A Question I Was Asked:

Was Darwin 'The World's First Biologist'?

The Actual Question

'A friend of mine said this, "We all have to be grateful to Darwin because he was the world's first biologist. What would we know about biology but for him?"

Surely my friend cannot be correct!'

My Reply
That's a new one to me! But seriously, you are right and your friend is certainly not correct. To be frank, whilst probably sincere, he or she is very wide of the mark.

Darwin was not even a biologist, rather, he was a naturalist, moreover, he held no scientific degree of any kind, but had walked away from a degree attempt in medicine (Edinburgh University). Following that failure, his father wished him to become a Clergyman and he was enrolled for a general B.A. degree which included some study of theology and mathematics. He graduated from Cambridge with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1831. However, it would be beyond the scope of such a general degree to have furnished Darwin with any truly in-depth theological acumen and knowledge. Actually, as far as it has been recorded, Darwin never went out and got himself a job at all but preferred to live off his (considerable) family wealth. It is quite astonishing how much mis-information the public have been fed on this man; many insist on viewing him as "the greatest scientist of all time" even when he was wholly unqualified but was always an avid collector of the ideas of others.

A New Theory: What is "Punctuated Equilibrium"?

'Punctuated Equilibrium' is a new theory in evolutionary biology which states that most sexually reproducing species experience little change for most of their geological history, and that when phenotypic evolution does occur, it is localized in rare, rapid events of branching speciation (called cladogenesis).

Punctuated equilibrium is commonly contrasted against the theory of phyletic gradualism, which states that evolution generally occurs uniformly and by the steady and gradual transformation of whole lineages (anagenesis). In this older view, evolution is seen as generally smooth and continuous.

In 1972 paleontologists Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould published a landmark paper developing this idea. What was the motivation? Because it is beginning to be realised that gradualism of change cannot be supported by evolutionists for much longer because there is absolutely no fossil evidence for it; the public have already been duped and fooled for far too long on this subject. The diehard evolutionist sees the new theory as a way to conveniently explain the total lack of fossil evidence for gradualistic evolution.

From earlier theories, this new one is, of course, a huge compromise but rabid evolutionists undoubtedly see it as better than acknowledging a Creator God.

As regards the idea of him being the world's "first biologist," it was Aristotle, who lived circa 400BC, who has been claimed as the world's first ever biologist, and many others followed. When we advance to the 18th and 19th centuries A.D., there are quite a number of them. We have Antoine Lavoisier (1743-1794), who has been called "the father of modern chemistry," but he was also a skilled biologist; then there is Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), who had some influence on Darwin, and Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), a priest and a Christian believer who is now known as "the father of genetics." Mendel was an approximate contemporary of Darwin but he did not become really noted until about the early 20th century when it was realised that his understanding was greater than Darwin's in certain vital areas. Mendel opposed Darwinism, feeling that 'Charlie boy' was barking up the wrong tree! This opposition is why it took until the twentieth century for his work to become better known. Mendel is one of the reasons that today it is "Neo-Darwinism" which academics prefer to talk about, rather than "Darwinism" (which is considered seriously faulty). Actually even 'Neo-Darwinism' is now under pressure from the 'punctured equilibrium' supporters (see the inset article to the right), but let us try to keep this relatively simple. Funnily enough, such matters are normally hidden from the general public, who are always encouraged to revere Darwin - but none of the others. Is that not amazing? Just to take 'Natural Selection,' whilst almost everybody credits the teaching to Darwin, it was Edward Blyth, a Creationist, who first outlined the teaching - not Darwin at all! 'Natural Selection' and variability within species, often according to physical environmental conditions, is allowed for within the teaching of Genesis and it presents no problem whatsoever to Christians.

But huge areas of Darwin's 'Origin of Species' - and his other books - have been quietly jettisoned because they are just plain wrong - the result is that 'Neo-Darwinism' is now the preferred term. Of course, so-called "macro-evolution" is still accepted by most (certainly not all) scientists and that still stands as a generally accepted theory - I repeat: theory. It is not capable of being 'proven' nor even demonstrated in any experiment.
I may say that several lecturers on evolution have privately admitted to me that 'macro-evolution' (men descended from apes over countless millions of years from an origin in primeval slime) has very notable problems which it cannot avoid facing up to for much longer.

Basically, within Neo-Darwinism, only a. 'Natural Selection' and b. 'Mutations' are available to 'explain' the multiplicity of life which, it is taught, evolved over millions of years from primeval 'slime soups,' but it is mutations which are called upon to explain most of it, since we see 'Natural Selection' all around us and it can never break 'kinds.' Even though hybrids may occur with plant/animal breeding, they are problematic and usually sterile. There is just a little flexibility, yet the Genesis 'kinds' remain unbroken. So, despite the fact that science has conclusively proven that mutations are either neutral or (more likely) positively harmful, it is these mysterious 'mutations' which evolution must insist (since it rejects a Creator God) caused the human race to 'evolve' from the most primitive 'life,' through the stage of ape-like creatures to where we are now! Yet Dr Jerry Bergman tested 453,732 known mutations and calculated that they are 98% harmful. When the fossil record is carefully checked for the required 'transition forms' they are never found, but the 'cambrian explosion' (in which whch all life suddenly appears together) is found. Frankly, Neo-Darwinism is already a 'dead duck' as a viable theory (as a UK-based lecturer on evolution recently privately admitted to me on an 'off the record' basis), but it won't be jettisoned until a new theory of the origin of life comes along. The problem with that is that evolutionary scientists don't want a new theory because they cannot envisage any new theory in this area which does not have to admit the presence of a Creator.

But to simply take the area of Natural Selection and of variations within kinds, those things obviously present no problem to the Christian. The study of genetics and the fossil record seems to indicate that God created numerous pairs of basic types in the beginning, each of which possessed the genetic information and flexibility to produce a wide variety in its offspring, often dependent on environment and location; yet none of these specific kinds can be broken. So, as already stated, selective breeding by humans and even some genetic mutation have also contributed to variation. Creationism does not believe that God created all the species exactly as we see them today. None of this, however, can be used as an argument for macro-evolution which is an extrapolation into the land of fantasy. I may say that I find it interesting that somebody like the British scientist Sylvia Baker MSc., can still consider that many of her fellow-scientists remain highly sceptical about evolution (source: http://edinburghcreationgroup.org/microscope.xml), unlike the strong acceptance at lower levels of the UK educational system and the loose (though not unreserved) acceptance among much of the UK public.

We have numerous articles on evolution. For more information, I would suggest typing that word 'evolution' into our search box on our home page, however, please find below links to just a few of these articles which explode some of the modernist myths about Darwin.
Robin A. Brace. March, 2009.

The Cult of Celebrity