Tag Archives: creation

Scientism, Values, and the Public Interest Sarah Chaffee July 29, 2016 10:44 AM | Permalink


Over at The American Conservative, Rod Dreher comments on a recent post by John Michael Greer, who writes The Archdruid Report. Despite their vastly differing worldviews (conservative Christian vs. druid!), Greer and Dreher agree on this: There are many questions that science can’t answer, not least about politics. Neil deGrasse Tyson is a case in point. Dreher’s headline says it all: “Scientists Make Terrible Politicians.”

Why should this be?

First, scientific and political reasoning are very different. Democracy is based on compromise between competing interests and values. One cannot use scientific reasoning to arrive at values. What science does is continually try to disprove hypotheses. It’s not about finding a workable compromise. Greer:

If you’re Lavoisier and you’re trying to figure out how combustion works, you don’t say, hey, here’s the oxygenation theory and there’s the phlogiston theory, let’s agree that half of combustion happens one way and the other half the other; you work out an experiment that will disprove one of them, and accept its verdict. What’s inadmissible in science, though, is the heart of competent politics.

One of the great intellectual crises of the ancient world, in turn, was the discovery that logic was not the solution to every human problem. A similar crisis hangs over the modern world, as claims that science can solve all human problems prove increasingly hard to defend, and the shrill insistence by figures such as Tyson that it just ain’t so should be read as evidence for the imminence of real trouble.

In other words, he’s talking about scientism, which is something we’vecommented on extensively in the past. Dreher also cites science writer Thomas Burnett:

Scientism today is alive and well, as evidenced by the statements of our celebrity scientists:

“The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.” — Carl Sagan, Cosmos

“The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.” — Stephen Weinberg, The First Three Minutes

“We can be proud as a species because, having discovered that we are alone, we owe the gods very little.” — E.O. Wilson, Consilience

While these men are certainly entitled to their personal opinions and the freedom to express them, the fact that they make such bold claims in their popular science literature blurs the line between solid, evidence-based science, and rampant philosophical speculation. Whether one agrees with the sentiments of these scientists or not, the result of these public pronouncements has served to alienate a large segment of American society.

Maybe this is a good reason to think twice about controversial scientific issues. Scientism, which Dreher calls “the ideologically charged fallacious belief that science is the only legitimate way of knowledge,” animates those large scientific bodies that marginalize scientists with dissenting views on certain controversial questions. Discriminating against these minority scientists helps alienate that “large segment of American society” that Burnett worries about.

A 2016 survey probing attitudes about academic freedom suggests as much. Of respondents, 84 percent said that “attempts to censor or punish scientists for holding dissenting views on issues such as evolution or climate change are not appropriate in a free society.” Similarly, 86 percent affirmed that “disagreeing with the current majority view in science can be an important step in the development of new insights and discoveries in science.” And 88 percent said that “scientists who raise scientific criticisms of evolution should have the freedom to make their arguments without being subjected to censorship or discrimination.”

Scientism, it seems, is more problematic, in more ways, than some observers have realized.

Photo: Neil deGrasse Tyson, by NASA Ames Research Center [Public domain],via Wikimedia Commons.

Real Sciencetists who were also very real Christians

Great Scientists (left to right): Kirby, Pasteur, Newton, Carver, Maxwell, Kepler, Boyle, Bell
The greatest scientists—the ones most responsible for great discoveries—were creationists.
These include Kepler, Newton, Boyle, Bell, Kirby, Maxwell, Pasteur and Carver, among many others. Their numerous discoveries include physical astronomy, calculus, chemistry, electrodynamics, vaccination, and immunization.

They believed that, as scientists, they were “thinking God’s thoughts after Him,” learning to understand and control the laws and processes of nature for God’s glory and man’s good. They believed and practiced science in the same way that modern creationist scientists do.

Johann Kepler
Isaac Newton

Robert Boyle
Charles Bell

William Kirby
James Clerk Maxwell

Louis Pasteur
George Washington Carver

These men believed in the inspiration and authority of the Bible, as well as in the deity and saving work of Jesus Christ. They believed that God had supernaturally created all things, each with its own complex structure for its own unique purpose. More…

Free Creation News Publication Interested in more information about creation, evolution, and intelligent design? Want to know the latest take on scientific discoveries and how they affect our understanding of the Bible? Does science help us interpret the Bible or should the Bible remain the interpreter of science?

Keep up with these and other issues in ICR’s [Institute for Creation Research] monthly Acts & Facts magazine, a free, full-color periodical that deals with science from a biblical perspective. Included with your subscription is the devotional Days of Praise.
Johann Kepler
Physical Astronomy and Celestrial Mechanics
Johann Kepler is best known for discovering the three mathematical laws of planetary motion, dubbed “Kepler’s Laws,” that established the discipline of celestial mechanics. He revolutionized scientific thought by applying physics (then considered a branch of natural philosophy) to astronomy (then seen as a branch of mathematics).

