THE DARWIN PAPERS
VOLUME 1 NUMBER IlI
A BRIEF HISTORY
THE THEORY OF
From The Nebulous Hypothesis:
A Study of the Philosophical and
Historical Implications of Darwinian Theory
© 1996 by James M. Foard
Editor and Publisher James M. Foard.
Over twenty years after returning home from his epic voyage on the Beagle Darwin published his Origin of Species and later The Descent of Man , where he presented his evolutionary theory to the world, and which he claimed were the result of his detailed observations of the various forms of life he saw during his trip.
Two ideas have been propounded throughout the years by Darwin's hagiographers to the general public: That Charles Darwin originated this monumental theory of evolution, and that after years of diligent research and careful study he had further established evolution as a fact.
We hear of Darwin the brilliant scientist who broke the bounds of primitive superstition; Darwin the great naturalist who first enlightened man on the concept of evolution of species; Darwin who discovered that man descended from apes; etc. etc.
World Book tells us: (2)
". . .The study of the specimens from the voyage of the Beagle convinced Darwin that modern species had evolved from a few earlier ones. He documented the evidence and first presented his theories on evolution to a meeting of scientists in 1858 . . . Darwin's theories shocked most people of his day, who believed that each species had been created by a separate divine act. His book, which is usually called simply The Origin of Species presented facts that disputed this belief. It caused a revolution in biological science and greatly affected religious thought." (3)
Another common example would be from Wallace, King and Sanders in Biosphere: The Realm of Life:
The notion that evolution is this grand, novel discovery made by Charles Darwin and that it is based on solid, scientific evidence that replaced old, primitive, religious myths of creation by a supreme Being are commonly drilled into the minds of students and the general public by the evolutionist hierarchy in both the educational and media establishments.
"In 1859, Charles Darwin published a theory of evolution that implied that humans evolved from apes. . .The Darwinian revolution was the greatest paradigm shift in the history of biology, and it greatly changed the way that ordinary men and women viewed their own place in the world." (1)
"Evolution provided the first unifying, general principle to all living things," however "in legends of creation popular among the peoples of antiquity-Sumerians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Hebrews, whose sacred book, the Torah, known to Christians as the Old Testament, contains two descriptions of the creation of plants and animals. The omnipotence that primitive peoples ascribed to their deities made it natural for them to believe that the gods created everything in existence. For this reason, the origins of the Earth, the heavens, the seas, plants and animals, and men and women were wrapped in unquestioned dogmas, some of which hold true today. It is only comparatively recently, in societies and civilizations possessed of scientific knowledge and methods of investigation, that such dogmas have come under question."
Evolutionists are constantly beating the drum to this tune: Darwin was the first one ever who thought of the theory of evolution, and it caused a major rethinking on the subject of human origins that turned the entire scientific world on it's ear.
But was this truly the case? Did Charles Darwin really make some stunning new discovery of human origins, as is popularly taught, or is it possible that the concept of the evolution of species was nothing new at all when he wrote his book? In fact, could the idea of evolution have been something that had been discussed by intellectuals for many centuries prior to Darwin's birth?
To begin our
investigation into the truth of the matter, we may gain some insight from the
dean of twentieth century anthropologists, William Howells, formerly of the
University of Wisconsin and senior Anthropologist of Harvard University, who had
this to say on the subject: "Darwin is supposed, by those who have not read him, to be the man who thought of
evolution and who said that men were descended from monkeys. Neither notion is even half true." (4)
The authors of Anthropology Today agree:
"The belief that evolutionary theory began with Charles Darwin is widespread but incorrect." (5)
Even Leakey and Isaac, after their monumental tribute to Darwin in Human Ancestors noted in Chapter One had to admit: "Darwin was not the first to consider the possibility that life, including human life, had originated through a prolonged process of gradual change involving natural rather than supernatural mechanisms." (6)
We find in fact that evolutionary thought is itself a rather old idea. The editors of Biology Today would agree:
"Much has been written on whether or not the Darwinian theory was original. Inevitably, historians have concluded that there was little novelty in what Darwin and Wallace were saying. Down through the centuries, from ancient Greek times on, various writers have suggested that new species can arise through the modification of old and that among all the possible organic types, the world contains only those that can survive the struggle for life." (8)
is indeed interesting, that the theory that Darwin is given so much credit
for was not even a very modern concept in his own day.
Since this damaging criticism of Darwin's accomplishment has grudgingly been admitted by his evolutionist admirers, they have begun performing a clever juggling act to clean up their hero's tarnished image.
On the one hand, when confronted with the evidence, they are forced to concede that Darwin's idea was not original, but they continue to insist that he offered some grand proof for his theory. This legend of Darwin's marvelous proof for evolution has been exposed in Chapter's Four , Five and Nine of The Darwin Papers for the fabrication that it was when Darwin first published his book and has been ever since.
Darwin offered no proof for his theory, it was all based on a bunch of fantastic stories that he made up out of thin air, such as flying fish developing wings, and these same stories have been repeated since his time by his evolutionist followers to unwitting audiences who are unaware that the foundation for these stories is just as fictional as the story of Alice in Wonderland.
The second part to their
juggling act is that, even after their bluff has been called, evolutionists will
change tactics every few years with newer, younger audiences of impressionable
youth who are not aware of the fictitious nature of Darwin's tales who will be
ripe for the picking, and then they will go back to crediting Darwin with
originating the evolutionary theory again, hoping that their new listeners will
not know that the whole charade has been exposed long ago. This has recently
been done by Bill Nye the "science guy".
Hence the need to continue with this chapter, so that with the evidence in plain sight their whole game can at last be brought to light and hopefully be put to rest on the graveyard of other defunct theories once and for all.
First of all, let us find out what evolution is supposed to be; let us define it. Evolution is the theory that all living organisms supposedly have transformed from one species into another through a gradual process of adaptation to changing environmental conditions, which transformation is said to have taken place through the extremely fortuitous timing of natural selection, hybridization, inbreeding and (more recently) mutation, and that through this process all living species are descended from a common natural ancestor, and fish became amphibians that turned into reptiles that turned into mammals etc. etc.
We will deal with the evidence and possibility of this having ever occurred throughout the remaining chapters of this work. For now the definition is adequate for our purposes.
