Charles Darwin and the Subversion of Reason
Tuesday wasn’t just the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, but was also the anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. He was a British naturalist and is best known for discovering that, over time, all species of life have evolved from common ancestors through the process he termed natural selection. Darwin published a book entitled On the Origin of Species that outlined the results of his research from the evidence he acquired during his five year voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle.
Darwin’s conclusion that evolution occurs as a result of natural selection became accepted by the scientific community and much of the general public in his lifetime. Despite initial controversy, Darwin’s theory of natural selection is seen today as the primary explanation of the process of evolution and now forms the basis of modern evolutionary theory. His culmination of the facts that lead to his conclusions and the flawless manner in which natural selection is outlined is a testament to his brilliance. It is fitting that he should be remembered not only for his detailing natural selection and evolution but also for his courage to speak the truth in an time when super naturalism was the means in which to explain life and events on earth.
Yet, despite Darwin’s findings, unfortunately the assault, not only on evolution, but also on the ability of mankind to think and reason continues. When Charles Darwin first came out with his discoveries, it was the subject of much controversy since it invalidated many supernatural explanations made by religions at the time about the origins of life and how they evolved. Church of England Bishop Samuel Wilberforce criticized Darwin’s theory on scientific grounds. He argued that it was not supported by facts and noted that the greatest names in science were opposed to Darwin’s natural selection theory.
Fortunately, Darwin’s theories ultimately prevailed and were accepted by the scientific community. His scientific discoveries remain the foundation of biology, since they provide a complete, and logical explanation for the diversity of life. Unfortunately, the present assault on science has reared its ugly head again. This time it is in the form of a pseudo-scientific theory called Intelligent Design (ID). The great threat ID poses is not just the fact that its proponents try to convince people that it is science but because, ID supporters will not dare submit any of their scientific observations to peer-review journals such as Science and Nature.
If they did, the ID scientists are clearly aware their findings would be debunked almost on sight since their research is not based on any hard or credible evidence to back up their claims. Instead, ID proponents appeal to the public’s view of fairness in hopes of winning over legislators and school administrators in hopes that their science will be taught or discussed in the classroom.
Despite their losing the Kitzmiller vs. Dover School District case in a court of law, it has not stopped ID proponents from trying other deceptive tactics. In 2008, for example, Texas’s State Board of Education ended up with a majority of board members that have ties to religious conservative groups. The board voted to introduce a strengths and weaknesses curriculum into classrooms that will require state schools to have open forums on the alleged strengths and weaknesses in Darwinian theory. Efforts were also undertaken by groups like the Discovery Institute to claim that college and university faculty were discriminated against because they wanted neo-creationism taught in classrooms of their employers. A 2008 filmed was released narrated by television personality Ben Stein in an attempt to demonstrate that evolution was linked to fascism, the Holocaust, communism, atheism, and eugenics.
As opposed to William Wilberforce who criticized Charles Darwin on scientific grounds, supporters of Intelligent Deception…er….Design are relentless in attempting to introduce creationism into classrooms masquerading it as a way of allowing open debate and dissent on the issue of evolution. One need only look to a remark made in a December 2007 interview by a leading proponent of Intelligent Design, William Dembski, to understand what it is all about. Dembski told Focus on the Family that The Designer of intelligent design is, ultimately, the Christian God.
No matter how fervently its proponents wish their neo-creationism to be seen as legitimate science, there is no disguising its true character and its proponent’s true intent. ID proponent’s callous and deceptive tactics and public relations campaigns are a clear indication that true scientific inquiry and fact finding is not their goal. Rather it is to undermine, if not outright destroy, legitimate science and hinder an individual’s ability to reason and think for themselves.
We must not forget that Charles Darwin labored for many years to bring his scientific findings to the forefront of inquiry and for the tremendous contributions he brought to science which has helped spurn a renaissance in the field. Scientists seek natural explanations for natural phenomena. They do so by relying on logical conclusions from observable facts and experimentation. As opposed to Intelligent Deception…er…Design whose scientists rely on supernatural explanations for natural phenomena.
The best way to honor Charles Darwin’s legacy is to speak out against the enemies of science and reason, their tactics, and their motives in support of true scientific research and inquiry.