‘Induction over the history of science suggests that the best theories we have today will prove more or less untrue at the latest by tomorrow afternoon.’ Fodor, J. ‘Why Pigs don’t have wings,’ London Review of Books, 18th Oct 2007

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Theos and Faraday seek to ‘Wash Whiter’ or is it a ‘Whitewash?’

The Daz washing powder was once said to ‘wash whiter’ in a popular TV advert. Along similar lines Theos and the Faraday Institute are now trying to wash the ideology from Darwinism. Although they don’t seem to realise that the ideological stains are not something others have put onto Darwinism, but those stains are deeply ingrained throughout Darwinism, and have been since the beginning.

A recent Theos press release states that both Theos and Faraday, together with Templeton funding have joined together to analyse and research the nature and extent of both pro-evolutionary and anti-evolutionary opinion in the UK. Additional they plan to study how such views impact upon ‘theism, atheism and agnosticism.’ The statement also comments that the study will explore the manner in which opinions have sometimes become hardened into ‘ideologies that do little justice to Darwin or Darwinism.’ The project apparently is provisionally entitled ‘Rescuing Darwin’, and is being undertaken to ‘coincide with the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species.’ [1]

So what ideology went into Darwinism? Darwin was inspired by the free market economist Adam Smith and by the population growth ideology of Thomas Malthus. Himmelfarb, quoting Spengler, noted that Darwinism was the application of ‘Manchester economics’ to biology and an expression of Victorian ‘greed philosophy.’[2] No wonder it has been so easy for others to apply it back to society. There was also influence from grandfather Erasmus Darwin, the Rosicrucian supporter of revolution. Auguste Comte’s scientism also clearly influenced Charles Darwin; his close friend Harriet Martineau even translated Comte into English. Charles Lyell, the anti-Christian deist and Whig supporter secretly encouraged Darwin to write as part of his 30-year campaign to undermine the Anglican Church (from Lyell's Letters), along with the development of ideologically biased geology. Derek Ager said we have been ‘brainwashed;’ S.J. Gould said Darwin and Lyell were ‘stifling hypotheses’ and ‘closing minds’ to the 'dogma' of gradualism. [3]

Viva la evolution?

It would seem though that Faraday Director Denis Alexander has already decided the outcome of the study by publishing his views in the Third Way magazine [4]. Very skilfully he turns weaknesses into strengths by making bold, but unsubstantiated rhetorical statements.

First of all he suggests that it is one of the ‘deep mysteries of the early 21st century why one set of Christians go round churches trying to persuade another set of Christians to disbelieve the theory of evolution.’ Noting further that this is in a ‘world where people are dying to hear the good news about Jesus for the first time,’ and where ‘thousands are made homeless in cyclones and where millions still live without clean water supplies', he suggests that opposition to Darwinism is a huge waste of resources. In response it should be noted that those who go round to churches questioning Darwinism do so with evangelism in mind and are very interested in Third World development, believing also that Darwinism is a harmful ideology. While Denis Alexander is heralding ‘Viva la evolution’ to the churches, other Christians are telling the world that Jesus is alive. In response it might be asked what purpose Theos and Faraday hope to achieve in terms of promoting Jesus Christ with their research aim stated as being to ‘Rescue Darwin.’

Alexander then offers three ‘facts’ about the debate that he finds mysterious. Firstly, he comments that if Darwinism were lacking in evidence the peer review community would have allowed papers to be published against it, and that Darwinism is not a scientific ‘holy cow.’ This is really an unsustainable claim. Perhaps he has not heard of the evidence presented in the Expelled film, such as the Richard Sternberg affair where Sternberg came under heavy personal attack for allowing a pro ID article in a publication. Peer review has always been more about peer pressure than actual real review. Or perhaps Denis is now suggesting that people who are sceptical of Darwinism should submit material to the magazine of which he is editor (Science and Christian Belief) for peer review. Perhaps someone will soon test your statement Denis.

Secondly, he notes that Darwinism has been ‘hugely strengthened’ by genetics and the genome, again attempting to turn a weakness into an opportunity. However, the genetic revolution has led to a vast increase in our understanding about the complexity of life in DNA and in protein chemistry, a complexity that far exceeds the probabilistic resources of the universe to form by accident. Such complexity was unknown to Darwin. This evidence is highlighted well in John Sandford’s book ‘Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome.’

Thirdly, he claims that anti-Darwinism is a modern phenomenon that developed from the 1960s onwards. This is an odd statement for Alexander to make, especially as he is editor of the Science and Christian Belief Journal, jointly owned by Christians in Science and the Victoria Institute. I can’t imagine he is unaware of the foundations of the VI in 1865, to challenge 'Science, falsely so called,’ or the 700 gentlemen scholars who signed the 'Declaration of Students of the Natural and Physical Sciences' in the 19th C in support of Scripture, or formation of the Evolution Protest Movement in 1932 by the President of the VI Sir Ambrose Fleming, and other leading members of the VI.

There is a lot more in the article that could be challenged, not least Alexander’s own creation myth of Adam and Eve, but it would be far better for Alexander to engage with those fellow believers who preach the gospel alongside creation instead of seeking to ‘baptise Darwinism.’ “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”(1 Corn 15:22) If the research being conducted by Theos and Faraday is to be truly objective then it is to be hoped that they will consider the evidence for ideology that is not incidental to Darwinism, but ingrained from the start.


[1] Theos press release 3rd Jun 08 Rescuing Darwin

[2] Himmelfarb, G. (1962), Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, W.W. Norton, New York, p.418

[3] Gould, S. J., Toward the vindication of punctuational change. In: W. A. BERGGREN & J. A. VAN COUVERING (Eds.): Catastrophes and Earth History: The New Uniformitarianism, Princeton University Press, Princeton (New Jersey), pp14-16, 1984. Ager, D. V., The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record, The Macmillan Press Ltd, London, pp46-47, 1981.

[4] Denis Alexander, Viva la evolution, http://www.thirdwaymagazine.com/334

[5] http://www.creationism.org/victoria/VictoriaInst1866_pg005.htm

1 comment:

Dawn Wessel said...

Maybe evolution-science doesn't disagree with the Bible.

Here's what my Bible research shows:

(Genesis) Adam/man (Hebrew-synonyms) = ‘ruddy’, rosy, the flush of red blood

‘man became a ‘living soul’ ‘ (Genesis):
soul (Hebrew & Greek) = animal principle/breathing creature

- does not suggest a ‘human’ being but rather a ‘ruddy’ creature (as coming from the ‘red’ earth-mine-primordial soup)

Adam/man was not initially a ‘human’ being as many Bible proponents believe but rather a ‘ruddy creature of earth’, an animal (which had to have been a chimpanzee/rhesus monkey because of recent human genome DNA mapping).

However, religious tendencies are observed strictly in the ‘human’ species. If human beings are ‘soul (animal)’ then why aren’t such tendencies evident in other animals? Could it be because we have something the other animals don’t have?

animal = soul
human being = soul + immortal spirit

One primate, ruddy, gained something the other primates (and other animals) didn't have and passed that on.