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Darwin and Creation

A Madman Mediates the Darwinian Controversy
(Only a Lunatic Would Try!)

The scientists — most of them anyway — usually say that they do not object to religion, but only to its being taught as science. That is a sensible position. Unfortunately, they were the first to violate it. From the beginning Darwinism has been presented as promoting atheism and as hostile to traditional religion — by the Darwinists.

(Check your local bookstore: If you want a book advocating atheism, look in the science, not religion, section.)

But atheism is not science; it is negative religion. It is true that not all Darwinists actively promote that view, but neither do they denounce it. Instead they attack the anti-Darwinists for their ignorance, for their failure to realize that objective science has nothing to say either about religion or about questions regarding the existence of God or similar speculations.

Curiously, both notions — that Darwinism is atheistic and that it, as a scientific endeavor, has nothing to say about religious issues — are in some sense perfectly true despite the obvious contradiction. Much of the confusion about Darwinism and its rivals originates in the way that two such conflicting ideas could be so firmly knotted together under the same label. Our first task is tease them apart and look at them separately.

The confusion stems from something that philosophers call “equivocation.” Equivocation occurs when two distinct but similar seeming ideas are superimposed on each other and treated as the same in such a way that arguments derived from the one are then falsely applied to the other. Typically one notion is simple, logical and sound but very limited in its application. The other is far-reaching, grand, and far more dubious logically. Equivocation is sometimes deliberately used to mislead, but it is often the result of honest confusion. The confusion may be honest, but it usually arises from deep desire to be fooled.

In the case of Darwinism, we could distinguish between the two theories by calling the limited version scientific Darwinism and the far-reaching one metaphysical Darwinism. Scientific Darwinism is strictly about the evolution of life on earth; metaphysical Darwinism is about the nature of life itself and even about the fundamental laws of the universe. According to the proponents of metaphysical Darwinism, the theory of evolution by natural selection “proves” certain things about the nature of life and the nature of the universe. Thus, metaphysical Darwinism is logically dependent on scientific Darwinism, but the reverse is not true. It is possible to accept scientific Darwinism and reject metaphysical Darwinism, but if the limited theory is in doubt, so is the grander version. So let us look first at scientific Darwinism.

So What Is Darwinism—Really?

Darwinism is not the theory of evolution. You can believe in evolution while totally rejecting Darwinism. It is not even a belief in natural selection. Darwinism is the theory that natural selection, and natural selection alone, is responsible for evolution. Darwinists make an exception for sexual selection, which accounts for such oddities as peacock tails and other traits that do not promote the survival of the fittest, but sexual selection is supposed to be dependant on natural selection. The oddities produced by sexual selection survive only to the extent that they are permitted by natural selection. Its reliance on natural selection gives Darwinism both great strength and remarkable weakness. The strength is that natural selection is logically inescapable if one accepts certain almost unavoidable assumptions. If you recognize that the progeny resemble the parents and that variations do arise that can be transmitted through reproduction, then it becomes inevitable that natural selection must play a large, if not necessarily exclusive role in shaping evolution. The weakness is that it only accounts for the selection of what has already somehow arisen.

So the Darwinists declare that the variations arise entirely by chance.

When you think about that it is apparent what an extraordinary claim they are making. How could they possibly know that?

[Next page: Chance and Complexity]

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