Why People Believe in Evolution
The most insidious and damaging ideology ever foisted upon the mind of modern man is the notion that human beings are but animals, and the offspring of other, more primitive creatures. It is known as the theory of organic evolution. This concept has been reflected in recent years in such volumes as Phil Donahue’s, The Human Animal (1986), and in the earlier production, The Naked Ape (1967), (as man was characterized) by zoologist, Desmond Morris.
Tragically, multiplied thousands across the land have ingested, to a greater or lesser degree (sometimes even with a religious flavor), this nefarious dogma. But why? Have folks intellectually analyzed the matter, and thus, on the basis of solid evidence and argument, accepted this viewpoint. Not at all; rather, for a variety of emotional reasons, this concept is entertained so readily.
In 1974, Marshall and Sandra Hall published a book titled, The Truth: God or Evolution? In the opening section of this excellent volume, the authors listed several reasons why the evolutionary theory is embraced by so many. With credit to them for the germ thoughts, I would like to expand the discussion.
Since the issuance of Charles Darwin’s, The Origin of Species (1859), there has been a massive campaign to flood the “intellectual market” with evolutionary propaganda. Though such ideas by no means originated with Darwin, he popularized evolution more than anyone else. His book sold out (1,025 copies) the first day of its release.
Another significant milestone was the famous Scopes Trial, conducted in Dayton, Tennessee in July of 1925. Twenty-four year old John Thomas Scopes, a high school science teacher, had agreed to violate Tennessee’s Butler law, which forbade the teaching of any theory that holds man has descended from a lower form of life. The entire affair was “rigged,” but it brought together William Jennings Bryan (three-time Democratic nominee for president), who volunteered to represent the state, and the famed criminal defense attorney, Clarence Darrow, who defended Scopes. The trial, the first ever to be broadcast on radio, brought national attention to the issue of creation vs. evolution. As a result of that encounter, the concept of creationism was cast into an unfavorable light, and evolutionary dogma gained considerable respectability, albeit undeserved.
From that time, however, the theory of evolution has accelerated in influence via the media and the public school system. Today, there exists a determined campaign for the indoctrination of evolution, and millions have absorbed it into their minds.
Hand-in-hand with the brainwashing factor is the impact of intimidation. Supposedly, evolutionary doctrine has the endorsement of “science.” In 1966, H. J. Muller, a prominent geneticist, circulated a statement signed by 177 biologists. It asserted that evolution is a “scientific law” which is as firmly established as the rotundity of the earth.
Since most folks want to be thought of as “educated,” and as they have been led to believe that “all educated people believe in evolution,” they have defected to the Darwinian camp. Most of these individuals could not cite a solitary argument in defense of evolution; they simply believe it is fact because “the scientists say so.”
Informed people should know the following:
Evolution is not a scientific law.
Darwin’s “Theory” is actually an hypothesis that falls quite beyond the pale of the scientific method (observation, experimentation, and verification).
There are numerous laws, e.g., the laws of thermodynamics, genetics, etc., which contradict evolutionary assertions.
Evolution is “pseudo-science”
Many scientists dispute that evolutionary dogma is true science. Evolutionist Robert Jastow, for example, has conceded that belief in the accidental origin of life is “an act of faith,” much, he says, like faith in the power of a Supreme Being (Until the Sun Dies, New York: Warner Books, 1977, p. 52).
Theodore N. Tahmisian, a nuclear physicist with the Atomic Energy Commission, has said:
“Scientists who go about teaching that evolution is a fact of life are great con men, and the story they are telling may be the greatest hoax ever. In explaining evolution we do not have one iota of fact … It is a tangled mishmash of guessing games and figure jaggling … If evolution occurred at all, it was probably in a very different manner than the way it is now taught” (Fresno Bee, Aug. 20, 1959).
It is hardly necessary, therefore, to yield to the pressures of evolutionary brow-beating. We ought not to be cowed down; we should be more aggressive, demanding that those who affirm their confidence in evolution argue their case logically.
Some have been thrust toward evolutionary ideology because they are repelled by the confused (and sometimes cruel) state of the religious world. Religionists have sacrificed their own children in the name of “gods” (cf. Jer. 19:5). In the Far East the cobra is worshipped as deity. “Christians” (so-called) have warred with the devotees of Islam.
Catholics allege that the bread and wine of “the Eucharist” magically turn into the body and blood of Jesus, while Protestants insist that such does not occur. Some contend that “baptism” is administered only by immersion, while others allege that “sprinkling” or “aspersion” will suffice. A rather unique view suggests that it takes all three “modes” to constitute the “one baptism” of Ephesians 4:5 (cf. Wycliffe Bible Dictionary, Peabody: MA: Hendrickson, 1998, p. 201).