We find that Anaximander of Miletus (611 B.C.-546 B.C.) advanced the traditional evolutionary idea, already quite common in his day, that life first evolved from a type of pre-biotic soup, helped along a bit by the rays of the sun. He believed that the first animals developed from sea slime which had been evaporated by the suns rays. He also believed that men were descended from fish.(9)
It would seem that the premise of evolutionary thinking hasn't changed much since the ancient Greeks, for William Howells said of Homo sapiens: "Man, therefore, is a modified fish." (10)
Howells further wrote, (11) "'Plato having defined man to be a two-legged animal without feathers, Diogenes plucked a cock and brought it into the Academy, and said, 'This is Plato's man.'"
Other prominent Greeks advanced the idea of evolution. Aristotle taught the doctrine of evolution in his Ladder of Nature, of which Erik Nordenskoid wrote, "Here we find enunciated for the first time a really complete theory of evolution." Democritus, who came up with an early version of the atomic theory, had an evolutionary theory, and Epicurius described the theory plainly in his writings. Paleontologist and curator of the American Museum of Natural history for many years, Henry Fairfield Osborn, considered Empedocles to be the father of evolutionary thought.
The Greek Philosopher
Epicurus (Epicurius) fully enunciated Darwin's theory of natural selection
and survival of the fittest over two thousand years before Darwin was ever born:
The childhood of the earth provoked no hard frosts or excessive heats or winds of boisterous violence. For all things keep pace in their growth and attainment of their full strength. In those days the earth attempted also to produce a host of monsters, grotesque in build and aspect - hermaphrodites, halfway between the sexes yet cut off from either, creatures bereft of feet of disposed of hands, dumb, mouthless brutes, or eyeless and blind, or disabled by the adhesion of their limbs to the trunk, so, that they could neither do anything nor go anywhere nor keep out of harm's way nor take what they needed. These and other such monstrous and misshapen births were created. But all in vain. Nature debarred them from increase.… In those days, again, many species must have died out altogether and failed to reproduce their kind. Every species that you now see drawing the breath of life has been protected and preserved from the beginning of the world either by cunning or by prowess or by speed. (Lucretius, On the Nature of the Universe, trans. R.E. Latham, 1951, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973 , pp. 195-197)
Much like many modern evolutionists, Epicurus
"taught that the physical world was all there was, that it had always existed and would last forever. Not only was there no Creator, there was no God in charge of the universe to give life purpose." (Early Church.org, http://www.earlychurch.org.uk/epicurius.html )
The Chinese philosopher Chuangtse formulated a close approximation to the evolutionary theory, and some ancient Hindu ideas have an evolutionary outlook in their theory of the soul's development through re-incarnation.
Since the beginning of the Renaissance in the late fourteenth century evolutionary ideas began to take shape in the minds of many philosophers. More than one author has said that by the time of the eighteenth century the entire intellectual atmosphere of England and Europe was actually saturated with the idea of evolution.
Many of these ideas came out of the schools of the French, German and Spanish naturalists, who contended that all species of life were derived from purely natural consequences of adaption to various environmental conditions.
The terminology was somewhat different then, the phrase "transformation of species" was used instead of the present Darwinian version, "evolution of species," thus these precursors of Darwin were called "transformists" or "transformationists," much as a modern believer in evolution would be called an "evolutionist."
The renowned political philosopher Rousseau (1712-1778) clearly demonstrated in his Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, written in 1754, that evolutionary ideas of man's descent from an animal form were very well known in his day, and that these ideas went all the way back to the time of the ancient Greeks. He began the first part of that essay with this statement:
"Important as it may be, in order to judge rightly of the natural state of man, to consider him from his origin, and to examine him, as it were in the embryo of his species; I shall not follow his organization through its successive developments, nor shall I stay to inquire what his animal system must have been at the beginning, in order to become at length what it actually is. I shall not ask whether his long nails were at first, as Aristotle supposes, only crooked talons; whether his whole body, like that of a bear, was not covered with hair; or whether the fact that he walked upon all fours, with his looks directed toward the earth, confined to a horizon of a few paces, did not at once point out the nature and limits of his ideas."
Rousseau himself wisely declined to affirm any of these evolutionary views, stating that there was insufficient evidence for any of them to be proven:
"On this subject, I could form none but vague and almost imaginary conjectures. Comparative anatomy has as yet made too little progress, and the observations of naturalists are too uncertain to afford an adequate basis for any solid reasoning."
He then stated that ordinary common sense, even apart from any religious conviction, would lead one to believe that man had not evolved from an animal, but had always existed in his present form:
"So that, without having recourse to the supernatural information given us on this head [the Bible], or paying any regard to the changes which must have taken place in the internal, as well as the external, conformation of man, as he applied his limbs to new uses, and fed himself on new kinds of food, I shall suppose his conformation to have been at all times what it appears to us at this day; that he always walked on two legs, made use of his hands as we do, directed his looks over all nature, and measured with his eyes the vast expanse of Heaven." (Rousseau, On the Origins of Inequality) (12)
In the third epistle of Alexander Popes Essay on Man ( 1733-1734) there is a hint of the evolutionary theory, along with man's common origin with the animal world, although it is extremely difficult to determine whether he is endorsing the idea of man's descent from animals, or merely affirming that all beings were created from like, humble elements. The French Philosopher Montesquieu described his belief that all present species had descended from a relatively few number of ancient species.
Maillet (1656-1738), the French Consul and philosopher of note,
preceded Darwin by well over a century with his theory that the land animals
developed from creatures that formerly lived in the ocean depths. In his
Telliamed he wrote that life first began with aquatic beings that had to
"terrestrialise" themselves as the land appeared out of the water. He believed
that there were two kinds of ocean animals, those that swam near the surface and
those that lived on the ocean bottom. Maillet claimed that those that lived near
the bottom became the walking animals.
He proposed that those marine animals that swam near the surface turned into birds since, during the course of time, they were thrown up on the land by the waves of the sea, consequently they had to learn to fly since the tall grass on the beach prevented them from returning to the water, thus their fins split into wings and feet. One of the main premises of his theory is that descent occurs with slight modification over the span of many generations, nearly identical with Darwin's ideas a century later.
