Many evolutionary supporters claim that anyone who doubts evolution as a theory of origins is really daft or religiously driven. One defense they often resort to is the claim that “the majority of professional scientists believe in evolution – you think they are all wrong?”
The creationists answer to this question is a resounding “YES!” – but how could so many intelligent people be wrong about a scientific concept? I suspect it is not a conspiracy, but a DELUSION. And I believe that I can explain why this delusion is so appealing to scientists.
1. Many scientists have never studied biology and don’t understand evolutionary claims
Because evolution is a process that only living things undergo, scientists with degrees in sciences OTHER than biology have only tangential knowledge of evolution and biological processes. They must depend on their colleagues to really ferret out the truths. Now, they may understand supporting data in palaeontology (arguably a life science), geology, astronomy, and chemistry, but again, these are not central.
Even more, evolutionary assumptions are not essential to or even a part of most scientific research, so many never have to prove or disprove the claims of evolution in their everyday work. My point is, many scientists just take the biologists’ word for it, and have not examined the data or thought through the implications and claims of evolutionary biology themselves – i.e., they are involved in group think.
2. Evolutionary convictions are often based on educational indoctrination, not independent thought
Many people, scientists included, have little idea how much debate exists over the validity of evolution, its mechanisms, and the data that is missing, hard to interpret, or fits various interpretations. Most of us are schooled from elementary school through college in the idea that there is overwhelming data supporting evolution, and we don’t question it. Even worse, any data that conflicts with evolution is kept OUT of our schools by zealots who think that any questioning of evolutionary doctrine amounts to religion (heresy)!
It is common for scientists who become evolutionary doubters (or creationists) to react like this author:
I was an atheist, brainwashed by the establishment, into my 40s…..I was once debating evolution with a friend, and I was spouting all the platitudes I had been taught. He said, ‘Look, rather than debating me, why don’t you read a book, Evolution, A Theory in Crisis, by Michael Denton’? I assumed that it would be some nonsensical religious hogwash, but I was in for a big surprise.
I devoured the book in a couple of days, and when I was finished I slapped myself on the forehead and thought, “I’ve been conned all my life!”
In fact, anyone who awakes from brainwashing, like those in Communist or Muslim countries, or even from heavy-handed Christian churches, reacts similarly. When you are taught what to think instead of how, and what you are being taught does not line up with your experience, your cognitive dissonance starts to wake you up.
My point is that, when it comes to evolutionary biology, most scientists have been indoctrinated, not taught how to evaluate and question the data seriously.
3. Theories of origins are deeply embedded as a foundation of a person’s world view
We all have a worldview. A worldview may be defined as
- The view of the world relative to an ego. The ego uses a worldview to explain and assimilate experience (schuelers)
- an integrated system of beliefs and concepts about the universe (natural and/or supernatural), society and the self (wayne.edu)
- A world view, (or worldview) is a term calqued from the German word Weltanschauung meaning “look onto the world”. It implies a concept fundamental to german philosophy and epistemology and refers to a wide world perception. It refers to the framework through which an individual interprets the world and interacts in it (wikipedia)
The components of a world view, through which we make sense of the world, include what George Fowler, in his excellent but poorly named book Becoming Adult, Becoming Christian (for all fans of Erik Erikson), calls a master story. This story is the one through which we explain origins, and the beginning, direction and meaning of history.
Evolution gives an answer to these questions, and so when you undermine evolution, you are undermining many people’s worldview, even if, as is often the case, they are unaware that this is their worldview. So when you attack evolution, you are undermining the model that they use to make meaning, and this can be very disconcerting.
Look at it this way. Many Christians believe in the creationist world view, and it is intricately intertwined with their faith in God. When you attack creationism, they also experience it as attacking their faith, THEIR worldview. Like it or not, evolution is more than just a scientific theory – many people rely on it as part of their worldview, and so are very reluctant to seriously question it, just like many people of faith are unwilling to question why they believe – because it forms a foundation to their sanity, their view of order and mankind in the world and in history, and tugging at it scares them.
My point is that evolutionists often depend on evolution as a core component of their world view, and for emotional rather than intellectual reasons, can not bring themselves to upset their worldview because it is too frightening and disorienting.
4. Evolution is the only naturalistic explanation for origins
Science must depend on empirical and historic data in order to be verifiable. Therefore, if you want a non-faith-related, naturalistic model for origins, you pretty much don’t have another choice besides evolution. Scientists don’t want superstitious or non-verifiable solutions – that is not science. So, by default they choose the evolutionary model until a better one comes along.
