“Darwin’s Doubt” … He’d Have Even Bigger Doubts Today

darwin's doubt, intelligent design

Boy, did Darwin’s Doubt by Stephen Meyer ever kick up a dust storm. Let’s just say that Big Science-Big Education-Big Media doesn’t like this read!

Did you know that Charles Darwin had doubts about his theory of evolution?

Darwin openly admitted in his On the Origin of Species in 1859 that there were important weaknesses in his theory.

His most significant doubt was why many complex life-forms (somewhere between 50 and 80% of all animal phyla) suddenly show up in the geologic column, with no simpler transitional forms in earlier layers of rock.

It’s a mystery known as the “Cambrian explosion.” And it’s not what we should expect in Darwin’s theory.

“I can give no satisfactory answer … the case at present must remain inexplicable; and may be truly urged as a valid argument against the views here entertained.” (Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species)

Did he say that the Cambrian explosion could be used as an argument against his entire theory? In the Origin of Species?

Earlier simpler life forms are required for Darwin’s theory

The twin pillars of Darwin’s theory are common ancestry and natural selection.

  • Common ancestry — All life-forms can be traced to a common ancestor. Darwin wrote, “All the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form.”
  • Natural selection — Darwin believed there is a natural change process that can act on random variations and mutations in life-forms. New traits would slowly develop in species … and even new body types and species would generate over enormous spans of time.
darwin's doubt
The diagram on the left shows the animal tree of life as expected in Darwin’s theory, leading back to a common ancestor in the distant past. The diagram on the right is a representation of the actual pattern of the Precambrian and Cambrian fossil record. Notice the sudden appearance of known animal groupings. This is the Cambrian explosion. (image from Darwin’s Doubt)

Darwin hoped there would be fossil discoveries of pre-Cambrian life forms—simpler, developing forms leading up to the Cambrian surge of complex life-forms. There have been no satisfactory discoveries in over 150 years since Origin of Species was published.

Even more, paleontologists have discovered further evidence that makes the issue even more acute—like unknown, exotic Cambrian species discovered in China. Again, with no pre-Cambrian ancestors

And now, there’s a revolution in biology

Cambridge University scientists Dr. James Watson and Dr. Francis Crick unlocked the double helix structure of DNA in 1953. They showed how DNA stored genetic information in sophisticated digital and chemical code. It was revolutionary. A new science was born … molecular biology.

In addition to biology, new scientific evidence in other disciplines like physics, cosmology, and artificial intelligence research, have fueled the questioning.

Today’s scientists know that a truly awesome amount of complex biological information is necessary to build an animal.

darwin's doubt
Francis Crick (left) and James Watson (right) with a model of the DNA molecule

The question is this:

Can the level of information required to create whole new body forms and species develop from genetic variations and natural selection? Or does this information have to come from some other source?

Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould said that neo-Darwinism “is effectively dead, despite its persistence as textbook orthodoxy.” This was in 1980. Critique in the scientific community has only grown with each year.

By faith we understand that the worlds (Greek, ages) were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible (Hebrews 11:3 NKJ).

We can draw inferences from science. But they brings us to the point where we then understand by faith that God created all things. The New Testament, An Expanded Translation by Wuest has it as, “By means of faith we perceive that the material universe and the God-appointed ages of time were equipped and fitted by God’s word for the purpose for which they were intended ….

The Greek word (aion) translated worlds or ages means the material universe in this verse. It also carries the meaning of periods of time administered by the Creator. It refers to time and space and everything within it. Also, see John 1:1-4 and Romans 1:19-22.

A fun and fascinating conversation with Stephen Meyer, author of Darwin’s Doubt

What is the source of the sophisticated biological information required for the many animal forms we see in the Cambrian explosion? Life-forms which included complex skeletons, eyes, and even 3-part brains … seemingly arriving out of nowhere.

Eric Metaxas of Socrates In the City interviews Stephen Meyer. Metaxas is a superb interviewer. Entertaiatning too.

Meyer received his PhD in Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge after working as an oil industry geophysicist. He wrote Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design.

See what you think …

Darwin’s doubt is alive and well … and growing

If Darwin doubted in the mid-1800’s … then why shouldn’t we today? Especially since there’s more evidence and knowledge to give us reason to.

It turns out that doubts have been growing among scientists for years.

But you wouldn’t know this. Not in the textbooks, what science spokespersons say, and in the popular media. The sense in culture is that evolution is settled science. And it dare not be challenged!

Challenging the Darwin-only paradigm

There is a small but fast-growing number of scientists who are questioning the Darwin-only paradigm.

Could it be that a better explanation for complex biological information is intelligence or mindand not an undirected process like random mutation and natural selection?

Whether it’s a book, a symphony, or computer code … the concept is that intelligence precedes complex information.

There is paranoia and massive resistance about this in Big Education, Big Media, and television and films.

For many, it’s as if the materialistic, Darwinian worldview is a dogma, a religion-of-sorts. It must be venerated at all costs. It’s scientism. Any other view to this orthodoxy is heresy. Seemingly, a worldview is being challenged.

You may enjoy Need the Best Information? Reach Out to the Master of Molecules on JesusSmart.

Is the science settled on this?

Science is said to be “settled science” on some issues today … don’t even think of challenging certain positions. “That’s settled science, it’s no longer open to debate.”

The science is not settled on this issue. There is growing critique of neo-Darwinism in the scientific community.

The process of scientific discovery should remain open-ended. New hypotheses can be established and the scientific method applied. Then we can have honest peer review. This is how discovery advances.

With some, there is cognitive bias with Darwinism … materialism/naturalism … a closed universe influenced only by randomness and natural selection.

Is this science by eisegesis (reading into it what we presuppose and want it to say) and not exegesis (allowing the evidence to speak to us)?

We all have to be honest, insatiably curious, and even-handed in how we think about science.

Is intelligent design our best explanation for the fossil evidence and advancements in biology?

You may enjoy this post about how ideas rule everything on TrueNorth Quest.

Many believe that what we see in the universe and in living things is best explained by some sort of intelligent cause. Not by a process like natural selection of random variations.

Want more on intelligent design? The Information Enigma is a 21-minute documentary which looks at how biological information challenges the Darwinian theory and suggests intelligent design.

This post is surely an appetizer at most on this subject. Enjoy the interview. Watch the documentary. Continue to read. Research. Reflect. The science is advancing and there is a robust conversation in the scientific community on this issue.

Do you feel there’s opportunity to doubt Darwin? What are your thoughts? What larger worldview issues are at play here?

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