Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mr. Darwin, about that book of yours...

November 24, 2009 – 150th Anniversary of Publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species

It is nearly impossible to calculate just how deeply our culture has been affected by the writings and ideas of Charles Darwin. This year – 2009 – has been a landmark year for evolutionists. On February 12 they celebrated the 200th birthday of the founder of their evolutionary faith, and today they celebrate the 150th anniversary of his magnum opus, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. In his autobiography Darwin comments on the initial publication and public reception of Origin.

“It is no doubt the chief work of my life. It was from the first highly successful. The first small edition of 1250 copies was sold on the day of publication, and a second edition of 3000 copies soon afterwards. Sixteen thousand copies have now (1876) been sold in England; and considering how stiff a book it is, this is a large sale…”

It has sometimes been said that the success of the Origin proved “that the subject was in the air,” or “that men’s minds were prepared for it.” I do not think that this is strictly true… What I believe was strictly true is that innumerable well-observed facts were stored in the minds of naturalists ready to take their proper places as soon as any theory which would receive them was sufficiently explained.” – Charles Darwin, Autobiography (Barnes & Noble, pg. 50-51)

There are a few comments I will make about Darwin’s remarks. First of all, he is being very honest when he describes Origin as a “stiff book.” I cannot claim to have read the whole thing cover to cover (though I plan to soon), but from what I have read I heartily concur. Very stiff indeed.

In the second paragraph notice what Darwin believes about the human mind. He tries to make the case that his theory of evolution (originally “transmutation) was merely a systematized framework for “well-observed facts.” In other words, people already had all the data they needed, and all that they lacked was a proper context for that data so they could draw substantial conclusions. This is completely backwards.

All men bring certain presupposed ideas or “presuppositions” to the table when discussing any issue, whether it be science, art, ethics and so on. These presuppositions are inescapable. What this means is that no one can truly be “neutral.” Certain things must be assumed before the data is examined. Conclusions are reached based on the available data and based on the worldview grid through which you interpret that data.

My point is simply this. No scientist has a truly “open,” “unbiased” mind, and “raw factuality” is a myth. Some people believe that the universe is the handiwork of a sovereign Creator God, while others believe that it is nothing more than the result of random processes over eons of time. THESE ARE BOTH FAITH CLAIMS, and will incontrovertibly influence their respective interpretations of the data.

Why is this important? Because today, November 24, 2009, you are being told that the only true science is that which acknowledges the supremacy of human reason over the Revelation of God. If you haven’t yet realized it, we are in the midst of a battle, and it’s outcome will determine the course of countless generations to come. Take a moment to consider just how much one little book has influenced the way we do education, government, healthcare, family life, science… and the list goes on.

Ideas have consequences. Don’t stand idly by and watch the things you hold most dear crumble before your eyes – take a stand for truth today!