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Unfit to survive

What has belief in Darwinism actually done for us?


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Periodically a survey comes out that causes materialists to break out in hives. “In U.S., 42% Believe Creationist View of Human Origins,” stated a headline from last year, and the story crunched the numbers from a Gallup survey to find that altogether too many Americans still believe that God created humans in their present form. However, “the percentage who say God was not involved is rising”—a ray of hope for the champions of science.

Get ready for the campaign-season evolution question that waits like a well-greased bear trap for unsuspecting “anti-science” Republicans. Any conservative candidate who doesn’t prepare for the “Do you believe in evolution?” gotcha is naïve. Mainstream journalists are smart enough to realize that a majority of Americans still believe in some notion of a Creator God, and overt skepticism wouldn’t be tactful. But a dab of yahoo paint on right-wing candidates now and then never hurts.

Dr. Ben Carson has been very outspoken about his evolution doubts, so much so that in 2012, when he was confirmed as that year’s commencement speaker for Emory University, four biology professors published a letter of concern over the doctor’s views. His emergence as a presidential candidate prompted the Pacific Standard news service to worriedly ask, “Why Do Some Doctors Reject Evolution?”—citing one survey that indicated only 78 percent of doctors (as opposed to 98 percent of scientists) accept the theory that is now considered the bedrock of biology. Doctors are also as likely to be religious as the general public, a correlation not found among scientists. But why is this? Doctors practice applied biology, right? How can so many of them reject a theory basic to scientific understanding?

Whenever nonscientist science-boosters wring their hands over the stubborn creationist tendencies of Americans, they fear a screeching halt to the progress that gave us open minds and smartphones. They assume a step-by-step corollary between acceptance of Darwin’s theory and the benefit of mankind. But what has evolution actually done for us?

Most science-based solutions treat human beings like machines or actuarial tables because that’s how science works—by evaluating data.

Jerry Coyne, author of Why Evolution Is True, made a startling admission in a 2006 review of several evolution-promoting books. While Coyne believes in evolution, he must acknowledge that it “hasn’t yielded many practical or commercial benefits. Yes, bacteria evolve drug resistance and yes, we must take countermeasures, but beyond that there is not much to say.” Even the techniques of plant improvement and selective breeding, which might have been deduced from natural selection, developed long before Darwin.

Nobody ever explains precisely how a belief in evolution benefits humanity. The speed of material progress after the publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859 had nothing to do with the revelations in that book: The Industrial Revolution, with all its material benefits and ethical challenges, was well underway. Applying the “scientific” idea of “survival of the fittest” to the grinding gears of the machine age only exacerbated those ethical challenges. How could it be otherwise?

Still, ever since the early 20th century, “science-based” solutions are touted as the most direct route for improving education and healthcare, as well as solving such persistent problems as crime and war. Most science-based solutions treat human beings like machines or actuarial tables because that’s how science works—by evaluating data. And a wholehearted embrace of materialistic evolution as the explanation for life on earth necessarily reduces humans to water and chemicals.

But people don’t act like machines, or respond like water and chemicals.

Physicians connect with people—the whole package, not cells or lab samples or stats. They observe a dimension of human experience that can’t be explained in materialistic terms. Previous ages called it a “soul.” That might explain why doctors are less materialist, more religious than other scientists.

Evolutionists admit that human consciousness and spirituality evade explanation, but assure us that science will eventually clear up these mysteries (thus exposing their own “god of the gaps” problem). In the meantime everyone should get with the program for the betterment of all. Evidence, however, indicates that evolutionary theory is an uneasy fit for nontheoretical human beings.

Email jcheaney@wng.org


Janie B. Cheaney

Janie is a senior writer who contributes commentary to WORLD and oversees WORLD’s annual Children’s Books of the Year awards. She also writes novels for young adults and authored the Wordsmith creative writing curriculum. Janie resides in rural Missouri.

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