The philosopher Maurpertius (1698-1759) definitely elucidated the very essentials of the Darwinian theory of evolution many years before Darwin was even born, proposing that it took place by the same process of survival of the fittest through chance favorable variations, which he called "errors" (and which modern evolutionists call mutations), that occur during the foetal stage of development. Maurpertuis wrote:
"May we not thus explain how, from only two individuals, the multiplication of the most dissimilar species might have followed? They might have owed their first appearance merely to accidental occurrences. Perhaps the elementary parts did not maintain the arrangement which had existed in the animal ancestors: each degree of error could have created a new species, and, thanks to repeated deviations, the infinite diversity of animals manifest today might have resulted. This diversity developed with time, but perhaps grew imperceptibly in the course of the centuries." He wrote in 1750, "Chance has produced a countless number of individuals; a small number of these were constructed in such a way that the parts of the animal could satisfy his needs; in an infinitely greater number, there was neither fitness nor order, and they all disappeared [became extinct]; the only ones which survived were those in which order and fitness prevailed. These species in existence today are only the smallest part of what a blind fate had produced." (Maupertius, Essai de Cosmologie.)
Some of Darwin's ideas sound as though they could have been taken line for line from Maupertius writings.
Compare this with the Origin, where Darwin wrote:
"Natural Selection acts exclusively by the preservation and accumulation of variations, which are beneficial under the organic and inorganic conditions to which each creature is exposed at all periods of life. The ultimate result is that each creature tends to become more and more improved in relation to its conditions. . .If under changing conditions of life organic beings present individual differences in almost every part of their structure . . .then, considering the infinite complexity of the relations of all organic beings to each other and to their conditions of life [environment], causing an infinite diversity in structure, constitution, and habits, to be advantageous to them, it would be a most extraordinary fact of no variations had ever occurred useful to each being's own welfare . . . But if variations useful to any being ever do occur, assuredly individuals thus characterized will have the best chance of being preserved in the struggle for life . . .this principle of preservation [preservation is actually the opposite of diversification of many varieties from one species] I have called Natural Selection. It leads to the improvement of each creature in relation to its organic and inorganic conditions of life, and consequently, in most cases, to what must be regarded as an advance in organization." (Darwin, Origin, pp.60-63, Benton Pub., 1952)
In another place Darwin wrote:
"The fact, as we have seen, that all past and present organic beings can be arranged within a few great classes, in groups subordinate to groups . . .The real affinities of all organic beings, in contradistinction to their adaptive resemblances, are due to inheritance or community of descent . . . I believe that animals are descended from at most only four or five progenitors, and plants from an equal or lesser number. Analogy would lead me one step farther, namely, to the belief that all animals and plants are descended from some one prototype. . .
As species are produced and exterminated by slowly acting and still existing causes, and not by miraculous acts of creation, and as the most important of all causes of organic change is
. . .the improvement of one organism entailing the improvement or the extinction of others." (Darwin, Origin, pp.238-243)
Naturalistic scientists had been searching for the "missing link" for well over a hundred years before Darwin wrote his Origin, showing that the basic tenet of evolution was by no means some shocking new concept that Darwin unleashed on the world in 1859.
A.D. Lovejoy wrote:
" . . . it was in the eyes of the eighteenth century, a great moment in the history of science when Trembley in 1739 rediscovered the fresh-water Hydra [Leeuwenhoek first discovered it], this creature being at one hailed as the long-sought missing link between plants and animals. This and similar discoveries in turn served to strengthen the faith in continuity as an a priori rational law of nature . . ."
(A.D. Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being, Harvard University Press, 1961)
Like other much publicized "missing links" the Hydra has long since been dethroned as any type of evidence for evolution.
Jean Baptiste Robinet (1735-1820) fully anticipated Darwin on the gradual accumulation of beneficial adaptions to produce new species from pre-existing ones. Robinet wrote almost a complete synthesis of Darwin's basic theory years before Darwin's birth:
"Each generation introduces some differences and these differences endlessly multiplied and accumulated produce significant alterations in the prototype; these differences suppress old parts or multiply them, engender new ones, transform the combinations, vary the results, and finally produce something very different from the model itself." Robinet, Vue Philosophique (1766); De la Nature (1768)
Comparing this idea with what Darwin wrote, we see that Darwin's ideas were not very original:
"When many of the inhabitants of any area have become modified and improved, we can understand, on the principle of competition, and from the all-important relations. of organism to organism in the struggle for life, that any form which did not become in some degree modified and improved, would be liable to extermination . . .The theory of natural selection is grounded on the belief that each new variety and ultimately each new species, is produced and maintained by having some advantage over those with which it comes into competition; and the consequent extinction of the lesser favored forms almost inevitably follows . . .thus as I believe, a number of new species descended from one species, that is a new genus, comes to supplant an old genus . . . For all the species of the same group, however long it may have lasted, are the modified descendants from the other, and all from a common progenitor." (Origin, On the Geological succession of Organic Beings, pp.167-169, Benton, 1952)
Modern theories of evolution have not advanced much at all since the time of these men, all of whom preceded Darwin by nearly a century.
Stein and Rowe mention in Physical Anthropology that the contemporary of Linnaeus, Comte de Buffon (1707-1788) had "proposed every major point that Darwin would later include in The Origin of Species." (13) Further on the authors write, "...it was left to Jean Baptiste de Lamarck (1744-1829) to propose a systematic theory of evolution as an explanation of organic diversity." (14)
Lamarck was a pupil of
Buffon's, as were many of the other early evolutionists.
Gordon Taylor wrote of Lamarck, who anticipated many of Darwin's ideas, that "Particularly unfair to him was Darwin, who skimmed through one of his books and pronounced it a farrago of nonsense," (15) yet we find Taylor praising Lamarck thusly: "Though Lamarck's name has become covered with contumely, he was in fact a great naturalist: his contributions to the classification of the invertebrates alone are sufficient to have earned him an honored place in the history of biology. More than this, he can claim to be the first biologist to propose a theory of evolution . . ." (16)
We find from the pen of Lamarck: "Species cannot be distinguished completely from each other; they pass into one another, proceeding from the simple Infusoria right up to man" (1802). He wrote in 1809, the year of Darwin's birth:
"Every observant and cultivated person knows that nothing on the surface of this earth remains forever the same. Everything undergoes in time the most gradual changes which take place at varying degrees of rapidity, depending on its own nature and circumstances . . . these changing environmental conditions bring about a change in the requirements, customs and manner of living of animals, which in turn results in a transformation and development of organisms. Thus these are subject to imperceptible change, even though such change only becomes noticeable after a considerable period of time."
