Evolutionists to the Barricades: Is the Theory in Trouble?

Panic is setting in among the Darwinists. Even as diverse forms of Darwinist theory have become the enforced orthodoxy of naturalistic science, the fragile house of evolution is in big trouble–and the Darwinists know it.

Evidence of the Darwinists’ panic is seen in an editorial published in the November-December 2003 edition of The American Biology Teacher. In this editorial, scientist Marshall Berman goes after proponents of “Intelligent Design” [ID] who have been poking giant holes in evolutionary theory over the last several years.

Berman is apoplectic. His article reveals not only the febrile anxieties of materialistic science, but also the fact that the secular worldview goes far beyond matters of science–and evolutionary theory is the foundation of an understanding of everything from the origin of the universe to matters of morality and politics.

As Berman warns, “consciously or unconsciously, they [proponents of Intelligent Design] are jeopardizing the nature of science itself, our education system, and even our form of government.” Scared yet?

Berman’s article needs to be read with a soundtrack of militant music in the background, announcing the onslaught of the cultural crusade. He warns that those who reject evolution and argue that the universe shows unmistakable signs of having been designed by intelligence, “do not understand that the cause many of them promote would, if successful terminate many of the freedoms that they and we currently enjoy.” Terminate many of the freedoms that we currently enjoy? What in the world is Berman ranting about?

Over the last several years, proponents of Intelligent Design have achieved considerable success in embarrassing the proponents of evolutionary theory, demonstrating the failures of evolutionary “science,” and persuading school boards to present evidence for Intelligent Design along with purported evidence for the theory of evolution.

The edifice of Darwinism has been cracking for decades. In reality, the classical theory promoted by Charles Darwin–especially dealing with the mechanics of evolution and natural selection–has been discarded long ago. Contemporary evolutionary theorists are really “neo-Darwinists” whose various versions of Darwinian thought seek to move beyond Darwin’s own proposal in order to deal with shifts in the scientific worldview. Evolutionary theorists have no common idea of how evolution works, or even how much time has been involved in evolutionary progress on earth. They argue among themselves over the fundamental principles of the evolutionary process, and their only shared conviction is absolute opposition to anything that threatens the hegemony of evolution in the academy. Berman’s article is the latest evidence of the intellectual insecurity and Stalinist oppression that marks today’s evolutionary science. Nevertheless, Berman’s nightmarish warnings are so out of line with reality that one can only characterize his editorial as evidence of an irrational anxiety attack.

Consider this sentence: “It is time for those who cherish our republic and our freedom to take a strong stand against those who would prefer a theocracy, not in Iran or Afghanistan, but in the United States.” The opponents of evolutionary theory are theocrats? What lies behind Berman’s claim that proponents of Intelligent Design want to create a theocracy?

In documenting his charge, Berman points to the website of the Discovery Institute and its Center for Science and Culture. According to the Institute, “the theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.” Does that sound like a manifesto for theocracy?

Berman goes on to explain that advocates of intelligent design “claim that scientists have a naturalistic bias in that ID is scientific and not religious, despite the fact that it does not provide any description of the designer, nor any mechanistic model by which the design was effectuated.”

Where does Berman stand on the most basic question of the origin of the universe? He clearly rejects any validity of the biblical account of creation. According to Berman, “evidence conclusively demonstrates that the Genesis account is not a scientifically valid theory for cosmology, geology, physics, or biology.” All intelligent persons are convinced of that fact, Berman would have us think. Keep in mind that Berman’s editorial was directed toward high school biology teachers.

Of course, Berman’s larger fear is that the theory of Intelligent Design will continue to grow, gain adherents, and influence public policy.

He strikes at the very core of Intelligent Design theory: “They do not accept the essence of science, the foundation that has made it so successful as a special way of learning about the world: science as the search for natural causes for natural phenomena.”

Intentionally or unintentionally, Berman has pointed to the most basic issue that divides naturalistic science from the rest of us. For over a hundred years, the dominant scientific establishment has been moving toward an enforced orthodoxy of naturalism, materialism, and secularism. According to this worldview, the universe is a closed box that can be understood only on its own terms–with everything inside the box explained only by other matter and processes within the same box. The box itself is explained as a cosmic accident, and naturalistic science allows no place for a designer or a design in the entire cosmos.

Of course, the evolutionists remain frustrated that the vast majority of Americans simply will not buy this theory. Even though they are not credentialed scientists, most Americans have a fairly good grasp of reality. As they observe the world, they are unable to accept an explanatory theory that says that everything–from human beings to the starry heavens above–just “happened” and came to exist without any design whatsoever.

Berman and his evolutionary colleagues have the temerity to accuse proponents of intelligent design–and the vast mainstream of Americans–to be ignoring the “evidence.” What they mean, of course, is that we will not accept their spotty and unsubstantiated trail of fossils and missing links.

In another editorial published in 1998, Berman claimed that “there are currently no viable scientific alternatives to evolution.” Berman and his fellow evolutionists make this claim by asserting a circular argument. When a scientific alternative to evolution is presented, they deny that the theory can be scientific simply because it rejects evolution. Evolutionary theory is now at the core of their definition of science itself.

In their panicked response to the cracks appearing in the evolutionary edifice, Berman and similar advocates of evolutionary theory turn to hyperbole and name calling. Take this sentence for example: “Creationists’ ‘evidence’ against evolution is no better than so-called evidence that the earth is flat, demons cause disease, or the stork brings babies.”

That sentence is a classic demonstration of their intellectual insecurity and their habitual recourse to circular logic. It also shows the condescension evolutionary proponents habitually throw towards those who have the temerity to challenge their precious theory. As Berman’s statement reveals, scientific advocates of evolution are now so philosophically committed to their theory, that they will accept no contradictory evidence whatsoever. All critics of evolution are simply “flat-earthers” who believe that the stork brings babies.

This much is clear–the whole structure of evolutionary thought is standing on shifting ground, and the evolutionists know they are in big trouble. Given time, more and more intelligent Americans will see the failures of evolutionary theory and the nihilism that stands at its intellectual base.

Nevertheless, Berman’s editorial shows that the problem is far deeper than anything addressed by science. This is a spiritual battle and the arguments over evolution have as much to do with morality and politics as with fossils and natural phenomena.

Evolutionary theory stands at the base of moral relativism and the rejection of traditional morality. If human beings are not made in the image of God, and if the entire cosmos is nothing more than a freakish accident, morality is nothing but a mirage and human beings–cosmic accidents that we are–are free to negotiate whatever moral arrangement seems best to us at any given time. Human life has no inherent dignity, morality has no objective basis, and we are alone in the universe to eat drink and be merry before our bones join the fossil record and we pass from existence.

Marshall Berman and company see the growing influence of Intelligent Design and the crumbling of evolutionary orthodoxy as a threat to everything they know and cherish. Writing to high school biology teachers, Berman makes his point clear. “Recognizing the threat is only the first step. All scientists, as well as teachers, parents, and citizens need to get involved in local and state efforts to develop strong, unequivocal science standards, to insure high-quality textbooks, to improve science education at all levels, and to engage in politics as the need arises.”

Berman is calling Darwinists to the barricades, but the more they write and talk, the more ground they lose. As an intellectual argument, evolutionary theory is in big trouble.