December 2020 – Charles Darwin is one of the most controversial characters in history – admired and revered by many, but seen as the source of a major deception by others. He used his vast knowledge of plants and animals and his astute observational skills to make significant discoveries about birds, turtles, and other living things.
During a five-year trip around the world, he observed that finch birds were found in multiple locations, but he especially noted the ones living in the chain of Galápagos Islands. He hypothesized that several finch birds from the same species had probably been the original ancestors of all the finch birds on the islands. Over time they gradually evolved into what he classified as 14 different species as they adapted to the environment and available food supply on the different islands.
Darwin also noted that turtles on the islands were gigantic compared to turtles he had seen in other places. Thus he concluded that all turtles on the islands probably descended from a few ancestor turtles at some time in the past.
On solid ground
So far, this is good science. Darwin correctly observed that finches and other animals on the islands had evolved in small ways, known as microevolution. Even today, evolutionary changes in similar kinds of living things can be observed, and evidence often points to common ancestors for them.
For example, genetic studies affirm that many kinds of cats have similar genetic markers and probably evolved from a common ancestor pair of cats. There are examples of lions and tigers in captivity who mated and had offspring, known as ligers or tigons.
Canines are clearly related, as dogs and wolves, as well as dogs and coyotes, are able to mate and produce offspring, even if they do not ordinarily mate in the wild. The ability of male and female animals to mate and produce live offspring is evidence of a common ancestor at some point in the past.
Darwin’s fame mostly came from identifying natural selection, a mechanism that helps to explain how living things change over time, even producing new species. He noted that in all species there will be competition for food and other resources.
This passing on of advantageous traits to offspring is known as natural selection, which provides an explanation for how finch birds, cats, and dogs gradually changed into different varieties and species.
A leap too far
But Darwin expanded his observations and extrapolated them to make a giant leap of faith not supported by an abundance of evidence. This proposal became his famous theory of evolution – a claim that all plants, animals, microbes, and humans evolved from an original common ancestor. He believed natural selection over millions of years was the mechanism that explained how this occurred.
Darwin could have used the metaphor of a “forest of trees” to represent each group of living things, along with their common ancestor, without creating dissention. Each “tree” would have been a group of finches, turtles, cats, dogs, oak trees, daisies, or other living things, which was what his evidence indicated. Instead, he chose to represent the history of all living things with a single “tree of life,” where every living organism on earth evolved from the same ancestor.
Many mainstream scientists today completely agree with Darwin’s proposal that natural selection, combined with inherited traits, mutations, and environmental conditions, can explain all the changes that have occurred in living and once-living organisms since the arrival of the so-called Common Ancestor. Some scientists so firmly believe Darwinian evolution is true that they refer to it as the “fact of evolution.”
Other scientists insist that Darwin’s conclusion is based on improbable assumptions and is not even close to being an accurate explanation for the incredible complexity and wonder of all living things.
Unaware of the complexity of every cell, Darwin thought of the first Common Ancestor as a blob of protoplasm that arose from a warm pond when just the right kinds of chemicals came together.
In contrast, new research – unknown to Darwin in the 1800s – reveals much more about stored information in DNA molecules, chemical factories, and other complex specialized parts of the cell. Today’s science challenges how natural selection could explain, one small unguided step at a time, human body structures more complicated than modern computers.
A document titled “A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism” has been signed by over 1,000 Ph.D. scientists from all over the world who affirm the statement, “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”1
Honest scientists understand that the complexity of living things cannot be explained by natural processes alone. But any research that even hints at a creator, purpose, or design is routinely rejected from mainstream scientific journals. Ironically, a belief that life evolved only by natural processes requires no proof – if the cultural leaders can establish the modified definitions of key terms.
The National Science Education Association states, “Science, by definition, is limited to naturalistic methods and explanations, and as such, is precluded from using supernatural elements in the production of scientific knowledge.”2 Other influential national science organizations affirm this definition. Once mainstream scientists establish that science is based on naturalism, evolutionists can easily eliminate the implication of divine creation in science classes.
Phillip Johnson, a retired Berkeley law professor, also validated this argument: “Science does not need a good theory (that is, a theory genuinely backed by empirical testing) to defeat creationism (theistic realism). The battle has been won in the definitions, before the empirical testing even gets started.”3 Johnson is a founding member of the Intelligent Design movement centered at Discovery Institute (DI).
The big losers in this travesty are students and their still-forming worldviews. Should they not be allowed to ask, “Is there any evidence that challenges Darwin?” “Is there a limit to what natural selection can accomplish?” “Could cells acquire as much information as a computer by means of natural selection?”
Contrary to science professionals, a major nationwide survey conducted by DI reveals that 81% of American adults believe that when biology teachers promote Darwin’s theory of evolution, they should also cite valid scientific evidence that challenges the theory.
Only 19% of American adults support the current policy widely practiced in public schools where biology teachers routinely cover only Darwinian evolution. Survey respondents came from many demographics: men, women, theists, atheists, agnostics, Democrats, Independents, Republicans, middle-aged adults, young adults, and senior citizens.4
Parents may rightly wonder why public school study of origins is restricted to Darwinian evolution. The answer: The only alternative to Darwin’s theory is that humans and all other living things were divinely created by God. And that’s a worldview fully rejected by today’s education elites and an anti-Christian culture at large.
1. Retrieved from dissentfromdarwin.org. Updated April 2020.
2. NSTA position statement on the Nature of Science. National Science Teachers Association. Adopted by the NSTA Board of Directors, January 2020.
3. Johnson, Phillip (1995), Reason in the Balance. InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove, Illinois, p. 107.
4. Evolution News/@Discovery CSC. “Poll Shows Broad Support for Teaching Evidence For and Against Darwin.” December 30, 2016.
Dr. Carolyn Reeves is a retired science teacher and author. Her science textbooks are available at MasterBooks (masterbooks.com), a premiere publisher of educational materials with a biblical foundation.
What can parents do?
Insist on knowing what their students are being taught about creation and evolution.
Learn more about scientific evidence for creationism at: