Life After Darwin
John R Morgan, MD
most people, I never really bought the idea that life just spontaneously
developed out of nowhere, and then humans came from fish or whatever.
just didnít make sense.
man named William Dembski with a PhD in mathematics from the University
of Chicago and a PhD in philosophy from the University of Illinois
has developed one good explanation why I always felt this way.
say that you go to see the carving of Confederate heroes on Stone
Mountain right outside of Atlanta. Even though you didnít actually
see anyone perform the carving, you can infer that a designer made
the images. Now if you go to the back of the mountain and see various
amorphous shapes (although they are statistically as improbable
as the carving), you assume that they were randomly formed by erosion.
know what you are thinking. This is basic common sense. Unfortunately,
however, we live in a time where common sense must be justified;
hence, Dembski is creating mathematical models to test the validity
of inferring design from something that is improbable and
specific. He hopes to prove that life falls into the category of
laud his efforts but in a way it is a sad commentary on our society.
man, Berkley law professor Phillip Johnson, has criticized the intellectual
leaps of faith necessary to accept evolution as a life-creating
force (leaps that I was never convinced to take). Johnson argues
that Darwinism has ceased to be a scientific theory and is now a
tautology that conveniently explains everything in nature. Although
Darwin himself operated within the context of the scientific method
by giving examples of empirical observations that would refute his
hypothesis, modern-day evolutionists entertain no such claims. Their
position is derived from a presupposed metaphysical belief that
God cannot exist.
Johnson points out, in 1859 when Darwin wrote The
Origin of Species (actually entitled The Origin of Species
by means of Natural Selection; or, the Preservation of Favoured
Races in the Struggle for Life), the fossil record was relatively
incomplete. Darwin predicted that further examination of fossils
would demonstrate slow gradual change in living organisms. Paleontologists
have since found the abrupt appearance of new organisms followed
by long periods of static existence before abrupt distinction.
The pattern of life as portrayed by the fossil record prompted Nobel
Prize-winning scientist, Francis Crick (he co-discovered DNA), to
suggest that space aliens must have visited earth at different times
bringing new species. Even the guy who discovered DNA has doubts
is actually an interesting fellow. He signed the "Resolution
in Scientific Freedom" with 49 other scientists noting that
left-wing institutions are censuring and punishing some scientists
for politically incorrect research.)
Darwinís time it was also believed that cells were made of simple
vitalistic goo that contained life. Molecular biology has since
revealed that even the most primitive organisms contain amazingly
complex, interdependent parts. Micheal Behe, a professor of biological
sciences at Lehigh University, has adduced the concept of irreducible
complexity that challenges the logic of natural selection driving
the creation of complicated mechanisms with multiple independent
parts. (How can a sophisticated structure like a wing develop piecemeal
if its only functions in its completed form?)
personal intellectual journey with Darwinism began at the University
of Georgia as an undergraduate. I majored in microbiology (graduating
1st in my class of roughly 5,000 students in 1991) and
did non-human genetic cloning research. I was overwhelmed with the
diversity of life and the power of genetics. In fact, I came to
understand that genes really matter. At the same time, I didnít
buy the weak little theory of survival of the fittest creating life.
saw intraspecies change like bacterial anti-biotic resistance (microevolution)
but I needed missing-link evidence (macroevolution). No one could
give it to me.
sincerely resented my professors conflating my skepticism in Darwinism
with irrational anti-intellectualism. I loved science and truly
respected the power of DNA. I just didnít think they had proven
how life was created.
began reading everything I could get my hands on about evolution.
I put aside my biology textbooks that presented evolution as a universally
accepted law and started devouring the primary writings of the modern-day
evolution experts. It was at this point that I realized that millions
of students were being taught bad science for religious and political
also learned that a potentially internecine civil war was raging
within the Darwinian Nation.
one side were the strict constructionists led by Richard Dawkins
of Oxford University in England. Dawkins was more like a religious
zealot than a political ideologue. He had long since accepted the
fundamental primacy of survival of the fittest, and was applying
its logical corollaries to human behavior.
the other side were left wing ideologues led primarily by the brilliant
but ruthless Stephen Jay Gould. Gould, a self proclaimed Marxist,
loved the metaphysical liberation and culturally transforming power
of Darwinism. He despised, however, "the universal acid of
natural selection Ö reducing human cultural change to the Darwinian
he wanted to have his cake and eat it too.
Remember, leftists like Gould require a worldview where human behavior
is 100% culturally conditioned; and here was Dawkins stating that
culture itself was an extension of human genes. (At this point I
should note that Dawkins is not a right winger, and received the
Humanist of the Year Award in 1996)
viciously attacked the "ultra-Darwinists."
a perfidious stab in the back to those committed to keeping "the
divine foot out of the door" (to borrow from another left-wing
ideologue, Richard C. Lewontin) Gould proclaimed, "Darwin is
dead!" He went on to attack the inadequacy of natural selection
to explain the complexity of life. He also cogently argued that
the fossil evidence did not support slow gradual change.
proposed a new theory of (macro)evolution that he called punctuated
equilibrium. Basically, he suggested that (macro)evolution must
have occurred in quick spurts not captured by the fossil record.
In addition, he attempted to down play the importance of survival
of the fittest. Using his talented literary skills, he painted the
world of biological change as a non-threatening nebulous impression.
He fashioned himself an "evolutionary pluralist."
what was a confused young student to do?
knew Darwin had stated that any reliance on macro mutations (or
saltations as he called them) would cause him to reject his theory
of evolution because it is not plausible; and here was Gould asking
me to accept (macro)evolution based on some unknown rapid genetic
change, basically a macro mutation. (Phillip Johnson has argued
that punctuated equilibrium is a euphemism for miracle)
also didnít trust Gould. His primary concern seemed to be maintaining
the leftist moral code of life rather than the scientific understanding
also couldnít buy Dawkinís historical narrative of life. The power
of Darwinism rested in its claim to a plausible mechanism (which
Gould destroyed) and its claim to a process without intentionallity.
Dawkins was writing about "selfish genes." How could the
substrate of evolution (DNA) be selfish and at the same time be
addition, I was learning about other mechanisms of genetic inheritance
called genomic imprinting. Without going into detail, the evolutionists
were touting this phenomenon as a genetic "battle of the sexes."
Again, they were asking me to accept Darwinism because DNA changed
without purpose while simultaneously rejoicing that female DNA held
a grudge against male DNA (I hope to fully describe the inconsistencies
in logic of genomic imprinting and natural selection in another
I came to realize that Dawkins and Gould were not the sophisticated
atheists they wanted to be. They actually had faith in a god the
DNA molecule. They seemed to believe that it was omnipotent. To
Dawkins it was a selfish god. To Gould it was an egalitarian god.
I decided to pass on worshipping the double helix. No, sir, I decided
to keep the Christian faith of my ancestors.
maybe it wasnít actually free will that brought me to my decision.
Maybe it was determined by the genes God gave me.
R. Morgan, MD, is a practicing physician in Atlanta.
© 2001 LewRockwell.com