"There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry."

- J. Robert Oppenheimer


"Man is no more 'responsible' for becoming willful and committing a crime than the flower for becoming red and fragrant. In both instances the end products are predetermined by the nature of protoplasm and the chance of circumstances."

- Ludwig Buchner

"The first duty of a man is the seeking after and the investigation of truth."

- Cicero

"I suppose that the reason that we all leapt at The Origin [of Species] was that the idea of God interfered with our sexual mores."

- Julian Huxley

"It is the height of bigotry to have only one theory of origins taught in our schools."

- the ACLU for the inclusion of evolution when only creationism was being taught.



Where did man come from?
1) the war of philosophies


"...we have a prior commitment to materialism...to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive...that Materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door." 66

- Richard Lewontin

"After all, if intelligent design is at least possible, how rational or 'scientific' is it to adopt a methodology that is blind to all possible evidence for it? " 67

- Jay Wesley Richards

The warring philosophies of origin

A) Did mankind accidentally evolve from lifeless matter, or...

B) Were we, and all of life, the intended product of some form of intelligent action?

It will take the next ten chapters to answer this question. The question of whether life arose by chance or design is a familiar controversy. It's equally a philosophical war between materialists and those who hold life in very special regard. It's a war over whether or not life may have an absolute purpose. It's also a war over whether or not we are the product of a destiny-shaping intelligence greater than ourselves.

While science will be our main area of study, the philosophical implications of whether or not life was designed (and thus inferred to have an objective purpose) are overwhelming. The implications are so great they can totally eclipse objective thinking. Ask anyone, for example, if there's an objective goal in life that adherence to, or deviation from, constitutes absolute right and wrong, and I'll bet they won't ask for evidence before they answer.

Nancy Pearcy, quoting and writing about intelligent design proponent Phillip Johnson, observes

...when lecturing against Darwinism on university campuses, he has found "that any discussion with modernists about the weaknesses of the theory of evolution quickly turns into a discussion of politics, particularly sexual politics." Why? Because modernists "typically fear that any discrediting of naturalistic evolution will end in women being sent to the kitchen, gays to the closet, and abortionists to jail." 68

While the modernists in question would be wrong to jump to their conclusions, they would be right in concluding there to be a link between the material order and the moral order.

Our views on origins and purpose shape our moral definitions. How we define right and wrong affects how we live, how we vote, and how we treat others. Precisely because others are affected, often greatly affected, this war over origins is being waged passionately.

10.2 Is the war over origins about God?

Yes and no. Yes in the sense that a Christian would interpret a spiritual struggle to be taking place. And yes in the sense that certain evolutionists like Aldous and Julian Huxley support evolution primarily as an escape from belief in God and biblical sexuality. But no in the sense that the scientific investigation into where life came from is not necessarily a "God vs. no-God" debate. These are three basic positions to consider:

1. Evolutionary theory,
2. Intelligent design theory, and
3. Creation science

Evolution (we'll study several forms) seeks to explain how life arose apart from any divine intervention. For the last 150 years, evolution has been the traditional secular explanation for the origin of life. The word secular means having to do with a great period of time, which is exactly what evolution says man is a product of - time and chance. While evolution would not per se rule out that God does or does not exist, secularism and materialism, like atheism, definitely exclude God.

Intelligent design theory (IDT) implicates an intelligence was the designer of life, but stops short of identifying that intelligence (alien or divine); proceeding only as far as tangible evidence allows. IDT has arisen out of the last several decades of scientific research during which time certain surprises have caught the eye of both anti-darwinists and creationists.

IDT's strict dedication to empirical evidence has given it a wide base of support. It's absence of concluding a deity to be life's designer is accommodating to non-theists, while its general thesis and adherence to testable data is quite accommodating to creationists.

Creation science is the only one of the three to positively include God in the origin and purpose of life. Creation science, as is now mostly taught, accepts IDT but additionally uses the Bible to reason that God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is that intelligent designer.

