Why Do Many Accept Evolution?
1, 2. What is one reason why many people believe evolution?
AS WE have seen, the evidence for creation is enormous. Why, then, do many people reject creation and accept evolution instead? One reason is what they were taught in school. Science textbooks nearly always promote the evolutionary viewpoint. The student is rarely, if ever, exposed to opposing arguments. In fact, arguments against evolution are usually prevented from appearing in school textbooks.
2 In the magazine American Laboratory a biochemist wrote this about his children’s schooling: “The child is not presented with evolution as a theory. Subtle statements are made in science texts as early as the second grade (based on my reading of my children’s textbooks). Evolution is presented as reality, not as a concept that can be questioned. The authority of the educational system then compels belief.” Regarding evolutionary teaching in higher grades, he said: “A student is not permitted to hold personal beliefs or to state them: if the student does so, he or she is subjected to ridicule and criticism by the instructor. Often the student risks academic loss because his or her views are not ‘correct’ and the grade is lowered.”1
3. How are some people conditioned to accept evolution?
3 Evolutionary views permeate not only the schools but all areas of science and other fields such as history and philosophy. Books, magazine articles, motion pictures and television programs treat it as an established fact. Often we hear or read phrases such as, ‘When man evolved from the lower animals,’ or, ‘Millions of years ago, when life evolved in the oceans.’ Thus, people are conditioned to accept evolution as a fact, and contrary evidence passes unnoticed.
Weight of Authority
4. How is the weight of authority brought to bear on evolution’s behalf?
4 When leading educators and scientists assert that evolution is a fact, and imply that only the ignorant refuse to believe it, how many laymen are going to contradict them? This weight of authority that is brought to bear on evolution’s behalf is a major reason for its acceptance by large numbers of people.
5. (a) What example shows how scientists often use their weight of authority? (b) Why are such assertions in error?
5 An example typical of views that often intimidate laymen is this assertion by Richard Dawkins: “Darwin’s theory is now supported by all the available relevant evidence, and its truth is not doubted by any serious modern biologist.”2 But is this actually the case? Not at all. A little research will reveal that many scientists, including ‘serious modern biologists,’ not only doubt evolution but do not believe it.3 They believe that the evidence for creation is far, far stronger. Thus, sweeping statements like that of Dawkins are in error. But they are typical of attempts to bury opposition by means of such language. Noting this, an observer wrote in New Scientist: “Does Richard Dawkins have so little faith in the evidence for evolution that he has to make sweeping generalisations in order to dismiss opponents to his beliefs?”4
6. How is evolutionary dogmatism contrary to the accepted scientific method?
6 In similar fashion the book A View of Life, by evolutionists Luria, Gould and Singer, states that “evolution is a fact,” and asserts: “We might as well doubt that the earth revolves about the sun, or that hydrogen and oxygen make water.”5 It also declares that evolution is as much a fact as the existence of gravity. But it can be proved experimentally that the earth revolves around the sun, that hydrogen and oxygen make water, and that gravity exists. Evolution cannot be proved experimentally. Indeed, these same evolutionists admit that “debate rages about theories of evolution.”6 But do debates still rage about the earth revolving around the sun, about hydrogen and oxygen making water, and about the existence of gravity? No. How reasonable is it, then, to say that evolution is as much a fact as these things are?
7. Why do scientists not always base their conclusions on facts?
7 In a foreword to John Reader’s book Missing Links, David Pilbeam shows that scientists do not always base their conclusions on facts. One reason, says Pilbeam, is that scientists “are also people and because much is at stake, for there are glittering prizes in the form of fame and publicity.” The book acknowledges that evolution is “a science powered by individual ambitions and so susceptible to preconceived beliefs.” As an example it notes: “When preconception is . . . so enthusiastically welcomed and so long accommodated as in the case of Piltdown Man, science reveals a disturbing predisposition towards belief before investigation.” The author adds: “Modern [evolutionists] are no less likely to cling to erroneous data that supports their preconceptions than were earlier investigators . . . [who] dismissed objective assessment in favour of the notions they wanted to believe.”7 So, because of having committed themselves to evolution, and a desire to further their careers, some scientists will not admit the possibility of error. Instead, they work to justify preconceived ideas rather than acknowledge possibly damaging facts.