Kepler defended Nicolaus Copernicus’ theory of heliocentrism and sought to reconcile it with Scripture. His Protestant beliefs won him little favor with the Catholic church, and the Lutheran church shunned him for his Calvinist sympathies. He was forced to relocate more than once to avoid persecution, as well as to escape political dangers from ongoing wars.

But Kepler stayed true to his faith, and his scientific discoveries earned him acclaim, legitimized the discoveries of his contemporary Galileo, and influenced generations of scientists that followed him.

“…and thou my soul, praise the Lord thy Creator, as long as I shall be: for out of Him and through Him and in Him are all things….To Him be praise, honour, and glory, world without end. Amen.”—J. Kepler, Harmonies of the World, 137.

These men believed in the inspiration and authority of the Bible, as well as in the deity and saving work of Jesus Christ. They believed that God had supernaturally created all things, each with its own complex structure for its own unique purpose. More…

Free Creation News Publication Interested in more information about creation, evolution, and intelligent design? Want to know the latest take on scientific discoveries and how they affect our understanding of the Bible? Does science help us interpret the Bible or should the Bible remain the interpreter of science?

Isaac Newton
Calculus and Dynamics
As a young scientist and mathematician, Sir Isaac Newton invented the generalized binomial theorem and began developing the mathematical theory that would later become calculus.

While working as a Cambridge professor, Newton’s work in optics earned him recognition by the Royal Society. And his 1687 work, The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, is considered today the single greatest work in the history of science. In it he described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion, derived from Kepler’s Laws.

His work at the Royal Mint earned him knighthood in 1705, and he was elected to the French Académie des Sciences, as well as serving as President of the Royal Society in 1703. But he was also a serious student of the Bible and published several theological works. After he died in 1727, he was interred in Westminster Abbey.

“Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done.”—I. Newton

Robert Boyle
Chemistry and Gas Dynamics
Robert Boyle conducted scientific research into air pressure, mechanics, and chemistry—which he believed should no longer be a subordinate study of alchemy and medicine. He criticized traditional alchemists and laid the foundation for the atomic theory of matter in The Sceptical Chymist, the cornerstone work for modern chemistry. During his travels, he visited Florence, Italy, and studied with the aging Galileo Galilei. He co-founded the prestigious Royal Society in 1663.

He was also a serious student of the Bible, learning the languages of Hebrew, Cyriac, and Chaldee so that he could read the text firsthand. He promoted Christianity in the East by financially supporting missionaries and Bible translation. Upon his death in 1691, he endowed a series of lectures in his will designed to defend Christianity. The “Boyle Lectures” are held annually to this day in London, a legacy of this remarkable man of God.

“The last service that, I hope…is to induce men to pay their admiration, their praises, and their thanks, directly to God himself; who is the true and only creator of the sun, moon, earth, and those other creatures, that men call the works of nature.”—R. Boyle, 1725, The Philosophical Works of the Honourable Robert Boyle Esq: Abridged, Methodized, and Disposed Under the General Heads of Physics, Statics, Pneumatics, Natural History, Chymistry, and Medicine, 149.

Charles Bell
Anatomy and Surgery
Charles Bell had particular interest in the nervous system, and he published Idea of a New Anatomy of the Brain in 1811, now considered the “Magna Carta of neurology.” Several discoveries are named for him, including Bell’s Nerve, Bell’s Palsy/Paralysis, Bell’s Phenomenon, and Bell’s Spasm.

His scientific endeavors convinced him of the existence and necessity of the Creator. Studying the human body, he realized how dependent people are on involuntary physical processes, and he saw close-minded reliance on reason as not only ignorant, but “worse than ingratitude.”

He was familiar with uniformitarianism, which influenced the development of Darwinism, and Bell thought science should be allowed to follow the evidence—even if it leads to a supernatural origin.

“When man thus perceives, that in respect to all these vital operations he is more helpless than the infant, and that his boasted reason can neither give them order nor protection, is not his insensibility to the Giver of these secret endowments worse than ingratitude?”—C. Bell, 1852, The Fourth Bridgewater Treatise on the Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of God as Manifested in the Creation: The Hand; Its Mechanism and Vital Endowments as Evincing Design, 14

William Kirby
William Kirby and fellow British entomologist William Spence authored the four-volume An Introduction to Entomology: or Elements of the Natural History of Insects, considered the foundational work in the field of entomology.

With Spence, Kirby helped found the Entomological Society of London in 1833, to which he was appointed Honorary President for life. His vision of an Ipswitch natural history museum was realized in 1847, and he served as its president until his death in 1850.

“In no part of creation are the POWER, WISDOM, and GOODNESS of its beneficent and almighty Author more signally conspicuous than in the various animals that inhabit and enliven our globe.”—W. Kirby, 1835, The Seventh Bridgewater Treatise on the Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of God as Manifested in the Creation: The History, Habits and Instinct of Animals, Vol. 1, i.

James Clerk Maxwell
Electrodynamics and Statistical Thermodynamics
James Clerk Maxwell worked extensively with translating electromagnetic equations and the principles of color combinations. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1861 and published multiple papers on electromagnetism, heat, and physics.