Lamarck used the same subtle sleight of hand technique that evolutionists use today to attempt to validate their theory, suggesting that because there is constant change going on in the world, then through gradual modification species pass on from "simple Infusoria right up to man".
Lamarck never provided any evidence for this, and indeed, Linneaus proved him wrong, but this is the same argument evolutionists have used ever since; the false argument of extrapolation from a set of obvious and simple facts-variation within a species or kind-to the formulation of a fantastic and unproven conclusion, transmutation of species.
Often evolutionists have attempted to imply that before the advent of Darwin biological thought was in a condition of disorder, but that Darwin somehow stepped in and straightened the whole thing out, with of course the usual tie in with religious preconceptions as a primary cause for the problem being strongly hinted at. Typical of this line of thought is this quote from Encyclopedia Britannica: "Evolution is the kernel of biology. It is significant that, before Darwin established evolution as a fact and showed how it was brought about, biology was in a state of chaos."(17)
Wallace, King and Sanders wrote in their book Biosphere, The Realm of Life (18) :
"In Darwin's time, by his own account, all serious biologists believed that species (specific kinds of plants and animals, such as pineapples and dogs) were fixed and unchanging. But On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural selection, Darwin's great work, changed all of that . . . The Darwinian revolution swept away a lot of age-old assumptions. The most painful loss, of course, was Darwin's dispensing with the necessity of assuming a wise, foresightful creator. Also dispensed with, as unproved and unnecessary, were other deeply held assumptions. The theory of evolution challenged the previously accepted idea that each species was a permanent, fixed entity; that had to go. . .Darwin argued that the species had no reality other than that of the individuals composing it, and that the idea of a species was just a category invented by the human mind . . ."
We have seen that Wallace, King and Sanders were innacurate in their assesment; that Darwin's Origin did not introduce anything new or surprising into biological thought; that the theory of evolution had been a very familiar concept for many years among biologists before Darwin's Origin was published. The so-called Darwinian revolution was as much a staged media event for nineteenth century liberals and skeptics as anything else; Darwin discovered nothing new, he came up with no great scientific theorem, it was not some tremendous breakthrough in scientific thought, as most of his adherents have propagandised it throughout the years.
Wallace, King and Sanders
also state that Darwin showed that species were just a category invented by the
This seems rather ironic however when we find from another Encyclopedia article that,
"The Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) became known as the father of modern taxonomy through his major work Systema Natura [The System of Nature] first published in 1735. Linnaeus, however believed that each species was created by God and incapable of change." (19)
Linnaeus, the father of the discipline of taxonomic categorizing of species of plants and animals, whose system, known as the Linnaean System, is still the basis for classifying plants and animals used today, confronted and confounded the evolutionists of his day, because he believed and proved that species could be classified in an orderly manner based on the distinctive types of creatures, referring to the Genesis kinds spoken of in the Bible.
Thus, and this is fully accepted today by all competent zoologists, there are distinct classes of animals, fitting into the various Kingdoms, Phyla, Sub-phyla, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species. It seems incredible that Wallace, King and Sanders can defend Darwin's illogical and mistaken assertion that species do not exist, yet this is not uncommon with modern defenders of evolutionary theory. It is interesting that none of the names of any of the evolutionists of that period are used for modern scientific terminology in botany or zoology, nor are their ideas very much even discussed when classifying animals, only the name Linneaus is used in reference to the Linnaean system he developed for us.
It is also a mistatement to assert, as Wallace, King and Sanders seem to imply, that Christian belief did not allow for variation within species. Obviously orthodox Christian belief would not imply that all humans are exactly alike simply because we are all descended from one pair of human beings. All men are created equal, but we all have different physical attributes. The many varieties of bears, the grizzly, the brown bear, the black bear and the polar bear for example, in a Biblical framework, were all descended from one pair of ancestors, and have adapted to their various locales, not through developing new traits or changing into new species, but through the initial genetic potential that they inherited. This is known as variation within species, which many Christian writers even in Darwin's day believed in, as according to the wise plan of the Creator, who put this potential into the make-up of animals for survival in diverse climates, geographic locations, etc., but the bears remained bears nonetheless, there was no evidence of their having evolved from or evolved into any other species of animal but a bear.
As far as Darwin contributing anything of order to the science of biology, a more objective view would be from Gordon Taylor, who wrote:
"If Darwin plunged us into a hopeless world of chance it was because he was in reaction from a philosophical and theological position . . ."(20)
Taylor further said that Darwinist philosophy:
". . . presented the living world as a world of chance, determined by material forces, in place of a world determined by a divine plan."(21)
Another giant of science who opposed the evolutionists of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was the French statesman and zoologist Baron Cuvier (1769-1832). Cuvier is regarded as the father of the modern sciences of comparative anatomy and paleontology. Cuvier maintained that all species were special created by God for a special purpose, and that each organ in the body had been created for a special function. He argued correctly that it would be impossible for any creature to survive any significant change in its structure, although he did make allowance for variation within certain limits, which as has been stated is totally in accordance with the Biblical view.