8. Why did W. R. Thompson deplore the wholesale conversion to belief in evolution?
8 This unscientific attitude was noted and deplored by W. R. Thompson in his foreword to the centennial edition of Darwin’s The Origin of Species. Thompson stated: “If arguments fail to resist analysis, assent should be withheld, and a wholesale conversion due to unsound argument must be regarded as deplorable.” He said: “The facts and interpretations on which Darwin relied have now ceased to convince. The long-continued investigations on heredity and variation have undermined the Darwinian position.”8
9. What did Thompson say about scientists suppressing criticism of evolution?
9 Thompson also observed: “A long-enduring and regrettable effect of the success of the Origin was the addiction of biologists to unverifiable speculation. . . . The success of Darwinism was accompanied by a decline in scientific integrity.” He concluded: “This situation, where scientific men rally to the defence of a doctrine they are unable to define scientifically, much less demonstrate with scientific rigour, attempting to maintain its credit with the public by the suppression of criticism and the elimination of difficulties, is abnormal and undesirable in science.”9
10. Why do many scientists accept evolution as “fact”?
10 Similarly, a professor of anthropology, Anthony Ostric, criticized his scientific colleagues for declaring “as a fact” that man descended from apelike creatures. He said that “at best it is only a hypothesis and not a well-supported one at that.” He noted that “there is no evidence that man has not remained essentially the same since the first evidence of his appearance.” The anthropologist said that the vast body of professionals have fallen in behind those who promote evolution “for fear of not being declared serious scholars or of being rejected from serious academic circles.”10 In this regard, Hoyle and Wickramasinghe also comment: “You either believe the concepts or you will inevitably be branded as a heretic.”11 One result of this has been an unwillingness by many scientists to investigate the creation viewpoint without prejudice. As a letter to the editor of Hospital Practice observed: “Science has always prided itself upon its objectivity, but I’m afraid that we scientists are rapidly becoming victims of the prejudiced, closed-minded thinking that we have so long abhorred.”12
Failure of Religion
11. How has religion’s failure been a factor in the acceptance of evolution?
11 An additional reason for evolution’s acceptance is the failure of conventional religion in both what it teaches and what it does, as well as its failure to represent properly the Bible’s creation account. Informed persons are well aware of the religious record of hypocrisy, oppression and inquisitions. They have observed clergy support for murderous dictators. They know that people of the same religion have killed one another by the millions in war, with the clergy backing each side. So they find no reason for considering the God whom those religions are supposed to represent. Too, absurd and unbiblical doctrines further this alienation. Such ideas as eternal torment—that God will roast people in a literal hellfire forever—are repugnant to reasoning persons.
12. What does the failure of this world’s religions really show?
12 However, not only are reasoning persons repelled by such religious teachings and actions, but the evidence in the Bible is that God also is repelled. Indeed, the Bible frankly exposes the hypocrisy of certain religious leaders. For example, it says of them: “You also, outwardly indeed, appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matthew 23:28) Jesus told the common people that their clergy were “blind guides” who taught, not what comes from God, but contrary “commands of men as doctrines.” (Matthew 15:9, 14) Similarly, the Bible condemns religionists who “publicly declare they know God, but [who] disown him by their works.” (Titus 1:16) So, despite their claims, religions that have promoted or condoned hypocrisy and bloodshed do not originate with God, nor do they represent him. Instead, they are called “false prophets,” and are compared to trees that produce “worthless fruit.”—Matthew 7:15-20; John 8:44; 13:35; 1 John 3:10-12.
13. What lack of guidance is evident in religion?
13 Also, many religions have capitulated on the matter of evolution, thus providing no alternative for their people. For example, the New Catholic Encyclopedia states: “General evolution, even of the body of man, seems the most probable scientific account of origins.”13 At a Vatican meeting, 12 scholars representing the highest scientific body of the Catholic Church agreed to this conclusion: “We are convinced that masses of evidence render the application of the concept of evolution to man and other primates beyond serious dispute.”14 With such religious endorsement, are uninformed church members likely to resist even when, in reality, “masses of evidence” do not support evolution, but, instead, actually support creation?