Maxwell is held in high regard to this day in the scientific community, but few know or acknowledge his strong Christian roots or his faith in the authority of God’s Word. Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species (1859) was published during Maxwell’s lifetime. Maxwell wasn’t convinced evolution was a viable theory, and he wasn’t afraid to speak on the matter.

“The consciousness of the presence of God is the only guarantee of true self-knowledge. Everything else is mere fiction, fancy portraiture—done to please one’s friends or self, or to exhibit one’s moral discrimination at the expense of character.”—J. C. Maxwell, 1858, A letter to the Rev. L. Campbell.
Robert Boyle
Louis Pasteur
Microbiology, Bacteriology, Biogenesis Law, Pasteurization, Vaccination And Immunization
Little was known about preventative medicine in the days of Louis Pasteur. Today, we owe all the discoveries in the fields of microbiology and immunology to his work. He shares the title of “father of germ theory and bacteriology” with German physician Robert Koch. He was a devout Catholic and was famously “regarded as conforming with the biblical account of the creation.”

At the time, Darwin’s theory of abiogenesis (or the idea that life was generated from non-life) reigned, but Pasteur’s systematic and exhaustive experiments disproved it, opening the way for germ theory. He had a rigorous approach to experimentation and wouldn’t make any claims until he had re-tested his hypothesis several times.

Two of his main contributions to science and medicine are the anthrax and rabies vaccines. His work set the foundation for some of the most important advances in our modern world. Pasteur was an experimentalist of the highest order, and his science was undoubtedly fueled by his faith.

“I see everywhere the inevitable expression of the Infinite in the world; through it the supernatural is at the bottom of every heart.”—L. Pasteur

George Washington Carver
Modern Agriculture
George Washington Carver revolutionized agricultural science with his cultivation of soil-enriching crops, such as peanuts and soybeans, to revive earth that had been depleted of nutrients from cotton farming. He discovered over 100 uses for the sweet potato and 300 uses for the peanut. He was offered many honors and substantial wealth from patents, but he chose not to patent his discoveries because it would take too much time and benefit too few.

Frugal in finance and humble in character, Carver was undoubtedly a deeply devoted Christian. He attributed inspiration of his work to God, and his studies of nature convinced him of the existence and benevolence of the Creator.

“If I know the answer, you can have it for the price of a postage stamp. The Lord charges nothing for knowledge, and I will charge you the same.”—G. W. Carver

Christianity is a well-rounded belief system, it understands that man is natural and spiritual. Scientism is very narrow and limited.

I couldn’t find a way to reblog the following, it’s from a young lady who appears to want to be anonymous, so I will respect that and will at least post the link to where the following came from:   https://steagarden.wordpress.com/

This is a subject I have other material that I am going to be blogging on, this is information I never saw before, in regards to scientists who are sincere Trinitarian Christian believers. The world would have us believe that science and Christian faith are diametrically opposed. That there is the natural and the supernatural and never the twain shall meet. That of course is nonsense, let’s just start with the fact that creation came into being as a result of the supernatural (that is God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit). To deny that is simply irrational and deny the reality around us. The faith system called scientism (believes that everything is about natural law and there is no other law, everything is subject to scientific examination and if it’s not amenable to that, well it doesn’t exist.) That folks is irrational, and this from people who are claiming to be very rational????

Science exists because God created it. For millennium scientists studied nature with the supposition that what they were studying was put there by God. Well-rounded, intelligent people understand that people certainly need to be knowledgeable about the science of the world, it is part of God’s creation. At the same time understanding that man is far more than just the material, there is a spiritual side to man that is unique and how God made us. To deny that is not some kind of intellectual superiority! It’s living in a fantasy world of denial and a gross disregard of the facts.

Squid’s Tea

Exploring Photography, Poetry, God’s Word, and the Little Things In Life


Alright, first post naming Christian scientists.

Robert Grosseteste: 1175-1253
Father of the Scientific Method.  (Pretty important, no?)

Roger Bacon: (got to love that name) 1214-1292
Loved to study nature through the use of empirical methods. He’s often included in a brief list of observers who used the modern scientific method for observations and was often considered a radical by religious authorities of his time because he would question everything.  Source: http://www.visionlaunch.com/roger-bacon-inventions-and-accomplishments/

Thomas Bradwardine: 1290-1349
Reformer who examined Aristotle’s ideas critically.

I do want to say one thing… If the universe was created by an all powerful being who was a master designer, we would expect to see order, similar design between species, laws that don’t change, and complex systems.  I doubt that anyone will disagree with me on the fact that that is what we see through our microscopes!  But if the universe really did evolve from nothing, then why bother with science?  The laws that we hold so firmly (i.e. 1st and 2nd Law of Thermodynamics) will just change in the next couple hundred years, right?  If there is no stability to this world, then things cannot be tested over and over again, because things will have changed.  That’s not scientific!  Just a thought.


Christians Can Be Scientists?