All of the ideas in the Origin were already widely known and read before and during Darwin's time, so it is evident that he was not propounding anything new at all. Even in his Historical Sketch, which Darwin wrote as a preface to the later editions of the Origin after Lyell called him to task for not giving enough credit to his predecessors, he belatedly admitted that he was not the first to come up with the idea. There he wrote of
"the celebrated botanist and palaeontologist Unger" who had published his belief in gradual modification and change of species in 1852, seven years before Darwin's publication of the Origin. (22)
Darwin claimed that the main ingredient in this process of evolution (though not the only one, the extermination of whole populations of animals, as seen in the above quote, was very much a part of his idea of biological "improvement") was natural selection:
"I have now recapitulated the facts and considerations which have thoroughly convinced me that species have been modified, during a long course of descent. This has been effected chiefly through the natural selection of numerous successive, slight favorable variations: aided in an important manner by the inherited effects of the use and disuse of parts. . ."(Darwin, Origin, pp.239)
However, we have found out that even Darwin's idea of natural selection was not at all original, that it was fully formulated by the Greek philosopher Epicurus over two thousand years before Darwin's birth, and that the ideas of these Greek philosphers were well known and taught throughout academia for centuries, and Darwin was surely aware of this. (Darwin himself never read the classics in their original language; he could never master any foreign or ancient language except his own native tongue. He was equally at a loss to master higher mathematics, however he was aware of other contemporaries of his who had studied the classics and who knew of and wrote of evolutionary theory, based on the ideas of the ancient Greeks).
Darwin did not discover the process of natural selection; it was a very well known concept by the time he arrived on the scene, and he contributed nothing new at all to the idea. Long before he began writing his Origin Professor William Lawrence, F.R.S., wrote of natural selection in 1822, and this was also many years before Darwin set sail on the Beagle; that monumental voyage in evolutionary mythology from whence he is supposed to have come up with his "novel" ideas.
The problem with natural selection, as we will see throughout this book, is that it is an insufficient explanation for the origin of any new species; it cannot produce anything new; no wings from claws, no feet from fins, no lungs from gills, no fur from scales.
In a response to critics accusing him of trying to take credit for an idea that was not his own, Darwin wrote, in what seems a rather petulant tone, in his Historical Sketch: "As far as the mere enunciation of the principle of natural selection is concerned, it is quite immaterial whether or not Professor Owen preceded me, for both of us, as shown in this historical sketch, were long ago preceded by Dr. Wells and Mr. Matthew." (Historical Sketch to later editions of the Origin.)
Jacques Barzun wrote that, "Anyone in fact, who would gauge the familiarity of the European mind with evolutionary ideas before Darwin need do no more than reread Tennyson's In Memoriam. There he will find not only. . . natural selection, but likewise man's kinship with the ape, the chain of beings, their development, and the consequences to religion and morals of the thoroughgoing naturalism of science."(23)
And it turns out that even modern scientists have stated that Darwin's cherished idea, natural selection, does not work very well in the real world. This may come as somewhat of a shock to those who have been brought up at the shrine of Darwin where his supposed explanation of the origin of species-natural selection- has been hallowed as the summum bonum of scientific thought, but the fact is that natural selection has absolutely no ability whatsoever to originate any new organ or species. In fact, the very opposite is the case. At it's best, it has a limiting function, reducing the amount of genetic potential for species variability, not increasing it. Extinction, as common sense will tell anyone, is the very opposite of the origin of any species, and once that particular genetic blueprint is gone, it is gone forever from the sea of life.
All that natural selection says is that some species survive and some don't! That's all. And those that survive are more fit to survive and those that don't survive are less fit to survive. There is nothing groundbreaking about this observation, this is no profound insight. It does not explain where those species that survived came from, except from other species that were fit to survive. It explains nothing at all about the origin of any species. It never has, and yet evolutionists have taken this simplistic yarn and made an entire weltanschauung out of it, claiming that this is how elephants, and sea urchins, and giant sequoias and artichokes arrived on the scene.
What, pray tell, does an artichoke have in survival value through some struggle for existence that caused it to conquer it's competitors? Yes, artichokes survive very well, but natural selection does nothing to explain how they arrived on the scene in the first place, and there has never been any evidence that they are evolving into anything other than artichokes. This is true for all species of life.
While Darwin was still a youth it appears that the entire culture of England was awash with evolutionary ideas. Years before he even set foot on the Beagle, we find a collection of anecdotes on monkeys titled Apology Addressed to the Travelors Club, or anecdotes of Monkeys published in 1825, which were written , according to Geoffrey Bourne, with "the double objective of making the ideas of the evolutionists look foolish and of satirizing human weaknesses." (24)
Loren Eiseley informs us:
"Charles Darwin did not compose the theory out of thin air. All of the elements which were to enter into it were being widely discussed during his college years." (25)
At first Darwin claimed that his method of observation and deduction was based on the empirical, scientific method of Bacon:
"I worked on true Baconian principles and without any theory collected facts on a wholesale scale," i.e. let the facts speak for themselves, but he contradicted himself later on and did not in fact use this method.
But De Beer tells
us:"This was invalidated by Darwin himself when he wrote to Lyell (June 1,
1860): 'Without the making of theories, I am convinced there would be no
Thus it appears that Darwin was not the strict empiricist that we have been led to believe he was when he arrived at his conclusions.
Reminiscent of Darwin's penchant for telling fibs and spinning fantastic tales as a youth, De Beer again informs us that
"Darwin's method was to spin a hypothesis about anything that struck his attention (i.e. anything that he was predisposed by ideas to see) . . ." [the above words in parenthesis are from the article itself.] (27)
There is one other mysterious person from whom Darwin
borrowed heavily for his ideas. A fascinating and little known historical fact
is that the term Darwinism was used as a synonym for
evolution before Charles Darwin was even born. Besides being a wealthy
physician, Charles Darwin's grandfather Erasmus was also an amateur naturalist
and an eminent man of letters in Eighteenth century England. He was the
co-founder of a philosophic society, the Lunar Society a sort of
radical think-tank heavily influenced by the Jacobins that met once a month
under the awning of the full moon and he once turned down a proposal to become
King George's private physician.
It has been reported that old Erasmus charged as much for one day's diagnosis as four months of a common working man's salaries (Desmond and Moore, pp. 9). He seems to have been quite a radical in his theological views as well. Hesketh Pearson wrote that Erasmus Darwin rode about the country as a traveling physician "shocking his patients with his heterodox views on religion and politics . . ." [ii]
Jonathan Miller said of Darwin's grandfather: "Erasmus was the most distinguished English exponent of evolutionary thought & although Charles would later repudiate his grandfather's theory insisting that his own ideas had arisen quite independently, there is little doubt that his ancestors strong prejudice in favor of biological change had an important part to play in shaping the character of Darwin's own thought."[iii]
He wrote poems and prose works on evolution, the most noteworthy called Zoonomia.
