What Is The Reason For The Persistence Of Darwinism?
What is the reason for the persistence of Darwinism in the general culture of the masses, though many of Darwin’s hypotheses have been challenged and even disproved?
It would be difficult to find another theory which, like Darwinism, has been battered and defeated so many times, and yet the corpse of it revived artificially again and again. Some scientists still defend it to the hilt; others discredit it altogether, asserting that holding to it is sheer delusion. It seems that, in the academic scientific world, Darwinism will keep conference agendas busy for some time yet, and thousands more articles and books will be written on it, and the debates persist.
The collapse of communism as an ideology and as a political force has made it more obvious than it was before that “East” and “West” was a geographical, not a cultural divide. It was and is right to think of the experiment in Russia and its former satellite states as a variation within Western culture, not an opposition to it. The strictly Western attitude to religion, derived from Rousseau and Renan, was to see it as a socially necessary myth, a delusion that provided a sort of cultural and social cohesion to collective life but which had no more basis in reality than do dreams. The strictly Eastern (Communist) attitude, founded upon explicit rejection of religion and explicit acceptance of materialism, naturally favored Darwinism (which entails the same rejection) and gave to it more deliberate and institutional support than in the West. But in the broader view, modern Western culture as a whole is closely predicated on the assumptions of Darwinism, and those who, in Muslim countries, wish to promote Western culture, continue, in universities and educational institutions generally, to pass off Darwinism as established scientific truth and, by implication, to represent religion as unscientific and false. Inevitably, some of this poison is effective on pliable young minds: many of them begin to believe (though far fewer continue to believe) that religion is not conformable to human reason, and that, as an explanation of the origin of species, Darwinism is still the best that independent human reason can do.
I will not go into the details of the evolutionary hypothesis, but within the scope of brief question and answer, I will touch upon some of the major points.
According to Darwin, life originated on earth from simple, single celled organisms giving rise to multi cellular organisms through a process of gradual change, along with random mutations, over millions of years. According to more developed forms of evolutionary theory, the foundation of all living things is amino acids within water, which later somehow got formed into single celled organisms, like the amoeba, and these organisms interacting with each other and the immediate environment over uncalculated billions of years, gradually or by sudden jumps evolved into the great variety of complex multi cellular animals. Then the invertebrates gave rise to aquatic vertebrates, i.e., fish, which evolved into amphibians which gave rise to reptiles; later, some reptiles evolved into birds, while others evolved into mammals culminating in the evolution of humankind.
The hypothesis is typically argued on the basis of a few incomplete pieces of fossils, though, so far, the actual fossil record has failed to endorse that view. To our knowledge, no scientific hypothesis except this one was ever sustained on the basis of so many, and so important “missing links.” What the scientists have discovered through observation proves the opposite of the evolutionary theory true: in spite of having many varieties, bacteria have not evolved into anything different and higher though they adapt very quickly; in whatever variety they exist, cockroaches and insects have been living as they are for almost 350 million years. Fruit flies have remained fruit flies for millions of years; arthropods, sponges, and sea crabs today are exactly as found in fossils from rock formations formed 500 million years ago; snakes, lizards, mice, and many other species, have not evolved into any other different species; nor have horse’s hooves or human feet evolved into something different. Man is, as we put it, exactly the same as he was created on the first day.
There are no examples of the transitional organisms that the theory requires, such as, for example, an animal that has evolved its front legs partly (but not yet wholly) into wings in readiness for the transition to bird like flight. And, unsurprisingly, there is not even a theoretical explanation, given that such transitions are supposed to take thousands of generations to complete. How the partly evolved animal could survive in what kind of environment—lacking four “good” legs, and still not equipped with two good legs and a pair of wings.
Many arguments give the erroneous example of the evolution of the horse from a small dog like mammal with five toes to the large modern horse with one toe or hoof. In fact, the evolutionists have no evidence for that claim. Nowhere in the world have they found a series of fossils to demonstrate such an evolutionary order. It remains entirely hypothetical, suppositional. They talk about an animal which lived in the past and claim that it was the ancestor of the modern horse; but they cannot establish any necessary connection between the modern horse and that animal: the only need for that connection is the need to illustrate the theory, which the illustration is supposed to establish. This is the very opposite of reliable scientific argument and procedure. We shall say that God created such an animal at that age which later on became extinct, and it no longer exists now. Why do we need to connect these two species? Even today horses of different sizes and breeds co exist in our age.
Scientists found bees and honey from millions of years ago. The bee produced honey and the honeycomb in the same way as it does today, using the same geometrical measures, 100 million years ago. So, for that whole expanse of time neither the bee’s brain and physiological structure nor the way it produces honey have changed.
What of the evolution of humankind? It is especially badly argued and ill founded. Some scientist discovered some bones, or even just the tooth of an ape, and posited (that is, guessed) the rest—the body posture, flesh, skin, hair, features, etc., of the evolved “human.”
Piltdown Man is a good example to famous scientific hoaxes related with evolution. The supposed discovery near Piltdown, England, of an ape like fossil ancestral to modern humans, was reported in 1912. The discovery included fragments of what were later proved to be a modern human cranium and the jawbone of an ape. For many years the Piltdown man fossil was a subject of anthropological controversy. In 1953, scientific analyses proved the fossil a forgery.