In his recent debate against Ken Ham, Bill Nye (the Science Guy) cautioned parents not to teach their children creationism because we need scientists, engineers, doctors, etc. in the future.    I think he needs to learn who even paved the way for where the scientific community is right now… Christian scientists!  They all got into science for the sake of studying God’s creation!  So, to educate him, (sorry, couldn’t help throwing that in) I am going to do a series of posts on Christian scientists throughout the centuries.  I’m going to try to cover one time period per day for about 4-5 days I think.  Keep posted (no pun intended) for the first post!


No missing link here

Neanderthal Men Were Modern Men

A set of fossilized human remains has been discovered in Iberia that shows partial Neanderthal characteristics, proving again that Neanderthals interbred with anatomically modern men.1 This adds to a growing list of evidence, consistent with biblical history, that demonstrates Neanderthal to have been fully human, rather than an evolutionary transition.2

Though evolution models once held that Neanderthal man was one of the “missing links” between an ape-like ancestor and modern man, the repeated discoveries of Neanderthal remains right next to those of modern humans—instead of in separate, lower, older strata—have forced him out of the pool of “pre-human” evolutionary ancestor candidates. In contrast to ever-evolving naturalistic interpretations, the biblical creation model has consistently maintained that Neanderthal man was just that—man.

Neanderthal did have distinct characteristics that are apparently now either extinct or diffused, but his family line was fully human for several hundred years after Noah’s Flood, when humans repopulated the earth about 4,300 years ago.

The mounting evidence for Neanderthal and modern man’s coexistence calls into question whether the Neanderthal and other human varieties even lived in separate times, as the evolutionary story still maintains. Both the Bible and science indicate that this was not the case. Biblical history has no place for such a separate, distant time of evolutionary development, but it does allow for variations within the human kind in its 6,000-year history.

Anthropologist Marvin L. Lubenow has shown that Neanderthal, other than having a larger cranial capacity, was anatomically the same as Homo erectus.3 Their fossils do not fit into the depiction of a linear evolutionary ape-to-man transition that is iconic today, but were simply comingling variations of humankind. Furthermore, a fossil elbow (KP 271) and the Laetoli footprints are indistinguishable from modern man, and both have been dated by evolutionary scientists at 4 million years or older—predating the earliest Neanderthals!4 Thus, within the published evolutionary dates, “anatomically modern Homo sapiens, Neandertal, archaic Homo sapiens, and Homo erectus [as well as Lucy-like Australopithecinces] all lived as contemporaries.”3

As seen in the fossil remains from Iberia, the more that is discovered about Neanderthal, the more evolutionary models morph to accommodate the data. In contrast to this ambiguity, both the Bible and science confirm that man and apes—though many small differences can be discerned within each kind—nevertheless remain totally separate, untransitioned created kinds.


  1. Walker, M. et. al. 2008. Late Neandertals in Southeastern Iberia: Sima de las Palomas del Cabezo Gordo, Murcia, Spain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online before print December 12, 2008.
  2. Duarte, C. et al. 1999. The early Upper Paleolithic human skeleton from the Abrigo do Lagar Velho (Portugal) and modern human emergence in Iberia.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 96 (13): 7604-7609.
  3. Lubenow, M. 1992. Bones of Contention. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 178.
  4. Tuttle, R. 1990. The Pitted Pattern of Laetoli Feet. Natural History. March Issue, 60-65. Quoted in Lubenow, Bones of Contention, 170.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer.

Article posted on December 18, 2008.

Evolution vs Creation, you might want to read what Darwin wrote a little more closely, not as edifying as you might think

The following is a chapter from a new book from “Answers in Genesis”. Evolution keeps popping up in the church and other parts of society, despite its implausibility, frankly that’s putting it nicely, really its impossibility. Check out this article and you might want to look a little deeper and use some of the links to “Answers in Genesis”.
Do Evolutionists Believe Darwin’s Ideas about Evolution?

Chapter 28

Do Evolutionists Believe Darwin’s Ideas about Evolution?

by Dr. Terry Mortenson and Roger Patterson on January 26, 2015

Few people have actually read the works of Darwin, and if they did they might be shocked to read some of Darwin’s ideas.
Creation and Evolution: Compatible or in Conflict?

This controversy can’t be solved by merely listing both views of the facts. Extremely intelligent and knowledgeable scientists in both camps show that it can’t just be about facts. Discover what makes the difference!

Charles Darwin first published his ideas on evolution over 150 years ago. In those 150 years we have come to understand the complexity of life, and many new scientific fields have shed light on the question of the validity of Darwin’s evolutionary hypothesis. Few people have actually read the works of Darwin, and if they did they might be shocked to read some of Darwin’s ideas. In this chapter we will take a look at what Darwin and other early evolutionists believed and how those ideas have changed over time.

Darwin was wrong on many points, and there would be few who would disagree with this claim. But if Darwin was wrong on some points, does that mean that the entire hypothesis of evolution is proven wrong?

What Is Evolution?

