Doubting Darwin

For an eight-year-old boy, it was a startling comment: "Mama," he said, "sometimes I wonder what we're here for." Does life have a purpose? Is there meaning to existence? These are among the most significant questions human beings face over their lifetime—questions that often drive us to God for answers. But today many scientists urge us to turn to science instead. Science is not just about forecasting the weather or mapping our genes, we're told. It's also the basis for an entire world view—a naturalistic world view that tells us there is no ultimate purpose or meaning to life. Biology professor William Provine is an evangelist for the naturalistic world view. Provine travels to college campuses giving a lecture entitled "The Unfinished Darwinian Revolution." His message is that Darwinism is not just about biology, it also entails a philosophy of life: Darwinism implies that the appearance of life on the earth can be explained by natural causes alone—that the history of the universe is a product of random events and impersonal natural laws. In a word, Darwinism entails the philosophy of naturalism. The upshot is that there is no God and therefore no ultimate purpose in life. As Provine puts it, evolution operates by mindless, mechanistic principles: It is "a totally purposeless, uncaring process." But if you ask about the evidence for the Darwinist world view, it is surprisingly meager. For example, in a New York Times article, Jonathan Weiner claims he saw evolution in progress in the Galapagos Islands, home of Darwin's famous finches. Weiner observed that the finches' beaks grew larger in dry seasons, when the seeds they eat are tough and hard; but after a rainy season, when tiny seeds became available once more, the finches' beaks grew smaller again. I witnessed evolution in action, Weiner writes. But what he really witnessed was the exact opposite of evolution. As Phillip Johnson explains in his new book Reason in the Balance, a change in beak size is a minor adaptation that allows the finches to adapt and survive: In other words, it allows them to stay finches. It does not prove that they're capable of evolving into a different species of bird; and it certainly does not prove that finches evolved from some other organism in the first place. When Darwinists claim that evolution is an observed fact, invariably they're referring to minor adaptations like the finch beaks. And on this flimsy basis they urge us to abandon belief in a Creator and take a leap of faith to a grand metaphysical story called naturalism. They insist that we accept a grim vision of a universe with no ultimate meaning or purpose. If Darwinism were true scientifically, then we'd all have to accept its dark implications. But Darwinism is not even good science. You and I need to fight the hold it has on our culture, not only in the science classroom but in every area of life. Otherwise our children may come to believe their own lives are nothing but a cosmic accident.


Chuck Colson


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