Janet Browne reported: "More than a touch of atheism colored these scientific poems, for Erasmus teetered on the brink of claiming that nothing exists except matter . . Plants, animals and people therefore owed their origin to a process of advancement through geological time that was not in any sense due to divine intervention or the continuing creative powers of God. He saw existence as governed by the 'laws of nature,' rather than by divine authority."[iv]
A typical example of his poetry exhibiting his atheistic leanings also demonstates a striking similarity to so-called "modern" evolutionary explanations of how life developed, written long before Charles Darwin was born, by his grandfather:
Hence without parent by spontaneous birth
Rise the first specks of animated earth;
From Nature's womb the plant or insect swims,
And buds or breathes, with microscopic limbs.
ORGANIC LIFE beneath the shoreless waves
Was born and nurs'd in Ocean's pearly caves
First forms minute, unseen by spheric glass,
Move on the mud, or pierce the watery mass;
These, as successive generations bloom,
New powers acquire, and larger limbs assume;
Whence countless groups of vegetation spring,
And breathing realms of fin, and feet, and wing.
Erasmus Darwin tied his evolutionary theory in with the old, disproved theory of spontaneous generation, (which is how modern evolutionists still think life began, calling it abiogenesis[v] ), and it is from one of his experiments that Mary Shelly's horror classic Frankenstein was born.[v] He died in 1802, according to one biographer "fearing neither God nor man." [vi].
While Charles Darwin was a young boy his grandfather Erasmus' ideas on evolution were often the topic of conversation. C.D. Darlington wrote: "Erasmus Darwin originated almost every important idea that has since appeared in evolutionary theory. "[vii]
Although Charles Darwin attempted to imply in his later writings, and this has been parroted by his followers ever since, that he had been brought up in traditional Christian beliefs, and only after slowly examining the scientific facts he was brought around to the belief in evolution, a little historical inquiry will show that this premise would seem to be extremely doubtful.
Josiah Priestley was a Unitarian Minister who arrived in Birminham in 1780 and promptly became an initiate of both of Darwin's grandfathers, Erasmus and Josiah Wedgwood. He joined the Lunar Society in 1780. Desmond and Moore report: "Priestley's theology was probably even more influential, for it shaped the outlook of three generations of Darwin's and Wedgwoods . . For Priestley immortal souls do not exist any more than immaterial 'spirits' in chemistry. Nor were miracles and mysteries like the Trinity and the Incarnation part of his Christianity." (Desmond and Moore, pp. 8-9)
Desmond and Moore further report that Darwin's maternal grandfather Josiah " . . .had dropped so much supernatural paraphernalia that he had lost sight of the Christian heights. Fall any further and he would fall with an atheistic bump. Josiah's was Christianity striped naked, the Trinity had been discarded, along with Jesus' divinity." (Desmond and Moore, pp. 95)
As far as Darwin's own feelings for religion and his objectivity towards the Biblical account of creation, after his failed candidacy for Holy Orders he said of the Old testament that "from its manifestly false history of the earth...and from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos, or the beliefs of any barbarian." Of his view of the New Testament of Jesus Christ, he could not see how "anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so, the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine."
Here we have Darwin's views on Christianity, and it appears that those were the views he was brought up around as well. So the myth of Darwin's conversion from traditional Christian beliefs to evolution was simply that: A myth. He was brought up in a household already famous for evolutionary thought, and his father and grandfather and brother and friends all held heterodox viewpoints in the Christian faith all along.
Darwin also lent generous support to a virulent anti-Christian organization in the United States, the Free Religious Association, headed up by Francis Abbot. Abbot gave his fifty propositions for "'the extinction of faith in the Christian Confession'" in his pamphlet Truths For the Time , where he argued for the development of a humanistic 'Free Religion'. According to historian James Moore, "These were evolutionary 'truths'" to which "Darwin responded warmly, writing, 'I admire them from my inmost heart & agree to almost every word.'"(James Moore,The Darwin Legend , Baker Books, Grand Rapids Michigan, 1994, pp. 44.)
In spite of Bowlby contrasting Charles method of "extreme thoroughness" with the "speculations of his grandfather" he further wrote: "Although Charles claimed at times that he adopted the exclusively empirical procedures of Francis Bacon, in fact he followed steadily in his grandfathers footsteps."(Bowlby, pp. 32)
Bowlby wrote that Darwin had made "some scathing criticism of the atheoretical empiricism that [his]critics seem to advocate"(Bowlby pp.365), and why shouldn't Darwin be incensed against someone wanting to apply the same rigorous tests of empirical scientific qualifications to his ideas as they are applied in almost every other field of knowledge?
In writing to Henry Fawcett,
Darwin rejected the logical, scientific method of Bacon, where he wrote:
" . . . About thirty years ago there was much talk that geologists ought only to observe and not theorize . . . How odd it is that anyone should not see that all observations must be for or against some views if it is to be of any service." More letters of Charles Darwin, ed. Francis Darwin, Vol.1, 194-196.
It would seem that the evolutionist praise of Darwin as the man who replaced dogma with facts has more myth to it than they might like to admit.
Darwin expressed little feeling of gratitude towards his grandfather Erasmus for his ideas of evolution. He gave him almost no credit in the Historical Sketch to his Origin, where he wrote of his grandfathers work: "...Zoonomia had merely 'anticipated the erroneous opinions of Lamarck,'" yet Gordon Taylor said that "...it is Darwin who should be denigrated, not Lamarck."[viii]
Thus we find that Darwin's theory of evolution was not the result of some grand scientific breakthrough occurring as a result of his voyage on the Beagle , he was already philosophically predisposed towards this outlook as a result of three generations of atheistic views.
Darwin borrowed heavily from his fellow evolutionists also. In June 1858 Darwin's Origin was in a rough draft and only half completed when he received a manuscript from his colleague, Alfred Russell Wallace, who was in Moluccas. Wallace added a letter asking Darwin to read the manuscript and forward it to Lyell. When Darwin read Wallace's essay, he found a nearly identical description of his own (sic) theory of natural selection. Colliers Encyclopedia reports, astoundingly: "It was an unusual situation: two naturalists, working independently of each other had simultaneously developed theories that were identical."[ix]
That would appear quite unusual at first glance, but not so unusual when all the facts are unravelled. In the preface to a later edition of his Origin of Species, after Lyell's reprimand Darwin listed at least twenty people who preceded him with the theory.
