Evidence Leading to Doubts about Darwinism

Hanegraaff, Hank-Intervies Thomas Woodward-Doubts Darwinism

Hank Hanegraaff invited Thomas Woodward onto the May 3, 2016 edition of the Bible Answer Man broadcast. The following is a highlight from their discussion.

Hank Hanegraaff: Life and truth matter indeed, and when truth is vanquished, there are dramatic consequences. Think about this. Other than the Bible, Darwin’s magnum opus, The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection could well be said to be the most significant literary work in the annals of recorded history. I remember Sir Julian Huxley calling the evolutionary dogma the most powerful  the most comprehensive idea that has ever arisen upon the earth, the most fundamental of all intellectual revolutions, and the father of the intelligent design movement, Michael Denton, saying that the twentieth century could not be comprehended apart from the intellectual revolution that the theory produced. The far reaching consequences of that cosmogenic myth are felt in virtually every field, in every discipline of study, every level of education, and every area of practice. I think the most significant consequence is that it undermines the very foundations of the Christian faith, because if indeed macroevolution is reflective of the laws of science, then Genesis must be reflective of the flaws of Scripture, or so it is thought. If the foundation of Christianity is flawed, then the superstructure is designed to fall.

Now all of that is just prologue to something that I want to impress you with, and that is a book by Thomas Woodward. It is titled Doubts about Darwin. It’s a history of the intelligent design movement, a movement that allows truth to lead wherever it will. This book ought to be one of the great classics of literature, and CRI has republished this book because we have a deep and abiding confidence that this book can make a dramatic paradigm shift in the way people think about Darwinian evolution.

If you think I am excited about this subject, I always have been. From the very beginning, I’ve said how one views their origins will ultimately determine how they live their life. So we’re not talking about an apologetic issue here, we’re talking about the apologetic issue. The author of Doubt’s about Darwin: A History of Intelligent Design, Thomas Woodward joins me now. Hi Tom!  

Thomas Woodward: Hi, great to be with you, thank you so much for that very warm welcome…

Hank: You know, I am so delighted that we’ve had the opportunity to republish this book because I do think it is a classic. You’re a professor at Trinity College in Florida, you teach history of science, communication, systematic theology, and the significance of systematic theology, you’re a founder and director of the C.S. Lewis Society, and you lecture in universities around the world, but this book, I think, could be a lasting legacy, because it pointing the finger squarely at doubts about Darwin and why we ought to have them.

Thomas: I think that your opening there is so on target. I mean talk about hitting the nail on the head. This is where the departure from truth hinges. It kind of sprouts from here and heads everywhere. One of the main theorist today has described Darwin’s theory is like a universal acid. It eats through any preexisting major paradigm, theory, concept, worldview, partial or in full, and leaves in its wake a revolutionized worldview, which has at its core this new god substitute—Darwin’s meandering blind process. You know, of course, natural selection we can go into the details, but I think that what really struck me is when I presented some of the accounts of the challengers of Neo-Darwinism to my agnostic professors, at the University of South Florida here in Tampa Bay, they were engaged. Here were scientists, here was a law professor Philip Johnson at Berkley, here were top biochemists who were challenging the theory, and my agnostic professors saying this is really interesting, give us more. They were not theists, they were not interested in, you know, in any kind of defense for the Bible. They were saying, this is genuine, there is something new under the sun, give us more. And they egged me on to write the history. So that’s kind of a strange background but I thank my, you know, kind of secular, skeptical, and agnostic professors for lighting the fire that allowed this book to be written.

Hank: I think what’s important at the very outset to talk about is the terrible price that is paid when you try to counter what is thought of in academia as settled science. You’re telling people look put on a different pair of glasses and what you see will be entirely different as well. So, one of the things that I love about this book and I really commend you for is that you have underscored and underlined and emphasized the people who have taken a hit professionally and personally to follow truth wherever it leads.

Thomas: Well that’s been my focus I would say from the get go as I began to hang out with some of these amazing, spectacular, researchers, and thinkers, many of them scientists, some of the professors at elite universities. They have stuck their neck out. I mean, you talk about the apostles. I’m not saying I’m going to put them in the rank of Peter, Paul and others in the Book of Acts, but these guys in their own way have as you said paid the price. Michael Behe at Lehigh University, you know kind of a quasi-Ivy League school, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Behe has suffered the ongoing shock or dismay, you might say, of having a disclaimer on his own biology department web site or webpage saying we do not subscribe to Michael Behe’s views, they are religious. Of course, that is so painfully and mistakenly absurd because he doesn’t use one religious argument in his book Darwin’s Black Box; it’s all empirically driven, but he labors on and others with him. I mean it’s really a moment of marvel for me to see the courage of these gentlemen.