Like many words, evolution has many different uses depending on its context. The general concept of the word is “change over time.” In that sense, one might say that a butterfly evolves from an egg to a caterpillar to a winged butterfly and a child evolves into an adult. There is no disputing that individual organisms change over time. However, using the word in this way is quite misleading for the origins debate. Darwin’s hypothesis involves a very different concept.

As evolution is used in this chapter and in all science textbooks, natural history museums, and science programs on television, it refers to the biological idea that all life on Earth has descended from a single common ancestor. There are many different variations on this theme as well as several explanations of how the first organism came into existence from non-living matter. Examining some of the historical evolutionary positions and comparing them to the ideas that are popular in scientific circles today shows how much those concepts have changed. In general, evolution will be used to refer to the concept of molecules turning into men over time. This concept of evolution is in direct opposition to the biblical account of creation presented in the book of Genesis.1

Evolution—An Ancient Idea

The concept of molecules-to-man evolution is certainly not a new idea. Several Greek philosophers before the time of Christ wrote on the topic. For example, Lucretius and Empedocles promoted a form of natural selection that did not rely on any type of purpose. In De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things) Lucretius writes:

And many species of animals must have perished at that time, unable by procreation to forge out the chain of posterity: for whatever you see feeding on the breath of life, either cunning or courage or at least quickness must have guarded and kept that kind from its earliest existence. . . . But those to which nature gave no such qualities, so that they could neither live by themselves at their own will, nor give us some usefulness for which we might suffer to feed them under our protection and be safe, these certainly lay at the mercy of others for prey and profit, being all hampered by their own fateful chains, until nature brought that race to destruction.2

This stands in opposition to the thinking of Aristotle, who promoted the idea of purpose in nature. Aristotle also imagined forms of life advancing through history, but he believed nature had the aim of producing beauty.3 This idea of purpose in nature, or teleology, is later seen in the works of Thomas Aquinas and other Christian philosophers.


The concept of evolution was not lost from Western thinking until Darwin rediscovered it—it was always present in various forms. Because much of the thinking was dominated by Aristotelian ideas, the idea of a purposeless evolutionary process was not popular. Most saw a purpose in nature and the interactions between living things. The dominance of the Roman Catholic Church in Europe (where modern science was born) and its adherence to Aristotelian philosophies also played a role in limiting the promotion of evolution and other contrary ideas as these would have been seen as heresy. As the Enlightenment took hold in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, explanations that looked beyond a directed cause became more popular.

Erasmus Darwin

Coming to the mid-to-late 18th century, Kant, Liebnitz, Buffon, and others began to talk openly of a natural force that has driven the change of organisms from simple to complex over time. The idea of evolution was well established in the literature, but there seemed to be no legitimate mechanism to adequately explain this idea in scientific terms. Following the spirit of the Greek poets Lucretius and Empedocles, Erasmus Darwin, the atheist grandfather of Charles, wrote some of his ideas in poetic verse. Brushing up against the idea of survival of the fittest, Erasmus spoke of the struggle for existence between different animals and even plants. This struggle is a part of the evolutionary process he outlines in his Temple of Nature (1803) in the section titled “Production of Life”:

Hence without parent by spontaneous birth
Rise the first specks of animated Earth;
From Nature’s womb the plant or insect swims,
And buds or breathes, with microscopic limbs.4

And he continues:

Organic Life beneath the shoreless waves
Was born and nursed in Ocean’s pearly caves;
First forms minute, unseen by spheric glass,
Move on the mud, or pierce the watery mass;
These, as successive generations bloom,
New powers acquire, and larger limbs assume;
Whence countless groups of vegetation spring,
And breathing realms of fin, and feet, and wing.5

Starting with spontaneous generation from inanimate matter, Erasmus imagined life evolving into more complex forms over time. He did not identify any mechanisms that may have caused the change, other than general references to nature and a vague driving force.

In the introduction to this work, Erasmus Darwin states that it is not intended to instruct but rather to amuse, and he then includes many notes describing his ideas. Despite his claimed-to-be-innocent intentions, this poem lays out the gradual, simple-to-complex progression of matter to living creature—a view very consciously different from the biblical account of creation which the vast majority of his contemporaries knew and believed. He traces the development of life in the seas to life on land with the four-footed creatures eventually culminating in humans and the creation of society. There is no doubt that when Charles began his studies, the idea of evolution apart from the supernatural was present in Western thought (even in his own extended family). The arguments in support of special creation were certainly prominent, but evolutionary ideas were being pressed into mainstream thinking in the era of modernism.6

To underscore the early acceptance of evolution, the following passage from Zoonomia (3 vol., 1794–1796) illustrates Erasmus Darwin’s belief that all life had come from a common “filament” of life.