After Darwin saw Wallace's manuscript he hurriedly finished his and rushed it to the printers office and the rest is history. Even Jonathan Miller, an admirer of Darwin, said that at the time of the publication of the Origin, Darwin "seemed little more than an affable amateur, someone whose formal education had been a series of humiliating disasters."[x]
The fact of the matter is that the concept of evolution was the subject of endless parlor talks amid the philosophic discussions so popular in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in England and Europe, there was nothing new about it at all when Darwin wrote his Origin. The idea of "social progress" became united with the mechanistic, materialistic views of Descartes, culminating in the utilitarian view of society advocated by John Stewart Mill. Maurpertuis, David Hume, Bonnet (who first used the term "evolution"), Mill, Chambers, Comte and Lamarck along with their contemporaries clearly laid out the groundwork for evolution long before Darwin's Origin was ever written.
Herbert Spencer, founder of modern sociology, certainly mentioned the idea of evolution a few years before the publication of Darwin's Origin , in fact, Spencer was the first to coin the term "survival of the fittest," which when applied to human society in his sociological gristmill has produced brutal results. In Spencer's series of articles from 1852-1857, Progress-Its Law and Cause," he built upon the evolutionary work of Lamarck and furthered Comte's plan for a universal philosophic system of "scientific sociology" with evolution as its basis. (See Jacques Barzun, Darwin, Marx, and Wagner, Little, Brown and Company, 1941)
Huxley, known as "Darwin's Bulldog," along with Hooker and Tyndall, encouraged Spencer to draw up the outline for this and present it for "public subscription" some months before Darwin's Origin was published.
In other words, these men were purposely engaged in foisting upon the world a new, totally secular, anti-Biblical Weltanshauung. They were attempting, unfortunately quite successfully, to initiate a paradigm shift in the public consciousness and world view. Their goal was to change the Judeo-Christian values of our culture and replace them with an evolutionist, materialistic view of life, similar to Stalin's horrible vision for society .
The eventual spread of evolutionary doctrine was not the result of some scientific breakthrough on human origins; it was spawned by an elite corps of evolutionary "evangelists" with an apostolic fervor to overthrow the theistic basis of European civilization.
Should some think that this might be an overstatement of the case, then this quote from noted Columbia University historian Jacques Barzun regarding the propaganda campaign initiated by these men for the spread of evolutionary theory will throw some light on the issue:
"This in turn required the drilling of certain words and bare notions into the public mind-a task which popularizers like Huxley, Spencer, Lewes, Asa Gray, Clemence Royer, John Fiske, Haeckel, and many others of lesser note, took into their charge. " (Barzun, Darwin, Marx, and Wagner, Little, Brown and Company, 1941)
This campaign has continued until the present day, as this quote from a modern evolutionist, Steven Jay Gould will show: "I like to summarize what I regard as the pedestal-smashing messages of Darwin's revolution in the following statement, which might be chanted a few times a day, like a Hare Krishna mantra, to force penetration into the soul:" (Steven Jay Gould, Spin Doctoring Darwin , Natural History Magazine, 7/95, pp.6)
Barzun further wrote, "Lest it be thought I am exaggerating the religious aspects of the Darwinian science I must again refer to Huxley, whose remark about the 'Hegira [flight] of Science from the idolatries of special creation' and 'the purer faith of evolution' [Academy, Jan. 2, 1875], was made, not in the enthusiasm of 1859, but after fifteen years' reflection." (Barzun, Darwin, Marx, and Wagner , pp. 74)
At Darwin's funeral they sang a chorus for him, "His body is buried in piece, but his name liveth evermore." Desmond and Moore report that his cousing Galton "was satisfied at this reverence for the new scientific priesthood. The country's rulers were seen honouring a ruler of nature, and the ritual served as a visible reminder of evolutions 'religious significance." (Desmond and Moore, pp. 673f-674)
Barzun also noted that "Darwin's theory was after all, a theory of reality." In other words, it had profound implications as to how we view ourselves, the universe, and our role to play in it. Darwin's old teacher from college, Sedgewick, was a most severe critic of the Origin not only from a scientific view, but he believed that denying the "moral and metaphysical" (spiritual) aspect of human personality would degrade and brutalize mankind, and indeed he was a prophet in this case. And yet with talk of all of the supposedly "scientific" aspect of evolutionary theory, even in Huxley's mind the theory had an "insecurity of logical foundation" (Clodd, Thomas Henry Huxley , N.Y., 1902, pp.15). Barzun wrote: " . . .how can we explain this inconsistency in the most tireless and most intelligent of the Darwinists? Why was evolution more precious than scientific suspense of judgement? Why do scientists to this day speak with considerable warmth of 'the fact of evolution' as if it were in the same category as the fact of combustion . . ." (Barzun, pp.72)
I t has been clearly demonstrated, contrary to the numerous tributes of praise to Charles Darwin by his devotees, that Darwin originated nothing new at all in his celebrated work; that he was by no means the first person to come up with the theory of evolution or of natural selection.
The legend of Charles Darwin's discovery of the theory of evolution has been one of the greatest myths ever to be found in the modern world, probably in the history of mankind. It should long ago have taken it's place alongside Grimm's fairy tales and Greek mythology.
Having read of Darwin's own actual bleak academic background before his voyage on the Beagle, it should not surprise us to find out that the idea that he has been given credit for by so many of his followers, the evolution of species, was not his own idea in the least.
What is suprising is that he has been hailed by these same followers as the great innovator of some grand new scheme of life, when absolutely nothing could be farther from the truth.
The "modern" theory of evolution itself has been around for thousands of years. It is not some novel development as a result of any scientific discovery, despite the claims of its most ardent adherents, but is simply the resurrection of an ancient, pagan creation myth, biased towards a materialistic, non-theistic view of the universe, which view has been warmly adopted by the cultural and liberal media elite from Darwin's time on down to the present day, and foisted upon an unwitting public as the so-called "scientific" explanation of the universe and man's role to play in it, when nothing could be farther from the truth.