The war of evolutionists (on one side) versus creationists and intelligent design theorists (together on the other) is being fought on what I interpret as two major fronts. The first is the legal front. In maintaining a Darwinist monopoly over secular schools, evolutionists press the biblical, hence religious, nature of creation science, and have been winning.

Against nonreligious intelligent design theory, however, evolutionists have been attempting to portray it, too, as religious. Such was the case in the state of Kansas recently. In the Kansas City Star newspaper, quotes from University of Kansas professors who favored Darwinism were paired against quotes from mall shoppers and assorted non-professionals whose comments crudely espoused a sort of creationism - a subject not even part of the debate. Local television coverage similarly balanced prepared academic opinions against those of citizens stopped at random as they exited their Sunday church services.

Absolutely no quotes were included from any of the knighted astronomers or Nobel-winning geneticists and biologists whose contributions have helped shape IDT. Even a local research biologist I have met, William S. Harris, who is also a doctor, director at a local hospital, and has published over 70 scientific papers, was blandly identified in one article as only an 'anti-Darwin proponent'. Locally, this strategy has pretty much netted the results such biased coverage ensures. But IDT has won in several other states, and battles are pending in even more.

The second front of this war of philosophies is the public front. The uneven media treatments above are one type of example. Another is illustrated in the pair of quotes below:

"Louisiana's creationism law, which requires creationism be taught wherever the theory of evolution is explained, is unconstitutional, a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled yesterday..."

- Associated Press, July 9, 1985

"Creation science has not entered the curriculum for a reason so simple and so basic that we often forget to mention it: because it is false..."

- Stephen Jay Gould

The legal victories won quietly in court on religious grounds are later touted in public as victories won on scientific grounds. If evolution truly had the scientific grounds to defeat other worldviews, those would be used in court to win decisively - but they aren't. Harvard professors like Gould don't "forget" the scientific merits of evolution. The merits aren't used because they don't exist. Macro-evolution is unproven, unprovable, and all the empirical evidence points to some form of intelligent intervention. Open and shut case then? No, because again, this is a war between philosophies and everyone is fighting for their side.

10.3 How do we know who is right?

So which view should we favor? How do we decide if the philosophies behind the scientific conclusions overwhelm science itself?

We will start by looking at the history of evolutionary theory and the effects of its philosophy in the next section. But in light of the fact that nineteenth-century Darwinism is what most of us were first taught, we should pause to test our own objectivity with a question that Philip Johnson poses:

What should we do if empirical evidence and materialist philosophy are going in different directions? Suppose, for example, that the evidence suggests that intelligent causes were involved in biological creation. Should we follow the evidence or the philosophy? 69

To be objective and arrive at the answer which most closely resembles reality, one must stick with following the evidence. This has become the case in states which now allow IDT in the classroom as an alternative to the nineteenth-century concept of origins. Following the evidence poses no threat to anyone open-minded enough to seek truth no matter where the evidence leads. Again, Phillip Johnson (paraphrasing William Dembski in the last paragraph):

We who are willing to consider the evidence for ID...think of ourselves as the true empiricists and hence the true practitioners of scientific thinking...If design is a legitimate subject for scientific investigation in the case of computers, communications from space aliens [SETI], and peculiar markings on cave walls, why should it be excluded from consideration when dealing with the biological cell or the conscious mind? 70

...It is that intelligent causes can do things that unintelligent causes cannot do, and scientific investigation can tell the difference. 71



(top of page)

NEXT: PART 2) The history of evolution

See also:

Intelligent design theory

Creation science

Printing Tips, Contact, Search,
Links & Bibles,
The Gospel







It's no coincidence that not one atheist believes in creation, and not one Christian believes life arose by chance.

The question of origins is as much philosophy as it is science.

However, only one philosophy best reflects the facts and evidences of the reality of our origin, and this is just the first of ten chapters to explain how and why.

1. The philosphies of origin
2. Is the war over God?
3. How do we know who is right?