From thus meditating on the great similarity of the structure of the warm-blooded animals . . . would it be too bold to imagine that, in the great length of time since the Earth began to exist, perhaps millions of ages before the commencement of the history of mankind would it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament?7

Lamarckian Evolution or Use and Disuse

In France, and at the same time as Erasmus, Jean Baptiste Lamarck developed his theories of the origin and evolution of life. Initially, he had argued for the immutability of species, but in his later works he laid out a clear alternative to the special creation of plants and animals. Lamarck believed that the geology of the Earth was the result of gradual processes acting over vast periods of time—a view later to be known as uniformitarianism. Lamarck developed four laws of evolution and put them forward in his Philosophie Zoologique published in 1809. Lamarck proposed that an internal force and the need for new organs caused creatures to develop new characteristics. Once developed, the use or disuse of the organs would determine how they would be passed on to a creature’s offspring. This idea of the transmission or inheritance of acquired characteristics is the hallmark of this model of evolution.

Lamarckian EvolutionIn Lamarckian evolution, animals change due to environmental factors and the use or disuse of a feature. For example, a giraffe’s neck will get longer over time as it continually stretches it to reach higher leaves on trees.

Lamarck’s mechanism of use and disuse of characters was widely rejected in his lifetime, especially by the prominent French naturalist Georges Cuvier, and was never supported by observations. Lamarck did attempt to explain how the characteristics were inherited, but there was still no clear biological mechanism of inheritance that would support his claims. Lamarck also proposed a tree of life with various branching structures that showed how life evolved from simple to complex forms. Much of what Lamarck proposed seems unreasonable to us today with a modern understanding of genetics. A husband and wife who are both bodybuilders will not have an extraordinarily muscular child—that acquired trait does not have any affect on the genetic information in the germ cells of the parents’ bodies. However, recent research has revealed instances of bacterial inheritance that appear to be very Lamarckian in nature. Future research in this area may reveal that Lamarck was correct to some degree. But there are many good reasons to expect that this would provide no support for the idea of molecules-to-man evolution.8

Darwinian Evolution

Charles Darwin was at least familiar with all of these different views, and their influence can be found throughout his writings. Darwin often referred to the effects of natural selection along with the use or disuse of the parts. The legs and wings of the ostrich, the absence of feet and wings in beetles, and the absence of eyes in moles and cave-dwelling animals are all mentioned by Darwin as a result of use or disuse alongside natural selection.9 Exactly how this process happened was a mystery to Darwin. He proposed the idea of “pangenesis” as the mechanism of passing traits from parent to offspring. This idea is not significantly different from Lamarck’s, for it relies on the use and disuse of organs and structures that are passed on to offspring through pangenes over vast ages.

Natural Select + Millions of YearsDarwin originally proposed that natural selection would be the primary mechanism acting to change organisms over millions of years. He was not aware of the role of mutations in heredity.

In his work The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, Darwin suggested that gemmules are shed by body cells, and that the combination of these gemmules would determine the appearance and constitution of the offspring. If the parent had a long neck, then more gemmules for a long neck would be passed to the offspring. In Darwin’s defense, he was not aware of the work of his contemporary, Gregor Mendel. In his garden in the Czech lands, Mendel was studying the heredity of pea plants. Neither man knew of the existence of genes, or the DNA genes are composed of, but both of them understood there was a factor involved in transmitting characteristics from one generation to the next. Despite evidence from experiments conducted by his cousin Francis Galton, Darwin clung to his pangenesis hypothesis and defended it in his later work Descent of Man.

Darwin believed that all organisms had evolved by natural processes over vast expanses of time. In the introduction to Origin of Species he wrote the following:

As many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive; and as, consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it vary however slightly in any manner profitable to itself, under the complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form.10

Darwin’s belief that slight modifications were selected to produce big changes in organisms over the course of millions of years was the foundation of his model for the evolution of life on Earth. We know today that Darwin’s notion of gemmules and pangenes leading to new features or the development of enhanced characteristics is a false notion. However, that does not mean, by itself, that Darwin’s conclusion is wrong—just that his reasoning was faulty.

Neo-Darwinian Evolution and the Modern Synthesis

The discovery of DNA and the rediscovery of Mendel’s work on heredity in pea plants have shown that Darwin’s hereditary mechanism does not work. But his conclusion of molecules-to-man transformation over millions of years is still held as true by proponents of evolution. In the early 20th century, Mendelian genetics was rediscovered and it came to be understood that DNA was responsible for the transmission and storage of hereditary information. The scientific majority was still fixed on a naturalistic explanation for the evolution of organisms. That evolution happened was never a question—finding the mechanism was the goal of these naturalistic scientists.

Mutation of genetic information came to be viewed as the likely mechanism for providing the raw material for natural selection to act on. Combining genetic studies of creatures in the lab and in the wild, models of speciation and change over time were developed and used to explain what was seen in the present. These small changes that resulted from mutations were believed to provide the genetic diversity that would lead to new forms over eons of time. This small change was referred to as “microevolution” since it involved small changes over a short amount of time. The evolutionists claim that the small changes add up to big changes over millions of years, leading to new kinds of life. Thus, microevolution leads to “macroevolution” in the evolutionary view. However, the acceptance of these terms just leads to confusion, and they should be avoided.

Natural Select + Millions of Years + MutationAfter the discovery of DNA and its role in inheritance, evolutionists pointed to mutations in the DNA as the source for new traits. These accidental mutations provide differences in the offspring that can be selected for. This selection is believed to lead to new kinds of life.

