Why Darwinism is Doomed

Jonathan Wells, Ph.D.
September 27, 2006
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Harvard evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould wrote in 1977: "Biology took away our status as paragons created in the image of God." Darwinism teaches that we are accidental byproducts of purposeless natural processes that had no need for God, and this anti-religious dogma enjoys a taxpayer-funded monopoly in America's public schools and universities. Teachers who dare to question it openly have in many cases lost their jobs.

The issue here is not "evolution" – a broad term that can mean simply change within existing species (which no one doubts). The issue is Darwinism – which claims that all living things are descended from a common ancestor, modified by natural selection acting on random genetic mutations.

According to Darwinists, there is such overwhelming evidence for their view that it should be considered a fact. Yet to the Darwinists' dismay, at least three-quarters of the American people – citizens of the most scientifically advanced country in history – reject it.

A study published Aug. 11 in the pro-Darwin magazine Science attributes this primarily to biblical fundamentalism, even though polls have consistently shown that half of the Americans who reject Darwinism are not biblical fundamentalists. Could it be that the American people are skeptical of Darwinism because they're smarter than Darwinists think?

On Aug. 17, the pro-Darwin magazine Nature reported that scientists had just found the "brain evolution gene." There is circumstantial evidence that this gene may be involved in brain development in embryos, and it is surprisingly different in humans and chimpanzees. According to Nature, the gene may thus harbor "the secret of what makes humans different from our nearest primate relatives."

Three things are remarkable about this report. First, it implicitly acknowledges that the evidence for Darwinism was never as overwhelming as its defenders claim. It has been almost 30 years since Gould wrote that biology accounts for human nature, yet Darwinists are just now turning up a gene that may have been involved in brain evolution.

Second, embryologists know that a single gene cannot account for the origin of the human brain. Genes involved in embryo development typically have multiple effects, and complex organs such as the brain are influenced by many genes. The simple-mindedness of the "brain evolution gene" story is breathtaking.

Third, the only thing scientists demonstrated in this case was a correlation between a genetic difference and brain size. Every scientist knows, however, that correlation is not the same as causation. Among elementary school children, reading ability is correlated with shoe size, but this is because young schoolchildren with small feet have not yet learned to read – not because larger feet cause a student to read better or because reading makes the feet grow. Similarly, a genetic difference between humans and chimps cannot tell us anything about what caused differences in their brains unless we know what the gene actually does. In this case, as Nature reports, "what the gene does is a mystery."

So after 150 years, Darwinists are still looking for evidence – any evidence, no matter how skimpy – to justify their speculations. The latest hype over the "brain evolution gene" unwittingly reveals just how underwhelming the evidence for their view really is.

The truth is Darwinism is not a scientific theory, but a materialistic creation myth masquerading as science. It is first and foremost a weapon against religion – especially traditional Christianity. Evidence is brought in afterwards, as window dressing.

This is becoming increasingly obvious to the American people, who are not the ignorant backwoods religious dogmatists that Darwinists make them out to be. Darwinists insult the intelligence of American taxpayers and at the same time depend on them for support. This is an inherently unstable situation, and it cannot last.

If I were a Darwinist, I would be afraid. Very afraid.

Jonathan Wells is the author of "The Politically Incorrect Guide™ to Darwinism and Intelligent Design" (Regnery, 2006) and Icons of Evolution (Regnery, 2000). He holds a Ph.D. in biology from the University of California at Berkeley and a Ph.D. in theology from Yale University. Wells is currently a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute in Seattle.