In public schools across America, evolution is taught to young children as fact on a daily basis. It is also drummed into our heads through television and movies. However, the truth is that evolution is only one theory as to how life began on this planetâ€”a theory that has not been without its critics.
Credible authorities have come forward to challenge the basis of evolution even as a theory. One is Phillip Johnson, a UC Berkeley professor who is termed â€œthe godfather of intelligent designâ€ and the author of Darwin on Trial. â€œThe cell is a masterpiece of miniaturized complexity that makes a spaceship or super computer look rather low-tech by comparison,â€ Johnson has said. â€œFrom this we know it is not reasonable to believe that you can produce this quantity or quality of information from random means. Complex, specified information is something which in our experience is produced only by intelligence.â€
A recent challenger is one of Great Britainâ€™s most prominent atheists. Eighty-one-year-old professor Anthony Flew now says he believes in God. According to Flew, scientific evidence supports the concept that some sort of intelligence created the universe. In fact, DNA research, says Flew, â€œhas shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce life, that intelligence must have been involved.â€
Evolution as it has been taught is essentially the brainchild of Charles Darwin, as expounded in his 1859 book Origin of the Species. It was in that book that Darwin theorized that plants and animals evolve and develop without the aid of an intelligent Creator through a process of natural selection, which ensures the â€œsurvival of the fittest.â€ His work eventually dislodged people from the traditional notion that they possessed an exalted position as special creations in Godâ€™s image. Although Darwin confined his ideas to biology, others quickly adapted them to nearly all aspects of intellectual life. Darwin eventually became a hero to the international academic community and received many honors.
Science by the late 1800s had become the new religion, with Darwinism being its central tenet. It was recognized as such by notable individuals including British playwright George Bernard Shaw, who observed that â€œthe world jumped at Darwin.â€ J. D. Rockefeller, who used Darwinian thought to justify industrial monopoly without restraint, said, â€œThe growth of large business is merely a survival of the fittest.â€ And Andrew Carnegie expressed his conversion to Darwinism by saying, â€œLight came in as a flood and all was clear. Not only had I got rid of theology and the supernatural, but I found the truth of evolution.â€
However, it wasnâ€™t only businessmen who publicized Darwin to justify ruthless tactics. Soon-to-be tyrants also grabbed hold of evolution. Karl Marx, the father of atheistic communism, wrote that Darwinâ€™s Origin of the Species served as â€œa basis in natural science for the class struggle in history.â€ What followed were the revolutions of the 20th century and the carnage and oppression of countless human beings.
The far-reaching effects of Darwinâ€™s theories should have been apparent. But the priesthood of science moved forward and became even more religiously entrenched, as the evolutionary view of people was beginning to rear its ugly head in the form of racism, fascism and totalitarianism. In fact, as American schoolchildren were being taught the â€œfactâ€ of evolution in schools, Italian fascist Benito Mussolini watched the killing of nearly half a million people at the Caporetto battlefront, while justifying war as a means of evolutionary progress. In public, Mussolini repeatedly used Darwinian catch words while mocking perpetual peace, lest it hinder evolution.
More ominous was the use of Darwin by Adolf Hitler. As early as 1923 in his book Mein Kampf, Hitler expressed his adherence to evolution in justifying genocide. â€œThe German Fuhrer,â€ anthropologist Arthur Keith has said, â€œconsciously sought to make the practice of Germany conform to the theory of evolution.â€ Evolutionary ideas can also be seen in Hitlerâ€™s wish to develop a master race and in his human breeding experiments, which eventually led to the Holocaust.
Racism is also a sequel to evolutionary thinking, and Darwin himself may have provided the racist element of the theory. Although the title of his infamous book is often cited as Origin of the Species, the complete title is The Origin of Species of Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Lifeâ€”the favored race being the white race.
Darwin also taught that women were biologically inferior to men and that human sexual differences were due in part to natural selection. He theorized that men must prove themselves physically and intellectually superior to other men in order to compete for women. As Darwin concluded in his autobiography, â€œthe average mental power in man must be above that of women.â€
Darwin was negatively affected by his own philosophy. As a younger man, he had a great appreciation of the arts and nature. But by the end of his life, he was somewhat disillusioned. â€œI retain some taste for fine scenery,â€ he wrote in his autobiography, â€œbut it does not cause me the exquisite delight it formerly did.â€ The loss of innocence also has its origins in Darwin.
Darwinism, thus, has severe problems in both its validity and its ramifications. But seldom do these problems surface, and rarely are they taught in the educational system.
Clearly, children should not be taught the â€œtheoryâ€ of evolution as fact. And its history and staggering ramifications should be discussed in the classroom. Moreover, why not teach the other theory of when life beginsâ€”that is, intelligent design? Some schools are attempting to do that now. Even Congress has had something to say about it. In 2001, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution by a vote of 91-8. Titled the Santorum Amendment, this resolution declared that evolution instruction should prepare students to understand the controversy about it, to distinguish verifiable scientific theories and â€œto be informed participants in public discussions regarding the subject.â€
Our children should be given a choice. At least, they will be getting both sides of a fundamental question. After all, isnâ€™t teaching the truth what our schools should be about?
Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. He can be contacted at email@example.com. Information about the Institute is available at www.rutherford.org.
(UK Apologetics would like to thank the Rutherford Institute for making this article available to us)