This is not fundamentally different from what Charles Darwin taught; it simply uses a different mechanism to explain the process. The problem is that the change in speciation and adaptation is heading in the opposite direction needed for macroevolution. The small changes seen in species as they adapt to their environments and form new species through mutation are the result of losses of information. Darwinian evolution requires the addition of traits (such as forelimbs changing into wings, and scales turning into feathers in dinosaur-to-bird evolution), which requires the addition of new information. Selecting from information that is already present in the genome and that was damaged through copying mistakes in the genes cannot be the process that adds new information to the genome.


Today, evolution has been combined with the study of embryology, genetics, the fossil record, molecular structures, plate tectonics, radiometric dating, anthropology, forensics, population studies, psychology, brain chemistry, etc. This leads to the intertwining of so many different ideas that the modern view of evolution can explain anything. It has become so plastic that it can be molded to explain any evidence, no matter how inconsistent the explanations may become. Even Darwin was willing to admit that there may be evidence that would invalidate his hypothesis. That is no longer the view held by the vast majority of evolutionists today—evolution has become a fact, even a scientific law (on par with the law of gravity), in the minds of many.

To help us see this more clearly, let us take a look at the idea of different races. Darwin published his views on the different races in Descent of Man. Though Darwin spoke against slavery, he clearly believed that the different people groups around the world were the result of various levels of evolutionary development. Darwin wrote the following:

At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes . . . will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian [Aborigine] and the gorilla.11

This is the conclusion Darwin came to—that different rates of evolution would lead to different classes of humans. He often refers to the distinction between the civilized Europeans and the savages of various areas of the world. He concludes that some of these savages are so closely related to apes that there is no clear dividing line in human history “where the term ‘man’ ought to be used.”12 Consistent with his naturalistic view of the world, Darwin saw various groups of humans, whether they are distinct species or not, as less advanced than others. This naturally leads to racist attitudes and, as Dr. Stephen J. Gould noted, biological arguments for racism “increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory,”13 though this was likely only an excuse to act on underlying social prejudices.

Dr. James Watson (co-discoverer of the double-helix structure of the DNA molecule and a leading atheistic evolutionist) was caught in a storm of evolutionary racism in 2007. The Times of London reported the following in an interview:

He says that he is “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours—whereas all the testing says not really,” and I know that this “hot potato” is going to be difficult to address. His hope is that everyone is equal, but he counters that “people who have to deal with black employees find this not true.” He says that you should not discriminate on the basis of colour, because “there are many people of colour who are very talented, but don’t promote them when they haven’t succeeded at the lower level.” He writes, “there is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so.”14

Though he later stated that he did not intend to imply that black Africans are genetically inferior, he is being consistent with his evolutionary beliefs. His remarks were considered offensive, even by those who endorse evolution.


This exposes an inconsistency in the thinking of many evolutionists today—if we evolved by random chance, we are nothing special. If humans evolved, it is only reasonable to conclude that different groups have evolved at different rates and with different abilities, and mental ability could be higher in one group than another. If the data supported this claim, in the evolutionary framework, then it should be embraced. Those who would suggest that evolution can explain why all humans have value must battle against those evolutionists who would disagree. This exposes the inconsistent and plastic nature of evolution as an overarching framework—who gets to decide what evolution should mean? Darwin and Watson are applying the concepts in a consistent way and setting emotion and political correctness aside, when it is deemed necessary. Darwin noted that “it is only our natural prejudice and . . . arrogance” that lead us to believe we are special in the animal world.15

Without an objective standard, such as that provided by the Bible, the value and dignity of human beings are left up to the opinions of people and their biased interpretations of the world around us. God tells us through His Word that each human has dignity and is a special part of the creation because each one is made in the image of God. We are all of “one blood” in a line descended from Adam, the first man, who was made distinct from all animals and was not made by modifying any previously existing animal (Genesis 2:7).

Saltation and Punctuated Equilibrium

Contrasted with Darwin’s view of a gradual process of change acting over vast ages of time, others have seen the history of life on Earth as one of giant leaps of rapid evolutionary change sprinkled through the millions of years. Darwin noted that the fossil record seemed to be missing the transitions from one kind of organism to the next that would confirm his gradualistic notion of evolution. Shortly after Darwin, there were proponents of evolutionary saltation—the notion that evolution happens in great leaps. The almost complete absence of transitional forms in the fossil record seemed to support this saltation concept and this was later coupled with genetics to provide a mechanism where “hopeful monsters” would appear and almost instantaneously produce a new kind of creature (e.g., changing a reptile into a bird). These “monsters” would be the foundation for new kinds of animals.