In contrast to the musings of atheistic Greek philosophers (not all Greek philosophers were atheistic, and many of their greatest thinkers believed in a Supreme Being who created the world) we have a more sure word of testimony, an ancient and infallible source of truth, the very Word of God itself, which states: "For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who has established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: 'I am the Lord, and there is no other.' I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all that pleases me." (Isaiah 45:18, 46:9-10)
Now that we know that Darwin came up with nothing original of his own, let us find out if his major work, The Origin of Species, even lived up to its name: did he present any credible proof to show that species originate by an evolutionary process of natural selection?
We will attempt to find the answer to this in the next issue of The Darwin Papers.
2. World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, pp.33, 1983, Scott Fetzer Co.
4. William Howells, Mankind So Far, pp. 6, American Museum of Natural History Series, Vol, 5, Doubleday & Co., Garden City, New York, 1949.
5. Anthropology Today, pp.639, Communications Research Machines Inc., Del Mar, Ca., 1972.
6. Leakey and Isaac, Human Ancestors.
7. Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 19, Evolution, The Theory of, pp. 981, 1986.
8. Biology Today, Communications Research Machines Inc., Del Mar, Ca., 1972, pp. 639.
9. In Colliers Encyclopedia, Vol. 9, pp.480, in the article Evolution, William Stansfield wrote: "The ancient Greek philosopher Anaximander is generally credited as being the earliest evolutionist."
10. Howells, Mankind So Far, pp.18
11. (Ibid, pp.45)
12. Rousseau, pp. 334, Volume 38 of Great Books of the Western World Series, edited under the auspices of the University of Chicago and Encyclopedia Britannica, William Benton Publisher, 1952.
13. Philip L. Stein and Bruce M. Rowe, Physical Anthropology, 3rd Edition, Los Angeles Pierce College, Mcgraw-Hill Books, Set in Baskerville by Ruttle, Shaw &Wetherill, Inc., R.R. Donelly & Sons Printer and Binder.
14. (ibid, pp.24)
15. Gordon Rattray Taylor, The Great Evolution Mystery, pp.41, Harper and Row Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, N.Y., 1002, 1983.
16. (ibid, pp. 39)
17. Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 18, pp. 981, 1986.
18. Wallace, King and Sanders, Biosphere, pp. 11-12.
19. Colliers Encyclopedia, Volume 9, pp.480, 1983.
20. Taylor, (op. Cit.), pp.15
21. (ibid, pp.1)
22. Darwin, Historical Sketch, Great Books of the Western World, Benton Pub., 1952.
23. Barzun, pp.61.
24. Geoffrey H. Bourne, Primate Odyssey, pp. 184-185, G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1974.
25. Loren Eiseley, Darwin and the Mysterious Mr. X. Quoted from the caption to Illustration # 4, following pp. 93.
26. Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume, 16, pp.1029
Not all ancient Greek philosophers were atheists like Epicurus. Many of them were theists, rightly surmising that there was abundant evidence to be seen for the Creator from the design in creation. Pythagorus was a mystic; Plato taught that there there was a higher Intelligent Principal at work in the universe beyond the mere materialistic ideas of Lucretius and Epicurus. Apart from the direct Revelation given to the Hebrews though, many of their ideas about God were vague and lacked a formulated definition.
[i] Lehman, J.P., The Proofs of Evolution, Gordon and Cremonesi, New York, 1977.
[ii] Collier's Encyclopedia, Article by Hesketh Pearson, Volume 7, pp.724, Macmillan Educational Co., New York, N.Y., 1984.
[iii] Jonathan Miller with Illustrations by Borin Van Loom, Darwin For Beginners, Pantheon Books, New York, 1982, pp.46.
[iv] Browne, Charles Darwin, pp.38.
[v] From Mary Shelly's Introduction to Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus, 1818.
Modern evolutionists have taken issue with this, claiming that they do not believe in spontaneous generation, but believe in what they term abiogenesis, that life can come from non-living matter through purely naturalistic means, but that this process takes place over a vast period of time.
This is a rather devious tactic and there are a few problems with this explanation by the evolutionists.
First, for all practical
purposes, the two terms are all but synonymous. Spontaneous does
not necessarily mean instantaneous, it simply means, according
to my old Random House
Dictionary (1975): 1. coming or resulting from a natural impulse or
tendency; without effort or premeditation. 2. (of a person) given to acting upon
sudden impulses. 3. (of natural phenomena) arising from internal forces or
causes [i.e. no outside intervention] 4. produced by natural causes.
And the definition for spontaneous generation in this same dictionary is abiogenesis. Historically this was the case, and this was the term used by evolutionists up until Pasteur. Now they have switched terms, but the meaning is still the same.
Second, the formation of the first living cell by hypothetical abiogenic means would have had to have been virtually instantaneous anyhow, and they (evolutionists) have absolutely no evidence that this ever occured. The science, as far as the needed reducing atmosphere for this hypothetical event to have taken place, is against this happening, and Pasteur, in his classic experiments in the nineteenth century, disproved the notion. Pasteur proved his theory of biogenesis, that life only comes from pre-existing life.
This was one of the most significant discoveries of the nineteenth century, and is pretty much passed over by evolutionists with their fanciful stories.
A cell is a dynamic, amazingly complex living computer and warehouse of thousands of moving parts all working together with incredible speed, harmony and precision. It would have to "hit the ground running" from the very start of it's existence in an instant of time, with everything precisely in place and fully functional, processing thousands of bits of information each and every nano-second to have any chance of surviving in the primitive and hostile environment that evolutionists believe existed for their theory to work, with a fully functional cell wall protecting it while allowing only beneficial material to pass through it's barriers.
The odds against all of that happening through "natural selection" or any other naturalistic means without the intervention of an intelligent power are astronomical, in fact, impossible.
The only real word for this to have happened would be miracle.
[vi] Bowlby, pp.30.
[vii] C.D. Darlington, The Origin of Darwinism, Scientific American, 200:50:60, May 1959, pp. 62.
[viii] Taylor, pp.41.
[ix] Colliers Encyclopedia, Vol. 7, Darwin.
[x] Miller, Darwin For Beginners, pp.6.