Evolutionists used to mention the coelacanth, a fish abundant 400 million years ago, as a link between the fish and the land animals because of its limb like fins. It was theorized that the coelacanth lurched onto the land in search of food, staying there longer and longer until—about 70 million years ago—it disappeared from the fossil record. To their surprise, local fishermen caught several dozen coelacanths off the coast of Madagascar in 1938. The caught fish were exactly like their ancestors, perfectly adapted to their deep sea environment and showing no signs of evolution. The coelacanth has been quietly dropped by many text books from the list of evidences of evolution, because it became the symbol of the non evolution of organisms, rather than of their evolution.
Evolutionists also claim that the organisms evolve through random mutations. While new cells are being formed, if the genetic code, normally identical in all the cells of an organism, is copied differently or mistakenly, mutations occur. Such a change, which is claimed to bear evolutionary fruit gradually over a long period, may be caused by a number of external agents, such as geography and climate, even planetary influences such as changes in the sun’s or earth’s rotation, or by radiation, chemical pollution, etc. The argument is that non lethal mutations which reproduce successfully (that is, adaptively to changes in immediate environment) function like sudden jumps in the progress of evolution and give rise to species variation.
However, recent work in genetics and biochemistry has shown conclusively that mutations are all but always harmful, even lethal, the cause of many physiological disorders. In any case, they could not give rise to a magnitude of change of an order to generate a new species, to make a dog a horse, or an ape a human. For such an order of change to occur randomly and then to become successfully established would require a period of time many times in excess of the highest estimate for the age of the universe.
For years, much research has been done on pigeons, dogs and flies. Though some physiological changes do occur within the same race of animals (there are different breeds of dog and pigeon, for example), such adaptive evolution within species is no evidence for evolution of species. All the extensive research done for years on Drosophila yielded nothing but Drosophila, and the research proved that Drosophila remains as it is.
Hybrid varieties are obtained by artificially crossing two species, such as horse and donkey, but the resultant hybrid (mule) is typically sterile. After long research, scientists have recognized that it is not possible to progress from one species to another. There are some insurmountable, impassable, barriers between species. That conforms to ordinary sense, as well as to the known facts and to scientific reasoning. How could such a creature as human, who has an extraordinarily sophisticated brain and is capable of (in any and every stage of civilization) of linguistic and cultural expression, of religious belief and aspiration—how could such a creature have evolved from an ape? It is quite extraordinary that even to speculate that it might be so can be given serious consideration, let alone believed and accepted as conforming to reason!
However, that acceptance of evolution is a major pillar of modern materialism, and of historical materialism in particular, as Marx and Engels insistently pointed out. It is a sort of blind faith, a prejudice, a superstition that the materialists cling to Darwinism of the crudest kind. They insist that absolutely everything be explained by material causes. As for what, by those limited means, they cannot explain, they dare not admit that they cannot explain it so. They can never allow that there must be a supra natural, metaphysical agency that intervenes to make the biological world as it is, so wonderfully abundant, prolific, diverse and, within stable forms, so marvellously adaptive and versatile in response to local environmental possibilities.
The alternative to evolution is design which necessarily leads to the concept of a transcendent and unitary power, the Designer Creator (Intelligent Designer), God. Therein lies the reason for the continuing tyranny of the Darwinist theory: the fear that to acknowledge the Creator will bring down the edifice of an autonomous science, an autonomous human reason. An individual scientist in his or her private capacity may be a believer, a theist, but science itself must be unbelieving, atheistic. It is ironic indeed that to preserve the illusion of independent human reason, the Darwinists (and materialists generally) will defy or ignore the facts, deny and belittle logic and reason. It is to the credit of the scientific community that, in ever greater numbers, individual scientists have found the courage to question and challenge the tyranny of Darwinism in the teaching of the life sciences.
That said, it remains unfortunately true that, some young, pliable minds are vulnerable to the myth of Darwinism simply because it is the official dogma, the staple of all textbooks on the subject everywhere. How true and apt is the Turkish proverb—that a half wit can throw a pearl into a well with ease, and forty wise men struggle in vain to get it out again. Nonetheless, there is solace in the knowledge that a lie, however mightily supported, can have but a short life. The truth of the matter is that the origin of the species, and of the major divisions of species, is not yet understood. Is it too heavy a burden on humility to say: “We marvel, but we do not know?” And we marvel most at, and understand least of all, the origin of intelligent speech, ideation, abstraction, symbolization, culture, love of beauty and variety, consciousness, altruism, morality religion, and spiritual aspiration.
To be sure, Darwin was a great and gifted scientist who must be credited with a mighty contribution to the ordering and classifying of species, and for his work on adaptation; but it should be noted that what he did well and incontrovertibly is to observe accurately and understood intelligently what was there in nature.
Whatever his own intentions, in spite of them, his work, like every reliable advance in observation and explanation, confirms the Divine Architect ( See Intelligent Designer), the All Mighty Power, Sustainer, Administrator, Who willed the marvelous organization, reliable, systematic, subtly integrated harmony of the operations of nature, and who combined that order with beauty. Whereas what Darwin found increases our faith in God, it led him astray.
How great, sublime, is the Creator. Order, understanding, wisdom are by His gift. Likewise, guidance to faith is absolutely in His grasp.
By M. Fethullah Gulen