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DARWIN AT 200: Academic fascism

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–Charles Darwin’s general theory of evolution, articulated in his 1859 book, “On the Origin of Species,” asserts that all life descended from a common ancestor. This view has made tremendous headway in the 84 years that have elapsed since the Scopes Trial in 1925, in which the ACLU wanted evolution to be taught in public schools as an alternative to creation. Creationism has since been booted from U.S. public schools and the courts have consistently upheld that decision.

For some, this has been a welcome turn of events. Atheist Richard Dawkins, professor emeritus at Oxford, writes in “The Blind Watchmaker” that “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” But Dawkins goes much further when he states that “[i]t is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid, or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).” Daniel Dennett of Tufts University, author of “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea,” warns parents who teach “that ‘Man’ is not a product of evolution by natural selection — then you must expect, at the very least, that those of us who have freedom of speech will feel free to describe your teachings as the spreading of falsehoods, and will attempt to demonstrate this to your children at our earliest opportunity.”

Now, if man is the result of naturalistic evolutionary processes that took place over hundreds of millions of years as Darwin, Dawkins, Dennett and others contend, we should promote the teaching of evolution with great fervor. But what if man is not the result of naturalistic evolutionary changes over hundreds of millions of years? For those of us who reject naturalistic evolution as the origin of species, it is morally objectionable that only a secular view is allowable in our public schools.

There are actually good reasons for holding that life is the byproduct of an intelligent Designer. During the past 45 years, a number of scientific discoveries have pointed very strongly to a designer of the universe. Nobel Laureate Arno Penzias, one of two scientists who in 1965 discovered background radiation at the center of the universe that weighs in favor of the Big Bang, later wrote about phenomena in our universe that strongly suggest cosmic fine-tuning: “Astronomy leads us to a unique event: a universe which was created out of nothing and delicately balanced to provide exactly the conditions required to support life. In the absence of an absurdly-improbable accident, the observations of modern science seem to suggest an underlying, one might say, supernatural plan.”

Similar observations appear within molecular biology. Nobel Laureate Francis Crick is one of two scientists who discovered DNA. Although he is an atheist, Crick observed the complexity of life on its most basic level and wrote in “Life Itself”: “An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have to be satisfied to get it going.”

Of course, this is not good news for atheists like Dawkins who rely on naturalistic evolution in order to be intellectually fulfilled. Responses easily viewed in the recent movie “Expelled” are noteworthy. In it, Dawkins suggests that since life is far too complex to have evolved on earth, it may have come from another planet, a belief shared by Crick. However, no strong evidence exists that this is what, in fact, occurred. Dawkins does not offer a scientific explanation but a naturalism of the gaps theory. When prominent scientists like Dawkins and Crick have to resort to this sort of explanation, we know things must not be going well in the labs of evolutionary biologists.

As of August 2008, there are 761 scientists who have agreed to the following statement: “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged” (http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/index.php). This is not to say that science has confirmed any particular view of creation, such as the account in Genesis. But the findings of science are more compatible with the view that the universe and life were created than the view that you, dear readers of this article, are the result of blind naturalistic processes.

Make no mistake about it. The discussion of naturalistic evolution pertaining to the origin of humankind is not necessarily a battle between science and religion; it is a culture war. Modern scientists like Dawkins are not engaging in science when stating dogmatically that naturalistic evolution is a conclusion beyond debate. Such a statement is merely their secular philosophy using a lab coat to disguise itself and asserting that if a life form looks like design, walks like design and quacks like design, it must be random processes in disguise.

The fact that Darwin was mentioned far more on Feb. 12 than Abraham Lincoln, who freed the slaves and shares the same 200th birthday, is just another clue to how important the philosophy of naturalistic evolution is to the priests of secularism.
Mike Licona is the apologetics coordinator at the North American Mission Board. For a better understanding of today’s world religions and for resources that will help you defend your faith, visit NAMB’s apologetics website at www.4truth.net.

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  • Mike Licona