Saltation fell out of favor, but the inconsistency between the fossil record and the gradualism promoted by Darwin and others was still a problem. The work of Ernst Mayr, Stephen J. Gould, and Niles Eldredge was the foundation for the model of “punctuated equilibrium.” This model explained great periods of stasis in the fossil record punctuated with occasional periods of rapid change in small populations of a certain kind of creature. This rapid change is relative to the geologic time scale—acting over tens of thousands of years rather than millions. This idea is not inconsistent with Darwin’s grand evolutionary scheme. However, it seems that Darwin did not anticipate such a mechanism, though he commented that different organisms would have evolved at different rates. Whether evolution has occurred by gradual steps or rapid leaps (or some combination) is still a topic of debate among those who hold to the neo-Darwinian synthesis of mutations and natural selection as the driving forces of evolutionary change.

Natural Select + Millions of Years + Mutation + Bursts of ChangeContrary to Neo-Darwinism, punctuated equilibrium tries to account for the lack of fossil intermediates by appealing to rapid bursts of change interspersed in the millions of years. They still rely on mutations and natural selection, but at a much faster rate.


Sir Isaac Newton provided us with a general theory of gravity (and described laws in support of that theory) based on observational science. Even in light of modern understandings, those laws still apply today. Einstein did expand the concepts, but the functionality of Newtonian physics still applies today as much as ever.


The same cannot be said for Darwin’s ideas. Darwin’s hypothesized mechanism of natural selection (even with the added understanding of mutations) has failed to provide an explanation for the origin and diversity of life we see on Earth today. His confident expectation that the fossil record would confirm his hypothesis has utterly failed, and the mind-boggling irreducible complexity seen in biological systems today defies the explanations of Darwin or his disciples. To say that evolutionary thinking today is Darwinian in nature can only mean that evolutionists believe that life has evolved from simpler to complex over time. Beyond that, what is called Darwinism today bears little resemblance to what Darwin actually wrote.

All of these ideas of the evolution of organisms from simple to complex are contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture that God made separate kinds of plants and animals and one kind of man, each to reproduce after its own kind. As such, these evolutionary ideas are bound to fail when attempting to describe the history of life and to predict the future changes to kinds of life in this universe where we live. When we start our thinking with the Bible, we can know we are starting on solid ground. Both the fossil record and the study of how plants, animals, and people change in the present fit perfectly with what the Bible says about Creation, the Flood, and the Tower of Babel in Genesis 1–11. The Bible makes sense of the world around us.

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  1. For an explanation of some of the contradictions between the biblical creation account and the widely held evolution story, see the article “Evolution vs. Creation: The Order of Events Matters!” atwww.answersingenesis.org/articles/2006/04/04/order-of-events-matters.
  2. Sharon Kaye, “Was There No Evolutionary Thought in the Middle Ages? The Case of William of Ockham,” British Journal for the History of Philosophy 14 no. 2 (2006): 225–244.
  3. Henry Fairfield Osborn, From the Greeks to Darwin (London: Macmillan, 1913), p. 43–56.
  4. Erasmus Darwin, The Temple of Nature (London: Jones & Company, 1825), p. 13.
  5. Ibid., p. 14–15.
  6. Modernism was the dominant philosophy in Western culture from the late 18th to the late 20th centuries. This philosophy placed science as the supreme authority for determining truth. Science was viewed as the “savior” of mankind—eventually finding cures for all diseases, ending war, famine, etc. Though it has been largely replaced by post-modernism, this modernist thinking is still very prominent among scientists and many others in our culture. Post-modernism, on the other hand, is a radical skepticism about anyone’s ability to know truth. Post-modernists argue that truth and morality are relative—there are no absolutes. It also reflects disenchantment with the promises made by modernist philosophers and scientists. Both philosophies reject Scripture as authoritative truth and are based on evolutionary thinking.
  7. Erasmus Darwin, Zoonomia, volume 1 (Philadelphia, PA: Edward Earle, 1818), p. 397.
  8. Even if Lamarckian mechanisms are uncovered, the fossil record would not support the evolution story. See Duane Gish, Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No, (Santee, CA: Institute for Creation Research, 1996); Carl Werner,Evolution: The Grand Experiment, vol. 1 (Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Press, 2007); and Living Fossils, vol. 2 (Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Press, 2008). Natural selection can only “select” from existing genetic information (it cannot create new information), and mutations cause a loss or reshuffling of existing genetic information. See Terry Mortenson’s DVD Origin of the Species: Was Darwin Right? (Answers in Genesis, 2007) and John Sanford,Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome (Lima NY: Elim Publishing, 2005). Also, what bacteria can do should not be directly applied to other forms of life because bacteria are categorically and significantly different. This is explained in Georgia Purdom’s DVD All Creatures Great and Small: Microbes and Creation (Petersburg, KY: Answers in Genesis, 2009).
  9. Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species (New York, NY: The Modern Library, 1993), p. 175–181.
  10. Ibid., p. 21.
  11. Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man (New York, NY: The Modern Library, 1936), p. 521.
  12. Ibid., p. 541.
  13. Stephen Jay Gould, Ontogeny and Phylogeny (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1977), p. 127.
  14. Charlotte Hunt-Grubbe, “The Elementary DNA of Dr Watson,” Times Online [London], October 14, 2007, http://www.entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article2630748.ece.
  15. Darwin, The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man, p. 411–412.

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