14. How is the vacuum caused by false religion often filled?
14 The vacuum that this causes is often filled by agnosticism and atheism. Abandoning belief in God, people accept evolution as the alternative. Today, in a number of lands, atheism based on evolution is even the official state policy. Responsibility for much of this disbelief can be laid at the feet of this world’s religions.
15. What other erroneous religious ideas discourage belief in God and the Bible?
15 Too, some religious doctrines cause people to believe that the Bible teaches things contrary to scientific fact, so they reject the God of the Bible. For example, as noted in an earlier chapter, some erroneously claim the Bible teaches that the earth was created in six literal 24-hour days, and that it is only 6,000 years old. But the Bible does not teach these things.
‘Seeing Is Believing’
16. Why do some people reject the concept of a Creator?
16 Some people sincerely reject the concept of a Creator because they feel, as it has been said, that ‘seeing is believing.’ If something cannot be seen or measured in some way, then they may feel that it does not exist. True, in daily life they acknowledge the existence of many things that cannot be seen, such as electricity, magnetism, radio or television waves and gravity. Yet, this does not alter their view, because all these things can still be measured or sensed by some other physical means. But there is no physical way to see or measure a Creator, or God.
17, 18. (a) What evidence that we can see verifies the existence of an unseen Creator? (b) Why should we not expect to see God?
17 However, as we have seen in previous chapters, there is sound reason to believe that an unseen Creator does exist because we can observe the evidence, the physical results of his handiwork. We see it in the technical perfection and intricacy of atomic structure, in the magnificently organized universe, in the unique planet Earth, in the amazing designs of living things and in man’s awesome brain. These are effects that must have an adequate cause to account for their existence. Even materialists accept this law of cause and effect in all other matters. Why not also regarding the physical universe itself?
18 On this point, the Bible’s simple argument puts it best: “[The Creator’s] invisible attributes, that is to say his everlasting power and deity, have been visible, ever since the world began, to the eye of reason, in the things he has made.” (Romans 1:20, The New English Bible) In other words, the Bible reasons from effect to cause. The visible creation, the awesome “things he has made,” are an evident effect that must have an intelligent cause. That invisible cause is God. Too, as the Maker of all the universe, the Creator no doubt possesses power so enormous that humans of flesh and blood should not expect to see God and survive. As the Bible comments: “No man may see [God] and yet live.”—Exodus 33:20.
Another Major Reason for Disbelief
19. What is another major reason why many accept evolution?
19 There is another major reason why many people abandon belief in God and accept evolution. It is because of the prevalence of suffering. For centuries there has been so much injustice, oppression, crime, war, sickness and death. Many persons do not understand why all these hardships have come upon the human family. They feel that an all-powerful Creator would not have allowed such things. Since these conditions do exist, they feel that God could not exist. Thus, when evolution is presented they accept it as the only choice, often without much investigation.
20. What questions need answering?
20 Why, then, would an all-powerful Creator permit so much suffering? Will it forever be this way? Understanding the answer to this problem will, in turn, enable one to understand the deeper, underlying reason for the theory of evolution becoming so widespread in our time.
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The student is rarely given opposing arguments
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Evolutionary teaching permeates science and other fields
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Many educators and scientists say or imply that only the ignorant disbelieve evolution
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“[Evolutionary] science reveals a disturbing predisposition towards belief before investigation”
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“The facts and interpretations on which Darwin relied have now ceased to convince”
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“The suppression of criticism . . . is abnormal and undesirable in science”
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The vacuum caused by religious error often leads to acceptance of evolution
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Because suffering exists, many abandon belief in God and accept evolution
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Do debates still rage about the earth orbiting the sun, about hydrogen and oxygen making water, about gravity’s existence?
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Clergy backing of both sides in war, intolerance, and false teachings such as hellfire alienate many
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The existence of a Creator is evidenced by “the things made”