By Richard Rawlinson
Richard Dawkins has said Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is ‘about as much open to doubt as the theory that the earth goes round the sun’. He’s said that ‘understanding evolution led me to atheism’, and that he’s against religion because ‘it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world’.
Many agree: evolution is touted as a reason for disbelieving in divine creation and the eternity of the soul. Most theists also believe in evolutionary theory, and disagree that faith and science are irreconcilable. They disagree they’re blocked from trying to understanding the world on many diverse levels.
Dawkins isn’t very good at uncertainty. He’s a ‘my way or the highway’ kind of guy. I wonder what he thinks about the fact that his views are increasingly under fire—and not by religious people but by scientists questioning his discipleship to Darwin. A staggering 800 eminent scientists from Yale and Cambridge to the Russian Academy have so far signed up as Darwin dissenters, calmly and rationally skeptical about the Neo-Darwinist theory claiming that natural selection, acting on random mutations, is the primary mechanism for the development of the complexity of life. See here http://www.
For decades, the media has regurgitated the scientific propaganda that only religious fundamentalists question Darwinian evolution. Clearly not so. And for decades, biology textbooks have been printing the illustrations of Darwinian Ernst Haekel, who distorted the differences between the embryos of worms, fish, birds, four-legged mammals and apes to imply man, like all species, stems from the same first cells emerging from primordial ooze.
This is far from the only time Darwin was propped up by less than scientific means. In order to prove Neanderthals were ancestral to humans, early 20thcentury paleontologist Charles Dawson announced he had discovered, in a gravel pit in Piltdown, the missing link that Darwinists needed. It was a skull which turned out to be a forgery, part human with the addition of an orangutan’s jaw, both chemically treated to make them look like a fossil.
Should educationalists stop propagating Darwin’s theory uncontested? His appeal seems to be that we desperately want to believe slime morphed into spineless worms, became aquatic skeletal creatures with eyes and fins, became amphibious creatures with legs and hair, and so forth. We want to believe Man is nothing more than an animal who happened to make himself supreme by creative brain power aided by manual dexterity.
It’s a theory that provides a neat answer to our deepest questions. But it’s science that’s evolved since the 19th century, and it’s both scientists and we the public who have remained reluctant to admit we may have got at least some of it wrong. Denial is now slowly changing to open receptiveness to possible new truths, even if the biggest truth of all is we still don’t know the answers. The Enlightenment is yet to come.
For an essay from an academic dissenter, see here.