This disunity has driven many to disenchantment with religion in general, which includes a rebellion against divine revelation. This, of course, is precisely what Jesus indicated. He admonished those who professed a loyalty to him to be “one,” that “the world might believe” (Jn. 17:20-21); the Lord thus implied that disunity would produce the opposite effect, i.e., unbelief.
But people need to realize that a departure from the original does not negate the genuineness of the original. The segmented status of “religiondom” does not authenticate evolution. The fact of the matter is, the evolutionists are as divided as the religionists.
For example, Sir Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA, contended that biological life evolved here on earth. On the other hand, Sir Fred Hoyle has argued that “spontaneous generation” occurred in outer space! Some Darwinians speculate that the evolutionary process has occurred quite gradually, over eons of time. Supposedly this explains the lack of transitional forms in the fossil record. Others (e.g., Richard Goldschmidt, and more recently, Stephen Gould of Harvard), suggest that evolution has proceeded rapidly, almost in snatches.
There is wholesale disagreement among the advocates of evolution. Those, therefore, who have fled from religion because of its disunity, have found no haven in Darwinism.
A World of Disorder
Many feel that our world environment, which is so characterized by brutality and suffering, is more consistent with Darwin’s tooth-and-claw, “survival-of-the-fittest,” principle, than it is with the notion that the earth is tended by a benevolent God. There might be some leverage in this argument if there were no other rational explanation for the ills of this globe.
But the fact is, a compelling case can be made for the proposition that life’s tragedies are the result of man’s rebellion against his Creator; and negative consequences have been allowed to follow as an educational process on behalf of the human family. In our recently published book, The Bible and Mental Health, we have an entire chapter chronicling some of the values of human affliction.
But here is another matter for consideration. While the believer has some basis for explaining the presence of “evil” in a fashion that is consistent with the existence of a powerful and benevolent God, the evolutionist has no reasonable explanation as to why there is a human sensitivity within man that judges some things to be “evil” and others “good.” How can a package of mere “matter,” which, according to atheism, is the sum of man, arrive at a rational, moral judgment concerning this phenomenon called “evil”? The problem of “evil” is more challenging for the evolutionist than for the creationist.
Many folks are impressed with the evolutionary case because it is buttressed, they believe, with tangible evidence, whereas religion seems to partake of a dreamy, surreal environment. After all, scientists have “fossils” to prove their case, don’t they?
This argument is exceptionally deceptive for the following reasons:
All of the fossils ever collected represent less than 1% of the potential evidence, according to David Raup of Chicago’s Field Museum (Museum Bulletin, Jan., 1979, p. 50).
Not a single fossil has ever been discovered that clearly demonstrates a link between basic organism “kinds.”
All fossil evidence is subject to interpretation; and even evolutionists dispute the data.
For example, when Donald Johanson and his colleagues discovered the few bone fragments they dubbed “Lucy,” back in 1974, they alleged that this little creature walked on two legs, and was on-the-way to becoming human. Numerous evolutionists, however, seriously disputed this. We discussed this matter in considerable detail in the October, 1986 issue of the printed Christian Courier.
But Bible believers are not without “tangible” evidence in the defense of their case. Numerous archaeological discoveries have been made which support the historicity of the Scriptures (see our book, Biblical Studies in the Light of Archaeology.
If, then, a general case can be made for the factual correctness of the Bible, one may reasonably conclude that its affirmations regarding the origin of humanity are correct as well.
Escape from Responsibility
Another reason why many so readily accept evolution as the explanation for mankind, is that such allows them to “cut loose” from God, and hence to be free from moral and religious obligations. They thus can become their own “gods,” and write their own rules. Richard Dawkins says that “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist” (The Blind Watchmaker, New York: W.W. Norton, 1986, p. 6).
This viewpoint was vividly illustrated some years ago when Clarence Darrow spoke to the inmates of the Cook County jail in Chicago. Hear him.
“I do not believe there is any sort of distinction between the real moral conditions of the people in and out of jail. One is just as good as the other. The people here can no more help being here than the people outside can avoid being outside. I do not believe that people are in jail because they deserve to be. They are in jail simply because they cannot avoid it on account of circumstances which are entirely beyond their control and for which they are in no way responsible” (Arthur Weinberg, Attorney For The Damned, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1957, pp. 3-4; emp. WJ).
This shocking statement reveals the motive of some evolutionists.
People do not believe in evolution because they have been led there by solid evidence. They are stampeded into the Darwinian community by superficial, emotional, and personal factors. They only delude themselves when they think otherwise.
About the Author
Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.