The answer is, you indeed have to check your brains (Provine 1988, p. 10).
The chasm between evolution and theism is not the only concern of theists. Some theists object to what has now become dogmatic evolutionism for other reasons. Noble laureate Robert Laughlin concluded that evolution is actually anti-science. He wrote â€œofâ€ or â€œaboutâ€ his concern that much â€œpresent-day biological knowledge is ideologicalâ€ which, he notes, involves explanations that have
no implications and cannot be tested. I call such logical dead ends antitheories because they have exactly the opposite effect of real theories: they stop thinking rather than stimulate it. Evolution by natural selection, for instance, which Charles Darwin originally conceived as a great theory, has lately come to function more as an antitheory, called upon to cover up embarrassing experimental shortcomings and legitimize findings that are at best questionable and at worst not even wrong. Your protein defies the laws of mass action? Evolution did it! Your complicated mess of chemical reactions turns into a chicken? Evolution! The human brain works on logical principles no computer can emulate? Evolution is the cause! . . . Biology has plenty of theories [to explain origins]. They are just not discussedâ€”or scrutinizedâ€”in public (Laughlin 2005, pp. 168â€“169).
In other words, Laughlin notes that evolutionism has become an explanation for events for which no explanation as of yet exists. This implies that a valid scientific explanation does exist, which may discourage scientific investigation to find the real explanation.
This View Existed from the Beginning of Darwinism
Nagel wrote that from the start of the Darwinian revolution
it has been commonplace to present the theory of evolution by random mutation and natural selection as an alternative to intentional design as an explanation of the functional organization of living organisms. . . . Its defining element is the claim that all this happened as the result of the appearance of random and purposeless mutations in the genetic material followed by natural selection due to the resulting heritable variations in reproductive fitness. It displaces design by proposing an alternative (Nagel 2008, p. 188).
As noted above, Darwin himself made it very clear that his theory displaced God and he felt that an indirect approach was a more effective route to atheism. Darwin had murdered God, at least in the minds of many scientists.
It is clear that the most eminent life scientists of our age agree, and have expressed themselves in the strongest terms on the matter, that a clear, unbridgeable contradiction exists between Darwinism and theism. As Nick Lane of University College, London, wrote
Evolution has no foresight, and does not plan for the future. There is no inventor, no intelligent design . . . Design is all around us, the product of blind but ingenious processes. Evolutionists often talk informally of inventions, and there is no better word to convey the astonishing creativity of nature (Lane 2009, p. 5).
Claims such as Judge Jonesâ€™s that no contradiction exists between theism and Darwinism are not only naÃ¯ve, but as documented above, are grossly uninformed. The common claim that no conflict exists between modern neo-Darwinism and orthodox biblical Christianity is contradicted by the conclusions of many of the most eminent biologists living today. Furthermore, a survey by Griffin of leading biologists found that they strongly disagree with the claim that evolutionism and Christian theism involving a personal God are compatible. Further, they can articulate valid reasons for their conclusion.
In order to facilitate discussion that is relevant to the thread, key terms are provided to act as categorical guidelines for comments: Darwinism, The Dover Court Case, atheism, influence of Darwinism on atheism, conflict of worldviews, influence of Darwinism on SDA education.