Hank: I want to quote something that you have written Tom, and have you comment. You say the cultural stakes of the Darwinian design debate are high. The debaters are contending over the fundamental cultural story of human kind, and those who succeed at crafting and telling the most convincing story of origins, hold in their hands supreme cultural authority. If any group, religious or scientific, gains the authority to present its own story, as uniquely true, and then label other stories as mythological, that group functions as the high priesthood of our time. That I think is a powerful statement.

Thomas: That’s where I think so many people do not realize that if they subscribe to Neo-Darwinism and all its trappings and all its variations, they are embracing, something that has never really since Darwin’s day been supported by empirical evidence, a powerful idea. I can say the same thing about many powerful ideas that can be traced all the way back to Epicurus, Lucretius before Christ. The ideas of evolution has been floating in the air, have been floating in the air for twenty, or twenty-twenty-two centuries  before Darwin came along and came up with this new mechanism. He even admitted, you know, I cannot offer any direct evidence, but I can reasonably extend from what we see going on with animal breeders. Wow, now that’s quite a leap. Animal breeders make minor tweaking. They back and forth, you know, variations of the size, or shape or color of some organ, some wing, some fur on a sheep, but they do not fundamentally change those animals, and yet that’s what Darwin’s theory has to account for. It’s been struggling. It’s been a theory in search of evidence. I like to use that phrase. I got it from Philip Johnson, our common friend. A theory in search of evidence ever since it came out in 1859 and now defenders are turning really, how shall I put it, brittle and defensive and almost vindictive, ferocious at times, if you dare to question their theory, when Darwin himself was really welcoming those kinds of responses or critiques.

Hank: Let me pick up on that because this is one of the points that you make that doubts about Darwin are not relegated to those who doubt Darwin but Darwin himself had doubts about his own theory. In other words, he was open to evidence to the contrary.

Thomas: Yes and I have to qualify that, I think that doubts about—he’s wondering why is the evidence so terrible in so many areas where I want it to be splendid? So in that sense they were bracketed, you know, doubts here doubts there, why is the evidence not supporting me. Of course, the most blatant example is the fossil record, which was dead set against Darwin. He admitted it in his chapter on problems with my theory, admitted it again in his discussion of the geological record, and I think we would say today it is ten to a hundred times worsts than it was in Darwin’s day. The evidence, and we can go into this in more detail, for the expectation of Darwinism verses what we see in the fossil record is an overwhelming loud embarrassment. Darwin said if it could be presented, any complex organ’s existence, this is a quote from his book, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous successive slight modifications; my theory would absolutely break down. And of course that’s quite a statement. He is opening up himself for testing. I would say based on what we see now in the micro-machinery of a cell, his theory has again overwhelmingly broken down. We can credit that, of course, to Michael Behe, and before him, Michael Denton, and Phil Johnson brought out those points, but this was even evident in Darwin’s day. There were contrary evidence and he was receiving letters all the time from scientists. Well that’s part of the story that’s never told.

Hank: What I’d like you to do is to just take a minute or so and explain the transcendent importance of this particular topic.

Thomas: I would be delighted to tackle that exciting opportunity. Darwin’s theory is the reigning paradigm. It’s not just a theory. It’s a whole worldview. It’s like a broad structured thought that sort of links everybody together looking that the same issues raising the same possibility, but excluding certain possibilities ahead of time, and that’s a betrayal of science. So what we’re dealing with in the Neo-Darwinism period—if there’s an opportunity at some point today or another day I can share about some huge cracks that have opened up in the edifice in the last two or three weeks—but Darwin’s theory is now the reigning like determination of what is to be admitted within the scientific community. If it’s not materialistic, if it deals with intelligent causation, it’s ruled out ahead of time. Well, that’s not scientific at all. Darwin’s theory is the tip of a very bleak kind of situation where science has come under the control primarily of a worldview. A worldview that goes by a couple of different names but naturalism, the worldview of naturalism is probably the most common label. It means that you rule out ahead of time that anything non-material exists such as souls, spirits, God and certainly anything above the universe. As we see this triumphant theory aging and cracking it’s quite an exciting time of history.

Thomas E. Woodward is a research professor and department chair of the theology department at Trinity College of Florida. He is also the founder and director of the C.S. Lewis Society and lectures in universities on scientific apologetics and religious topics. Doubts about Darwin is one of the most significant works of Woodward for out times.

To get your copy Doubts about Darwin of click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *