Darwin Week: Celebrating Philosophy in our Science Classrooms

Hosea 14:9 “Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them.’”

This past week, members of the Washington, DC chapter of the American Humanists Association (AHA) of America celebrated Darwin Day (officially recognized on February 17) by discussing a very important topic: the current state of teaching evolution in high school classrooms. For those of you unfamiliar with AHA, they were founded in America in 1927, and published their official “Humanist Manifesto” in 1933, which lists the following 6 “Statements of Faith” for anyone wishing to join them:

1) The universe is self-existing and not created; 2) Man is a part of nature and has emerged as a result of a continuous process; 3) The universe, by modern science, makes unacceptable any supernatural guarantees of human values; 4) Realization of human personality is the end of man’s life; the goal is its development and fulfillment in the here and now; 5) Man is the result of a blind and random process that does not necessitate any kind of meaning; and 6) Humanism is fostered by the teaching of EVOLUTION.

On the AHA website, they also provide the goal of their organization: “Advocating progressive values and equality for humanists, atheists, and freethinkers. We strive to bring about a progressive society where being ‘good without a god’ is an accepted way to live life. We accomplish this through our defense of civil liberties and secular governance, by our outreach to the growing number of people without religious belief or preference, and through a continued refinement and advancement of the humanist worldview.”

I have held many debates with humanists. Some face-to-face (which I prefer), some online (which is usually a waste of time). In every case when debating evolutionary theory, my opponent will say that “evolution is not the default position of secular humanism”. Of course it is. And while his biology teacher was teaching evolutionary theory in their class, one of my teens asked his teacher if she believed evolution was true. She said “No”, that she is a Christian, and then asked him “What harm can it cause anyway?”

First, evolutionary theory isn’t science, so teaching it as science instead of as philosophy is harmful because it misleads students. In his book “Darwin on Trial”, Professor Phillip Johnson describes what happened at the 1981 opening of the Darwin exhibit at the British Museum of Natural History in London when scientists told the truth: “The British Museum of Natural History celebrated its centennial in 1981 by opening a new exhibition on Darwin’s theory. One of the first things a visitor encountered upon entering the exhibit was a sign which read as follows: ‘Have you ever wondered why there are so many different kinds of living things? One idea is that all living things we see today have evolved from a distant ancestor by a process of gradual change. How could evolution have occurred? How could one species change into another?’ The exhibition in this hall looks at one possible explanation – the explanation of Charles Darwin.

But an adjacent poster said this: ‘Another view is that God created all things perfect and unchanging.’ A brochure asserted that ‘the concept of evolution by natural selection is not, strictly speaking, scientific,’ because it is established by logical deduction rather than empirical demonstration. The general tenure of the exhibit was that Darwinism is an important theory but not something that is unreasonable to doubt.

Britain’s leading science journal, Nature, attacked the Darwin exhibit because the Museum’s staff was ‘going public’ with doubts about Darwinism that had previously been expressed only in professional circles. A report in Nature quoted what one of the Museum’s senior scientists was telling the public in a film lecture: ‘The survival of the fittest is an empty phrase; it is a play on words. For this reason, many critics feel that not only is the idea of evolution unscientific, but the idea of natural selection also. The idea of evolution by natural selection is a matter of logic, not science, and it follows that the concept of natural selection is not, strictly speaking, scientific.’” But that’s not all the Museum’s 22 scientists had to say: “We are astonished that Nature would advocate the theory be presented as fact. We have no absolute proof of the theory of evolution, although we do have overwhelming circumstantial evidence in favor of it and as yet have no better alternative. The theory of evolution would be abandoned tomorrow if a better theory appeared.”

The issue we are facing in American culture is we are teaching the secular humanist dogma of evolution in our classrooms as though it was scientific fact. And what is the “harm” in that? The AHA’s 5th Statement of Faith: “Man is the result of a blind and random process that does not necessitate any kind of meaning.”

As we witness our culture moving toward self-absorption in a quest to find meaning, rather than discovering meaning as a special creation of a loving God, we can trace its roots in our high school biology classrooms.

“The Evidence of Faith’s Substance”, Article #284 – February 24, 2018

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