However, evolution is not entirely naturalistic, in that it can not explain first causes. For instance, we might assume that the universe was created from a dense singularity that exploded. But where did that singularity come from? And how can we “prove” that it existed?
At some starting point, you are going to have to make some assumptions about the prime mover, and what that prime mover provided as source material. So whether you assume God, or a singularity, you are making an unverifiable assumption. However, that is OK, as long as you can support this contention by supporting all that happened AFTER that point using data.
But why is evolution the only naturalistic solution? The main reason is that, as naturalist materialists, we have to assume that in the beginning, all matter and energy were unorganized – because initial organization requires a creative intelligence, which materialistic science has rejected a priori. And while assuming a creative intelligence could be a valid assumption, it is no longer purely naturalistic, and therefore, eliminated.
Also, empirical science depends on the world working by the natural laws we can currently observe. Therefore, the materialist position requires that we start with disorganization and proceed to organization with entirely natural processes.
So, what other naturalistic model explains the current complexity and similarity of life, arrived at by natural processes, starting with chaos? None other than common descent, i.e. evolution. My point is, scientists have no other valid, naturalistic explanation, so evolution wins by default.
5. Many believe that to doubt evolution means you must become religious
This belief similar to the point above, is somewhat founded in truth – because, once you abandon your evolutionary world view of origins, you have to go somewhere in order to get this foundational element to your world view restored, or risk having instability in your world view, which no one enjoys. As previously discussed, since their is no other naturalistic explanation, you’ll have to look at supernatural explanations. This is exactly why noted atheist Richard Dawkins is quoted as saying
“Before Darwinism, it was impossible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”
That is, before Darwinism, atheists did not have a theory of origins – their world view was missing a major element.
The one interesting naturalistic alternative to evolution is the theory of directed panspermia, proposed by Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA. Why would he propose this alternative to evolution? Because in his mind, there were some critical scientific facts that contradicted evolution, including
- the puzzling dependence of biological systems on molybdenum (which is rare on earth)
- the uniformity of the genetic code across all of life
- the miracle of life itself, and the appearance of design
Or in Crick’s words from Life Itself
“An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.”
My point is that in order to abandon evolution as an explanation of origins, you pretty much have no place to go except maybe alien creators or the creator God.
6. Many scientists are unable or unwilling to distinguish between their philosophy of science and their science, and between historical and empirical data
Science rests upon some suppositions, including but not limited to the following principles:
- Determinism – all events in the universe is caused and controlled by natural law and are the inevitable result of antecedent conditions
- Empiricism – all theory and knowledge should be based on observation. This is in contrast to ‘rationalism’, which proposes that reasoning is the basis
So while all scientists would agree that science employs empirical observation and analysis, science involves more than observation. It includes
- empirical, experimental evidence (empiricism)
- analysis of historical, non-experimental evidence, like fossils
- primary assumptions about natural processes (assumptions behind determinism)
Note that point two above requires a world view, and primary assumptions about natural processes that may be incorrect. This is where evolutionists often fail – they fail to distinguish between what they can observe (natural selection), what they must interpret based on indirect, historical evidence (fossils), and their assumptions about such processes, such as particle decay (e.g. radio dating).
When an evolutionist claims “natural selection happens,” they can back that up with empirical evidence, so we can not argue with that. But when they say “homo erectus was related to homo sapiens” they are interpreting historical data, which can be very wrong because you can’t verify that with an empirical experiment.
Even worse, they claim their conclusions based on fossils (or DNA) as true and authoritative as, for instance, the experimental observations of gravity, but these conclusions are NOT of equal validity because the former are not experimentally verifiable. They are interpretations.
Note that I did not say that they are invalid or incorrect – they are just not as verifiable, and more open to mistakes in interpretation. We would have to evaluate the trustworthiness of the assumptions behind their conclusions to evaluate whether or not their interpretations seem trustworthy. This is a whole separate endeavor, and much more debatable than a repeatable experiment. And, as we must do with all theories based primarily on historic data (creationism included), we would have to rely on how well their model incorporates current data and predicts future discoveries.
So, when a creationist says “I doubt macroevolution happens,” many scientists hear “I doubt natural selection happens” – that is, since they hold both as equally true (they may be, but they are not equally verfiable), they think that to reject macroevolution is to reject other validated natural processes. This, of course, is not a correct conclusion.
My point is that many scientists confuse rejection of unverifiable assumptions or conclusions based on interpretation of historic data with rejection of empirically proven processes or facts. They fail to separate their assumptions from their interpretations from their empirical facts.
7. Many scientists have an entire lifetime of work and ego investment in evolution
What if your whole scientific career was built on evolutionary thinking, and suddenly someone challenges you, suggesting that your efforts may have been wasted on a bogus theory? When we question evolution, we are threatening many individuals’ sense of self, since they have a lot of ego or work invested in evolution. Same goes for Creationists – when you try to discredit them, they may feel it as a threat to their long dedication to that world view.
My point is that many scientists are unwilling to consider that evolution is untrue because they have invested too much of their time, effort, and egos in evolution being true. They can’t consider that their efforts may have been wasted .
8. Many scientists are not independent thinkers, and fear rejection and reprisals
Contrary to what you might think, many scientists are not independent mavericks. Like most of us, they don’t like conflict, they avoid rejection and looking foolish, and they don’t want to endanger their jobs. And because of the evolutionary hegemony and authoritarian manner in which dissenters are mocked and punished, many scientists probably don’t think it is even worth considering questioning evolution, especially since it is immaterial, if not detrimental, to the work of most science.
My point is that most scientists have no academic or research need to utilize or examine evolution because it is immaterial to their pursuits, and to question evolution would put their academic reputations, and even their jobs, at risk due to the evolutionary hegemony and orthodoxy practiced in the scientific community.
9. Many scientists fail to evaluate the difference between a theory in flux and one that is actually false
When should we abandon a theory or model? When it no longer “works,” or when another model comes along that is remarkably better at incorporation and prediction. What does it mean for a model to “not work”? When, in the course of trying to incorporate known data, there are more exceptions than rules, more data that does not fit than is reasonable.
Evolutionary believers often defend the multitude of adjustments in evolutionary theory, especially phylo-genetic trees, by appealing to the fact that the theory is growing and refining in response to more data. However, what they fail to recognize is that these trees and other theories, in general, are not getting better at incorporating existing data, but rather, are sometimes getting more jumbled and nonsensical, and are filled with dotted lines indicating we have no evidence of relatedness, only suppositions.
These may not look significant to the untrained eye, and I apologize, it’s not the best illustration, but what this is intended to show is that as more data has come in, the tree has changed pretty dramatically, and more question marks have been introduced. This doesn’t even take into account the recent finds, plus the demotion of lucy to simian.
Also, see this somewhat recent illustration from Science1 magazine with the many possible human trees suggested by scientists. The fact that there are many possible variations does not mean that human evolution isn’t so. What it does mean is that (1) there are lots of questions, missing data, and assumptions, and (2) there may be enough confusion to warrant discarding the idea altogether.
This not to say that creationists are against such trees, but they only believe that inheritance from a common ancestor occurred with created kinds (Baraminology), such as shown below (Answers in Genesis).
My point is that most scientists seem unwilling to consider how many exceptions, contradictions of evolution by the data, and just the plain lack of predictive value in the evolutionary model are enough to consider that it might not be true. Maybe these conversations are happening, but I haven’t seen them.
10. The fallen nature of man wants to deny God, and is blinded both by it’s own sinfulness and the spiritually dark forces of this world
This is my only “religious” reason for why evolutionists are so thoroughly indoctrinated into the delusion of evolutionary origins. Because deep down, by fallen nature, none of us really want to surrender our lives to the God who made us. He is holy, and we are not. He calls for selflessness and we want to stay selfish. This is why Paul the Apostle wrote:
As it is written
“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands; no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good, not even one.”
Also, Paul intones that unbelief flourishes in the souls of some men because they are blinded by the “god of this world” (Satan).
2 Corinthians 4:3-5
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
This includes being brainwashed by vain and untrue philosophies
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ
The fact is, evolution IS a barrier to faith for many people, because they believe that evolution proves that the bible is false. Of course, there are many who think the bible and evolution compatible, but for others, losing faith in evolution opens the door to faith in the God of the bible.
My point is that many scientists hold onto evolution because they resist any truths that might lead them to the conclusion that the biblical God, or even any God, might exist. They do this because they, like all of us, are fallen, and because there are larger powers of delusion at work on their minds – empty, false philosophies and theories masquerading as truth, and demonic influences keeping people hostage to their views.