9.4 To Be Aware of the Basic Problem

A Christian must be aware that the basic problem is not scientific so much as a world view and philosophical. The world view is summed up in the January/February 1977 issue of The Humanist published for the American Humanist Association and the American Ethical Union. A statement signed by 179 scientists, educators, and religious leaders asserted that evolution has been "well established" scientifically and therefore has been "accepted into humanity's general body of knowledge by scientists and other reasonable persons who have familiarized themselves with the evidence."

The philosophical view of leading scientists has certainly not been Christian. Darwin, Huxley, Spencer, and other early evolutionists were shown to have strong bias against God, the Bible, and Christianity, and they tended to interpret physical evidence as favoring a materialistic explanation of things (1). The Nobel laureate molecular biologist Francis Crick, commenting on the teaching of evolution in British schools, said, "Personally, I myself would go further, and think it is also regrettable that there is so much religious teaching." He disapproved the "tremendous institutional support given to religion by such a body as Cambridge University . . . ." (2).

The late Jacques Monod, another Nobel laureate molecular biologist, expressed his conviction of the correctness of scientism in his controversial book attributing humans to the fate of evolution this way:

For their moral bases the "liberal" societies of the West still teach or pay lip service to a disgusting farrago of Judeo-Christian religiousity, scientistic [299] progressism, belief in the "natural" rights of man, and utilitarian pragmatism . . . . However this may be, all these systems rooted in "animism" exist at odds with objective knowledge, face away from truth, and are strangers and fundamentally "hostile" to science, which they are pleased to make use of but for which they do not otherwise care (3).
The harbinger of modern evolutionism Theodosius Dobzhansky disposed of the absolute values of ethics when he said, "The process of evolution has produced a human species capable of entertaining ethical beliefs; the biological function of ethics is to promote human evolution; ethics may consequently be judged by how well they fulfill this function" (4). The outspoken advocate and crusader for evolutionism George G. Simpson echoed Dobzhansky's humanistic conviction by saying:
The propensity for developing moral precepts and the dispositions to learn them as well as the precepts themselves are adaptations acquired in the course of our biological and social evolution. When viewed in this way, rather than as mere edicts from a stern and incomprehensible source, those precepts achieve a higher sanction and become the more impelling (5).
These quotations emphasize the point that many outspoken evolutionists are under the strong influence of the naturalistic and humanistic world view. Evolution to them is more than a scientific theory applicable only to the description of the living world. It is a philosophy of life. Therefore, the issue of evolution is not scientific so much as a philosophical world view. Christian theism is in direct confrontation with the naturalistic monism of most evolutionists. Marjorie Grene, a philosopher long involved in the philosophies of science, has succinctly summarized the philosophical basis of evolutionism, and I will conclude by quoting from her (6).
Yet, if all this is so, why is neo-Darwinian theory so confidently affirmed? Because neo-Darwinism is not only a scientific theory, and a comprehensive, seemingly self-confirming theory, but a theory deeply embedded in a metaphysical faith in the faith that science can and must explain all the phenomena of nature in terms of one hypothesis, and that hypothesis of maximum simplicity, of maximum impersonality and objectivity. Relatively speaking, neo-Darwinism is logically simple. There are just two things happening, chance variations, and the elimination of the worst ones among them, and both these happenings are just plain facts, things that "do" or "don't" happen "yes" or "no". Nature is like a vast computing machine set up in binary digits, no mystery there. And what man has not yet achieved the machine is self-programmed, it began by chance, it continues automatically, it master plans itself creeping upon itself, so to speak, by means of its own automation. Again, no mystery here; man seems at home in a simply rational world. [300]

References 9.4

1. Clark, R. J.; Bales, J. D. Why scientists accept evolution. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker; 1966.

2. Crick, F. Of molecules and man. Seattle: Univ. of Washington Press; 1966: 89-91.
3. Monod, J. Chance and necessity. New York: Knopf; 1971: 171.
4. Dobzhansky, T. Mankind evolving. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press; 1962: 344.
5. Simpson, G. G. This view of life, the world of an evolutionist. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World; 1964: 233.
6. Grene, M. The knower and the known. New York: Basic Books; 1966: 199-200.